When you picture your wedding day, there are probably a few different thing you imagine: your handsome groom waiting for you at the end of the aisle, your carefully-chosen wedding dress, a bridal party made up of your closest family and friends, and tons of breathtaking flowers. While everything associated with a wedding comes with a price tag, couples often experience sticker shock over the floral décor, particularly the bride's and bridesmaids' bouquets.
How can something so small cost so much? Simply put, flowers are expensive, and because a bouquet is comprised of a number of individual blooms, they can be quite costly. While your florist will help you pick the flowers that fit your style and theme, it's important to be clear about your budget from the start. It also helps if you head into your first floral planning meeting with at least a rough understanding of the costs associated with specific floral elements. Here, the pros break down the factors that contribute to the final cost of your bouquet.
First, they require an extensive amount of design time and care. "We usually allot one to two hours of design time to perfecting each bridal bouquet," explains Meredith Clarin, creative director at Kitanim Flowers. But it's not always just the labor you have to think about. If you prefer expensive, out-of-season blooms, the cost will be higher. "Not always, but more often than not, brides choose an elegant and pricey array of flowers to make a statement and differentiate their bouquet from the rest of the bridal party," says Clarin. "The most popular statement florals are orchids, peonies, garden roses, and calla lilies, all of which are at a top-tier price level."
While the types of flowers attribute to the cost, the number of individual blooms matters, too, and you'll probably be surprised by how many flowers it takes to make a full, beautiful arrangement. Furthermore, Clarin adds that many florists need to order more flowers han they intend to use in the final arrangement. This allows them to select the stems that are in perfect condition and to have some left over for last-minute changes or to replace a broken or wilted bloom on the big day.
Another factor that impacts the cost of your bouquet is your florist's overhead. "You also have to consider all of the expenses that come with running a floral business, which includes prep, storage, labor, production, supplies, and transportation, all of which you must be charged for in order for that business to be profitable," explains Danielle Gonzalez, florist and owner of Blooms by the Box. "If you're up to the task of arranging your own flowers, you could save some money by taking on those responsibilities yourself, but DIY isn't for everyone." Simply put: If you've never arranged flowers before, your wedding day is not the time to start.
It's important to note that the overal size of the bouquet doesn't always impact cost. "Large bouquets have the appearance of being more costly, however, some smaller bouquets soar in price because of the selection of flowers," Bron Hansboro of The Flower Guy Bron points out. "Additionally, there is a misconception that bouquets using greenery as focal points are inexpensive, but high quality greenery is certainly costly and guaranteed to drive the cost of the bouquet up."
Bottom line: There are a number of factors that can contribute to the final cost of your wedding bouquet. If you're trying to save without sacrificing on quality, Gonzalez recommends choosing mostly affordable blooms such as carnations, chrysanthemums, and baby's breath. "Carnations and mums come in a wide variety of colors and a little goes a long way with baby's breath," she says.
That doesn't mean you can't have any statement blooms, though. If you're trying to keep costs down, use them only as a focal point, says Gonzalez. She suggests adding a few pricier stems like peonies or garden roses to your bridal bouquet, but supplementing the rest of the arrangement with more affordable flowers. "Sometimes color pairings are more important than the specific flower varieties, which means you can recreate a floral arrangement by swapping out the more expensive blooms for something more cost effective in a similar color," she says.