Startup helps nip rising wedding floral costs in the bud

The average cost of a wedding in the United States is more than $26,000, and more than $1,200 of that is spent on flowers. On a day when a bride needs something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue, a new startup is offering all of the above – at a discount.

Renee McKiernan wasn’t planning to have flowers at her wedding.

“The cost of weddings is astronomical… the thing with the flowers is, they are beautiful, they are one of the biggest expenses of a wedding, and they’re so wasteful,” McKiernan said.

That is, until she heard about Bloomerent, an online marketplace that pairs up people willing to share centerpiece arrangements to save a few bucks, reports CBS News’ Meg Oliver.

The first bride picks out her flowers and gets a 10 percent discount for sharing them with a second bride. That second bride saves 40 to 60 percent by using those same flowers a day or two later. In between events, the florist freshens and spruces them up.

“So all we are going to do is ‘zhuzh’ and rearrange and pick out the bad things,” florist Lydia Andrien said.

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Florist Lydia Andrien of Wyld

CBS News

McKiernan paid just $850 for the same flowers that cost the first bride $1,700.

After seeing perfectly fresh flowers tossed at the end of her wedding night, Danit Zamir came up with the idea for Bloomerent. A mutual friend introduced her to Julia Capalino, who quickly joined the business. It capitalizes on a growing trend in today’s economy.

“We share our cars, we share our clothing, we even share our beds [on] Airbnb. So why not your, you know, event flowers? Especially when otherwise they’re just going to end up in the trash,” Capalino said at Larkspur Botanicals in New Jersey.

When Brides magazine editor-in-chief Keija Minor first heard about this idea, she thought, “I don’t know if every bride is going to love the idea of sharing flowers.”

“But I quickly realized for some people, it is not one of their biggest priorities and if they can save money anyway possible, because weddings are so expensive, you know, it’s worth a shot,” Minor said.

You may be wondering how Bloomerent makes money. It earns a fee every time a customer books an event with a Bloomerent florist. They are already in many regions across the country. Zamir, who says she’s a “second event bride,” and Capalino, who says she’s definitely a “first event bride,” are looking to expand in the next few months to Chicago, San Francisco and Miami.