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BARGAINS / GERI COOK

Bridal Blooms, Tunes : Warehouse florist can supply wedding floral needs for substantially less, and Serenade Strings might fit your music budget.

March 19, 1993|GERI COOK

There are a lot more expenses involved in staging a wedding than apparel and catering. If the wed ding planner doesn't com parison-shop for some of the trimmings such as flowers and music, any money saved on gowns and food will be swallowed by bouquets and musicians.

A fairly wealthy friend of mine, when planning her daughter's wedding, called me in a state of shock one day, screaming, "The flowers are going to cost more than the food!"

There are ways to get around this, of course, and using a warehouse florist who does not have the overhead of a retail operation is one of them.

In 1988, Michael and Kim Holtzer started their business, Kim-E's Flowers, on just such a basis. They limit their services to weddings and parties only: This and their low overhead allow low prices.

A typical bridal bouquet, consisting of a dozen roses, a dozen stephanotis (the white star-shaped flower often used in wedding bouquets), a minimum of 10 stems of dendrobium orchids and baby's breath is $65. This would cost more than $100 at most retail florists.

An average price for a bridesmaid's bouquet is $25 for two types of flowers, usually alstroemeria and dendrobium orchids. Pew bows also are $3.50, instead of the $7 to $10 many florists charge.

For the reception, the Holtzers do several centerpieces, from a simple bud vase with mini-carnations and alstroemeria for around $8 to a full stylized arrangement for $25. Selections are made from their portfolio at your home, according to your budget.

If the order is to be delivered and set up in the San Fernando Valley, there is no delivery charge. Outside the Valley, it is from $15 to $20. Kim-E's gives the bride a bouquet to throw, at no charge.

A touch of class can be added to an affair with the right music, which Serenade Strings provides at the right price. A string quartet (two violins, viola and cello) made up of studio and orchestra musicians will play for four hours for $650 instead of the $800 to $825 often charged by other groups. You can cut the cost to $450 by limiting the music to two hours.

With a repertoire that runs from Cole Porter to Beethoven, Serenade Strings has two groups. If you want to see how they look (for weddings the women wear concert black and the men wear tuxedos) and sound, Serenade Strings Quartet I performs every week for Sunday brunch (noon to 3 p.m.) at Market City Caffe, 164 E. Palm Ave. in Burbank (818/840-7036), and Serenade Strings Quartet II can be heard at the same time at Market City Caffe, 33 S. Fair Oaks Ave. in Pasadena (818/568-0203).

Where and When Location: Kim-E's Flowers. Hours: By appointment, Monday to Friday 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Cards: None. Call: (818) 885-6957. What: Serenade Strings. Hours: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. Cards: None. Call: (213) 663-7871.

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