Floral Design Cost Misconceptions

Now that September has arrived, 2020 is just around the corner, and we know many of you are busy making decisions for your gorgeous 2020 celebrations. Some wedding day decisions and details can seem like a breeze to make (like when you step into a gown and know instantly that it is THE ONE) and some can seem incredibly overwhelming (like do you really have a preference of dusty blue vs. slate blue linens?).

One of my goals as a designer has, and always will be, to make the floral design process stress-free and transparent for you. One of the first things I often hear out of a bride’s mouth (and 110% out of the groom’s mouth) is, “I know nothing about flowers, I just know what I like!” So it’s no wonder investing in floral design can seem a little stressful at first.

Heather Chipps Photography

Today, I’m debunking several floral design myths and misconceptions that many engaged couples have specifically said to other floral designers, planners, and myself in the past.

“But greenery isn’t that expensive!”
Yes and no. Greenery in itself is not expensive. However, oftentimes with greenery, couples want a LOT of it because it’s so gorgeous and provides a beautiful backdrop. More volume of greenery is also needed in order to provide a fuller look without a ton of flowers. One bunch of greenery may be more than enough for a garden-style bouquet that includes full, fluffy blooms, whereas 4-5 bunches may be needed for a bouquet that is almost all greenery with just a few blooms. As florists, we are also required to purchase some types of greenery in bulk (like smilax), so before even a single item is created, you’ve already spent hundreds of dollars just on greenery. Lastly, the labor and setup costs do not change - it takes the same amount of labor and time to create something with just greenery as it does with a mixture of greenery and flowers. And if you’re looking at garland, those labor prices increase pretty substantially!

“Can you bring a few extra leftover flowers for the cake?”
I’m not sure where someone first published that cake flowers could be added at no cost, but there is a cost associated with this detail. First off, I can guarantee that you do NOT want “just a few leftovers” for your cake. Oftentimes, the leftover flowers are the ones we would never put in your floral design because they are flawed, wilted, the wrong shade, or simply do not look up to par. Especially for a cake that is going to be displayed front and center in photos! Cake flowers are something that needs to be discussed and budgeted for - not only are you getting flowers for your cake, but someone also has to place them on there.

“I just want roses because I know they are more cost effective.”
Welllll…yes and no. Are we talking roses you get at Kroger? If so, then you are absolutely right. But 100% of the time I have heard this, the flowers shown to me as an example are garden roses, not your standard grocery store pick-up. Garden roses start, at the bare minimum, at a few dollars per stem and can end up being just as expensive as peonies, depending on the type you are interested in. Keep in mind, too, that roses still have to be bought in bulk, so a minimum cost is always associated with them - the amazing, hardworking farmers I get my roses from require a minimum purchase (as they should, that’s hard work for a small return!).

“I want to use seasonal flowers because they will be cheaper.”
This is absolutely true to some extent; HOWEVER, “seasonal” flowers are not always “cheap.” Peonies are in season in the spring…that doesn’t mean spring brides get a bouquet full of peonies for $100. Likewise, cafe au laits are in season in the fall, but that doesn’t mean couples can have a room covered in cafe au laits with a $2,000 budget. If you truly want seasonal flowers on a budget, I’d venture to say you’re looking at a wedding covered in local wildflowers. And while there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, and it can still be beautiful, 90% of the couples who have said this to me are NOT on the hunt for wildflowers.

"I want the bouquets and centerpieces to be small to cut down on costs.”
Floral designers absolutely must purchase more flowers than is necessary for your design - because flowers are living things, some of them can end up looking wilted, sad, brown, or off-color and we cannot use those for such a special celebration. Your floral designer is truly doing you a favor by weeding out the flowers that don’t belong, and that is certainly an expense that is well worth it when you hire an independent designer. Additionally, small does not always equate to less expensive. I’ve created some extremely small bouquets that ran upwards of $300 or more because the flowers chosen were on the higher end of the cost spectrum.

“We’re having a small wedding, so we don’t need many flowers.”
I get that. I totally do. But your labor, delivery and setup costs don’t change that drastically (in fact, your delivery and set-up likely won’t change AT ALL, you’ll just be paying a little less in labor hours). So while we’re speaking of labor and delivery costs, let’s just break it down for a minute. Your labor cost essentially includes your floral designer paying assistants or a staff, keeping flowers at the perfect temperature for several days (that does NOT mean sticking them in a cooler and being done with it - we want the blooms to be big and beautiful, so it may mean sitting them in the sun for a few hours before placing them in the cooler or vice versa). It also means prepping vessels, trimming stems, peeling back and discarding ugly petals, sanitizing buckets, washing glassware, and a hundred other tasks that keep us busy on one specific event for days leading up to it. Regardless of whether you’re having a small wedding or a large wedding, these tasks must always get done.

“We don’t want the full arbor covered, just the top so we can cut costs.”
You’ll absolutely cut costs simply by cutting out quite a bit of floral and greenery, but more times than not I find that couples think this means they essentially just pay for the equivalent of a few dozen flowers. But not only are you paying for those 3-5 dozen flowers and several bunches of greenery, you are also paying for the supplies it costs to get those flowers on the arbor (which can sometimes be upwards of $100 just in supplies) before it is even touched, as well as the labor to install it. This can be said for any installation, no matter how big or small - an escort card wall, a floral backdrop, chandelier draping, etc. It’s never JUST the cost of flowers - a real, live person is there working hard to make sure it gets installed perfectly and securely!

Believe me, I understand it can seem daunting to pay thousands of dollars for flowers, especially when you feel like you’re in the dark when it comes to floral design. But I promise floral designers have your best interest at heart and work SO incredibly hard to make your dream a reality (ask any florist richmond  what they do the day after a wedding weekend and I’m guessing most will say they can’t move!). And most floral designers are happy to answer your questions because we know it can be an overwhelming line item in your budget!

Readmore Floral Designers vs. Florists