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If you’re looking to stretch your decor budget visit your local Farmers Market flower stalls. These beautiful and huge bouquets can be bought for a fraction of the price at grocery stores or florists. Depending on the start time of your event, purchasing your bouquets a day in advance allows you time to break the bouquets apart, clean the leaves from the stems and arrange if you wish. If you buy them on the day of your event, hit the market early so you aren’t left with everyone else’s leftovers.

For Domino Beauty Boutique’s Happy Hour for a Cause I bought seven bouquets from the Pike Place Market to help keep costs down – it was a fundraiser after all – and they were huge enough to pull apart a few into smaller arrangements. As much as I love baby’s breath and a few other popular floral fillers (kale anyone?), most farmers market bouquets pack a floral punch. As you can see above a large $10 bouquet included at least a dozen larger dahlias in each bouquet. My $5 bouquets had about seven or so slightly smaller dahlias – and a handful of other flowers – which was still an armful. In all, I spent $50 and was very pleased with my bounty.

Tips for buying flowers from a farmers market:
  • Bring cash and have an assortment of $10s, $5s and $1s. Sometimes you’re able to get great deals if you buy a lot from one stand and you want to have the right amount on hand. Nothing makes you feel like a Scrooge more than getting a great deal only to realize you have $20s and need change back.
  • Be aware of where each “stall” ends. At the Pike Place Market, there might be two or three merchants next to each other and you don’t want to start grabbing bouquets from different merchants even though there’s a good chance they have a system to pay each other back. If you aren’t sure who “owns” the bouquets, ASK.
  • Have a color scheme in mind but be flexible. I go with the idea of each bouquet must feature the same color even if it’s in varying shades, like light orange to dark orange. It also helps to know what’s in season. Visit the market a few days in advance of your event so you get a general idea.
  • If you want specific colors or flowers in each bouquet, ask the merchant if she or he can build the bouquets for you but expect it to take some time. Many are willing to help you, you just have to ask. Just remember two important things: 1) don’t expect they’ll have a special request ready in 15 minutes while they’re slamemd with mid-day customers, and 2) these are going to be created by the merchants so enjoy the unique nature of each bouquet. 
  • Many of the merchants have boxes on-hand, but bring your own bags if you need more than two bouquets. Your arms can only hold so many bouquets, which will get heavy after walking a few blocks. I use woven market baskets, which hold two large bouquets easily (three if I smoosh them in there). To make it easier to carry once the flowers are in the bag, I use wide ribbon to make an on-the-spot hand or arm straps (I keep it in the basket all the time so I never have to search for it).
  • Bring crumbled butcher paper – or ask for some at the stall – to create base to help stabilize the bouquets and keep them from tipping out of the bag, which will be top-heavy.
    **No money or services were exchanged for the products mentioned above.

Until next time!

Cheers!

{images: Sparrow Soirées}
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