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Why are Wedding Flowers so Expensive?

Bride with heirloom roses

Photo Credit: Jamie Lee Noguchi Photography

This is often the most popular reaction I hear when couples begin their wedding research and experience initial sticker shock but when you consider all the factors, especially for a wedding, you may realize the cost is very justifiable. 

Flowers, alone, are expensive and here are a few reasons why:

  • Flowers are costly to grow
    They require a lot of resources: land, water, nutrients/fertilizers, labor, time, farm equipment and operations, not to mention Mother Nature on her best behavior.  
  • They are short-lived
    Flowers begin to die the minute they are cut from the fields.  This means the global supply chain and logistics for the floral industry is very sophisticated and will always include transportation services and cold-chain logistics.  Transport by plane and refrigerated trucks traveling across countries are part and parcel when it comes to flowers.
  • Everyday flowers are priced below market value
    We’re so used to seeing $5 bunch carnations, $12 roses, etc. Big-box stores like Costco, and chainstores are able to buy an enormous quantity at an even lower market price and also price their flowers at a loss as a strategy to entice consumers to buy other items that are considered profitable goods. 
  • Quality
    The flowers you see on Pinterest and Instagram are not your grocery store flowers. Wedding and event flowers are of the highest quality, may be small-yield and often-times are specialty-grown. The heirloom garden roses in your bouquet may have taken several years to mature before blooming for harvest.  Not to mention the prior years of research, breeding, and development it had taken to create that specific variety so it has the prettiest color, can travel well, be hardy and disease-free, develop beautiful, symmetrical blooms and be deemed of quality for the wedding market.

Now let’s consider your floral designer:

  •  Wedding florals are a goods AND a service
    When you hire a floral designer, you are not just buying flowers, you are also hiring professionals to design, create, transport, deliver, and install the flowers, and sometimes, clean-up and breakdown after your event, too.  It can be one person or several and it can be for a half-day or full day of work that leads long into the night after your event is over, and that is just for that day!

  • Designing florals take time
    Developing the designs with clients require lots of face-time, emails, communication and research. Then we spend time sourcing the right florals, negotiate pricing, sourcing for vessels, ribbons and other decorations and details. We also coordinate with other vendors and your planner to ensure everything goes smoothly for your event. 

  • Wedding flowers require a lot of preparation
    Many people don’t realize the amount of manual labor involved. A florist can easily order several hundred stems for a small wedding and those flowers all need to be individually cleaned, conditioned and prepped. Flowers also need to be handled carefully when we receive them and that can include refrigeration, cold-storage, monitoring, and conditioning them to bloom and be at their best in time for your event.

  • You are commissioning a work of art
    All florals are arranged by hand, typically the day or two before your event so the flowers are at their peak. And believe it or not, it can take several hours to create a centerpiece or a bouquet — every stem is carefully considered for placement.  Installation work is sculpture at a grand-scale requiring hundreds of florals and many hands. Fine-art-inspired, high-end florals arranged into an art-form are a testament to your floral designer’s artistry and skill which they have studied and practiced tirelessly to achieve.

It’s no surprise that floral designers experience the highest rates of burnout in the wedding industry. After working in several fields, my personal observation is that floral designers are some of the most passionate, wear-their-hearts-on-their-sleeve people who simply just love flowers. And for many of us who have gotten into the art of floral design, it really is a labor of love.