(Toronto Market, Fall 2019)
It’s time for an update on my “Do Flowers Really Cost that Much” Post. It’s a well loved and read post that has spread a lot of understanding to those planning a wedding and trying to figure out their wedding floral budget.
Let’s start with your average full-service florist, you might be paying let’s say a typical $5000-$7500 for your wedding floral designs. That is actual live consumable 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 $6500 into their pocket. Let me repeat, in no way are we making that much in our pockets.
As an artist, you are paying for our expertise, which is always important value, but even with practice (for example) a photographer can just take out their camera when a florist has to pay for live product to get their experience. I’ve been designing professionally for 10 years and spent thousands on product to practice, get experience, try new techniques and train with other professionals.
Here are the things you are paying for with a professional florist:
First, you have all the time consuming emails and phone calls before booking a consultation. I on average email back and forth 8 times before booking a consult.
Then you have your consultation. These typically take 45-90 minutes depending on the scope of your wedding. I am generally meeting you in the evenings or weekends, spending time away from my family to meet when you are available. A consultation entails working with your florist for hours trying to get educated on what will be best for your wedding. You will need to be taught what will look and perform the best on your wedding day. In a consultation, most brides do not know the names of flowers or speak the language of flowers so we end up teaching a bit as well. We then use our expertise to tie it together and formulate a floral plan. This is really a separate career that so many wedding florists take on without an addition in cost to you. Many times I have helped brides times to pick out linens, favours or develop concepts further… All of this fabulous information is often given at no charge and is given to you under the same invoice as the cost of your flowers.
There is also the work that goes into the proposal. The florist needs to write recipes and verify the pricing of each design. 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.
Your 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.
After all the fresh florals 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 and conditioning also needs to be completed. Flowers need to come out of the boxes and get into clean water. It takes hours to get the flowers conditioned (a fresh cut, stems removed of leaves and debris and in clean water with 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 to 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, because it does happen!
Don’t forget we have to get containers or vases ready. Cleaning items, unpacking, taking off stickers (that can take forever), preparing with foam or water, tapes or wires.
Now it’s time to design, which only occurs after hydration of your blooms. For a Saturday wedding, we normally set up the studio with clean buckets, water all the containers on the Tuesday. We work Wednesday unpacking and processing and then all day Thursday and Friday designing. Then, ALL day Saturday we are going over the designs in the morning and then delivering and setting up all day Saturday. It is common for us to get our 50 hours or more in just the 4 or 5 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!