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We do a lot of weddings here at R&M, and get enquiries for wedding flowers in all kinds of budgets.
Some brides nip to the registry office and have a few jam jars on the table at the pub afterwards, some brides want flowers absolutely everywhere. We always place the wishes of the bride first and both can look fantastic, as long as the level of expectation can be met.
The one thing a lot of brides-to-be don’t have is a realistic idea of the costing of flowers. Fair enough I hear you say, it’s not like you shop for wedding flowers everyday and it should be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get it just how you want it, or even better.
With the overkill of beautiful imagery on Pinterest, Instagram and those celebrity weddings it is really hard to set a realistic idea about the cost of wedding flowers and hopefully this bit of writing will help you get to grips with it all.
Above here on the left is a picture of a gorgeous table plan (picture from Pinterest) This fits clearly in the luxury wedding bracket.
How much does it cost?
Well, just imagine that Rose&Mary is an ice cream shop and each flower is a scoop of ice cream. How many scoops of ice cream is in this arrangement? I would say about 100. We at Rose&Mary would charge around £2.50-£4 per scoop of ice cream depending on flavour. Can you see where I’m going here?
Also look at the recepticle the flowers are in. That’s not a standard ice cream cone, that’s a fancy cone so it will be more expensive. Sprinkles and sauce are extra too (as is the cherry on the top).
Now if you have a budget of under £50 per table that doesn’t mean that you can’t get some nice flowers on there and by all means do show me these pictures to get the flower choice, colour scheme and texture right but it’s not going to look like that. There are just too many scoops and fancy cones to fit into your budget.
The next thing I would like you to consider is how much space needs to be filled with flowers.
The picture above is crammed with flowers and it looks absolutely beautiful but if you had half or even a quarter the amount of flowers on the table it can still look good and cost less money.
A standard round guest table that sits 8 to 10 people would need to have an arrangement in the centre of the table thats big enough to fill the table with lovelyness but not too big so that it takes away the room needed for the plates, glasses and favours.
There is a basic formula and that is that you would need a minimum of about 1-1.5ft in diameter worth of flowers. This can be the base of a tall candelabra with a beautiful large arrangement of flowers for that luxury wedding or a selection of a few budvases/ jam jars for the budget-friendly bride.
Any centrepiece that is smaller in diameter is not going to look good.
Now imagine the space these tables are in. A country barn with low ceilings and beams will make the candelabras look crammed in but on the other hand a few jam jars on the table with huge high ceilings will look lost in their surroundings. The same goes for the ceremony flowers.
A church is a really big space to fill and done well would require a huge amount of flowers. A small registry office might not need any flowers at all as you will have to put your wedding bouquet down somewhere anyway. It is also really not a bad idea to reuse the flowers from the ceremony table on the cake or top table afterwards to save on budget.
I have had lots of enquiries about wedding flowers where there was a breakdown in communication because the bride did not have a realistic sense of what is needed to make the wedding flowers look good.
The visuals of a wedding are so important and that’s what people remember most about a wedding. You only get to do it once and you have to do it right. “You get what you pay for” is something I say all the time during consultations and if they can find another florist who can make a tall candalabra arrangement for £20 then I would highly recommend a sample before the big day as the scoops/stemcount in flower arrangements is so important and needs to make sense.
If you have booked the standard 8-10 seater guest table you and you have set yourself a budget of £25 per table you will not be able to fill that minimum 1-1.5ft in diameter with a single vase of flowers, any florist that promises a good looking arrangement is having you on.
How many scoops of icecream do you think it takes to fill that space without huge gaps or lots of cheap filler flowers?
And if the bride-to-be can think that as its her special day so surely I can just charge a little less on the labour cost and more on the flowers then think again. I am not trying to rip you off, I don’t charge a premium for weddings. I buy the best quality flowers at the best wholesaler in town and charge a certain amount of labour. This earns me a modest income that allows me to feed my children and allows us a roof over our head.
There is a lot of bad press lately about rip off wedding suppliers. The hardest thing in our proffession is to be able to match the level of expectation to that of the brides while working within a given budget.
Competition among wedding suppliers is fierce and will drive down the price of wedding supplies but please please please do your homework and use common sense. Always check out previous wedding work of all your suppliers (check mine on www.instagram.com/roseandmaryuk) Don’t be afraid to ask for samples, check out reviews or ask to be put in to contact with previous customers.
If you are providing images of flowers from pinterest do a quick stem count,how many flowers can you see?