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behind the scenes

  • Understanding Wedding Flower Pricing

    Illuminating a Unique Process

    Do you have any idea how much to budget for your wedding flowers? Are you overwhelmed by the process, or have you been surprised by your quotes?

    You are not alone, and I'd love to help. Unfortunately, the wedding flower industry is often quite opaque, and couples struggle with planning their first (and potentially only) large event. 

    For other items, such as the catering, couples may have a larger range of realistic reference points from their own experience. It's easy to understand that a food truck serving fast food will be a different price than a seated 5 course meal of steak and shrimp prepared by a celebrity chef and served by plentiful staff. For flowers, most people have little experience, often limited to seasonal flowers from a farmers market, or flowers sold as loss leaders by supermarkets (meaning the supermarket is selling them at less than whole sale cost!). 

    Because of this information hole, I spent some time trying to illuminate what to expect over on the Catalyst Magazine blog. I cover multiple factors that impact pricing, ranging from the types of flowers most often seen on Pinterest and in wedding blogs to the hardiness of flowers. 

    One More Reason: The Timing (and Effort!) that Impacts Wedding Flowers

    I tried to keep the blog post linked above to a relatively digestable length, so there were additional factors I didn't mention. So, I'll share one more little tid bit with you that might not have crossed your mind.  

    Floral Designer Secret: It's Difficult! 

    Wedding flowers (or event flowers in general) are hard to handle, because of this goal: You want all sorts of different flowers to be at their absolute peak on the day of the wedding. Different flowers have different bloom times, and arrive from the wholesaler in different states. Think peonies, roses and amaryllis, for example, which can take 5+ days to open up into the state that you see in wedding photos. So, those need to arrive at the flower studio quite early in the week for a weekend wedding. Other flowers are so fragile and arrive in an open state, so they need to arrive the day before the wedding. It's quite a bit of coordination, conditioning and playing with temperature to get them to all look perfect at the same time. 

    In other situations, like a supermarket, flowers are sold early in a closed state. That's quite different from how luscious and open wedding flowers look. Often, wedding flowers are so close to their peak (intentionally!) that they won't look good for more than a day or two after the wedding. This is a nail-biting, challenging process for your floral designer. 

    Bonus: Behind the Scenes

    Kate of Kate's Captures Photography collaborated with me on getting these beautiful supporting images for the Catalyst Mag blog post. After meeting at the SF Flower Mart during their wholesale hours, we spent half a day together as I started arranging flowers, and she worked her magic with the camera. I think the photos turned out beautifully, especially given the lighting situation we struggled with. Those gloomy San Francisco days are not conducive to airy flower photos... 

    Shown here is a bit of a trick of the trade that I once learned from the talented, famous (and totally deserving) Tulipina: Having great photo backgrounds on hand that put flowers in focus... Even when the reality around it looks much busier, like in the photo below. Not visible are the two giant light boxes that turned the photo into anything but dark shadows. 

    What other questions do you have about wedding flowers? 

    Hit me in the comments,

    Cora Hardin of Blumenkiss