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Wedding flowers – how much?!

Have you found yourself shocked by the prices quoted for wedding flowers? You won’t be alone – seemingly expensive quotes from florists can come as a big surprise and often mean couples have to change their plans for wedding flowers to come in under budget. I wonder if the wedding magazines are misleading us by featuring shoots full of flowers and giving average cost breakdowns which simply don’t match… what do you think?

wedding flowers advice (3)

Flowers by Jades Flower Design Photo credit Mark Bothwell

Today I’m sharing a very honest and detailed breakdown and explanation of the price you can expect to pay for your wedding flowers. Bernadette Chapman from Dream Occasions is here to tell you more. Read, digest, comment if you’d like to, even ask us a question. I hope you’ll find this advice feature useful! Over to Bernadette…

Part of my role as a wedding planner is to allocate clients’ budgets to the relevant areas of their wedding, i.e from our initial consultation I will have an idea of how much the flowers, entertainment, stationery should cost. I’m normally pretty accurate with my estimations but then I have been doing this for 10 years!

wedding flowers advice (2)

Flowers by Jades Flower Design Photo credit Mark Bothwell

At times however it can be confusing for clients to understand why a certain supplier is charging x, y, z. They see the product, in this instance let’s say a bouquet, but don’t think about what influences the price. A bit later in this post I will explain this to you.

If you have viewed my gallery of past events you will notice flowers feature quite heavily in my designs. This is because many of my events have a traditional country garden feel and/or are in marquees thus we need to fill the *space.

*it is my opinion that if you want to make the most of your marquee you either have to ensure the floral displays are large enough to make a statement or you use other décor tricks like Chinese lanterns, bunting, ribbon hanging from the framework or poles. I feel jugs and teacups of flowers on their own in a marquee just get lost.

wedding flowers advice (6)

Flowers by Euphoric Photo credit Mark Bothwell

If you want to create something like this Autumnal party  or bohemian wedding you need to ensure your budget reflects just what the flowers will cost. I’m not saying you have to spend thousands on flowers, but you do need to be realistic. Not all wedding designs need a lot of flowers but if your dream is to fill your venue with peonies then you have to be realistic – £500 is just not going to suffice.

When the recession hit at its hardest a lot of the major growers in Holland and other countries were going out of business. Flower prices are determined by the availability of each particular flower – the more available on the Dutch market the lower the price. Therefore if I order 300 stems of a particular rose and there are only that many on the market that day the price will be much higher than if there are 10,000 on the market. When the growers went out of business there became a lack of certain flowers in the market which made the prices soar. The market has recovered slightly but the cost is still so much higher than it was.” Beverley, Jades Flower Design

wedding flowers advice (4)

Flowers by Euphoric Photo credit Mark Bothwell

wedding flowers advice (5)

Flowers by Euphoric Photo credit Mark Bothwell

Most of our prospective clients now come to us with a fairly good idea of what they want in terms of flowers, but not always what they cost. It is rare to have a bride who has absolutely no idea of what she wants. Our brides are internet savvy, they use social media, they bring THEIR Pinterest boards to US! They also read the wedding blogs and the bridal magazines which are chock full of gorgeous American weddings which have been photographed in Californian vineyards or New England gardens. The photographs are always stuffed full of flowers!! The magazine and blog suggested prices are usually wrong!!
Simon & Victoria, Euphoric Flowers

One of my pet hates is photoshoots filled to the brim with flowers on a table. Yes it looks wonderful but brides and grooms should multiply that design by the number of tables you will have, being extravagant on one table is all well and good but what about when there are 11, 13 or even 20 tables to do?

With the type of weddings I design I find brides want beautiful peonies, hydrangeas and garden style roses (a fact attested by Euphoric) but they come at a premium price. Likewise some brides want the “wildflower’ look, that’s great, but that’s a lot of flowers and creating that “I’ve just picked this” look isn’t cheap.

I’ve had many discussions with my florists recently who all tell me that making a profit is getting harder. They are unable to charge more for their services due to the economic climate but at the same time wholesale flower prices have soared. So what is a realistic budget for wedding flowers?

Let’s look at some scenarios ………..

A Central London venue for the ceremony and reception with a total of 80 guests (as quoted by Euphoric Flowers)

Bridal Bouquet – hand tied bouquet £75.00
Bridesmaids x 3 – hand tied bouquets at £35.00 each – £105.00
Buttonholes x 6 at £6.00 each – £36.00
Corsages x 2 at £15.00 each – £30.00
Ceremony Flowers – 2 large vase arrangements – £100.00 each – £200.00
Registrar’s Table – 1 small arrangement – £40.00
Reception Flowers – 8 tables at £60.00 each – £480.00
Cake Flowers – £30.00
Total -£996.00
VAT -£199.20
Delivery, installation and clearance £100.00
Grand Total – £1,295.20

Now let’s compare this to a flower quotation from one of my earlier weddings in 2005 (Jades Flowers)

Bridal Flowers
Bride’s Bouquet (based on phalanopsis bouquet) £ 80.00
Bridesmaid’s Bouquet (to match) 30.00
6 Orchid Buttonholes @ £3.00 each 18.00
3 Orchid Corsages @ £10.00 each 30.00

Ceremony Flowers
1 Candelabra Arrangement 120.00
Fireplace Arrangement 50.00
Arrangement for Registrar’s Table 45.00
Ivy for Gallery 80.00

Reception Flowers
The Dining Hall
8 Table Arrangements @ £70.00 each 560.00

The Parlour
7 Table Arrangements @ £70.00 each 490.00
Fireplace Arrangement 50.00

Grand Total – £ 1,553.00

It’s amazing to see how ‘little’ prices have increased over 8 years despite the fact florists’ labour & flower costs have increased.

There are always going to be factors that influence what florists charge. Certain flowers are always more expensive, more elaborate designs are more labour intensive and there are always the additional costs such as hire items, transport, petrol (a killer), wages and most importantly our time. We can spend many months preparing for a wedding. Months of site visits, design meetings, quotes, re-quotes and mock ups of final designs. But it doesn’t end there, our work doesn’t finish when we deliver the bridal bouquet. If we are lucky, we will be allowed to clear a job on a Monday morning, if not it can be a midnight or early Sunday morning call followed by returning all the hire items that are frequently requested.” Simon & Victoria, Euphoric Flowers

It’s not just the flowers……

When it comes to charging you the client for the flowers, it’s not a simple matter of a rose costs £2 so they will charge £2.50. There are many other factors to consider to ensure the business costs are met:

  • General running costs like marketing materials, telephone line, rent, utilities, vehicles etc
  • Wages inc. freelance staff for larger weddings (circa £15 ph)
  • Their TIME! You’re paying for their professionalism in creating the right bouquet or table design + the time it takes to set it all up, it’s not unusual for my florists to be on site all day on the Friday + part of the wedding day itself, multiply that by the number of staff the florist has…………and you can almost see the profit diminish
  • Collection of the vases, containers, removal of flowers not wanted on the Sunday or Monday after the wedding
  • 1-3 meetings per client to ensure the wedding design is perfect
  • Consultations with those clients that don’t book
  • Numerous phone calls and emails with potential clients
  • Then of course in the world of social media it’s not enough for a florist to attend open days at local venues. They have to blog – tweet – facebook and pin their ideas for potential clients to see!

I have noticed several brides coming to me lately very close to the date of their wedding because their florist has gone out of business and this is due to the fact that these florists are not charging correctly and cannot maintain their business on such low costs. Good florists are not expensive, they are just realistic and provide top quality flowers and service.” Beverley, Jades Flower Design

Break the flower budget down

Sometimes when you say a figure that you are allocating to flowers it can seem high, can seem plenty, until you start breaking it down. `Remember when working out your budget to ensure you have enough for:

Bridal Flowers
Bridal Bouquet
Bridesmaids/flowergirl bouquets
Buttonholes & corsages

Ceremony
Registrar/altar flowers
Entrance flowers (i.e bay trees, urns, pedestals)
Pew ends

Reception
Entrance flowers (i.e bay trees, urns, pedestals)
Top Table
Guest tables
Feature flowers (fireplaces, beams, poles)

Misc
Occasional tables in courtyards or lounge areas
Thank you flowers

And finally…

Not every wedding has to be filled with flowers. It depends on the design you have chosen and as mentioned earlier you can complement flowers by using candles, bunting, lanterns and pom poms to add colour in DIY ways – i.e you’ll need to buy or hire the items but then allocate some of your time to implement the design the day before the wedding.

Also, if you have chosen a venue that is stunning before you even start with flowers, then it’s best to choose simple displays to complement the room, not fight against it.

Huge thanks to Bernadette for sharing her advice with us all – do let me know if you’ve found it useful! Bernadette is from Dream Occasions Wedding & Event Coordination and also a founder member of the UK Alliance of Wedding Planners.

Thanks also to:

Claire Gould

Claire spends her days writing - either in beautiful calligraphy or online. She lives on the edge of the English Lake District only minutes away from the beach, where she loves to escape and unwind. Claire's calligraphy can be found at www.byMoonandTide.com. Claire launched the English Wedding Blog in November 2009 - it's been a top 10 UK wedding blog ever since, with a regional focus we hope you LOVE.

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9 COMMENTS
  • Julie Dawson
    6 years ago

    Brilliant article, really can second the comments and information. Gives a great insight into not just what florists do on the day but in the run up and during their normal working day.

  • I found this article very useful..as it is always very difficult to explain to brides why florist costs seem “expensive”. For example we use only first-choice flowers to have them fresh on the day of the wedding and obviously prices are much higher.

  • Natasha
    6 years ago

    THANK YOU for this!
    I’ve been a florist for 16 years and if anything now we have to charge less for our wedding flowers, even though our overheads have increased.

  • Now thats a bit of an eye opener. Ill be honest I knew wedding flowers were expensive but not quite this much. Although, I think its more a case of I didn’t realise how many places there are that will need flowers. The individual prices themselves do not shock me, more just the way it all adds up.

  • Bernadette Chapman
    6 years ago

    I’m glad you enjoyed the article everyone 🙂

  • Jill
    6 years ago

    I did my own flowers last year, and I have since done the flowers for a friends’ wedding. The cost of the flowers from a wholesale florist were £400 and the sundries another £100 (bought with a trade account). This was for eight table arrangements, two bouquets, top table arrangement, registrar table arrangement and a large vase arrangement. Ten or so buttonholes and corsages. I took two days off work and I worked for eight hours both days. I had help too! I paid £1 each for premium roses- and the local florist charges £2.50. I had help transporting the flowers to the venue and my planner arranged them for me. £1000 for flowers suddenly does not sound so expensive, when two days labour, rent, heating, advertising, staff costs ect are factored in.

    • Claire Gould
      6 years ago

      Hi Jill and thank you for sharing your experience – really interesting, and I’m sure it will be useful for other brides to be who read this post.
      It doesn’t surprise me, but it’s great to know the prices you paid and to then consider the additional costs florists will pay for their overheads, wages, petrol etc. etc.
      I do hope you enjoyed the experience of doing your own flowers – it sounds like very hard work but I hope it was rewarding and you can look back on your photos and enjoy seeing the beautiful displays you created!
      Claire xx

  • Natalie Ricciardi
    6 years ago

    I’m currently in training with wedding planning and found this entry very useful and to the point without having brain overload! It’s interesting to see the breakdown of costs, which will effectively answer a lot of questions and bring peace of mind to the client and what she will be actually paying for!

  • DIY Wedding Flowers
    6 years ago

    Thanks for the nice and informative post.

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