Why are wedding flowers expensive? The true cost of flowers, part one.
Oh gosh, if I only had a buck for every time I have been asked this question… I’d have enough to quit the wedding business all together!
Firstly, define expensive? What some people consider expensive, others may think is exceptionally affordable. I’ve been going over this in my head for quiet some time, and I’ve realised it’s all about your perceived value and priorities. Do you value your wedding flowers higher than the food you will serve at your reception? Some people don’t value flowers high on their list of wedding priorities, and that’s fine! In that case, you’re probably going to think that flowers are expensive. But, before you go shopping around for the best price, take a moment to consider all the other bits and pieces beside the actual flowers that goes into making your wedding bouquet. There’s a lot more to it than you might think.
Given that I am a real life, wedding florist, this article may seem to be counterintuitive to my business. Giving away all the details on what expenses go into creating wedding florals may just talk me out of a job? BUT what I’m hoping this will do is educate people, so they can appreciate and understand where their dollars are going to.
So here it is, the ACTUAL cost of the flowers.
If you’ve ever visited the Sydney Flower Markets, you’ve probably left in awe of the wholesale prices of beautiful blooms. If you’re up for it, an early morning visit to the flower markets to DIY your wedding bouquet can save you a few pennies. So then where do all the extra costs come from? Here are the big three..
Flowers. Flowers vary in price, week in week out. We’re dealing with nature, which means stock levels can change drastically from week to week, which in turn changes the price. It’s basic supply and demand. A storm in QLD wipes out entire farms of gorgeous local roses, then the price for local roses is going to skyrocket for the next week or two because there isn’t enough supply. You want peonies in May? Peonies are only in season in Nov/early Dec. In May, they are imported from overseas. An average flight from Syd to Europe is about $1,500. Imagine how much extra the cost of flying in your florals from Europe is going to add to your wedding budget. The best way to get the most out of your money is seasonality. Let your florist pick the blooms based on your style and colour.
Sundries. All those extra bits and pieces that make your wedding florals look incredible. Floral wire, to ensure your florals stay in place, floral tape, to seal in moister and keep your wedding bouquet looking fresh, ribbons, packaging, pearl head pins, packing boxes, tissue paper, floral food and conditioning liquids, parking permit for the flower markets, petrol to get there, water bills (so the flowers live), electricity to run the fridges that your florals will be kept cool in. All these things make your flowers go from just an average bunch to a WOW bouquet that is able to last out of water for 14+ hours, and arrives safely at your home while you’re getting ready for your special day. And how did you contact your florist? Via a website? A mobile phone? Extras also include the day to day business expenses that make it possible for you to find and communicate with your florist. Imagine how dirty you’d be if your boss told you that the internet you use at work now had to be paid for out of your wages? All those boring bits and pieces that go into making your florals actually happen.
Time. I spend lots and lots and lots of hours emailing, answering questions, on the phone, consulting, doing site visits, designing, researching, working out costs, liaising with vendors, all for your wedding day. These are just your basic admin hours. I sit behind a computer just like any other office worker pulling together all the details for your day, then I spend even more hours sourcing and ordering all your bits and pieces. The only difference – I don’t get paid an hourly rate or a salary for the work I do behind the computer.
The design process chews up the most time in this process. Designing a bouquet, a unique, one of a kind bouquet, is an art form. Wedding flowers – good wedding flowers – are subjective. Because a beautifully designed and constructed bouquet is priced on design skills (not just the cost of the actual flower) that don’t have a set prices. There’s no award rate for ‘Design Skills’. This can be really bloody annoying when you’re trying to get an idea on prices for your wedding – chances are you’ve never had a wedding before so you have NO idea on how much things are supposed to cost. So, you’ll probably find prices fluctuate drastically from florist to florist, based on the amount of design that goes into your bouquet. A round, tight ball of roses takes literally zero design time, so it will probably be a cheaper option. While a bouquet with 14 different floral types, 5 different foliages, trailing skill ribbons, complex colour harmonies, textures and depth will push your budget up. Pro tip – give your florist a couple of adjectives to describe what you’re after (natural, organic, traditional) and then leave the rest up to them. The more complex the brief is – “a lush, natural, organic, rustic, bright, girly, cascading, wild, hand picked style” – is going to take a lot of thought, design and planning.
Closer to the date, I start sourcing your florals, sundries, vases, hire items, ordering with growers etc. I get up a 3.30am at least 2 -3 times for market runs, to check on stock, order and pick up flowers for my brides. This ensures I get only the best florals. I then spend multiple hours processing and conditioning your florals so they are top quality and last throughout your day.
Then I design, create and execute your florals. Probably on the same day that I got up a 3.30am for your final market run. Exhausting. Sleep deprived. The next day I get up and spend my entire weekend running around, delivery, setting up, installing and packing up your wedding. This is a luxury service, so you can kick back on your wedding day, enjoy a glass of bubbles and get ready without any stress.
There are so many intricate details that go into your wedding florals. And this is just a small snapshot of some of them.
Next week, I’m going to post an actual cost breakdown so you can see exactly where your money goes. The actual amount that I spend on florals, the amount of hours needed and cost of wages to pull off an average sized wedding. Plus all those extra costs that creep into your budget without you realising. All of it. Stay tuned, kids.