Wouldn’t it be lovely if there was a magic formula to determine your wedding flower budget? Some online sources will tell you there is. They’ll give you a percentage and call it a day. I’m here to tell you to ignore that advice. Here you will find, from a seasoned wedding florist, how to determine your wedding flower budget.
Ask yourself how important flowers are to you on your wedding day. This is also a question to ask whomever is paying (or helping you pay) for your wedding. Next, rank flowers with the other line items you have on your checklist such as photographer, food, DJ/Band, alcohol, etc. This will help you determine your wedding flower budget in relation to the other items you need. Get pricing from the vendors highest on your list first and, if you can, don’t book vendors until you have determined the real costs of your top 3 items. That way you have a more complete picture before making decisions. Too often, we hear that couples waited on flowers and spent their budget on other items first, only to be disappointed they had to cut key floral items.
Guest count matters. Remember, the more guests, the more tables to decorate, and therefore, more flowers. BUDGET SAVING TIP: Rectangle tables are more expensive to decorate than round tables. If you’re trying to cut back on flower costs, opt for all round tables. If you must have a long table, consider a King’s Table for your family or bridal party.
Do you dream of a floral “installation?” This could be for your ceremony in the form of an arch, arbor, chuppah, etc adorned with flowers. Or perhaps you really want a flower wall behind your sweetheart table. These are labor intensive. Furthermore, there will likely be a cost to rent the structure in addition to the flowers. There may also be associated fees to flip the room or move/remove a structure. Installations can start around $400 but reach up to several thousand dollars depending on your dream.
Have you uttered the phrase “The space is grand enough- we don’t need a lot of flowers”? Stop and re-think that. You might be right. But, if your reception space has tall ceilings or is grand on its own, will it look empty without flowers to match? The Grand Ballroom at the Omni William Penn in Pittsburgh, PA is a perfect example of this. BEFORE you book your venue, make sure you think about all of the necessary costs required to make it look the way you envision. Ask your wedding planner what the average cost to decorate that space has been in their experience.
Remember that your floral budget should also include the rental of candles and vases (you do not have to buy your own!), structures and other items like a card box, easels, some signage, etc. This may eliminate the “decor” category on your spreadsheet and open up more space in your “floral” column.
Count up your bridal party and think about all of the other VIPs that may require flowers. Parents, grandparents, stepparents, readers, musicians, vocalists, ushers, godparents, officiant(s), to name a few.
Are there flowers on your “must have” list that are known to be higher priced? Garden roses, peonies, protea, orchids, dahlias, and anemone are just a few. Are you requesting any out of season blooms (peonies in winter for example)? Are these necessary only in your bouquet or do you want them throughout your wedding?
Is your wedding on a holiday weekend? This could result in increased flower costs. Especially around Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day when supply and demand drive our cost of goods up. If you’re considering a wedding around other major holidays, you might also find increased labor charges as well.
Taxes, Delivery, Installation, Tear Down. These will typically amount to 25-35% of the floral subtotal. The subtotal includes your florals and rentals. Delivery will be based on how far we have to travel to deliver and set up your flowers and how many stops we need to make. Installation is a percentage of your subtotal that varies based on how labor-intensive the set up is. Tear Down is the cost to have our staff come back at the end of your wedding to retrieve all of our rentals and properly dispose of your flowers. We hope you’ll donate your flowers- ask us how!
There is a lot to think about here- I know! However, my first job as your florist is to educate you. I want you to feel confident in choosing what is important to you. I want you to know that you will love what you see on your wedding day. Flowers are more expensive than one typically expects. And you are being fed images of high-end, high-quality flowers constantly that are determining your tastes and desires. These images do not have price tags on them which often leads to frustration for couples and families. Let us help you by meeting with us, your florist, early in the planning process and by having honest conversations with us about your expectations and your budget. Then be open to hearing our ideas for alternatives, if necessary. And remember, if you receive a quote that seems too good to be true, it probably is.