Updated: Mar 17
In this blog, I'll talk about expectations, budget, the Covid-Brexit double-whammy and give you my tips and advice on getting the most out of your beautiful wedding flowers.
So get yourself a cuppa, settle down in your chair and enjoy.
Your wedding flowers are the number one way to bring your vision and your wedding theme to life on your day. Wedding flowers are usually the decorations that have the most impact. They will instantly transform the feel of a space or a room. The will also feature on almost all your wedding photographs and so it is well worth giving proper time and consideration to that aspect of your wedding planning.
Expectations and Budget
Invariably, Pinterest and styled shoots on Instagram are the biggest source of inspiration for couples. That's quite understandable since the most pinned floral arrangements on Pinterest and the most saved images from Instagram are usually insanely drop dead gorgeous with lush, abundant designs and jaw dropping installations.
The standards for images of floral designs on Instagram have now gone sky high so to keep in step with the dreaded Algorithm, there’s real pressure to produce show stoppers so we can get the all important shares/saves/comments or whatever the “Algo” is declaring important at the time (If I had known when I trained as wedding florist that there would be a Beast demanding to be fed daily ...even in full lockdown... ).
The snag is that you can bet your bottom dollar they'll have cost the florist a not so small bomb. By all means use these beautiful images as an inspiration but be prepared for your florist to have to gently help you reset your expectations.
One of the most helpful things to talk about with your florist from the outset is what budget you have in mind. Even if you don’t know what flowers cost, you’ll have an idea of what proportion of your wedding planning budget you might be comfortable allocating to your wedding flowers. Some say spend 10% 15% of your overall wedding budget on your flowers. I say spend accordingly to what your vision is for your day.
A good florist will be able to guide through the varieties of flowers and the type of flower arrangements you can think about within your budget.
Price can vary depending on the kind of services your florist offers, their reputation, their skills among other factors. On average you will see everywhere if you google it that for bridal flowers , ceremony and reception flowers prices tend to start from £1,200/£1,500.
Bear in mind that what can push the cost up will be what I call the ‘multipliers’, for example the numbers of bridesmaids’ bouquets and the number of guest table flowers decorations.
COVID and BREXIT…The troublesome Two...
At risk of saying the obvious... 2020 and 2021 have seen a significant contextual change worldwide and in particular in the UK with leaving the EU. First Covid has had some impact on the production of crops and therefore on supply and demand which is a driver of prices. Second, professional bodies anticipate that due to Brexit the wholesale price of stems entering the UK from Europe is set to rise by between 5% and 10%. From my own experience, I can say there is no doubt that the price of wholesale flowers and foliage per stem has already gone visibly up.
Most florists including myself will try to source local and regional flowers and foliage as much as we can. However crops in the UK tend to be more weather dependant and it's not always easy to get the choice of varieties and quantities that wedding florists require during the busy wedding season.
Did you know: Florists can only buy wholesale flowers (from abroad or closer to home) in minimum quantities, sometimes 10 but often 20, 25 or even 50 stems (anemones/ranunculus/tulips) so the outlay for a florist can be significant to be able to provide a client’s requested flowers. Some flower farms and wholesalers as well as buying direct from Holland often requires a minium spend.
So what goes in the cost of your wedding flowers: apart form the cost of buying flowers from the wholesalers and suppliers as outlined above, quite a long list of things and tasks actually and several days of work.
Beside the communication with clients, consultations, venue visits, mood board creation, there are also:
The time spent researching and designing the floral arrangements, checking which mechanics and structures will be best suited to a space ( in a church, ceremony room or a marquee) for installations (arch, suspended ceiling installation etc.), calculating the number of stems for each flower and foliage varieties required to achieve the look of each design within the budget, creating the order list for the suppliers and booking free-lancers in.
Then there're about 3 days prepping including taking deliveries of the flowers and foliage, unwrapping it all, conditioning stems and creating the designs, the day itself with usually starts at 4.00am, transport/travel for the delivery and the installation on site which can take several hours. Then the next day often very early morning going back to the venue to clear and collect all the props (vases, urns) and taking the installations down, bringing everything back to the studio and cleaning it all (which is easily another half day's work).
Did you know? When we receive the flowers and foliage from the wholesale (usually 3 days before a wedding so the flowers open to perfect blooms on your day), we condition each stem. That means striping all thorns from roses, removing leaves, cutting each stem to an angle for optimum hydration and putting all into water for about a day. I never ever skip on the conditioning stage. For me it is so important if your flowers are going to be at their very best and look stunning thoughout your day.
Oh oh.. so are you saying flowers are not affordable. Noooo…. I am just explaining what goes into the price of them. Wedding flowers will always be the most effective way to decorate your venue and bring your vision to life so don’t skimp on them, but there're ways to make them work hard for your bucks is what I am saying.
Tips and Advice
Think about those 'multipliers' I mentioned earlier. Now I am not suggesting you shouldn’t have the number of bridesmaids you'd love to have, when weddings resume to some normality you should absolutely have the day you want. However, you may want to consider having bridesmaids' bouquets perhaps as long single stems roses which can look stunning or all foliage bouquets or whimsical clouds of gypsophila which can all look beautiful and cohesive with your theme. These will likely be less expensive than say 6 bridesmaids’ bouquets as smaller versions of yours as the bridal bouquet will have premium roses and blooms .
I recommend having one or a pair of large statements pieces as these will instantly make an impression, create a Wow factor and will stand out much more on your wedding photos than smaller pieces.
Make your statement pieces work hard for you and give you the best return for your money. For example our floral urns and pedestals which are fast becoming one of our signature statement pieces can easily be moved from your ceremony area (and even from your church) and repositioned to your drinks reception area and then later to your wedding breakfast area.
With tables centres, if you are keen on tall floral centrepieces I often recommend alternating high and low centrepieces – tall centre pieces are usually quite a bit more expensive than low table arrangements and visually it works very well.
Our large wedding floral urns in the Walled Ceremony Garden at Wadhurst Castle https://wadhurstcastle.co.uk
So that's about it, I think. I hope this will have given you a little insight into what goes into the price of your wedding flowers and how best to make them work hard for you.
The past months have been tough and no doubt you'll have had some stress due to the uncertainty of the current context, so remember to enjoy planning your wedding flowers. You may also be interested in my previous blog on the "Relaxed Terms and Conditions" we introduced during Covid-19 to make your planing a little easier.
Please do get in touch with me directly if you have any questions or would like to discuss your ideas. https://www.lydiedaltonfloraldesign.co.uk/contact