For 99% of couples planning their wedding for the first time, flowers are a must have! Imagine this very common scenario: you’ve shortlisted a few florists you love, and have emailed them all with the same ideas of what you think you want. Eventually, each florist has sent you a quote, but hold up… why are all the quotes so different?! Not just a little, but significantly.
This is actually a very common, expected experience that all engaged couples encounter. We get asked this question about the difference in costs frequently by curious couples, and we’ve noticed it’s something that requires a fair bit of explanation and education.
So we decided it was really important for us to share our knowledge and write about it here. In doing so, we can help you understand how costs and pricing work behind the scenes. You’ll be more informed about the world of wedding flowers by the end of this!
1. Why are wedding flowers expensive?
A very common misconception is that whenever the word ‘wedding’ is used, such as ‘wedding flowers’, vendors in the wedding industry will put on some ridiculous mark up to rip off the masses. This is completely false. Before we entered the industry ourselves, we thought the same, so we understand why this is a common assumption.
Whilst wedding flowers seem expensive, you’re actually receiving so much more than just the flowers on the day. So what else are you getting?
A) Quality flowers (and we care for them like babies)
When it comes to flowers for weddings, we don’t use just any seasonally available variety. We go through an entire process of understanding what the colour scheme of your wedding is, the look and theme of your wedding, and what your floral preferences are. The floral selection process is very specific and we only use the top quality varieties available. This is quite different to picking up a bouquet of pre-designed seasonal flowers wrapped up at a local florist shop.
We literally inspect all the petals and leaves of each stem that we use for your wedding, from the day we pick up the flowers from our growers and wholesalers, up until the moment we deliver them to you or set up on-site. Often, we also feature premium flowers that are imported interstate and overseas, such as Colombian roses, European peonies, Singaporean orchids and Queensland proteas.
B) Bespoke planning & design, emails, logistics… All the behind the scenes stuff!
If you’re a great wedding florist, even if you don’t offer wedding planning as a specific focussed service, there’s still so much planning involved in the flowers themselves. Every wedding and event florist has to do ‘planning’ to some degree, particularly if their design services are bespoke and tailored to each couple.
At Lime Tree Bower, we pride ourselves in challenging the design status quo and never replicating the same design twice. Every event and wedding of ours is customised. Even if the colour scheme or theme are similar between two weddings, there are still differences in floral choices, the final design look etc.
We invest hours upon hours in emailing with you, to plan your wedding flowers to perfection. We gain a deep understanding of your style, colour and floral preferences, along with visual inspiration. We then capture all this on a planning page, and we keep this updated whenever something changes along the way. Changes happen frequently in the months between booking and the wedding itself, and we capture and process it all from our end. In fact, email chains with clients often stretch beyond 60-70+ on average!
Wedding flowers can seem expensive but that’s because you’re paying for more than just the flowers themselves. It’s also taking into account the behind the scenes planning, our expertise and attention to detail that’s involved from day one, all the way up to the day of the wedding.
2. How can quotes vary so much between wedding florists?
Being in a creative trade, the value that each designer or business places on their work varies across multiple factors. It’s no different to being an artist, a fashion designer or even a web designer - if you were to ask for quotes from several different people in these roles, you’d also receive a wide variety of quotes.
A good parallel example would be a wedding dress or suit. Depending on which brand you decide to buy from, it might be mass-produced, feature cheaper fabrics, and fairly simple designs. Compare this with a more bespoke or luxury brand with a more experienced designer who uses top grade materials, creates only made to measure outfits, and has a local team that sews it all by hand. Pricing for the same dress or suit between these two different brands would vary significantly, and you’d also have brands that fall in between the two of them.
Here are some of the key variables where the value will change between each wedding florist:
Experience: someone who is just starting might be changing lower as they’re trying to gain experience, vs someone who has years of experience.
Labour rates & logistics: everyone values their time differently, i.e. someone might value their time to do something at $10/hr vs $50/h vs $100/h. Beyond the flowers, the rates for logistical elements such as delivery, set up and pack down labour and time, can also vary.
Design style & assumptions: the choice of flowers and the style of an arrangement that someone has assumed may not be of the same quality or volume density as another florist. This can vary more significantly when it comes to bigger designs, such as ceiling installations.
Markup: how much of a profit markup someone decides to put on their work as a business will evidently vary. Unfortunately, there are some businesses out there that significantly undercharge, with zero or very low markup, making their business unsustainable in the long run.
As you can see, when you take the sum of all the variables above, you’ll ultimately also receive quotes that vary between wedding florists!
3. Many wedding florists don’t have price lists or quote line by line. Why is this?
We’ve experimented with everything - price lists, line by line and now sectional quoting - and we’ve learned so much along the way. These days, we find sectional quoting and working collaboratively with you to reasonably fit your scope with your spend expectations, is the best way forward for everyone. Discussing how a $150 table arrangement will differ in size by cm if the price changes by +/-$10 is not effective.
There are two big reasons why we believe having a price list or breaking up each minute item into a price point is impractical:
As each wedding of ours is bespoke, a price list or package doesn’t work because there are too many variables! What we do instead is work collaboratively with you to deeply understand your requirements, spend expectations and scope preferences. Knowing all this enables us to figure out how we can creatively and realistically fit what you want within your spend. In circumstances where it’s unrealistic, we help you come up with design alternatives and problem solve suggestions with you. Ultimately, our aim is to try and reasonably fit as many of your requirements within your spend, whilst also maintaining our quality design standards.
When it comes to our design process, we do not count out stems specifically for each arrangement thereby setting a specific price. If we did this, then most of our arrangements would all look the same and that’s not our design aesthetic. Instead, we calculate inversely based off your overall spend, and then use ball park figures for each scope element to determine how it can all fit in. Using our experience of past weddings, we know how spends will loosely translate into arrangements, floral volume and budgets. We also build in discounts when there’s a higher quantity of something, so overall your total quote ends up being cheaper than if we had to break each item up line by line.
We hope you’ve found our explanation behind the cost of wedding flowers informative and enlightening. We know and appreciate that when it comes to your wedding day, it can quickly add up to be a big investment, so we do the best we can to educate and support you along this process. Quoting with clear assumptions, and recommending design alternatives are some ways in which we help during our quoting experience with clients.
Beyond pricing, we always recommend couples to choose vendors that they trust and connect with. It can often be just a gut feel. This is so important - it will make your wedding planning experience so much more enjoyable and stress free, and provides your vendors with the freedom to truly create magic on your day!