When you pose the question, “How much do flowers cost for a wedding,” your florist is most likely to respond by asking about your event.
The main factors to consider are your event size and flower types — the larger the wedding, the more flowers needed (more table arrangements and personal flowers such as corsages and boutonnieres.) Flower type also affects the cost — is it a rare, hard-to-grow flower or is it abundantly in bloom during your wedding season?
Let’s get down to the roots of this conversation, shall we?
How much do wedding flowers typically cost?
Here in California, couples spend an average of $7-10k on flowers. To get that luxury floral look with arches, lush arrangements and stunning bouquets, a budget closer to $10-15k should be expected.
The flower shortage and how that impacts you
The pandemic affected many industries and flowers were not exempt from that. When retailers and event hosts alike no longer needed flowers, the farms that typically supply the stock lost an incredible amount of sales — resulting in layoffs and in some cases, shut down flower farms. There are simply less flowers available as a result and in some cases, the quality is not as good.
In addition, many flower wholesalers planted less flowers in 2020,in preparation for another slow year — except, now there is another surge for retailers, weddings and other celebrations. Supply is low and prices are high.
Here in San Francisco, the flower market has shorter hours and is open less per week. Flowers are still growing — we just have to get creative to find what you want within your budget.
What normally affects the cost of wedding flowers?
Normally, the cost of your wedding flowers comes down to the following factors:
- Flower type: the more rare, the more expensive
- Season: in bloom or not?
- Type of arrangement: arches + hanging flowers involve more labor
- Number of family members: more personal flowers needed
- Size of bridal party: more boutonnieres and bouquets needed
- Venue size: more floral decor throughout the space
- Weather: challenging grow seasons = less flowers + higher cost
How flower types impact the cost
Some of the most sought-after flowers are also the most rare. Every flower is unique, which is why we love them, but it also means that some flowers are harder to grow, only grow for a short amount of time and are really quite fragile. This results in a high per-stem cost.
Which flowers are most expensive?
- Garden roses
- Imported Ranunculus
The most expensive flowers are orchids, peonies and garden roses.
Here in California, most growers don’t grow peonies. They’re an expensive flower to even grow and maintain and as a result, most flower businesses choose not to sell them. If you want peonies, they’ll need to be imported from outside of the U.S.
Event size + guest count: what to expect
Flowers go into a lot of the decor at events — table arrangements, arches, hanging flowers — if there’s a table or a room, flowers will follow suit.
When you increase your guest count, you increase the tables needed at your event, and therefore the flower arrangements needed!
As for your bridal party and family members, flowers are also needed: corsages, boutonnieres, bouquets, flower crowns, etc.
When are most flowers available?
You can find almost any flower in spring — most wedding selections are available except for Dahlias. If you want to get married in spring or summer, you’re golden. Fall is also beautiful, and usually considerably easy and cost-effective to find the flowers you want.
In the winter, however, although you can cut costs on less expensive venues and other wedding vendors, flowers are more expensive and harder to find. Certain flowers will need to be imported too. You can add more evergreen foliage to add a nice, wintery touch without the import costs.
What goes into designing and arranging flowers?
- Brainstorming with the couple
- Creating and revising selections
- Ordering from wholesalers and locals
- Arranging — cleaning, trimming, curating
It’s a lot of work and it’s not glamorous, but I love it so much. You want a florist that is passionate about what they’re doing, and that loves what they do.
For me, I believe in going beyond the typical wholesale flowers. When possible, I’ll drive to the San Francisco flower market to find something distinct — perhaps something I haven’t used before or a flower I didn’t originally envision with the design, but that really finishes the look. It makes the arrangement original with a straight-from-the-market inspiration that always works wonders.
And, as expected, I will also order directly from flower farms if I cannot get what I’m looking for at the flower market. Ordering directly has its own benefits such as fresher flowers and rare varieties.
What goes into installing flowers?
If you want flowers on tables, at your ceremony location, in your reception hall and for photos —you’ll need those flowers not only delivered, but placed in all of those locations (or handed to you!).
I have a 20-25% service fee, which includes delivery (first thing in the morning so you can have flowers for photos), set up and clean up at the end of the night. It’s an all day task — ensuring that the look is precisely what you wanted. The fee is adjusted depending on your event scope.
What else is included in floral design services?
Your flowers have quite the journey before they land on your table as an arrangement. Although I wish the process was as simple as picking up your preferred flowers at the market, the details are much finer — beginning with planting, growing and transporting.
And of course, the following is also included in floral wedding design:
- Planning and design
- Ordering, cleaning, preparing and arranging
- Delivering, installing and cleaning up
- Vases, ribbon, pins
- Labor — loading, unloading, design
- Workspace — tools and inventory
- Client communication
- Small business expenses: taxes, marketing, employees
Elaborate events call for elaborate flowers
When it comes down to it, your wedding flower cost depends on the event. Every event is so different. Do you want installations or do you just need a bridal bouquet and boutonniere? Do you prefer native flora or do you want a specific tulip only available in Amsterdam?
Tips for cutting back costs (without cutting back on the aesthetic)
To cut back on the cost of things without losing out on the overall feel, here are some ideas!
- Reuse arrangements! Vases used during the ceremony can be moved to the reception. For example, picture your ceremony location. If you don’t have an arch, you’ll typically have two large arrangements on either side of the couple. If you ask friends and family to move those arrangements to the reception for the entrance hall, you’ll get twice the usage out of those arrangements! Another idea is to place bridal bouquets on tables in the reception space, or to place them in vases.
- Skip flower crowns for the girls.
- Provide boutonnieres and corsages just for the maid of honor and groomsmen, as opposed to the entire party. You can do the same thing for mom and dad — skipping personal flowers for brothers and sisters.
- Keep it simple for the ceremony and put more money into the reception and cocktail hour —people will be there longer and be able to enjoy the floral design more.
- Manage candles on your own — buying and lighting candles is a big cost!
- Ask family to take down the flowers and clean up — this will potentially remove clean-up labor fees that your floral designer includes.
Summary: what increases costs the most
- Rare flowers-non local flowers
- Larger events
- Personals: corsages, bouquets, boutonnieres and flower crowns
- Ceremony flowers: large arrangements, hanging structures + arches
- Rentals: candles
As you can tell, getting that bouquet in your hand requires a variety of elements to align — but in the end, it’s worth it — soft, playful flowers that make your entire wedding feel fresh.