As a floral designer who does a lot of weddings, I am often confronted with brides who come to me having a preconceived notion regarding wedding flowers. While some of what they say and believe is true, there is also a lot of misinformation out there that over time, has become ‘truth' in some people's minds.
I am not sure where most of this misinformation comes from, though my guess is wedding planning books, magazines, blogs, planners or their best friend who just got married. Now I am not pointing fingers or putting blame on anyone, I am sure they got their misinformation from other sources as well and just passed it along to their readers and clients.
So, I thought I would take a few minutes and address some of the most common M&M’s (myths & misconceptions, not the candy!) and to answer some other common questions.
Why are wedding flowers so expensive?
Most people have a false sense of what flowers cost due to the fact that a lot of them never buy flowers from a florist or are used to purchasing them from their local grocery store. Most large grocery store chains are able to purchase flowers in very large quantities so therefore they get much lower prices than retail and wedding florists, which they then pass on to their customers. Another reason they are cheaper is that many times they are of a lesser quality. So, with our costs being higher, the cost of wedding flowers is also higher. There have been many times when I can get flowers cheaper at Trader Joe’s than at our wholesale market!
Another main factor affecting the cost is our time, talent and skill. Many florists spend years perfecting their craft and continue to study and learn new techniques and styles to keep up with the current trends. I often tell people…sure anyone can go to the art store and buy a canvas, paints and paintbrushes fairly inexpensively but they most likely will not create what a skilled and talented artist can create. So, not only are you paying for the actual flowers, you are also paying for the skill and talent of the florist. And the price of that can only be determined by the florist and what they feel their time and talent is worth.
Also, a lot of time goes into coming up with a plan and design for your wedding. For example, we can spend up to an hour with you going over all your ideas, visions and wants, getting all the details noted so we can then sit down and come up with an over-all design that encompasses your vision and desires. Then over the next several months or longer there will most often be revisions and changes made.
Then once that is done, we need to source and order materials such as the flowers, vessels and whatever else may be part of the design. The week of the wedding there is the actual shopping and picking out the flowers, cleaning and processing them and the actual putting together of the arrangements and bouquets, etc. Creating the bridal bouquet can often take an hour to get it just right.
Why aren’t my prices on my website?
While I do have starting prices on my site, I do not have the cost of the individual items. I wish it were always cut and dry as to what each wedding will cost. Believe me, it would save me so much time and energy. But in the wedding and event industry, it is not always so simple. Every wedding and event is different and there are many factors to take into consideration that will affect the cost. So, I have to price out each wedding and event individually and figure out what flowers will be used, what is in season, what is the right mix of flowers to foliage, specific sizes of arrangements to suit the venue and style of the wedding, etc.
Local is Cheaper.
This is the most common misconception I hear and, in most cases, this is not true. Local is fresher and has a much smaller carbon footprint but it is not necessarily cheaper. The reason for this is that most local flowers, those that come from within a 50-mile or so radius, are grown by small boutique growers and not large factory farms. In most parts of the country, the growing season is only about 6 months at most so that means the farmer only has income from his/her flowers during part of the year.
The majority of the flowers sold in the US come from South and Central America where the growing season is longer, due to the climate. Because of the longer growing season, and because labor is so much cheaper in these locations, flowers can be mass-produced, cut, and shipped at a much lower cost than if they were grown here in the United States.
Greenery is Less Expensive
This is another common misconception. One of the current trends over the past several years are weddings with lots and lots of greenery. In some instances, using more greenery and less flowers can help keep costs down but with this trend being so popular, prices for greenery have gone up considerably due to that ol’ supply & demand thing. In many instances a bunch of greenery costs us the same if not more that a bunch of flowers depending on what it is.
While using lots of greenery makes for a beautiful and natural look, whether lushly covering an arbor or a garland of mixed greenery running the length of your long farm tables, these kinds of greenery designs can be expensive. And then when you add the labor on top of this, especially for garlands (which use a large amount of product and are time consuming to make), it can often cost more than traditional centerpieces and designs.
I can save money by using seasonal flowers?
Once again, this can be true but, in some instances, but usually there is not much of a price difference between seasonal and year-round flowers.
Peonies, one of the most popular wedding flowers, are most definitely less expensive in season, typically May thru June and sometimes into early July. While rarely cheap in season, they can be 3 times as much or more out of season, depending on the time of year and where they are being imported from. Often Holland or areas south of the equator such as Chile. Garden roses are also never cheap; in season, out of season, local or imported.
Dahlias are another super popular wedding flower and are available from mid-summer till frost. For me, they are both a seasonal flower and a local flower. However, dahlias are the current darling of the wedding industry and EVERYONE wants them. Therefore, dahlias typically cost as much or more than any other flower you might request for your wedding. If anything, seasonal and local flowers are more special, because their season is limited (seasonal), or because a small business owner has poured his/her heart into each and every bloom.
So, the best way to explain seasonal is that flowers that are in season are not cheap, but the price of them out of season is out of control!
Candles are cheap.
Another myth. Sure, 3 pillar candles and the glassware they go in are likely to be cheaper or similar in price if you bought them yourself than the rental price that your florist quoted. However, unless you plan to purchase these yourself, set them upon wedding day instead of being with your family and friends, and end up with60+ candles and glassware that you have to then clean up at the end of the night, you may find that it is worth it to rent these from your florist.
So, what are you paying for that costs so much? You are paying for labor, plain and simple. You are paying your us to buy these items, store them, clean them (have you ever attempted to clean splashed candle wax out of a glass cylinder? NOT FUN!). At the end of the night, you will get to just leave. You will be able to leave, and relax or party on with your new honey, and not have to pack up hot, wax-filled candles, all thanks to your florist, who has gone home, had some dinner, and returned to your event site in the middle of the night to pick up all of those rented items.
Well, I hope this helped to answer questions and clear up some misinformation.
Happy Wedding Planning! Feel free to reach out to us if you need help with your wedding or event floral needs. Even if it is just to ask us some questions.
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