The Truth Behind the Cost of Wedding Flowers
Updated: Feb 10
So often I get inquiries from clients who have really stunning designs in mind for their wedding day but have no idea what it will end up costing them- and I mean, why would they? You rarely see a price tag on a picture of the gorgeous bouquet you find from Pinterest or on Instagram. Most of the time it is the clients first (and hopefully the last) time getting married, so how could they know how much wedding florals cost? Not to forget when major wedding magazines and blogs mention something to be “budget-friendly”, what exactly do they mean by this? Who’s budget? If their target market is someone who’s total wedding budget is a $150,000, of course that $175 centerpiece is budget-friendly for them. One of the first things couples learn is that figuring out a floral décor budget is hard and sometimes it comes with a sticker shock.
It’s my hope that this blog will help couples think through and create realistic expectations when starting to look to hire a wedding florist. You’ll read a summary of the overall process of building wedding floral designs and about the life of a flower. This will hopefully lead to a better understanding of why wedding flowers cost what they do when purchased from a professional florist. Let’s us begin!
There is a Misconception
We see flowers every time we go to the grocery store and sometimes buy them – the repeat purchase creates a misconception of how much flowers actually cost in our minds. Grocery stores aren’t a realistic indicator of what flowers actually cost. Chain grocery stores operate from a business model that’s designed to undercut the real cost and hence devalues flowers in the consumer’s eyes. These chains can sell flowers at such low prices, sometimes even at a loss, and still be profitable through significant markup of other items they sell to make up for it.
A wedding florists primary income comes from the flowers that are sold, there is no room to take a loss on the only product a florist sells. Taking a step back to think about the purpose, we are not selling just flowers - we are selling designed artwork made from flowers. Flowers are an ingredient needed to create the artwork, just as a painter needs paint to create their masterpieces. Additionally, we also specialize in the logistics of ensuring that your arrangements are set up and installed delivering your desired floral aesthetic for your ceremony and reception.
Life of a Flower
There is a lot that work at the flower farms around the globe growing the flowers used in designs that all starts from a seed. A flower farmer’s job depends on a lot of unpredictable variables they have no control over such as environment and economic factors.
There is a great labor of love it takes to grow and harvest flowers; the soil needs to be prepared, the seeds need to be planted, the seedlings need to be watered and cared for, they need to be protected from hail storms and late frosts, the mature flowers need to be cut and harvested, etc. We don’t really think about all the work that goes into the flowers we are holding because most of us don’t see or experience it - just think about the work required to keep flowers alive in your garden sometimes!
We often hear that in-season flowers are less expensive, which may or may not be true. You’re probably familiar with the term “supply and demand” and you also likely experienced the effects of it if you’ve attempted to book travel during popular travel periods for vacations – airline tickets are more expensive than normal because the demand is so high; there are only so many seats available on a plane, so they raise the price to level the supply-demand ratio. What it means in the flower world, is when the farmers have only a limited supply of peonies, but if the demand is high they need to price the product accordingly. The price will vary and settle once the quantity demanded matches the quantity supplied. This happens often in the flower world, usually because a flower farmer lost their crops due to unexpected circumstances or because there is a trend for a specific color palette or flower and now everyone wants to use them in their wedding florals.
There are many variables that affect the price of the flower. If a flower is too expensive for a client’s budget or is otherwise unavailable, we floral design professionals are intimately familiar with a wide variety of flowers and are normally able to find suitable substitutes if our clients remain open minded and trust us.
While the farmer is planning what flowers to grow for the next season and getting ready to tackle all the obstacles along the way, my job as your wedding florist has also already started.
The Worth Of Flowers
My job starts many months before your wedding date. We spend a considerable amount of time writing emails/having phone calls, holding consultations, designing mood boards, writing/revising proposals, and writing contracts that result in an agreement of what your floral arrangements and aesthetics will be. Depending on the client, sometimes even when the contract is signed and in place, we might still modify the designs. There are many hours spent researching the perfect flowers for your vision, determining the ideal ratio of filler flowers, focal flowers, line flowers, textures and greenery. Not to forget that we need to source the vases, wires, tapes and other hard-goods, do venue walkthroughs, etc. A lot of administrative work happens behind the scenes and it can take up a lot of time, these administrative tasks are essential in exceeding the client’s expectations and executing a successful event.
About 4-6 weeks before your wedding day I place your flower order. I like to be in touch with the local flower farmers well ahead of time to see what flowers they will have available in the colors and style of the wedding we are working on. Based on what I can get from the local farms, I place an additional order to my wholesaler.
Once the flowers picked up/delivered pass a health and color quality check, they are processed. Processing includes things like de thorning roses, stripping away leaves or damaged blooms, etc, the last processing step is to give them a nice cut to place in buckets of water and flower food. This process is done roughly 3 days before your big day to give the blooms time to beautifully open to allow me to begin design work.
The Art and Value Of The Design
About 48 hours before a wedding, we start designing the arrangements for your event. This is the most critical, artful and exhausting part of delivering your floral aesthetic. Some arrangements are very high maintenance requiring a lot of tedious effort, white others are whimsical and a fun design effort but are modified until they’re perfect. We hand-select the most beautiful blooms for the personal flowers, as they are the most photographed items after the bride and groom and will forever remain in your memory and photos. Once the designs are done, they are stored in industrial coolers to ensure their freshness.
On the morning of your wedding, we arrive to the studio while the sun is still making its way up to put all finishing touches on the flowers. Well before this point we have received the wedding day timeline either from your or your planner, so we have all logistics taken care of. We check off our items, pack up and continue to your destination. These home stretch 2-3 days are the most intense of the process. If there is pick up option chosen for us to return, we will do so according with the venues requirements, often times between midnight and 4am which is followed by the cleaning of the unwanted or rental vases, candleholders, composting flowers, returning rentals items, etc. WHEW! 😊
Value Of The Art
When you start planning for your wedding flowers, consider it as buying art, not just flowers as a commodity. Our job is to flawlessly pull together thousands of pieces that go into creating a memorable, once in a lifetime, event. The value of flowers and the art to create floral décor is real. Holly Chapple said it well, “Artistically created designs which are properly constructed with quality blooms are a precious commodity and the pricing should reflect the value”.
Each event we create is unique and we try to be as transparent as we can when it comes to pricing, but unlike a photographer or a venue, we cannot give a set price before we discuss more about your ideas as it all depends on the flowers used, design styles, size of the design, time needed, freelance help hired etc.
Each florist has their own design style and pricing methods. There are so many florists with varying levels of experience and talent, so do your research – find out who’s style is the closest to yours. Have an idea of how you want your guests to feel at your wedding. Make a list what truly is important to you. Be honest about your approximate budget and keep an open mind, as we are good at coming up with alternative design ideas to make sure your wedding still looks stunning but stays within your budget. If you are not honest about your budget, not only did we waste time coming up with a proposal exceeding your budget (as we do love to use garden roses, and peonies), but it will also waste your time reviewing a proposal for wedding décor you can’t afford.
Hopefully, this gives you an idea why wedding flowers cost what they do. It’s not that we are trying to rip you off - we actually have gone through a lot of training to gain the expertise we bring to the table and a lot of work goes into creating those hand designed floral arrangements. And remember, when you see the price tag of your dream wedding flowers, you are not only paying for the floral artist, you are also paying for the entire end to end process from flower seed to the flower arrangement in your hands.
Trust me, investing in the custom artwork is worth it. Floral décor has one of the largest impacts on a wedding’s atmosphere and the stunning designs we will create for you will live in your photos for you to cherish for the rest of your life. It’s really about what is important to you as a couple in what you want for your wedding day.
Stay tuned for other blog posts about the why’s of the flower world.
Why Are Weddings So Expensive: Floral Design Costs Explained By Susan Kelly
The Cost of Wedding Flowers By Lummé Creations
Ask A Professional Florist//Why Do Wedding Flowers Cost So Much? By San Francisco Floral Designer Cora Hardin of Blumenkiss
Wedding Flowers Part 1: The Budget By Emma Hla + Jay Archer Floral Design
Wedding Planning Tips: Budgeting for Centerpieces by Green Weddings Shoes