The time has come for me to talk about the wedding cause closest to my heart – your flowers.
I’m not going to lie – it really bugs me when people make my job out to be easy. I studied floristry at college, I’ve since done a lot of freelancing and worked several 40 hour weekends to get to the level I’m at now. I’ve completed one course with another coming up to invest in continued personal development. Owning a good DSLR and knowing how to use Photoshop does not make you a wedding photographer: ordering a load of flowers off the internet, sticking them in buckets and watching a few YouTube tutorials does not make you a florist.
The most common question I’ve been asked about our wedding is if I’m going to do my own flowers. Yes, I’m DIY-ing but I create wedding flowers week in, week out. I know my limitations of what’s possible and feasible for me to do the day before my wedding. My own wedding is also the perfect opportunity for me to get creative and I can use the professional photographs to promote my work. (Haters gonna hate.)
I would never advise anyone to DIY your bridal flowers using fresh flowers unless you or someone else in your bridal party or family has floristry experience. I’ve said it in an earlier post and I’ll say it again – your bouquet is in the forefront of many of your photographs. You want it to look good. If your heart is set on some DIY, have a bash at your own table flowers but be prepared for green fingers and nails on your wedding day.
If you do look into sourcing your own flowers, when do you get them in? What mix of flowers are you using and how many days do they take to open so they’re at their peak? Do you need to split your order? How many stems of each flower do you use? Can you spiral a bouquet to give it the correct shape? Some flowers are hardier than others; the longer it takes you to make your bouquet and the more you handle your flowers the more they’re going to wilt. Where’s your binding point? If you hold them too tight you risk breaking stems: too loose and it won’t hold it’s form. What do you do the night before your wedding when it’s not gone to plan and your flowers are looking worse for wear?
Your bridal bouquet need not cost £150, but if you’re looking for masses of peonies and David Austin roses it could. Centrepieces need not cost £200 a table, but tall vases with full domed arrangements can. If you’re looking for statement flowers, they come with statement price tags. I’m a florist, not a magician. Using seasonal flowers can often bring the price of your arrangements down but it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re cheap - peonies and hydrangea can cost £5+VAT per stem (at wholesale!)
Florists get genuinely excited about styling the seasons; let us guide you. I’m planning on using a mix of roses, spray roses, dahlias and berries in autumnal tones with lots of greenery for our September wedding. Wild with luxe, rich colours to compliment with the dark wood and gold detail of our venue. (At the moment, I have changed my mind once on colours already.)
So, in answer to the famous question - why are wedding flowers so expensive?
- Wedding flowers take a lot of prep. Chances are by the time your wedding comes round I’ll have met with you twice. I offer an initial consultation that usually lasts around an hour and I’ll chat to you about your vision and my experience from previous weddings, offering advice and suggestions on how we can get the look you want within your budget. We’ll chat about colours, what will be in season and have a look at inspiration pictures so I can put together your itemised quote. I then offer a catch-up appointment nearer your wedding to run through everything again so it’s fresh in our heads. I’ll then revise your quote with any tweaks and resend it to you so you have a final order form. In between times I’m at your beck and call as much as possible.
- The month of your wedding I’ll be getting your final counts, putting together your floral recipes, placing orders with my suppliers and sourcing all the supplies I need to bring your wedding flowers to life. Scissors, secateurs, ribbon, pins, floral foam, tapes, corsage bracelets, vases, cellophane, paper and gift bags all cost money.
- Flowers are an international trade. The Aalsmeer Flower Auction building in Holland is one of the largest commercial buildings in the world and around 20 million flowers are bid for and sold daily. Flower prices rise on supply and demand: a week in Majorca is more expensive in July – so are the most popular wedding roses. Your wedding flowers could come from specialist growers in Holland, Columbia, Ecuador, Ethiopia and Kenya amongst other countries. The growers, auctions, distributors and wholesalers all have overheads.
- I have overheads. I couldn’t do my job without my trusty Betty Berlingo to pick up your flowers and supplies then transport them to you and your venue. My van needs diesel, servicing and maintenance. I need insurance for my van, and also for me. I need a laptop, a website, an email account, business stationery and I pay to advertise on Facebook because Facebook is a swine, and on Braw Brides.
- This is my job and I like to eat three meals a day. I run my business full time and I put my heart and soul into what I do. Your wedding flowers will keep me up at night.