Why are Wedding flowers expensive?

As a florist I meet couples every week planning their big day and come to me for advice on their wedding flowers – what to have, what’s in season and, more importantly, what it will all cost…? 

I try to be as helpful as I can, but there are so many variables,  so I cannot just give you a ‘ball park’ figure as it all depends on content, size and style of floral decoration you are wanting. 

If you’re reading this you may be planning your wedding, whether this year or next, or know of someone who has a wedding coming up. I want to give you an understanding the true cost of wedding flowers, because over the years I have experienced that allocations for flowers within wedding budgets is often unrealistic. SO, if you are working through your wedding budget, then please read this…

You may have already had a few consults with a wedding florist and and came away feeling why are they so expensive?

After all, they are just flowers, and you may be thinking  “I see them in the supermarket every week, why is this florist charging so much more?”  

The answer is as a Wedding Florist we use more select ingredients, and it has taken your florist a huge amount of time to learn, practice and PERFECT!  It also takes much longer to create a bridal bouquet compared to a bunch seen in the Supermarket, as the florist will be constantly checking the shape and re-positioning stems to ensure the finished design is perfect. We also finish the bouquet with silk or satin ribbon which is more expensive than using cheap cellophane wrapping!  Also the majority of weddings takes approx 5 days of ordering, creating and delivering to complete your wedding, you are paying for this, not just the stems ordered, plus the time we spend meeting, drawing out a proposal and answering emails. 

OK, so we could use seasonal flowers to be cheaper, but this isn’t always the case, choosing English grown roses in June may be often be double the prices of cheaper imported varieties.

There are florists out there to suit every taste, every budget and every client. I often explain the brides, that as florists we are like the bakers on Bake-Off, we all get the same ingredients but we all produce something slightly different as we all have our own work styles, so it’s finding a florist that you like their work and style.

Below is a summary of the process that happens when you use the services of  professional florist ;

Meetings and consultations – It quite often starts with an enquiry from the bride, whether by email, phone or at a wedding fair, where you can talk to a florist about your ideal bouquet style, the colours and flower choice.

Please, please tell me your essentials of what you would like; bride bouquet, maids, buttonholes , table centres etc. Them make a list of a wish list, such as a flower arch, church flowers etc.

If you have an idea by now of your spend, and you should ideally, please tell me. Many couples think if I tell them my budget then I’ll spend it all….Yes, I will, that is your budget, so that is what I will cater for. There is no point wasting anyones time – mine or yours, so please be upfront.  

A good way of budgeting enough for your flowers is to split your total by the amount of items:

Say you have £700 to spend and you need:

1 Bridal Bouquet

5 Maids Bouquets

10 buttonholes

2 ladies corsages

10 Guest table centrepieces

1 Top Table/Ceremony Flowers

2 Thank you Bouquets

10 Pew ends

That’s 41 items, £700 divided by 41 = £17.07 per item.

Now you see that the budget is not realistic or what you would like has to be amended.

So don’t penalise a florist for not being able to get your requirements into your budget, it may be a case of compromising on certain elements if the budget can not moved

Similarly if a florist comes back and their quote is too high, give them a chance to rework it for you when you’ve decided what you want to omit… if the quote is very low, it doesn’t always mean it’s the best value!

As a general rule, the flower spend is usually around 10% of the final figure of the wedding. Some couples will spend less, some will spend more if the florals are a big deal. I know many that will want to DIY their own wedding flowers, but I believe that you get what you pay for, and why would you choose one of the most important days of your life to learn floristry, it’s more than plonking a few stems in a vase!

Once I have your ideas, I will then draw up a proposal with all these ideas listed, making sure that I can recreate your ideas into a vision based on your budget.

However, there are quite often tweaks to the original proposal, the couple may change their mind, have new ideas and all this requires updating and sitting at your laptop making sure you have included everything, and we haven’t even got to the floral design bit yet!

Experience –  With any service you buy you are going to them as they have the knowledge and expertise that you don’t have, so for example I know; 

  • Knowing that tulips and freesia come in wraps of 50’s, and lisianthus and roses come in wraps of 10’s.
  • What I can substitute with when something is not available.
  • How to process and condition each flower variety, some varieties prefer glass vases than plastic for longevity.

Ordering your flowers – I always work from a spreadsheet when I’m ordering your wedding flowers, which gives me a breakdown of how many flowers I need by variety and where those stems are going to be used.  For example:  If I have one bride bouquet, 3 bridesmaids, 10 centrepieces, I need to know how many roses are going in each design, and even then I need to know what look the bride is going for, so do I need more or less in each bouquet, I also need to account for stem breakage, and there is always a few.

Processing Flowers – My alarm goes off at 4.55am on market days, I now need to collect your wedding flowers, its usually a 45 minute journey to market and will get there when the market opens at 6am. I check all flowers that have come in, and check that the colours are correct. I will then bring them back to the workroom where I will re-cut all the stems, de-thorn the roses and give them a good drink in their corresponding buckets and vases that are accurate for their stem length. 

Sounds like a walk in the park so far?! 

Designing –  I now have all your flowers, and so can actually start designing, I am ready to go, and the average wedding will take me 3-4 days of designing and creating. 

Delivery day and set up – Everything is done, all designs are looking beautiful, the ribbons on each bouquet has been added, I now have to get those flowers to you and your venue. 

Getting everything loaded into the delivery vehicle is a fine art, making sure nothing gets crushed! 

An onsite set up needs to be carefully and thoroughly planned out prior to set up. Even then there will be last minute issues that may arise and need to be changed or corrected which can be done quickly and efficiently by an experienced professional –  I have set up approx 150+ weddings so know how to handle anything that comes my way.

So that’s it… I hope I have given you an insight to how a wedding florist works, and the value of their professional skills. I hope you feel a little more prepared when you visit a florist, and please get in touch with me if you require any assistance with your florals for your Big Day.

Best wishes, Sarah