Floral Masterpieces with Jay Archer ~ the true cost of your wedding flowers | uk wedding blog

facebook-profile-picture By Phoebe
True cost of wedding flowers

Morning all! Did you have a lovely weekend? The blog survey has closed, I received some wonderful feedback and really helpful criticisms. I will try to meet as many of your requests as possible, though sourcing unicorns or the ability to force glitter out of the screen on to your laps may not be possible. Today we are back with the wonderful Jay Archer as she has written a fantastic piece on the cost of wedding flowers. I knew as soon as I got engaged that Miss Pickering would be my florist, but I went in to our first meeting not really knowing how much it would cost so hopefully this post will help. The last estimate I read in a wedding magazine was £459 for flowers. Read on to see just how realistic that may be…*spoiler* not bloody likely.

I read loads of articles laying claim to talking about the real cost of flowers, but they all still fairy around and don’t give you actual, broken down real life figures… I appreciate however, there’s a bit of ground work to do first, and ‘setting the scene’ and so, I’ll start at the beginning.
There is a misconception that ‘stick wedding front of it and the price doubles’. In some instances, not all, it’s fair to say it does and I would like to explain why… In writing this article, I have tried to provide average prices, and they are not specific JAFD prices. I’ve also tried to provide several price points, and advice notes on ways to save or splurge.
Rustic buttonhole from £3.50
One reason for why wedding suppliers can cost so much is that many are self-employed, sole traders or small business owners. There are only a limited number of days in the year where we can offer our services- everyone wants a Saturday wedding for example, but with only 52 in the year with the most desirable in the Summer months we often get 10’s of enquiries for one specific date. Setting a minimum spend or taking on a higher budget client is, at times, essential and you can expect that whilst prices won’t necessarily be inflated, suppliers will be less likely to want to negotiate with you.
View More: http://babbphoto.pass.us/adaandrichard
Credit to Babb Photo. From £40 per kilner jar
When you start your florist-finding journey and you begin to get quotes back, ask them if they’ve included the below, or if there are any hidden costs as some may add these when they send the final invoice. Arm yourself with prior knowledge and keep an open mind- as with most things in life, research is key and you may have to compromise having all rose candelabra in favour of something more cost effective, if you only have a £500 budget! Be honest about your budget too- it isn’t fair on a florist if you don’t book them because they were too expensive, yet you never told them your budget. If you like them and their ideas, give them a chance.
Stand table centre_from £65
We try not to offer unrealistic prices, because we actually do need your bookings- this is our livelihood after all- and we wouldn’t want to scare you off! But at the same time, it can be very demoralising when people argue over a few pounds- get a fantastic florist, and believe in them and their worth. If you are struggling to understand exactly why flowers cost what they do, your florists, and other suppliers, should be able to provide you of a breakdown of costs, so per item you can see:
Their mark-up
Their time- yes, this is chargeable
Design fee
Set up fee
Clear down and cleaning fee
Equipment hire cost
Sundry cost
Flower cost
Labour of hired in staff
On the day refreshments/ crew meal
Many relative newbies do not charge a design fee, set up fee, VAT or for their time simply taking whatever is left as their profit- this is not a way to run a business, and is nothing more than an expensive hobby. The more established the business, the more you’ll probably pay as you’re buying their brand, expertise and specific style.
Seasonal bridesmaid bouquet from £40

Seasonal bridesmaid bouquet from £40

To give you an general idea of costs, see below. If you are on a budget then work out your priorities first, and then anything left in the pot can be attributed to your wish list. If you have a larger budget, its really about picking the flowers you like and going from there.
Seasonal bouquet from £75

Seasonal bouquet from £75

Bridal party flowers
  • Hand-tied bridal bouquet, from £75. For small, meadow like flowers and herbs/ foliage expect to pay about £75. Start adding roses, peonies, lily of the valley and you could pay anything up to £150. On average, a rose bridal bouquet costs from £95.
  • Bridesmaids, from £40. For a smaller version of your own bouquet, deduct £30 from your bouquet cost. For more seasonal bouquets, including stocks, berries, foliage, dahlia, then the price could be bought down to about £40 each. Add to this fancy ribbons, or embellishment and the base price will go up.
  • Buttonholes. I’ve heard them go for as little as £3.50, up to £25 each… again, it depends on ingredients but generally, allow about £7 each.

Church flowers

  • Pew ends. How long is a piece of string! Pew ends can be reused in vases for the drinks reception, so based on this they shouldn’t be as cheap as people try to get them for! Essentially, they are a hand-tied bouquet which are about the same price as a thank you bouquet or bridesmaids bouquet, but with cheaper flowers or more foliage, they can start from £15 each.
  • Archway flowers. It all depends on the archway, and the logistics. Many old church archways have nooks and nails you can hang flowers from, but some don’t and the florist may have to hire in a free-standing support, bumping up the cost considerably. Even using cheaper flowers, the cost can still be substantial. I’d say a minimum of £350 for a church archway, with a free-standing one at a minimum of £550 using very cost effective flowers and foliage! For a floor to floor archway, with roses, hydrangea etc, you may be looking at about £1200 min.
  • Large urn arrangements. For rose-full, scented stocks, foliages and seasonal flowers, you;d be looking at around £150-£275 dependant on size and ingredients, but these could be bought down to £110 as I have seen some florists advertise…
Urn arrangement from £125

Urn arrangement from £125

Reception flowers
Table centres:
  • Small posy vase, from £45. Approx vase size 15cm, with flowers another 15cm higher than this
  • Mixed bottles or glass jars, from £30 per table. Bottles with single flower heads in
  • Silver footed bowls, from £75 with seasonal flowers.
  • Tall flower-filled candelabra, from £150 plus hire charge. People do not realise how many flowers are needed to fill candelabra. The price can be bought down if using more foliage.
As a general rule of thumb, ‘seasonal’ flowers are more widely available than out of season flowers and therefore more cost effective. It does not however mean they are cheap- hydrangeas can cost up to £5.50 per stem- that’s the wholesale cost to us, the florist!- roses approx £2.50 per stem and delphiniums up to £4.00 per stem. We have to buy flowers in, usually, min quantities around 20 stems, meaning we pay £2.50 per stem for 20 plus VAT. When you start seeing this broken down, adding a profit on and labour etc etc, you can easily see why flowers are so expensive.
Large arrangement from £250... JAFD would charge £325 for this

Large arrangement from £250… JAFD would charge £325 for this

 Ask your florist if they’re available on the day of your wedding to move arrangements between ceremony room/ church and reception, to get the most for your pennies, and consider a few larger arrangements to create real wow factor, meaning you could do less elsewhere on tables. Again, a good florist should want to work with you and I, for example, only do one wedding per day meaning I can indeed move bits around for you.
Visit Jay Archer Floral Design to see more of Jay’s stunning work. Are these costs more or less than you thought?


Leave a comment

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Jay Archer //

Thanks for this Phoebe… will be interested to hear peoples thoughts on this one!

Charlotte //

Really great post. It’s good to see it broken down and the reasons why it can cost as much as it does. I think some people just assume it’s a bunch of flowers in a pot, why is it so expensive, but when you add time, labour, costs and everything else in, it’s easy to see why! Brilliant.

Hannah //

As the owner of a new floral design business, I found this very interesting! Thanks you! It’s reassuring to see that my prices are on a par with these and that it’s OK, actually essential, to add design, labour and set up, to make the business worthwhile.

I have to say, before training to become a florist and working in the industry, I thought wedding flowers seemed extortionate and couldn’t figure out why! I think it would be beneficial if more florists were upfront about their charges, as in the breakdown you outlined. But then it’s easy for this information to be used against you, for the customer to take it elsewhere and see if another supplier can beat your quote! I’ve seen this happen and it’s very frustrating.

Jay Archer //

Hey Hannah, thanks for your comment.

I wouldn’t worry about the information being used against you. There is always someone who will be able to beat you and to be honest, that’s fine!I’d rather have a day off in the Summer than argue with someone for the sake of £100 here and there. It’s about building confidence in what you do and trying to establish a UPS that is completely unique to you. If someone loves your work, they won’t be interested in other florists as they’ll appreciate what you can bring to their wedding. Good luck!

Phoebe //

I agree with Jay, at the end of the day, they probably aren’t the clientèle you would have wanted anyway. Believe in what you do, and how much you charge and others will too. No questions asked.

Kate //

As a bride, I think it is especially useful for your florist to give a real breakdown of costs so you can understand just what you are spending the money on. Being given a large number but not knowing how it calculates to be that can be quite daunting! The florist I’m using is lovely and she sent me a detailed breakdown of how much each bouquet and button hole would cost without me even requesting it – it helps you to see where the money is going on which flowers, and if it is over your budget you can cut back without having to have an awkward conversation but just excluding things much more easily.

Fiona Pickles //

Fabulous post Jay and Phoebe – thank you! I couldn’t agree more with everything you’ve said and was having this exact same conversation this weekend. It was very different in the early days of my business, in fact it was quite scary at how low my prices were, but now I’ve built the business up and have established a good reputation, like you Jay, I know that people come to me because they love my flowers and they have to be prepared to pay for them. What a lot of people don’t realise is the amount of work that goes into the displays, often either very late at night or very early in the morning. I know another florist who has a friend help her with set ups and he happens to be a builder (ie not afraid of hard work). He used to have to ask for breaks when she just kept going, as he found it such hard work! It’s not all as pretty and glamorous as it may seem, although I still LOVE what I do 🙂 Fiona x

Jennifer Bingham //

As a wedding decor stylist, I recommend florists to quote for the wedding I’m working on. I must say, they are so hard working – starting very early to prep in the studio before spending hours setting up onsite.
You don’t just employ one for a sat an set up, the whole weekend is taken up with a wedding, especially if they need to return and clear down on the Sunday.
You pay for talent and hard work and fluctuating flower prices.
Money well spent!

Lucy //

Really interesting post, thank you. I haven’t started looking into flowers for our wedding yet, but we had given ourselves a rough budget. I guess the best way to go about it is to be upfront about our budget and find out what that can afford. I also really like the idea of moving the church flowers to the venue afterwards, that would save a lot of money by the sounds of it.

Jay Archer //

I find it you show your workings out and can justify the cost, most people are happy to pay- they just need to know what they’re paying for! People are not as willing, quite rightly so, to just part with cash no questions asked nowadays, they need confidence. But more often than not, they’re happy to pay for it. Jx

Joanne (Fletcher & Foley) //

Fabulous post. All valid points and I also agree with all of it. I asked a bride last week at a consultation what the budget was to be told ‘there isn’t one’. The consultation document went out and today I received an email that said ‘… the overall cost way over our budget, is there any way we could take out some of these flowers to bring the costs down?’. I don’t want to disappoint someone with their flower choices, and it’s not a trick question. Be realistic.

sandra picksley //

My last comment seems to have disappeared! I always ask for budgets and very rarerly get one. Like Joanne, it is really disappointing to be told your quote is over budget when you specifically asked and didn’t get one. This is a great article full of fantastic advise on choosing your flowers. My quotes are always itemized so every bride can see where their money is going. Be honest with your florist and they will be honest with you and work hard to fulfil your flowery dreams x

Jo Leslie //

Thank you for taking the time to share this. I found it interesting and will share. I’ve had two quotes come back to me this week that both when asked had not been forthcoming with a budget. I think if average costs are well known it’s not so much of a shock and the couples can think about a budget ahead. My problem is after a consultation I genuinely warm to the couple, have a vision of their day and the flowers, so when they come back with a request for lower costs I do want to be able to accommodate which is often at the expense of some of the design ideas and potentially resulting in provide arrangements that are just ‘standard’. Which is such a shame. So keep up with spreading the word. Thanks

Jay Archer //

Hey Jo.
Great comments, thank you. It is disheartening when you know what the scheme could have been. I find however, people who initially cut back quite often later have money left in budget so add things back on. Maybe introduce a minimum spend to, if you feel your giving more than you’re earning… all those amended proposals/ moodboards etc take time and you have to factor that in too! Jx

Catherine Kerr //

Like everyone’s already said, this is definitely interesting. Most couples are surprised at how much wedding flowers cost. A lot of us have no idea how labour intensive some arrangements are, though I have to say I am surprised at the price of flowers in a jar (hah!)
My view is that if you really want something, then you just have to save for it. All parts of a wedding have priorities & sometimes you can’t have it all. Some brides worry that their wedding will be viewed as ‘naff’ if they can’t afford everything a wedding ‘should’ have.

RJ Carbone //

Very enlightening article, and the budget breakdown really sheds light on the tremendous amount of detail involved in designing wedding arrangements. I can only add the importance of staying with seasonal items, for the bulk of the occasion, then going a little exotic on some of the highlights. Even though staying on budget is important, making the arrangement unique and interesting will help create a more memorable event. Getting estimates early is important, but also taking suggestions from the designers because as Jay stated, they’re purchasing items in bulk and may have an existing inventory that may make the price, right.