As we return to work following the festivities we’re so excited to see an influx of new enquiries that normally happen at this time of year. Whether you have just said ‘yes’ or you have reached the part of your wedding planning and you need to organise your wedding flowers one of the questions we are often asked is ‘Why do wedding flowers cost so much?’
Working as a wedding florist in Bristol, Bath and The Cotswolds we have had the pleasure of creating stunning floral decorations for hundreds of weddings and events.
You’ve probably heard friends, family and colleagues say ‘as soon as you mention the word wedding the price doubles or even triples!’ we can absolutely, categorically say that this isn’t true so thought it would be a good opportunity to explain why wedding flowers cost what they do!
It’s not just your wedding flowers you’re paying for
Floristry is a profession; contrary to popular belief ,we simply do not play with flowers all day. You can’t train to be a florist overnight, the majority of us have spent years studying, practicing and refining our skill. For those of us which see this as a career we continue to develop our style and techniques by attending workshops, working alongside other florists sharing experience and good practice. I personally qualified as a florist in 2000, I worked full time in a busy shop and attended college one day a week being trained by some truly talented florists. I believe that the techniques and skills I mastered in this time has made me the florist I am today. I like so many other florists have invested so much time and effort into refining my skill that this will be reflected in the price. We know hundreds of flower varieties, when they are in season and which flowers will work well better for bridal bouquets, buttonholes and venue decoration.
If you think about going to a high street hair salon they often have different prices depending on the hair stylist. A junior that is fresh out of training is going to be considerable cheaper than a senior stylist with years of experiences and numerous awards. You know that the junior hair stylist will do an ok job as they will be overseen by a senior, however you know that the senior’s work will be outstanding.
The same principle applies to all professions and trades, floristry is no exception. Take the time to look at the experience your florist has, how long have they been in business and /or as a florist. Is the work they post on social media their own?
Behind the scene’s of a wedding florist
If I were to ask how much time the average wedding takes from start to finish, what would your answer be? 1-2 days? In fact an average wedding takes 4 days from the first contact to the clear down following the wedding and only 20-30% of this time I’m actually in contact with the flowers.
So where is the rest of the time spent if I’m not arranging and creating your wedding flowers?
A large proportion of time is spent planning, we all know the saying ‘failing to plan is planning to fail’?
As soon as initial contact is made, we go into planning mode, looking at pintrest boards and ideas that may be sent, arranging times and locations for consultations. Conducting consultations with couples to ensure that we fully understand your brief. We help to guide you through the whole process, suggesting flowers, arrangements and installations to bring your vision to life. Following the consultation we then spend time putting together bespoke proposals, mood boards and sketches if needed, these are often altered We are in contact with you the whole time leading up to the wedding, to ensure that you are safe in the knowledge you and your flowers are being well looked after.
Ordering your wedding flowers
A couple of weeks before the wedding we start to order the flowers for your wedding. Looking at what is in season, what works well with your desired style and ensuring any flowers or decorative items that have been specifically asked have been sourced for you. Often items are purchased well ahead of the wedding to ensure they arrive in plenty of time. Often, items are on back order as they come in from China.
Preparing your wedding flowers
The week of the wedding starts to see more work in the workshop, at last, we’ve finally escaped the laptop screen but lets not get excited the first job is to ensure that all buckets clean. Not the most glamorous job in the world, but one that is so important to ensure your flowers are kept in the best possible condition. So it’s on with the marigolds, bleach and scrubbing brush in hand until every single vessel is spotless. Unfortunately the cleaning doesn’t end there, if you have opted to use any of our props for centerpieces and displays these are also prepared ready to be used. Whether it be a glass vase or candelabra that needs polishing or an urn that needs a fresh lick of paint, these are the small details that are so important to ensure the final product is pristine.
Now everything is prepared we can finally get our hands some flowers – at last! We often do numerous trips to the flower market this week, to ensure we collect flowers in plenty of time so they are in their optimum state for your wedding. This can be quite a challenge in itself ensuring they aren’t bought too early or too late, nobody wants a peony like a bullet in their wedding bouquet! We all watch the weather like a hawk and can often be found praying to the peony, anemone and Amarylis Gods.
Flower market days
A typical market day for means getting up at 4am, ok I probably press snooze for a good 15 minutes before I actually get up but I’m at the market for 5am. I collect any additional sundries I might need and last minute flowers that I have just spotted, that I feel will work well. The guys load my van for me with huge crates of flowers and then it’s time to head back to the workshop.
Once back at the workshop we then condition all flowers and put them into water, depending on the size of the order and the amount of roses (pesky thorns) this can take a couple of hours itself. It’s just not a case of cutting the flower and placing it in water, each flower depending on the type of flower stem it has needs looking after in slightly different ways.
Creating your wedding flowers
The day before the wedding, we can finally start arranging the flowers, this is often a long day and in the heat of summer we work well into the night when it is cooler.
On your wedding day!
The day of the wedding often sees another early alarm. The final touches are put to the wedding bouquets, everything is packaged beautiful and the van is loaded. After one, ok more like three checks we’re ready to head off to deliver the flowers. This can be straight to the venue or numerous drops. It’s one of our favorite jobs, too see the look on a brides face when she is presented with her bouquet.
Once at the venue we start to put everything in place, if you are having a large installation such as an arch, hanging pomander, staircase décor time is very much against us as we can only create this on site. Most of our local venues will not allow access until 10am and with a 1pm or 2pm wedding we have to work quickly, with at least 2 experience florists working on these installations.
One last check of everything and we leave it all in the capable hands of the venue unless you’ve opted for us to stay for room change over. It’s then back to workshop to tidy up mess we left behind and for a well-earned cuppa!
The following day we return to the venue for the cleardown, taking down any large installations, loading the van of props and returning everything to it’s rightful place.
Hopefully this gives you an insight into just how much work goes into creating your dream wedding flowers.
Budgetting for your wedding
A lot of couples ask how much they should budget for their wedding flowers, unfortunately there are no hard or fast rules for this. You need to ask yourself how important flowers are to you for your wedding. If you are having a large number of guests then a large proportion of your budget is going to go towards centerpieces. However, a lot of the time will be spent at the wedding breakfast so this is a good investment and they maybe able to be used else where for the ceremony.
An arch for the ceremony looks stunning it will be in your photos for years to come and will really be a talking point.
We’re also asked how we can make items cheaper. As a professional florist I will only use the best flowers available for your wedding and will not compromise on quality. We will work with you to make the best of budget and create something you’ll truly love. That being said you do need to have a realistic budget. No florist would be able to create a high-end style with lots of florals for £500. When meeting with a florist be open and up front with your flower budget, we don’t take this figure and max it out, we can actually advise the best way to allocate your budget too make the most of it.
Like so many other professional florists, I love what I do but it is also how I make my living. I’m often asked ‘is that my best price’ and my answer will always be yes. When you are commissioning a skilled professional it can be a little degrading to be asked if you can do it cheaper, we all take enormous amounts of pride in what we do! When you’re paying for your weekly food shop would you ask the cashier too take money off if the total was above your weekly budget?
Another factor to consider is when you are getting married. There are many worldwide events that influence the cost of flowers including Mother’s day (not just in the uk), Valentines day, Christmas, International Women’s Day to name a few.
Is there a more budget friendly option?
For the past few years foliage and gypsophila have been portrayed as being a cost effective way to flower weddings. Unfortunately using them will not alter the cost of your flowers that much. Both Gypsophila and foliage have risen in price in the past year, probably due to growing demand and although Gypsophila can look very pretty in Pintrest images, it’s incredibly fiddly to work with and we usually require lots of it, so what you save in the cost of the flowers you can be charged for in labour time. It can also be a little offensive too smell when used in large quantities, something to bear in mind.
I really hope that this has given you a little insight into the amount of work that goes into creating your wedding flowers. I love what I do, I am a professional and I am extremely passionate about it.
I would love to talk to you about your wedding and how we can work together to create a day you’ll truly remember, because after all there is only one shot at getting this perfect.
For more information on the services we provide