It's one of the most commonly asked questions. You walk into a local Florist's shop. You glace around and a along one of the walls or perhaps nestled in the back of the room you may see a large display case... a cooler filled with an assortment of different arrangements; sweet little round arrangements, classic red roses in 10" vase, happy little daisies in a fun basket, and so on.
And you wonder, "So why do 'wedding' (or special event) flowers cost so much?" Unfortunately, the common thought among consumers is that a business hears the word "wedding" and just automatically charge more... well, not exactly. While it's true that arrangements for weddings are more than "Every day flowers" (more on that later) I'd like to share just a little insight as to what makes flowers for weddings and special events more expensive.
how much will your flowers cost
"Why do wedding (or event) flowers cost so much?"
Think of it this way...
It's the same reason why you can go to one of your favorite restaurants, order a nice meal of Chicken Marsala with a dinner salad and drinks and pay anywhere from $18 to $30 per person (give or take) however, such a meal being catered for a reception could cost $50, $90, or more per person. Why?
So, what ARE you really paying with Wedding & Event Flowers?
Let's consider that "dinner" we were just talked about. Better yet, think about that last time YOU cooked a big placed dinner for your family or a few friends. How many people did you cook for? 2, 3, 4 or maybe 6 people? Think about when you planned out the meal, looked up the recipes, compiled ingredients list, and did the shopping. Think of the preparation time (peeling, chopping, etc.), and actual cooking and baking time. Then, let's just assume you go all out and "serve" your family or friends, you know, actually plate each meal and bring them to the table (no self-service or family-style dinning). Now, think about the clean-up afterwards. Not just the dinner dishes but all the cooking utensils, prep bowls, measuring cups, pots, pans, and work areas including counter tops and the floors.
Ok, now, image cooking for 14 people instead of 4 or 5. How about 40, 140 or even 440 people...phew! What would you need to pull that off? How much "extra help" would you need to cook all those perfect meals as well as serve them impeccably to your guests, and clean up afterwards? What type of equipment would you need? What if you were at a strange kitchen or a place that didn't even have a kitchen? What would you have to prepare before heading to the location? How would you transport everything? Think of the cost of not just the actual food but the materials (including warming trays, plates, glasses, silverware, etc.), special equipment, extra staff, transportation, and, of course, your own precious hard work and time... what would be the cost? The truth is, things tend to become more complicated when done in large quantity, with high quality materials and the more complicated things get, the more costly they become. Especially if it's done exceptionally well.
So, back to that Florist shop you walked into earlier. Those flowers you saw in the cooler? Those were more than likely what's known as "Everyday Flowers". This is type of flowers you can walk in off the street and pick-up on a whim. Most standard flower shops will always have some kind of Everyday, Seasonal, or Occasion Floral arrangements... you know, Mother's Day, Thanksgiving, etc on display. Seeing those flowers can be a little misleading because the first thing you need to understand is and "Everyday florists" or "Flower shops" are NOT the same as an Event Floral Designer (more on that later).
If you were standing in that shop now you'd notice only one maybe two of a single "Everyday" arrangement design sitting in those cases. Just keep in mind those arrangements may have been...
Made to be sold in the shop "one-at-a-time"
Made with whatever flowers, materials, and staff was available in the shop that day
Made days and days (maybe even a week or so) ago and kept in a cooler for walk-in customers to "grab & go"
These "Everyday Flowers" tend to be pretty simple and standard designs that are different from the custom, specialty floral designs seen in styled wedding or special event designs.
"Wedding & Event Floral Designers" are often more artistic, personalized in what they create. These Designers will special order flowers and materials specifically to meet your needs and usually supply many different event products & rentals items to complete the look. They also have a special team of professionals who are able to smoothly fulfill these types of designs (again, more on that later). When you are booking custom-made Wedding Attendant Flowers (bouquets, boutonnieres, etc.), Ceremony Flowers (Alter Arrangements, Aisle or Pew Markers, etc), Cocktail/Reception Flowers, and more you are actually ordering and paying for more than just a standard products - you are hiring a very "specialized service provider" for your event.
Something to keep in mind about these professionals
Before I share EXACTLY “what you are paying for” when it comes to event floral designs I’d like to share just a few (5) things to remember about an event floral or event design business:
1. Professional Designer Fee:
Designers are professional specialists like a consultant. This specialist is specifically trained in art, design, and events. They have unique knowledge, experience, processes, and talents that are focused on design work. Because of this, you should expect to pay a fee for their work and they will factor this into your service estimate.
2. Products & Materials:
Yes, this the cost for the things that will be used to create your designs:
"Raw materials" like fresh flowers
"Hard goods" (items that are used in the creation of your designs that can not be reused again) example: professional floral chemicals, candles, ribbon, wire, etc.
"Rented pieces & equipment" like vases, candlesticks, space in Flower Coolers, etc.
I personally like to think of flowers as a "living Art medium" and the beauty can quickly fade if they become sick or mistreated. And what happens if a supplier can't provide the right flowers, Customs damages them during import at the airport, they pick-up a fungus or they are delayed in transit to the Florist and die? Your Floral Designer finds solutions, fixes the problem and fulfills service... plain and simple.
2. Mass Production & Labor:
Prepping flowers and making dozens of custom floral design such as bouquets, boutonnieres, corsages, arrangements, etc. for a designated production schedule is very different from completing a single design order. Many Floral Designers have professional training and/or years of experience so they can handle event production however, there may be situation where they have other projects, events, or operate a store front with daily walk-in customers and in such cases bringing in the proper staffing may be essential for producing designs for your event.
3. Transportation & Logistics:
This may include stocking, loading, and delivery estimates. After those exquisite flowers arrive, have been processed or have been placed into lovely floral designs they will need to be properly stored (typically in cool, control temperature environments) and then transported. And in the case of weddings that may mean scheduling and delivery to multiple locations; bouquets brought to the Bride's and Bridesmaids' location, boutonnieres to the Groom's and Groomsmen's location, arrangements and aisle decor at the ceremony site and, of course, centerpieces and other decor to the reception site.
Once delivered (depending on how elaborate) rentals and floral design items may need to be assembled on-site or set-up on alters, pews, hallways, guest tables, cake tables, etc. Depending on the designs installation can including staging, rigging, and more staffing for a fast and seamless install. Remember, later the Floral Designer and/or their staff will work with the venue(s) to schedule their breakdown, removal, cleaning, restocking, etc.
5. DIY vs. Career (Admin, Taxes, Overhead, etc.):
It's not lost on me that I (and others like me in the events industry) are extremely blessed to love what we do for a living... and do what we love. But I'll also be the first to tell you, we are not here by accident. Sure, I may have started off my career in Fine Art, Museums, Entertainment, Tourism, Communications, and Marketing but I fell in love with and have committed myself to this work. We (Event and Floral Designers) have dedicated hundreds of hours of study, training, and experience all to craft our skills and knowledge into an Art (no pun intended). I value each and every one of our Clients. Their events are immensely important me and I fully understand what this (a moment they may never relive again) is to them. It's that "sense of importance" that is why they have hired a Professional. And yes, we are Professionals. Speaking for myself, yes, this is my full-time job. It's a job love but at the end of the day it is still my job. This is how we (event professionals) have chosen to make a living. How we pay our mortgages, feed our children, pay our bills, and so on. We work hard and, just like any job, we have to be paid for our time, skills, and hard work. So, yes, fee and for our services will be incorporated into the cost.
So, how much will YOUR flowers cost?
Now, there's a number of reasons why Wedding Flowers may cost what they do and every event floral design vendor is different in how they structure their business. Since this is a custom service, a floral designer will act like any other design service specialist such as an interior designer, fashion designer, etc. That being said, because it takes time to plan a truly personalize designs around you and your needs (not just "copy-paste") there's usually some type of designing fee. For example; I know for us at Vivid Expressions our in-house event floral design service is customized to the needs of each client which requires Designer Consulting.
After some type of Design Consulting, there are usually 5 other costs involved in the client’s custom designs including; (1) Fresh flowers & raw materials and (2) Hard goods which are all the supplies that can never be use again (such as ribbons, wire, floral food, etc. Remember, once a candle is melted it can’t be reused). That brings us to (3) Rental items - these can be everything from arches and columns to vases and candelabras. (4) Labor including dedicated staff for floral processing, pro-production coordination, etc. and (5) “day of” design production and installation team rates. Keep in mind that just like Day of Coordinators don’t just show up on the day of, the design production team works before and after the event to take care of pre and post-product tasks like loading, cleaning, etc.
The bottom line is, as Professionals we do indeed take your event (and what it means to you) very seriously and strive to provide all the necessary elements needed to create your dream designs with amazing "living materials". I'm so delighted to work for the amazing Clients who hire us and value us. They value our quality of the work, what we do, me, my team, and our unique process that takes them from vision and reality.
Are you worried about your wedding flowers and decorations costs?
If you're concerned about managing your design budget, don't worry. Your Designer (or the professional you are working with) are skilled and experienced. They understand your needs and know how to work with you to maximize your designs to get the most out of your investment. Of course, the look of the final results will vary depending on the talents, knowledge, skills, resources, and experience of your professional so be sure to choose one who's the right fit for you.
If you have questions or need a little more personal assistance maximizing your wedding and event design investment feel free to reach out to us. Happy planning... Cheers!!