The cost of wedding flowers is by far the number one question I receive from my clients on a regular basis. In truth I have to give the answer that most florists will give, it depends. It depends on the flowers you choose. It depends on the elements you want to see at your events. It depends on how much of each element that you want to see. That being said, let’s talk about some of those factors in greater detail. At the end I’ll go into some real number figures. fresh, fake or dried.
To start with there is a misconception that artificial flowers are some how cheaper. This is just plain untrue. If you want to DIY your flowers, buy from Hobby Lobby on a sale day and assemble them yourself, you will save money. Period. The main draw back is that if you are not a naturally creative person you’re I’ll spend hours pouring over the right selection of flowers, then several more trying to make something that looks descent. This can totally be a stressful thing. For so many couples it is less stressful and more satisfying to have a professional design the flowers and present them the Final product to them. Unfortunately, the truth is that I too buy from Hobby Lobby on sale days, because it is cheaper than my wholesalers! It is crazy and sad, but that’s where we’re at these days. So, natural you’re looking at paying more for these than you would if you did it yourself. It also means that the cost is sometimes greater than fresh flowers, especially if you want quality, authentic looking flowers. The bonus to working with artificial flowers is that they really will last a lifetime. You can display them in your home or even send them home with your bridesmaids that live out of state. Because they travel well, the make a nice choice for elopements as well. So any extra money spent really does translate to value.
Alternatively, dried flowers have many of the same pros associated with them. They travel well, and last a lifetime looking the same as they did on your wedding day. Generally speaking, dried flowers cost about the same, but sometimes a bit more than fresh. Again there are variables. Bleached products are very popular right now. Italian ruscus, baby’s breath, bunny tails, fan palms, I even saw kale last week that had been bleached. The beautiful white and cream, natural products are hot and sometimes the cost is insanely high! The price of the bleached kale I mentioned, while it was really cool and super unique, it was also going to cost me $23, wholesale, for one stem!! Insane. So clearly something to keep in mind here is that dried and bleached are on two different levels. If you’re looking to keep costs in check, don’t go crazy with bleached product. Pick you’re favorites and mix it in with other naturally dried products.
Generally speaking, using dried products will provide a heavily textured look that can be anything from soft and fluffy to sharp and clean. You can go boho or minimalist with these products, the versatility is great.
Another angle to consider, and one that I personally love, is to mix dried and bleached products with artificial. I find that artificial foliage is generally the give away to me that a bouquet is fake. so, I love mixing these looks, avoiding the fake leaves, and giving my clients a quiet ’real’ looking bouquet without any fresh product.
That brings us to our final option, which is 100% fresh, real flowers. Let’s talk more sad truths, 1) the pandemic and political unrest have done a number of flower prices. 2) Costco, Dillons and Trader Joe’s can do flowers for cheaper than I can and often sell flowers for less than I pay wholesale. It is another sad truth, they have more buying power and lose money on flowers because of the sales they make elsewhere. You can also DIY these. The situation is the same as the artificial, but you will be on a time crunch as flowers need to be assemebled 72-24 hours before the wedding. They are also fragile so mishandling them can lead to a wedding nightmare.
Let’s back up to my first point. Some, but not all flowers prices have risen. Some of my regular favorites like Quicksand roses have gone up 50 cents, while other like banksia have tripled. Part of this is due to demand, but also world issues have gotten in the way. When the pandemic struck in The spring of 2020, the Holland flower market crumbled. Flowers were thrown away by the boat load, literally. Those losses made it hard to start new production for the coming season. Additionally, many many many of our flowers here in the US come from South America, which was obviously hit with the same pandemic as the rest of the world, but importantly I note that countires like Columbia were already having civil unrest that led to trouble getting from the farm to airport and even more sadly, entire fields of flowers being burned to the ground. To make a long story short, back in the 90s our political leadership decided to make a trade deal with a few South American countries to start growing flowers instead of cocaine. This was not only ineffective, but it almost killed the American flower farming industry, which used to be quiet strong (Wow this is turning into a sad post). The good news is that flower farming is coming back. That is one of the big reasons that I am choosing to model my business around the sale of locally grow flowers. Sometimes I pay more, but not always. I love the concept of supporting local farmers, but equally as important, these flowers are grown with fewer pesticides, travel less distance ensuring their freshness and lower carbon footprint AND they take care of their workers ensuring safe conditions and descent pay. In the end, I generally use a mix of domestic and imported product to create the looks that my clients love. This tangent leads me to conclude that fresh flowers are and are not a more expensive option. In fact, I often spend less on a fresh bouquet than an all artificial bouquet. As we all know though, fresh flowers only last so long. So we don’t get that “forever the same“ kind of value. However, there are a ton of new methods for preserving fresh flowers. I will get into that in another blog post though.
Okay, so we’ve discussed some variables in product. Now it is time to chat about the floral elements you want present and how many you will have. Let’s start with the bridal party. Most everyone wants a bridal bouquet and boutonnière for the couple getting married. The size of the wedding party makes a huge difference. Including 3 bridesmaids is significantly less than 9. our bridesmaids bouquets start at $75. When we do a little math on this one our big party would cost us $675, before tax or delivery, versus $225 for just 3. For some couples those 9 maids bouquets alone have blown the budget out of the water. Additionally, we need to consider how many attendants and ushers will be present, mothers, fathers and grandparents. These personal flowers add up quickly as well. Boutonnières generally run anywhere from $15-$25 and corsages are usually $25-$45 depending on where you go. As you see the multipliers matter. The same goes for guest count and the number of tables that need to covered. This is an area where DIY-ing occurs regularly, again a blog post for another day. Here is a quick list of options for tables in order of cost going up; loose greenery, bud vases, small arrangements, wreaths, medium to large table arrangements, garland and elevated centerpieces. On the low end your looking at $10 going up to $350 per table. This all depends on the experience you want for you guests. I personally prefer doing a combination of elements for variation in height and interest as guests wonder the room.
Pinterest is a blessing and a curse. It shows us so many lovely, joyful elements that we would love for our events, but rarely if ever is there a price tag associated with those images. This is true for tables, but it also true for those big statement pieces. The altar is a great example. Smaller elements on a structure usually start at a couple hundred dollars, but we can quickly be looking at a couple thousand dollars for those super lush and full installations. I encourage couples to consider what is most important to them and what they can repurpose for later. For instance, an altar can be repurposed as a sweetheart table backdrop or flowers on a pillar can be moved to sit around the cake table. Using your flowers in multiple areas throughout the day is a great way to get the most bang for your buck. It is equally important to consider who, when and how these things will be shuffled around though. A wedding coordinator can be a significant help in this department, ensuring less stress for you and more fun for family members that are lending a hand. Do you want to see your mom on your wedding day? If so don’t allow her to take on 20 chores before, during and after the event.
Another amazing Pinterest find is suspended floral elements, like a chandelier. This stuff is not cheap friends! These can easily cost as much as everything else put together. There are a lot of logistics that go into planning and executing a grand floral statement piece. They require multiple designers, heavy machinery and a ton of product. It doesn’t look like it sometimes, but even a simple all pampas design can require hundred if not thousands of stems. These things are gorgeous, but you must take your floral budget into perspective before you start planning. I prefer to have my clients dream big, quote them and then we can winnow down as needed. If you are a big dreamer just prepare yourself so you don’t choke on the price. Many Pinterest perfect weddings have a price tag of $10,000 to $25,000. While this isn’t uncommon, it is not a reality for many people.
So, to sum things up, I want to give a quick breakdown of what you could spend on a wedding here in Kansas. I’m specifying this because our costs are different than those on the East or West coast where things generally tend to be more expensive.
Bridal Party Flowers $500- $2000
Personal Flowers (family, attendants, flower girls) $300-$1500
Guests Tables $30- $5000
Ceremony Design $200- $3000
Grand Statement Pieces $2000-$10,000
One thing we do for our clients is provide them with a welcome letter. We talk about our ethics, but also set price expectations for them. It makes it easy to add up their desired items before we event quote them. Our minimum pricing let’s them know about where they could be sitting, which in my opinion saves us all time and headache.
Some additional fees to consider are tax, delivery and set up, and tear down.
If you’re considering booking your wedding with Free State Flora, we want to share a few tips that will help you with planning. Generally speaking, we book about a year to a year and a half out. We do have a minimum for fully designed and set up events, which is $2000 at the moment. That being said, we are now offering al a crate options for brides that just need a a bouquet and few boutonnières or something to that effect. Lastly, a new option we have is our rental line for couple that want to run to the courthouse for the day or borrow something for an elopement. To start the booking process you can shoot us an inquiry form under the wedding tab of our Facebook page.
I hope this was informational for all of you Wichitans and Midwest couples looking to get a grip on your flower budget. I completely recognize and appreciate how hard it can be to understand costs when your totally unfamiliar with this type of purchase. If you have questions let us know in the comments. We would love to talk more with you!