Raise your hand if you got a quote from a wedding florist and the cost of wedding flowers gave you sticker shock! You are not alone. Flowers are expensive. Wedding flowers are even more expensive. But why? We asked the expert to weigh in on this topic. Today, Stephanie, the owner, designer, and magician behind The Blue Daisy Floral Designs is pulling back the curtain and letting us in on the secrets of just why wedding flowers are so expensive. From the flowers themselves to containers to rent and even transportation, there is A LOT that goes into the cost of your wedding flowers, most of which most couples don’t even realize. Keep reading to see just what we mean!
The Things You See
Flowers. They’re expensive.
The cost of flowers themselves could be an entire blog post in and of itself. Flowers are expensive. And social media is feeding you images of the most expensive blooms (King Protea, garden roses, Japanese Ranunculus, peonies in September, etc.). What you see at Walmart is misleading. You might see a sign that boasts a dozen roses for $15 near the cash register, but check out that quality. Is that really what you want for your wedding flowers?
Furthermore, in many grocery stores, flowers are used as a loss leader. Loss leader pricing is an aggressive strategy in which a store sells selected goods below cost in order to attract customers who will make up for those losses by making additional purchases of profitable goods. Your fiancé buys the roses…and the chocolates…and the card…and you get the picture.
We, the professional florists, are using far better blooms for your wedding. And we aren’t using them as a loss leader!
Vases, Candles, and Structures
So. Many. Vessels. As a florist, we must own a myriad of vases and containers – votives, bud vases, tall stands, arbors, chuppahs, bowls, compotes, cubes, cylinders, etc. etc. etc. to meet the demands of our various clients. And then just when you think you have it all, Pinterest tells couples they want a dang Harlow stand that is impossible to store without an addition to your studio.
Nine years ago, I would measure the size of the wedding I had booked based on how many 6′ folding tables I needed to create and store all of the designs. Later, it was about how much would fit in my cooler. We’ve just upgraded to a 1200-square foot studio with a 100-square foot walk-in cooler and I will probably be wishing I had more space! Not only does it take a lot of room to process, design, and store completed designs but it takes room to house all of the other stuff we need. Space costs money. And even if a florist is designing in their kitchen, it still costs money to live there. Emotional stress to have to clean flower stems out of your garbage disposal before you make dinner every night costs something too! And don’t forget the utilities too.
Whether a florist owns his or her van or rents one (or more) to deliver your wedding flowers, delivery vehicles are a significant expense to a florist. One can only deliver weddings in the back of their Subaru hatchback for so many years (approximately three in my experience). And even then, they need to expense their mileage and wear and tear on their vehicle. Our van is named Sally and we love her. She’s extra long and extra tall so we can bring all the big goodies!
The Things You Don’t See
As a female-owned business, I love being able to hire other females and pay them a fair wage. I truly wish we could pay our staff more than we do because the work is actually quite difficult and draining. Believe it or not, floristry has one of the highest rates of burnout in the entire wedding industry. Largely because it is incredibly physical and the pay isn’t great. Having employees also means taxes, insurance, and administrative costs beyond the hourly wage of staff. Speaking of being a woman-owned business and empowering women, let’s not forget that florist-owners absolutely should be paying THEMSELVES a fair wage to commiserate with the amount of work they are putting in. You wouldn’t expect your photographer or DJ to work for free, would you?
Ahh, the nebulous category in every florist’s QuickBooks. Tape, glue (so much glue), chicken wire, foam, buckets, ribbons, pins, ladders, flower food, carts, wrist cuff hardware, scissors, shears, knives, gloves, chenille stems, zip ties, so. many. zip ties. Some of these things can be reused. Some cannot. Rest assured, it’s a big chunk of money on the profit and loss statement.
Tables, Coolers, a Lot of Shelves
Since we’re throwing around accounting terms, let’s talk capital expenditures. The big stuff needed to execute your wedding flowers. Your florist should have a cooler or at least a temperature-controlled room that can be kept very cool during the summer months. Tables/work benches are also needed. Again, it takes a lot of space to design your wedding flowers. And finally, shelves to store all of the shop supplies, vases, and candles we need.
The Most Important Thing
The hands-on part of designing a wedding is typically five days for a $5000+ floral budget. On Tuesday, we process the flowers, pull vases and candles, and prep vessels. Wednesday through Friday, we design all day long. Saturday, we spend the day delivering and setting up. Then, we come back at 11 p.m. to strike, after which we return to the studio, unload the van, and put everything away. In the months prior, we are meeting with our couples, putting hours into design plans, emails, and phone calls. We are writing recipes (each design style has a recipe), ordering, negotiating prices, dealing with varieties that aren’t available or didn’t arrive in time, etc. Your florist does not just show up on Saturday and that’s it! We make it look like magic, yes, but there is SO much time and work that goes into your wedding before the flowers show up that day.
Thank you for making to the end! Trying to keep this a concise blog post was not easy. Simply because what we do is not concise. It is complex. And it takes a good deal of money to make those beautiful blooms. We so appreciate our couples who invest so much in their wedding flowers so we can make the magic happen every day!
If you fell in love with The Blue Daisy’s work and want to see more of it, check her out in our Burgh Brides Vendor Guide!