Wedding ceremonies have never been just about making a commitment to your future spouse. They celebrate love, but also families and communities. It has been tradition for years for brides to wear their mother’s wedding dress, a set of jewelry from a grandmother or best friend, or to use a family member or close friend’s home as a venue—“something borrowed, something blue,” right? However, at some point, certain stigmas developed around borrowing or sharing anything for a wedding that wasn’t purely for sentimental value. People weren’t proud to be saving; it was an admission of poverty. But, with the advent of the sharing economy in recent years, people are becoming more focused on getting the most out of their money and cutting excess out of both their lives and their weddings.
What Is the Sharing Economy?
Simply put, this trend is a new way for consumers to buy—purchasing shared time or assets from each other instead of going to a large corporation for a brand new product. You use someone’s vacation home as a place to stay instead of booking at a hotel; you pay someone to take you home in their car instead of calling a taxi. This mindset comes from people wanting to not only save money, but put some of it back in the hands of others—rather than faceless big business—and it goes hand-in-hand with other developing trends like sustainable living as a means to cut back on waste.
How Is This Affecting the Wedding Industry?
Weddings are more expensive now than ever, with the average costs ranging from $30,000 to $35,000. Young couples are becoming disillusioned with the idea of spending what could be a house down payment on one day of festivities full of clothes and décor that will never see another use. Money doesn’t go as far as it used to, and people want to know that they’re getting a good value for what they’re spending on. This is where the sharing economy is stepping in!
How Much Can You Save?
This depends entirely on what you do. Every facet of your wedding has areas where you can use this sharing economy to scale back—buying a used wedding dress instead of new or trading services with a baker to get a discounted wedding cake—but none quite so expensive as your flowers!
The average budget for fresh flower arrangements at a wedding is anywhere from $3000 to $10,000, depending on the number of centerpieces and bouquets you need. Aside from the venue and food, this is perhaps the largest wedding expense for most couples. But how do you save on flowers besides using fake ones? You can’t buy fresh flowers second hand, right?
Half right. Bloomerent is a company built on providing a marketplace for couples to purchase a more sustainable, cost-effective solution for a monster flower budget: one couple chooses a professional from over 50 of the company’s pre-vetted florists to create their floral designs, and Bloomerent lists the final designs on their marketplace for another customer to purchase. When taken care of properly by a florist, fresh flowers can have a lifespan of anywhere from three to 14 days, meaning that there is a perfect window of two to three days where bouquets and centerpieces will still look lively and brand new. Second event couples can browse through listings on Bloomerent by selecting a florist in their area to see what is available for reuse. Then, once they select a design, they will work directly with the florist to get everything set up for their ceremony.
The first wedding receives 10 percent off of their total order when someone else buys their arrangements, and the second receives 40 to 60 percent off from buying the arrangements used. On a $5000 flower budget, you’re talking anywhere from $500 to $2500. So, both couples receive gorgeous flowers for their weddings, both save on their overall budget, and everyone can take a little solace in minimizing the footprint caused by their wedding.
The Bloomerent Community
Companies like Bloomerent foster a community amongst the couples and professionals connecting through their service. All of their florists, for example are hand-picked and vetted by the company before they ever begin with a client, and all sharing transactions through the company are conducted with these professionals to ensure quality standards and service.
Once you enter your location and event date to browse, you’re given a small gallery of each professional’s past work, a description of the company and staff, and the most important part: their minimum budget. All the information is easy and upfront, so you can book your in-person or e-mail consultations with confidence.
Collaboration and communication with your florist is encouraged as well! A first event couple’s arrangements aren’t treated as any less personal just because they may be used by someone else. Bloomerent’s community is still there to give everyone the care and attention they deserve. And first event couples aren’t the only ones who receive this personal care. Second events are given more flexibility than you might expect. They can easily request minor changes to the design or additional arrangements once they have connected with their florist.
And all couples are encouraged to foster connections with others by sharing their own flowers. After all, why wouldn’t a couple want someone to benefit from their purchase when some of that will come back to them in savings?
What You Can Do With Your Extra Money
While it’s obvious you can save money using services like Bloomerent to share your fresh flowers, this doesn’t mean much without context. It’s money back in your pocket, sure, but what can you do with it?
The first event couple saves 10 percent on their total cost when a second couple buys their arrangements. This can give most people around $300 to $600 to spend elsewhere. If you’d rather put it back into your wedding, consider adding a dessert bar to your food budget! Wedding cakes are amazing, but your guests will love variety. Things like tarts, brownies, mini-parfaits, and cake pops can really spice up your reception offerings.
You can also put it toward your honeymoon. This budget isn’t going to pay for airfare or your hotel, but it can pay for a little something special. If you’re planning on a European destination, consider adding one more night to your vacation and spending it in a castle! Imagine hoofing it around the Irish countryside all day only to lay your head down at night in a room fit for royalty. Or if Europe isn’t your style, consider another kind of luxury accommodation. Rent a private bungalow for a night in your tropical destination, or one night in a historic ryokan in Japan for an authentic, old world experience.
If you’re looking more toward the future than the now, invest in your home. Getting something like a quality vacuum will save you time and money in the future. Instead of buying the cheapest option, spend that extra on a better brand that will last. You have the money after all!
Second event couples obviously pay a lot less at the expense getting complete control over what their flowers look like. However, with an extra $1000 to $3000 in their pocket, it seems a small price to pay.
These savings can go a lot of places. For example, $1500 can pay for a brand new wedding dress if you’re the type that’s always dreamed of passing it down in the family. You can also go on an amazing long weekend getaway with that kind of budget. Spring for a few days of exploring the country and enjoy a bed and breakfast in each state.
Or look ahead to your home, like we mentioned before. With this kind of money, there are several pieces of brand new furniture you can choose from. A couch and love seat for the living room, for instance, or a new queen bed frame and mattress! You’ll appreciate not worrying about these basics when there is so much else to take care of.
Companies like Bloomerent are out to save couples money on their weddings by offering shared resources to everyone, and options to make it work. They’re providing a great compromise for people who aren’t ready to spend $30,000 on a single day, but don’t want to give up their dream wedding in favor of something bare bones. For the time being, the sharing economy is here to stay and it’s good news for couples planning their nuptials soon.