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25 Floral Dupes: Real, Affordable Alternatives to the Priciest Blooms

Dupes (short for duplicates) are all the rage in the beauty world — inexpensive drugstore swaps for those pricey luxury cosmetics. But now, the concept has arrived to the world of flowers. We got the money-saving lowdown from floral designers Karen Greenoe of Lily Greenthumb’s and Maribel Kalata of EightTreeStreet. Check out their lesser-known (and extremely gorgeous) picks for weddings of all seasons and budgets.

By: Amanda Glickman

Enter Slideshow
  • Splurge: Hydrangea

    Splurge: Hydrangea

    Nothing packs a more colorful punch than the hydrangea, but their costs vary greatly. Karen Greenoe shares that they’re “one of the only flowers that are priced based on their color,” so while white and light blue hydrangea tend to be more affordable, the more exotic varieties, like deep purple and fuchsia, are a bit harder on the wallet. However, there are dupes galore with the same cheery fullness.

    Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

  • Save: Stock

    Save: Stock

    First, consider the stock flower. It comes in a rainbow of hues ranging from peach to plum to fuchsia. And, according to Greenoe, “if you trim the green tips and tuck them in, forming giant bunches that resemble that signature pom pom ball shape, no one will be the wiser.”

  • Save: Cockscomb

    Save: Cockscomb

    The cockscomb is especially great for fall brides; it gives that fluffy look of hydrangeas without the extra cost for pretty autumnal hues. “It has a rich variety of gem tones, with hearty big blooms that substitute perfectly," says Kalata.

  • Save: Succulent

    Save: Succulent

    Another option: Try some trendy succulents! According to Kalata, “They come in all sizes, and in lovely shades of grays, greens, and light purples, perfect for a rustic wedding or a boho beach ceremony.” Added bonus: You can keep them long after the wedding as quirky mementos that requires little to no watering. 

    Photo Credit: Chris Hunkeler/Flickr

  • Splurge: Stephanotis

    Splurge: Stephanotis

    While this small, sweet-smelling flower is readily available at most wholesalers, pricing begins about thirty dollars a box. For a flower that’s used mainly as filler, it can be duped quite easily. 

    Photo Credit: Rivkah Fancher / Flowers: Lily's Greenthumb

  • Save: Yellow Freesia

    Save: Yellow Freesia

    The first alternative is the freesia. With a delicious perfume and fluffy texture, Kalata loves it for bouquets.

  • Save: Bouvardia

    Save: Bouvardia

    Kalata is also fond of bouvardia, which shares many qualities with freesia. The slightly smaller blooms work wonders for corsages and fresh hair accessories. 

    Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

  • Save: Tuberose

    Save: Tuberose

    And there’s the delicate tuberose, with which Greenoe says, “You’ll get both a similar fragrance and those sweet star-shaped blooms that you love!” 

    Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

  • Splurge: Orchid

    Splurge: Orchid

    Though the orchid’s "rarity" ranges from grocery store potted plants to priceless jungle blooms, there’s one quality that they all share: expensive. Still, the orchid’s exotic, dynamic looks can be found in a few other flowers a fraction of the cost.

  • Save: Delphinium

    Save: Delphinium

    Dendobrium orchids can be replaced with stems of delphinium, which Kalata says work perfectly in centerpieces with a modern, bright flair. 

    Photo Credit: Mollie Tobias Photography / Flowers: EightTreeStreet

  • Save: Cherry Blossoms

    Save: Cherry Blossoms

    Kalata also recommends flowering branches like cherry blossom if you’re getting married in early spring — they have that same lush, long presence as dendodriums. 

    Photo Credit: Basheer Tome/Flickr

  • Save: Alstroemeria

    Save: Alstroemeria

    And don’t neglect the humble alstroemeria, also called the Peruvian lily. It’s super affordable, bears similar markings to the orchid, and plays beautifully with bigger blooms in bouquets and centerpieces.

    Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

  • Splurge: Peonies

    Splurge: Peonies

    Perhaps the most hyped wedding flower of all, the peony has rightfully earned its place, with endless layers of tissue papery petals that scream romance. But for brides who aren’t up for spending major cash, this flower proves to be quite the letdown: Kalata says that they run from five dollars each, which really adds up if you have a large bridal party. Here’s a florist’s dirty little secret: The peony is super replicable. 

  • Save: Garden Roses

    Save: Garden Roses

    Garden roses are the best substitute around for peonies, according to Greenoe. “They have such similar ruffly petals and will fool all but the most flower savvy guests at your wedding!” Though garden roses aren’t the cheapest of the peony dupes, they often grow larger than peonies, which means you can use fewer stems for the same dramatic impact.

    Photo Credit: Andrea Lynn Taylor / Flowers: EightTreeStreet

  • Save: Carnations

    Save: Carnations

    Kalata encourages brides to “design your own peony look [by] clustering several stems of carnations.” Blocking the flowers in giant clusters is a super gorgeous and easy way of getting the most bang for your buck, and it doesn’t call to mind the stereotypically-sad carnation bouquet whatsoever.

    Photo Credit: Astrid Photography / Flowers: EightTreeStreet

  • Save: Ranunculus

    Save: Ranunculus

    For a smaller bloom with the same signature layered texture as the peony, ranunculus is the way to go. Kalata swears by ranunculus as one of her favorite flowers and especially enjoys incorporating them into boutonniéres. Heads up: they don’t fare well in the hottest months of summer, so plan accordingly!

  • Splurge: Gardenia

    Splurge: Gardenia

    These strongly-scented flowers are often sold individually, and Kalata says that just three stems can cost as much as $25. Between the divisive aroma and the price tag, there are other options that promise the same clean, white floral canvas.

    Photo Credit: Critsey Rowe / Flowers: Lily Greenthumb's

  • Save: Camellia

    Save: Camellia

    A favorite flower of Coco Chanel’s, the camellia comes in shades of white (as well as pink and red) and lacks a signature heady scent like the gardenia — which can be great for guests with sensitive noses or who appreciate floral designs with fashionable histories.

    Photo Credit: Leimenide/Flickr

  • Save: White Freesia

    Save: White Freesia

    Greenoe suggests trying a grouping of white freesia instead of gardenia. “You get a similar fragrance, and they are much sturdier.” It's an awesome pick for venues quite a trek away from the floral designer or wholesaler. 

    Photo Credit: Britt-knee/Flickr

  • Splurge: Lily of the Valley

    Splurge: Lily of the Valley

    This delicate springtime bloom is as finicky as it is beautiful: “With a short growing season and a temperamental attitude, they are hard to come by and quite expensive” says Greenoe. It's a good thing there some duplicates with the same sweet, small petals that look straight out of a storybook. 

    Photo Credit: Allison Kuhn / Flowers: Lily Greenthumb's

  • Save: Sweet Peas

    Save: Sweet Peas

    Sweet peas are a wonderful, multi-hued alternative with adorable little spindles that add just the right pop of texture to arrangements with florals in various sizes. In fact, this inexpensive bloom is becoming as in-demand as its expensive counterparts, leading suppliers to work hard to grow them year-round. Sweet, indeed. 

    Photo Credit: Julie/Flickr

  • Save: Waxflowers

    Save: Waxflowers

    Kalata also recommends waxflowers, which have similarly-small blooms to lily of the valley. They’re quite the affordable, hardy alternative that work especially well in boutonniéres or as accents in bouquets. Some floral trivia: Waxflowers get their name from the waxy feel of their petals.

    Photo Credit: Megan Chase Photography / Flowers: EightTreeStreet

  • Splurge: Calla Lilies

    Splurge: Calla Lilies

    With the trend of forest-tall centerpieces still rampant across many a wedding, it’s no doubt that the long, lean calla lily is in high demand — and at a high price. But the same height and beauty can, too, be reached with some modelesque dupes.

    Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

  • Save: Easter Lilies

    Save: Easter Lilies

    The Easter Lily can be a welcome addition to wedding centerpieces — Kalata substitutes them for calla lilies quite often because their identical trumpet shape is a “guaranteed statement maker!”

    Photo Credit: Lall/Flickr

  • Save: Tulips

    Save: Tulips

    When in doubt (and in lily-related sticker shock), “Try a tulip instead!” says Greenoe. “They come in so many different shades, so you’re sure to find one that fits your wedding colors.” 

    Photo Credit: Lissa Ryan Photography / Flowers: EightTreeStreet

25 Floral Dupes: Real, Affordable Alternatives to the Priciest Blooms

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