Photo by Jack Jones
Navigating through the wedding planning process can be confusing enough, let alone adding a global pandemic such as COVID-19 into the mix! Now that we’re past many months of lockdowns, the initial shock of it all and the re-opening up of travel and in person socialisation once more, we have a “new normal”.
From the very beginning when COVID first arrived, we've seen significant impact to the cost of wedding flowers. Like the pandemic itself, it came unexpectedly and has taken a while for the industry and wider world to adapt to changing and rising prices of flowers up and down the supply chain. Add to that a global economy mostly in recession and rising inflation, and we've got a perfect storm of continuous price increases.
Imported flowers now cost more
The flower industry worldwide relies significantly on imported flowers, no matter where you’re located. There’s not enough local produce to supply entire wedding and event industries where flowers are the norm. Imported flowers are flown into a country, like Australia, via passenger planes as cargo. This was a great importation method for a few reasons: there were multiple flights scheduled in, international passenger flights generally run on time, and cargo was seen as a bonus to airlines which made rates more competitive.
When COVID-19 hit and Australia’s borders closed, all freight was cut off. Instead of passenger planes, freighter aircraft has increased as a means for imported goods. This means less supply volume of flights globally and therefore, higher freight costs.
Australia’s wedding and events industry relies heavily on imported flowers - they’re available for the most part, all year round and we usually gain access to high quantities of premium, long lasting flowers that many clientele want. Think large Colombian roses, phalaenopsis orchids & tropical foliages from South East Asia to name just a few. Import flowers were always a bit more expensive, now the difference is even higher and that's become the new normal.
Locally grown flowers now cost more too
To rely solely on our local growers would be unsustainable for our industry as we become limited to the varieties of flowers made available to us. This impart, is due to the seasons and the Australian climate. Whilst we have an array of climates to grow flowers in, ranging from tropical Queensland and chilly Victoria, what we can grow and produce is limited by the seasons compared to say South America where it’s warm throughout most of the year, amongst other factors that make growing stronger, longer lasting roses year round a perfect environment.
At Lime Tree Bower, we frequently use a combination of imported flowers and locally grown produce, as it’s not enough to just rely on our local growers, from a quantity and aesthetic perspective. Since importing flowers has been more difficult or limited from COVID, we've had to fight over what's available from our local growers. More demand, the higher the price. Throw into the mix La Niña, Sydney flooding and crazy unpredictable weather conditions which has ruined a significant amount of local crops, and you have even more limited supply levels.
What this means for florists
As with any other industry affected by COVID-19, this has had a lasting impact on the flower industry and therefore all florists. What you could get for the same value a few years ago, is much more limited now since everything has risen in price unfortunately. This is evident by the rise in prices by florists to continue operating a financially viable business, whether they’re events-only and/or retail-based, as a result of the rise in wholesale flower costs.
Whilst we originally thought these price hikes would be somewhat temporary, the impact that COVID has had on the global economy, recessions and rising inflation everywhere, has caused the price rises to be sustained across the globe for the foreseeable future.
What this means for couples and weddings
When you’re looking at quotes for your wedding florals, don't be surprised if they're above budget expectations, particularly if you're comparing to any research or price guides from prior to 2020.
What you’re expecting a design to cost pre-COVID compared to today will be vastly different. COVID has had a heavy impact on our industry unfortunately, with many businesses unable to survive due to the numerous event and wedding cancellations and postponements. We know that weddings are already expensive and most of us aren't made of money, but we all wish for our dream wedding.... and Pinterest doesn't help with this!
Nevertheless, there's sometimes a compromise to consider if spend vs ideals don't match up. We strongly recommend asking your florist on what design alternatives to recommend if you're stuck. This is something we are always mindful of and offer proactively to our clients at Lime Tree Bower. With extensive knowledge and experience, we always consider and dream up different ways to design and creative ways using less flowers, whilst still being relatively impactful. Feel free to get in touch with us to kick off your journey in wedding flower planning!