flower tip friday {behind the scenes:costs vs art}

As the market corrects, causing the un-savy shopper to become savy, the wedding industry is also under financial scrutiny, including the cost of wedding flowers. In the past on flower Friday I have posted some great money saving tips, economic solutions, and even (against my better judgment) DIY projects. More then ever in my eleven year floral career, brides are asking me what flowers cost. Sometimes they are finding this out for themselves … and then they are asking me why a single stem boutonniere that carries a cost of only $1 is being charged at a $7-$10 rate. So following in suit (with permission of course) of some other amazing designers across the nation (ie nancy liu chin, Amy of Hidden Garden, David Dahlson w/Mayesh, Sean Low and a few others) I want to break it down for you as to what it is that you GET when you “get what you paid for.”

ll try to keep it simple and straight forward. For simplicity take this festive bouquet for example:

Here is what you will need to make this bouquet, this is cost only you may not use the entirety of product but you will have to purchase it to create this one piece.

studio stems christmas bouquet wedding flowers utah bride blog

1 bunch of black magic roses $22

1 bunch of red france roses $22

1 bunch of red berry $9

1 bunch of salal or lemon leaf or foliage $5.25

1 bunch of red tulips $10

1 box of pins $2.50

1 spool of ribbon $6

1 spool of floral tape $1.50

The basic costs of goods to make this bouquet rings in @ $78.25

Now consider what a few other elements going into this bouquet might be worth. What about the design of flowers, those that marry each other well and how they are grouped and or arranged? The actual knowledge of knowing the union of flowers before hand and not being reliant on an assumption? Basically what about experience that ultimately ends in a piece of art that has a bit more integrity then an un-experienced DIY bouquet can offer? The energy to order them, pick them up, store them, hydrate them, arrange them, finish them, and deliver them? Yeah you can avoid all this expense by doing it yourself if you have lots of time, great resources, some serious know how and a few other skills, or your aunt Kate can do it as well, but what is the outcome? Great floral designs really can make or break your wedding, and I mean this literally! They are often the focus and indication of how nice your wedding was and what style it entailed in all your forever pictures you just paid a great photographer for (we hope). So lets say you recognize this and you want works of art for your floral designs. Above and beyond the costs you see above, what are you willing to pay for those other underlying less physically tangible things to consider? What is someones time & talent worth to you? What should their markup be? What about covering their company expenses before they even make a profit? Like the advertising that got you to them in the first place, their insurance that covers the unimaginable, the gas for all the driving around they did for that one bouquet, the tools they have to make that bouquet ideal? a professional florists needs to ‘account for their costs and pay themselves a LIVING wage” as David w/Mayesh would say.

So is this bouquet worth $160 to you? Its cost plus match? Is it worth $200? Is it worth more? Does it depend on who its coming from? I want to know your thoughts as readers…. so please feel free to share.

What I want you to know is this, more often then not you get what you pay for. If you want your catering done out of your kitchen from costco by aunt jane then thats what your catering will taste like and look like, and so on and so on. Your wedding vendors arent hiding extensive profits from you, ask them they will tell you what it really costs to produce your wedding. When you see it in these terms and think about what your florist is making on you per hour, it might make more sense that their boutoniere is invoiced at $10 rather then $1. More often then not wedding vendors barely make  a “living” wage.

In fact I think this concept pertains to nearly every vendor in the wedding industry. Many soon to wed couples think about doing invitations, catering, photography and other resources themseleves. But what is the value of a proffesional doing it right?

I do realize the doom and gloom of the current financial crisis and how it is truly curtailing the dreams of many betrothed. I dont doubt that a DIY path may be the only option and I dont mean to offend or downplay great possibilities that come out DIY ideas. I sincerely wish you all the best. I merely mean to educate you as consumers as to what you get when you get flowers vs art or food vs catering or images vs photography and the values associated with both sides. There are ways to work around the economy with your vendors, they are full of options. Seek them out and utilize their expertize.

photography courtesy of: opie

flowers: studio stems


  1. Laura says:

    I totally agree with you! I know the difference that flowers can make at a wedding. I think flowers is that finishing touch to the whole event. I also totally agree with the food and pictures too… The food is what your guest will remember and the pictures are the memories that you will always have.

  2. A few years ago, fueled by my obsession with weddings, I decided that I wanted to know more about flowers. Sweet Liz at Whimsy Floral took me on with absolutely NO experience. It did not take me long to realize that working with flowers is a lot of WORK. Especially when you consider all you need to know about flowers to make a perfect bouquet.

    After working with her a month I couldn’t believe how little she charged for how much work and passion she was putting in to her business.

    Utah brides are lucky when it comes to flowers (among other things) our prices are nothing compared to national prices. Plus the talent of Utah florists is totally outstanding.

    I totally understand having a budget (I had a measly floral budget for my wedding and therefore my flowers were a disaster), but it is worth it to pay a little more and have one less thing to worry about on your big day.

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