Wedding Flowers Pricing- a few myths debunked
I’ve been wanting to write a post about the cost of wedding flowers for quite some time now, from a bride and groom’s point of view I see how frustrating it is when they are sat there at the start of their wedding planning, trying to figure out how much to spend on different parts of their wedding (that was me 8 years ago, and I was lost!) and finding it a challenge as so many florists don’t put a price list on their websites (Jack Fleuriste included) For most brides and grooms the most they might have ordered from a florist before is a gift bouquet, or they might only buy flowers from supermarkets, so they have no idea how to scale the pricing up for an event, and us florists get that, but we also cry a little when we get emailed images of flower walls, hanging pieces, arches, huge vases of flowers etc, we start to get excited that we can really go to town and get creative, then we read the note in the email explaining that the budget is low and can we make these pieces cheaper by using seasonal flowers/more foliage etc.
So I thought I would write a bit about pricing, why us florists work as we do, and debunk a few myths about pricing/floristry in general. I haven’t asked any other florist to contribute to this, so everything written is based on Jack Fleuriste’s approach/experiences but I do know from chatting to other Scottish florists over the years that many of the views are shared.
Why florists don’t always publish a price list
From a florist’s point of view, we would love pricing to be more straight forward, trust me, we spend so long calculating costs for each wedding, it would save us so much time If we could generate a fixed price list, but for bespoke weddings (which many studio florists focus on) we need to look at each wedding individually- what flowers will be used, what is in season, the right mix of flowers to foliage, specific sizes of arrangements to suit the venue etc.
Of course, we can look back at all of our previous client’s proposals and work out average pricing, especially of pieces like bouquets and buttonholes. Our fears about publishing a “starting from” price is that you will go through and assume that you will get everything at this starting price before we have had chance to explain to you that because you really want David Austen roses in your bouquet (which are super expensive) the price will rise significantly
We do totally get how this is a pain for clients who just need a figure so they can work out if our prices match their budget, and so when you first get in touch with us we will ask you to write down what kind of floral pieces you are looking for, alongside any favourite flowers you have, and any inspiration images, from there we can give you an estimate ballpark cost, and by that I mean something loose like £1500 to £2000, £2000 to £3000 etc, and with that information you can then pay us a booking fee and start working with us, or run for the hills
Can’t you make it all cheaper by using seasonal flowers?
This is something we get asked a LOT. I’m not sure where this information about seasonal flowers being cheap comes from, but to explain, we use a mix of local growers and Dutch wholesalers to supply our flowers. Whatever we buy from local growers is seasonal. Dutch imports are a little different, they can import flowers from as far away as Columbia and parts of Africa, and if a bride REALLY want peonies at the end of August (when they are out of season) they can perform all kinds of trickery to keep some behind from May/June (when they are in season) and then send them over to florists to use out of season. Some florists will arrange this to be done, we won’t, simply because the quality is really much worse than when they are in season, and also, the cost is insane (as In maybe 3 times more expensive than when the flowers are in season) So, the way I would explain this is that flowers that are in season are not cheap, but the price of them out of season is out of control!
We really like foliage so we are happy for you to use a lot more foliage, to keep it cheap
This is a tricky one, generally you will get a lot more bang for your buck if you go all greenery than mixing lots of expensive blooms in the mix. A few things to consider though is that if you opt for garlands of greenery, this soon becomes expensive as you are paying more for our labour to make them (they can’t be whipped up in minutes)
Another thing is the rise of the popularity of foraging for wedding foliage. As boho wedding style has risen, brides have started to dream of foraged styles. As much as this might give you visions of us skipping through forests casually snipping down branches, the reality is that foraging is only legal if you have the landowner’s permission. Some florists do have access to land legally and they can get their hands on lots of branches, and spend a lot of time, often in hard weather conditions doing so, others (like us) rely on flower farmers to do the hard yack and pay them for their efforts (and believe me, it is an effort!)
So, if you love foliage, go for it, but remember, the material may be cheaper but the labour costs, and also the costs to get a van load of big tree branches to you may be higher
So many florists seem to have a minimum spend of £1000+, what a rip off
Trust me, us florists who have a minimum spend are not sat counting our piles of cash Scrooge McDuck style on our days off. We do get that its annoying if you love our work and your budget doesn’t meet our minimum because it doesn’t mean that your wedding, or your style, is any less awesome than those with more cash to splash on flowers. It’s a pure business decision and its there because as much as we love what we do, we have to pay the bills too, and doing smaller weddings just doesn’t work profits wise for many of us.
Without going into too much detail, many of us are one (wo)man bands who employ casual staff as and when we need, but generally small business can only take on so many jobs per week/day so that we can focus on each couple and not burn out. We all have a figure we need to meet yearly to make enough money, if we fill our diaries with £500 weddings, we then might have to turn down several brides who enquire later on who had 2k plus to spend, missing our turnover/profit targets.
On another note, for out of season weddings (Nov to march/April) it’s really hard to buy flowers in small quantities, we often have to buy popular flowers like tulips, anenome and ranunculus in single colours in bunches of 50 . That means we may have to buy say 300 stems for a wedding that only requires say 200, and without a shop outlet, we have no where to sell the excess, and our profits disappear
Some of us are more business minded than others, but we all care deeply about the work we do and about delivering a good service to our couples, and we gotta bring home the bacon at the same time.
Wedding flowers are just so expensive, the florists hear “wedding” and add x amount, they make loads of money
If we supplied gift bouquets (which currently we don’t) its true, if you phoned us and asked us for one, the price of it would be significantly cheaper than what we would charge for your wedding bouquet. But that’s not because the word “wedding” made us add £100. It’s the extra time and care we would take.
For a gift bouquet, we might spend 5-10 minutes chatting with you about what colours the recipient likes, if they have a favourite flower, and when you would like it delivered. You would then send us the money and we would order the flowers, create the bouquet, we can create this style quickly as we are well practiced in it, we’d tie it in twine, package it nicely and deliver for you. All in all, from our first chat to making it we might spend 45-60 minutes on this job
For a bridal bouquet, we will chat in depth about everything from your dress, accessories, what size of bouquet you would like, and discuss flower choice and colours. We might do this one year before the wedding, over the course of the year maybe you will email us and send different images of flowers/bouquets you like. You might do a complete u turn and decide you want something in totally different colours. This is all fine and part of the service. We then spend a lot of time ordering those flowers, to make sure the mix is just right, we might go to several suppliers for this. We then spend an average of 1 hour making your bouquet, because we want to look at it from different angles and make sure its perfect for you. We will trim it with ribbons and deliver it to you personally where we will chat with you about how to hold it for the best photographs. This entire process will take much more than the 45-60 mins it took to make a gift bouquet. And that’s what the mystery “x amount” added for weddings is all about, its for the added time and service.
So many florists ask me what my flowers budget is in the initial enquiry form, but I am completely lost, I was hoping they could tell me what to spend
Lots of florists ask for this initially (us included) and I think some brides and grooms decide not to answer, worrying that if they state, say £2500, that we will quote to that highest price, when infact they might have got what they wanted for £1500.
The reason why we ask for this is to see if the bride and groom’s expectations match their budget. Its also REALLY hard to quote blind. There have been times when a bride has explained to me what she wants flower wise , and when I have pressed for a budget I am told “ we just have no idea” I would have then gone away quoting what she asked for (this can be a half day or a day of my time-unpaid), I’d be really lost about what flowers I could include (does she have the budget for expensive roses?- no idea)and the response would be “sorry, its over our budget” So you see, there is always a budget, or idea of one, and even if its very sketchy, we need to know where to pitch from. If you describe to us a vision of garden roses and hydrangea packed into a huge arrangement, then tell us your budget is x- amount, we can almost instantly say whether we think this is do able, and if not, we might be able to suggest an alternative to suit. Sometimes you will tell us that you can allocate extra money to the flowers to get what you want, and other times we’ll either find a cheaper solution for you, or we may have to part ways so you can find someone who suits your budget.
Yes, we know, we’re British, and British people are terrible about taking about money but if you are upfront with your florist, you save time as you’re not waiting on a quote that was always going to be over budget and can find a florist who suits you better. And we know our design limitations, and won’t waste our time preparing a quote/proposal that doesn’t suit you. Win win
I asked 2 florists for a quote, one florist has added on a service charge/set up/clear up fee on top of the prices for the flower arrangements, the other only charged for flowers. Why would I pay for these service type fees, all I want is the flowers?
There really isn’t an industry standard here ( I wish there was!) Early on in the first couple of years of Jack Fleuriste, I would only charge for the flowers plus delivery fee, and mileage to return the day after the wedding to collect your vases/clear up. Then over the years I realised how much work I was doing for free (ordering your flowers, collecting them, conditioning them, spending time setting up at your venue, clearing up the day after including disposing of any waste, cleaning up waxy candle holders etc) that adds up to a lot of unpaid hours!- so now we include service fees to cover this time. Other florists will take the fee they want to earn for this side of the work and divide it across the cost of the different arrangements. No matter how it is included, it’s really important that we cover this time, I get that paying for us to drive back the day after your wedding to clear up isn’t the most exciting thing to pay for, but for us, it’s another day/half day of work. We get that tesco will deliver your food for free and you can get free next day delivery on your high street bridesmaid dresses, but us florists are small business’ who can’t afford to give time away for free.
Ok, I hear you, flowers are still expensive though, how do I get the most for my budget?
As long as you meet our minimum spend, and we know what kind of budget you have, we’d be happy to offer some advice on how to get maximum floral impact, here’s what has worked in the past:
- Don’t feel like you have to decorate every last inch of your venue. Some venues are huge, and when couples view them, they are empty, its hard to imagine the room full of guests and any of your other props/tables etc. So its tempting to think that every nook and cranny needs a little vase of flowers. But believe me, when the room is full, no one will notice those tiny jars of flowers dotted around the bar. This is what I mean when I tell my couples not to spread the budget too thin. Ten jam jars might cost £150-£180, and they might get lost in a huge barn, spend the same on one big vase at the entrance, next to the table plan etc, and your guests will notice it and you’ll have the wow factor. That being said, I think there’s something a bit posh about putting a small vase or two of scented flowers into the ladies toilets.
- Re use your arrangements where possible. Ceremony arrangements might be able to be moved to the reception. Bridesmaids bouquets can double up as table centrepieces, your bouquet can be placed in a vase next to the cake.
- You don’t have to have lots of big statement pieces at your wedding, but by spending a bit more on one big piece like an arch, the photos which you will keep forever will make it look like you went big on flowers. If your ceremony and reception are in one venue, get married under and arch and then use this as a photo backdrop for you and your guests.
- If you have lots of tables and you are finding that the flower budget is being spread quite thinly between them then consider having flowers on half the tables, and candles in hurricane vases on the others.
- Have your own ideas, but ask your florist for advice. Hopefully we have worked in your venue before, but if not we will have worked in many venues before and will have seen what works and doesn’t work. Try to keep an open mind, you might be fixed on a hanging arrangement above your tables, but there might be venue restrictions that stop you doing this, ask your florist what else is possible
- Be open minded about flower choice. If you are fixed on certain varieties of roses, your quote will be higher than if you tell us the colours/kind of flowers you like/dislike and trust us to pick the best of what is available at the time you get married.
I hope that has given you an insight into the pricing of our flowers, and services, we really do spend a lot of time getting to know our clients and their wishes, we genuinely do get excited about seeing each bride’s wedding dress, and get extremely jealous every time we see a pair of fabulous wedding shoes! Its this way that we can hopefully design something meaningful, its always a joy to hear good feedback and we are always sad to say goodbye to the brides who are so lovely to work with. This is all part of the service that so many wedding florists provide, and we’re not trying to be awkward by “hiding” pricing, its just tricky, for both sides!