Why Are Flowers So Expensive? Part One: How Did These Flowers Get Here?

March 21, 2018

Why Are Flowers So Expensive?

So often, I get inquiries from clients who have really big and beautiful plans for their wedding….. and absolutely NO idea what those big plans will cost.  And why should they?? Pinterest does not come with pricetags on all those gorgeous images, and my clients (hopefully) are only getting married once. So they have no frame of reference for how to go about allocating a portion of their budget for floral decor.  Luckily for my clients, they have someone who DOES know how to go about this–ME!!

The goal of this series is to educate brides/grooms about why flowers cost what they cost, and to create realistic expectations for what floral decor they can have within their budget.  I want my clients to be able to make educated decisions that feel good. I never want a client to feel like they got no flowers for their wedding because of their budget, but I also never want a client to have buyer’s remorse.  To that end, here is Part One of a three-part series on Why Are Flowers So Expensive?

Part One: How Did These Flowers Get Here?

In order to find out about the life of a flower (before it even gets to me), I asked my friends Julianne and Tim DuFour from Petal Patch Flower Farm to help me understand just what all goes on at a flower farm.  I was surprised to hear how much work it is, and how much of their job depends on unpredictable variables (like weather).  Click here to find out what it takes to be a flower farmer.  

Joy Michelle Photography

While all these beautiful blooms are being carefully planned out and meticulously cared for, and cut at their peak to be delivered to me, my role in getting your flowers ready for your wedding has already begun!  My job starts months and months before your wedding takes place.  Per client, I put in hours and hours of administrative time, which can include initial emails and phone calls, researching flowers and sourcing vases, writing proposals, and writing revisions of proposals based on additional consultations.  Once we have a contract in place, there may still be more revisions, depending on the client.

About 6 weeks prior to your wedding, I begin ordering.  American grown flowers are important to me, so I need to individually contact the local farms I plan to use, find out what product they will have available in the colors and style of the wedding I’m working on.  Based on what I can get from farms, I make an additional order to my wholesaler. I am lucky that my wholesaler (and some of the farms) deliver my flowers right to the studio, but I often have to drive to the farms to pick up my orders as well.  While the product is infinitely better and has a smaller carbon footprint, you can imagine what a time consuming process that might be.

Once the flowers have arrived, each individual flower receives a fresh cut and is placed in a bucket with flower food and fresh water.  This is my opportunity to assess each flower and make sure that they are up to my standards in terms of color and freshness. Anything that doesn’t look up to par has to be sent back, and arrangements must be made for replacements to arrive.  As you can see, lots of time and effort has gone into the lives of your flowers, and we haven’t even gotten to the designing part!

Joy Michelle Photography

No more than 48 hours prior to your event, I begin creating your designs.  Each centerpiece and garland is designed by hand, adjusted until it looks perfect.  I choose the most beautiful blooms for the personal flowers, and each bouquet and boutonniere is painstakingly created and hand-wrapped in ribbon chosen specially for each client.  On the morning of your wedding, I am up at the crack of dawn, putting finishing touches on the flowers, and figuring out the best way to pack everything into the van. Everything that could go wrong (hopefully), is anticipated and planned for, extra supplies packed into a toolkit, each checklist meticulously checked to ensure nothing is missed.  I arrive at your venue to set up your floral decor, I might need to stay through your ceremony to help move pieces to the reception, and I will likely be back to clean everything up at the end of the night. Needless to say, this is a LONG 2-3 days.

Hopefully, this gives you a bit of an idea of the amount of work that goes into creating the floral arrangements that make your wedding day perfect.  There is no factory that is mass-producing your floral arrangements, each piece is quite literally designed by hand. So when you see the price tag on your dream wedding from a florist, remember that you are not only paying for a beautiful design, but you are paying the farmer who planted your seeds, grew them, and harvested them.  You are paying your florist to plan, order, process, design, pack, set up, and clean up. Flowers are special, as are the artists and farmers who help to bring them to you.

Now that I have you properly overwhelmed with the amount of time and energy that goes into just one part of your wedding, I want you to remember my goal for writing this.  I want to educate you about the price of flowers, and help you make good decisions now that you have realistic expectations regarding your floral decor.

Click here to read Part Two: 5 (and a half) Myths About Wedding Flowers

Click here to read Part Three: What Can I Do to Make My Wedding More Affordable?