Let’s compare the cost of florals with another very important wedding vendor. I am not down on photography, at all. I think it is a sound investment as they capture the memories of the whole day that you’ve planned and all the investment that you’ve put into your wedding. You have those photos for years and years and are cherished treasures for yourself for your life time. They are worth it, but so are we. Let’s compare.
The average photographer charges around $4000 for full day coverage including image edits and gallery and maybe that includes a second shooter for some of the time. Other than equipment, which may be upgraded every year (and would be spread out between all the events the photographer would use them for throughout the year) and the cost of editing software, they have very few expenses. There’s a little bit of travel expenses for that particular event to and from, and other than that the investment is for time and expertise and no actual product. You are covering the cost of their expertise, equipment, time on the wedding day and then their time editing their photos. That’s it.
With a florist, you might be paying (average) $5500 for your floral designs, but how much of that is actual one-use product. Actual flowers that cost something. Actual vases that cost something. Actual candles that cost something. These are all one-use items that have to be purchased for your event. Your florist is not making at $5500 into their pocket. Let me repeat, in no way are we making that much in our pockets.
Like photographers, you are paying for their expertise, which is always important value, but even with practice a photographer can just take out their camera when a florist has to pay for product to get their experience.
Here are the things you are paying for:
The florist needs to write recipes and verify the pricing of each design to create a full proposal. Unlike other wedding vendors, like the photographer, cake baker, wedding coordinator, or even the caterer, florist invoices are never the same. We do not have packages. Each invoice must be created uniquely for each bride depending on each flower used in each design. This process takes time.
A floral designer spends hours writing and verifying the recipes and calculating the stem count and then order is sent to the wholesaler.
Wholesalers find each and every one of your flowers via internet, phone, flower auctions and searches across the world in search of your flowers. Once the buyer or the florist’s sales rep. buys the blossoms at auction, they are sent to the airports and brought back to the wholesaler. There is also sourcing your containers which usually requires more time finding the right vessels and shipment charges or going to the wholesalers to pick them up, load them into vehicles and into the studio.
Wholesaler Processing: After arrive at the wholesaler, flowers are sorted, processed and then sorted into individual event orders. There is cost to have all of these people growing, searching and then delivering the flowers to your floral designer. Travel Expenses for flowers start with two and from the wholesalers, to and from the floral farms, to the studio.
Unpacking & Conditioning: Flowers need to come out of the boxes and get into clean water. It takes hours to get the flowers conditioned (a fresh cut, in clean water and a floral preservative). This includes unloading all the flowers into the studio out of vehicles. Don’t forget breaking down all of the boxes and getting them recycled and cleaning every single bucket to prepare the right environment for your blooms.
Next step is too sort the stems into the recipes. This verifies that all calculations were correct and double checking that you received all the flowers that you ordered and that you have all the necessary blooms required. Now imagine all the extra work that requires if that’s not the case.
Don’t forget we have to get containers or vases ready. Cleaning items, unpacking, taking off stickers, preparing with foam or water, tapes.
Now it’s time to design, which only occurs after hydration of your blooms. For a Saturday wedding, we normally work ALL day Wednesday processing and then Thursday and Friday designing and we spend ALL day Saturday going over the designs in the morning and then delivering and setting up all day Saturday. It is common for us to get our 40 – 50 hours or more in just the 3 or 4 days. Some days we will stand from the very early morning until way into the night to get the designs finished.
Then there is loading all the flowers to vehicles (sometimes vehicle rental), packing carefully with all the florals and rentals. Delivery to location 1, location 2, location 3, moving arrangements, tear down and/or coming back to pick up items…
Floral Design includes a lot of labour, a lot of time, a lot of steps PLUS the actual cost of the flower. Don’t forget, most of this, we are not doing on our own and are having to pay others since the work can’t be done in advance. We’ve got just the few days before to pull it all off!
“When I consider this process from beginning to end, I realize that flower designs are probably one of the least expensive products around. What other good requires this amount of time and care and is sold at the price at which it is sold. Most floral designers are true artists practicing a trade that is not generally valued. This is an imported good, involving so many labourers. Suddenly the flowers at your wedding really seem like an incredible deal.” – Holly Chapple