Thursday, August 22, 2013

Guest Blog: Full Bloom Floral Design on the cost of wedding flowers

photo by Barb Cameron Photography

We LOVE flowers! They have such an impact on a wedding and the options of colours, varieties, and combinations are endless.  We could plan weddings until the end of our days (and we intend to) and never use same floral arrangement twice! Today on the blog, the extremely talented Erin of Full Bloom Floral Design shares some wise facts about planning your wedding's florals, including what to expect for cost. Erin gives some great advice on how to be realistic and what you are paying for when you hire a florist. Read on!

photo by Union Eleven
People often ask me how I got into Floral Design, and I say it just happened; I fell in love. I never was one of those people who knew what they wanted to be. I floated around, moving from one thing and place to the next. I slowly got into floral design years ago in Vancouver when I lived there and I began to see that I had finally found my passion, something I loved to do and that I was really good at. I then had the amazing opportunity to learn from an incredible floral artist, Hitomi Gilliam, who resides in Vancouver. I took many workshops and went to the Advance Floral Design School. The rest is history and I am thankful every day that I am able to do what I love and to share it with couples on one of the most important days in their lives.

photo by AMBPhoto
Choosing your wedding flowers should be one of the most exciting parts in planning your wedding. But before you meet with any florist, I wanted to share some inside information with you about how pricing works and what you need to know before booking your florist.

1. Consider Your Wedding Flower Budget

Not everyone knows how much flowers cost...actually most people that come to me dont, which is okay. However, when you go to your initial consultation, it is really helpful for any florist if you have a rough budget of what you can spend in mind and share that with the florist. That way, we can tell you what you can get for that budget. Typically a good budget for wedding flowers would be anywhere from 8% - 11% of your entire wedding budget. Of course, this depends on how important flowers are to you and how you see them fitting into your overall vision. Any florist should be able to let you know what is possible with the budget you have given and they should be realistic about what you can and can't have. If you check out the information section of my website you will see a few helpful articles about centrepiece and bouquet pricing.

On average, my clients pay the following for their wedding flowers:

photo by Barb Cameron Photography
Bridal bouquet:
$165 to $200 (or more depending on flower types and size)

Bridesmaid bouquets:         
$95 to $150

start at $17 (I use magnetic pieces for attaching to lapels)

$35 or more for pearl wrist bracelet with florals

Altar pieces at church:        
Start at $300 - $500 each

Pew markers:                        
Start at $25 each

LOW centrepiece starts at $65 to $125 per table
TALL centrepiece starts at $125 to $200 per table

photo by AMBPhoto
The cost of centrepieces is tricky to average as it depends on if it is a modern minimalistic design, something garden-inspired with greenery or something with all flowers and no filler/greenery. Tall vases are usually larger and you need to create volume to keep the arrangement in proportion with the vase.

photo by Photolux Studio
I am always straight forward with my clients as to how I charge. It should be a standard recipe for any florist. The only thing that might fluctuate would be the labour charge. My pricing works like this:

Cost of Flowers + Supplies + 15% to 25% Labour = Total cost of arrangement*
*The cost of any vase rental is extra.

For example:

Here is a typical picture of a centrepiece that a bride will show me that she would love to have at her reception. Count the flowers on one side and then AT LEAST double them to account for the other side.  I can see at least 30 stems of  hydrangea (which means at least 60 stems of white hydrangea) and about 25 roses in total.

60 stems of white hydrangea x $6 per bloom (or more at times) = $360

25 stems of white roses x $3 per bloom = $75

Total cost for flowers = $435

Labour = $65 (this labour is for designing and processing flowers and prepping)

Supplies = $10 (for designer dish and foam)

Vase rental = $20

TOTAL cost for centrepiece = $530 per table

(Yes, some people pay this or more for centrepieces...but on average, they do not.)

 Again, the average centrepiece I do is about $150 - $200 which means the size is significantly smaller than that picture, but still a good size.

photo by MIV Photography

2. Establish a Vision

Start thinking about how you envision yourself to look on your wedding day and the overall look and feel of your wedding. Your venue and dress play a big part in this. For your flowers, do you see something full, lush and romantic, or something more on the rustic and organic side? Colours: do you see soft neutral tones or vibrant and bright? Is the style classic elegance or modern and minimalistic? Pinterest is a huge online tool and resource for many brides that come to me. Showing your florist inspirational pictures that best reflect what you see for your day is a big help.

photo by Photolux Studio
3. Find the Right Wedding Florist

Choosing the right florist is so important. You want to feel at ease and know that your wedding day vision will be executed perfectly. I get most of my business by referrals from venues and other wedding vendors that have seen my work over the years and that have worked closely with me.

I feel it is so important to look closely at the past work that your florist has done to see their style and what flower types they like to typically use. Some florists are very versatile and can design anything from modern to classic elegance. I think what most sets florists apart is the type of flowers used (there are a few I just wont use in wedding work as I dont feel they are appropriate) and the colour composition. Make sure that the photos that the florist is showing you is their own work and not something they found online.

And don't forget personality! You want to feel comfortable with all of your vendors and know they are happy to get your business and truly excited for your big day. Honestly speaking, there have been a time or two when I have felt that it wasnt the right fit between myself and a couple. It doesn't happen often, but it has and the best solution was that they find another florist that could connect with them and create their vision.

photo by MIV Photography
We all know that weddings are expensive and trying to cut costs where you can is important. However, I believe in You get what you pay for and that if you choose your vendors solely based on price then you ultimately wont be happy in the long run. Choose your vendors wisely!

Don't forget to check our Full Bloom's portfolio. We work with Erin regularly and cannot say enough about how talented she is. Not to mention, she's always game to let her creative juices flow and try something new.


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