Let’s talk pricing this evening. Pricing has been a consistent challenge for both brides and grooms looking to hire a wedding florist and has equally been a challenge for designers looking to set a fair price. First, let’s touch on the couple that is planning a wedding. Remember this is most likely the largest floral purchase you have ever made and it is normal not to know exactly what to expect. It is normal to not know how much of your overall wedding budget to allot to get the look you want. It is also normal to think that going about shopping for a florist is similar to shopping for other wedding professionals. This could not be further from truth. A wedding florist is an artist and hiring the right designer for your wedding is more like commissioning a painting. My friend at Amy Nicole Floral said it best when she said “As with art not all floral work is created equal. You can give the exact same ingredients to 5 different floral designers and all finished products will all be very different. You are not just paying for ingredients placed in a vase but for the florists unique approach, vision, technique, design, etc. The way a florist preps a vase matters, the selection of materials matters, how much greenery matters, the way its artfully created matters, it is all a custom, unique creation which is what each florist is truly charging for.” This means that attempting to meet with florist after florist to compare pricing is frustrating and often feels like a waste of time. There are no guidelines to follow or even a standard price structure to set expectations. So then…. How do you as a couple find the “best price”?
Trusting the floral designer you select is actually the most important part of the process in finding the “best price” and has been something I have said many times. Finding the designer that is the best fit for you is when you find the “best price” for you. The “best price” does not mean it is the lowest price. You will find that designers that love what they do are not looking to rip you off or charge more because your event is a wedding. Because these designers love what they do they are looking to make your wedding the absolute best it can be and are looking for ways to maximize your investment and get you the most flowers they can for your budget. To identify your floral budget I suggest starting with a phone call and sharing the details of your dream wedding to your florist and allow the designer to help guide your budget. Keep in mind if flowers are priority to you in your overall wedding design they also need to take priority when setting your budget. The reality is the inspiration most brides and grooms bring from Pinterest, magazines and blogs is often well over the budget that couples expect (remember you haven’t done this before and it’s okay not to know). Your designer knows and expects you to be surprised when you hear the estimated cost for the dream wedding you have shared with him/her. Don’t feel foolish or embarrassed when you are caught by surprise by the cost. It is a natural process that designers work through daily. Your designer wants to see your dream come to life as much as you want it. Once you have caught your breath after the “sticker shock” talk through the ideas with your florist. When you know and trust the designer’s work you can also trust that he/she will guide you in the right direction.
Okay, so now it is time to focus on the designers looking to assign the “right price”. The challenge here begins with the fact that most florists and designers are creatives and often want to create so badly they are eager to give their services away just to have the opportunity to design. Although, you have to appreciate the heart behind this thought process it is not a way to sustain business. If designers are not charging enough to cover the basic expenses they will not be in business very long. If designers do not charge enough to earn a profit they will quickly become burned out and will have no interest in designing your wedding. That is the last thing you want. A burnt out designer is not a good designer and can not produce the same caliber of work as when he/she is inspired. You want your florist to be both passionate and profitable to assure the best experience and this is why I stated above that the “best price” is not always the “lowest price” . The majority of florists will charge a standard 3x mark-up on the cost of the wholesale flowers. This is pretty standard across the United States. What comes in as a variable is the labor and design costs associated with the business you are booking. Each designer having a different expense level and a different style will have to set different price points to assure they maintain a sustainable business. These expenses may include things like the cost of a cooler to assure each of those blooms is perfectly fresh, the cost of travel and workshops to assure that the designs are current and do not appear dated, the cost of employees and contractors and even the cost of an occasional outing to keep the design team motivated. There are many factors that go into the prices that need to be assigned. This is why florists and designers do not “price match”. It doesn’t make sense to match pricing based on someone else’s expenses. Comparison shopping only works well when you have a manufactured product that is the same every time. – I hope these words helped shed some light on this age old challenge of the “best price”.
(Credits for images used in this post)
Elizabeth Fogarty Photography (photography)
Intrigue Designs & Decor (florals)
Amie Decker Beauty(makeup)
Jewel Hair Design (hair)
Hannelore’s Bridal (gown)
Capital Custom Clothiers (tux)
Marigold & Grey(welcome basket)
White Glove Rentals (vintage rentals),
Select Event Group (linens)
Fluffy Thoughts (cake)
Splotch & Line (paperie)
Trumpet and Horn (ring)
Hair Comes the Bride (accesories)
Diana Gibbs (harpist)
Vintage Limos Biz (Rolls Royce)
The Artist Agency (Models)