You've got the dress, you've booked the venue and you've rounded up all your bridesmaids. Its time for the flowers!
Although they’re a seemingly small element, it really is the finishing touch to your big day. You head down to your favorite flower shops and look at their current supply of fresh flowers, noting the blooms that appeal to you and those that are in your wedding colours, often taking photos (when permitted) or simply writing down names and prices.
When you learn what you'll be paying for your bouquet and other arrangements, things just don't seem to add up. You may ask yourself, “If the individual flower is $5 and I'm ordering 20 for the bouquet, why is the florist charging me $150?”
Many brides are confused when they learn the cost of their wedding flowers and often don’t understand exactly what the designer is charging them for.
What’s the Deal with the Price of Wedding Florals?
Floral designers have a complex and varied job. We’re not only artists, but also trades people who train and apprentice for years to learn our craft. We must also be botanists who learn about the care and handling, lasting ability, and behaviour of the flora we handle.
We’re also customer service specialists who deal with custom orders, grievances and emotional clients (including brides). Every time we create an arrangement, we use all of the aforementioned specialties in order to calculate the final price. Formulas are used to ensure we're charging a fair amount that’s consistent with the current market. We use formulas when pricing everyday arrangements, silk flowers, funeral flowers and of course wedding and special event designs.
Calculations Your Florist May Use When Pricing Your Wedding Flowers:
Retail Cost of Flowers + Hard Goods Cost ( ribbon, wire, etc.) x labor (a percentage of 30% -50% depending on the labor time)
The average bridal bouquet will take a seasoned floral designer anywhere from 1 - 3 hours to create. If you think a bridal bouquet is simply a fancier version of the market bouquets you see at the supermarket, think again!
Steps Your Florists Takes to Create Your Perfect Bouquet:
From the time your wedding flowers arrive at the flower shop, they receive special treatment. The bundles of flowers are unboxed and unwrapped. Each stem is inspected for quality and the lower foliage is then stripped off.
Stems are placed in a special hydrating solution for several hours to recover from their journey to your florist. After a few hours they’re moved to a floral preservative solution and placed in a storage cooler. When the bouquets are about to be assembled, the flowers are removed from the cooler and the designer carefully chooses the best flowers for the Brides bouquet. All the flowers are laid out and any special preparation is now done (wiring individual blooms, bending the stems etc.)
Now it’s time for the designer to build the bouquet. This may take several hours as the designer wraps the bouquet with ribbon and places in the accents (pins, jewels, etc.) The flowers are then misted with an anti-transpirant to ensure the flowers will last throughout the day. Finally, the bouquet is wrapped in cellophane and placed in a box which is labelled with the bride’s name and the wedding date.
As you can see, wedding design requires a tremendous amount of labor. Multiply the above steps for each bridesmaid and then add about 20 minutes per boutonniere. If you add in all the extras: 45 min for cake flowers, 2 hours for the large church arrangements, 8 hours and 3 designers working to create your 20 towering table centerpieces, you’ll notice that time is the florists greatest expense, especially because we’re working with a perishable product.
It takes a full team of people to create an average size wedding, so remember that you're hiring the whole shop for your event. Also, as your floral team is working on your wedding, they also have to attend to each and every customer who enters the shop. This means that your florist will probably be working on your wedding order from early in the morning and well into the night on the Thursday or Friday before you say "I DO."
Another cost that’s often misunderstood by budget conscious brides is the delivery fee. Remember the last time you purchased flowers from either a florist or grocery store. As you tentatively picked up the bouquet and left the store try to recall the challenge of shifting the flowers between hands as you struggled to open the door. Do you remember that the vase was full of water and heavy and that once you arrived at your car you had to juggle the flowers as you took out your keys.
Now imagine doing that same dance 50 times over. We are required to carefully handle table centerpieces and load a 12-foot truck with delicate bridal bouquets and giant towering church arrangements.
Once the flowers arrive at the venue and the trucks are unloaded, your florist will most likely have to repair shipping damages and then set up your arrangements to ensure the room looks spectacular. Usually, an average wedding requires several vehicles, several designers and several hours to achieve that amazing look that guests will continue to talk about long after the event.
If you're having a talented and experienced floral designer use their artistic vision and hard work to create breathtaking florals for your wedding, remember that achieving that level of beauty takes a lot of time and labor. Treat your florist like you would treat any artisan or trades person, as a professional who is doing something that you cannot or will not be able to do on your own.