The cost of wedding flowers

Talking about money is really hard. It implies that we aren't in it for the love, which we are. When you read on, you’ll realise how little money us florists make. We are in it for the flowers and we are in it for the love. Please don't ask us to reduce our prices, or cut corners. It’s our profession, we value what we do highly and want others to too. 

As it’s February, I’ve had time to do a post event breakdown of a recent wedding. I always say to myself that I’ll do this after every job, so I can be sure that I’m pricing correctly, but in the middle of wedding season, I just don’t have time.

I try to price fairly and competitively, but also want to make sure that I’m paying myself a decent wage. Wedding floristry is hard work. But get the price right from the start, and the whole process will be so much more enjoyable. There is nothing worse than totting up the numbers after the event and realising you’ve made nothing.

Floristry is high product cost and high labour cost. I really want to urge florists to look hard at this. From the numbers below, you’ll see why I can’t afford to do a wedding for less than £1,000.

This was a relatively small wedding by the way. They didn’t have any bridal flowers for example.  The couple had a big piece for the ceremony area, table garlands and a few other little pieces.

Interestingly, the only dispensable/flexible item is what I pay myself. I can’t not buy flowers, I pay my freelancers well and have to pay my petrol. If anything is going to get skimmed, it’s my own pay, but I have three kids, a mortgage and a business to run. I have to take myself seriously and pay myself seriously. I really want to improve standards within the industry, so I can’t put less work into the design, or buy cheaper flowers. 

Here’s what I charged and what I spent:

The client paid £1, 400
My spend £1,329.90
Profit £70.60

  • Flowers £500

  • Sundries £15

  • Silk ribbon £15

  • Petrol £77.40

  • My labour (£25/hour) 26 hours £650

  • Freelance labour (£12/hour) 6 hours £72

How my labour breaks down for this job: 

  •  Admin (emails, phone calls and quote writing) 2.5 hours 

  • Design 2 hours 

  • Ordering 1.5 hours 

  • Sourcing flowers 1 hour 

  • Conditioning 1 hour 

  • Making 6 hours 

  • Set up (including travel time) 6 hours 

  • Clear/collection (including travel time) 4 hours 

  • Clean down & composting 2 hours 

My rate
I pay myself £25 per hour. I would like to charge more, but don’t want to become prohibitively expensive. I do increase my rate each year though, which means quoting a higher rate for 2020 enquiries.

Profit
My profit was low on this job. About 5%. My profit was swallowed up in the additional time travel needed due to horrendous weather, which was hard to financially plan for. I do perhaps need a contingency for days like this, as event work is often derailed by one thing or another. 

Clear and clean down
I removed all the wire from the foliage garlands, because it’s February and I had time, but also because I want to turn over a new leaf and commit to sending less to landfill. Even if I stuck it all in black bags, I would have had to take it to the tip, which takes time. I also spent 45mins breaking boxes (for the compost), cleaning out buckets etc. 

Travel
I made two return trips to the venue which was 40 miles away, and a return trip to Crediton to collect flowers, which is 6 miles away. So a total of 172 miles at 45p/mile. The couple could have saved by booking a more local florist. This is something I now for-warn at consultations. 

I know some florists don’t charge delivery, but I don’t think clients would really expect you to be out of pocket travelling. I think this should be a cost that the client sees and pays for. 

I ordered from a Cornish wholesaler, so I could guarantee English blooms. I therefore had to spend time travelling to meet the van, as he doesn't deliver to my door. This is often the case with buying local produce. It can feel less convenient and sometimes take longer, or certainly add another factor. It’s not always the case though, as often buying local means less time dealing with packaging and conditioning is much quicker. But, in any case, supporting local growers is a core principle of my business, so I factor into the price accordingly. 

Minimum spend 
My minimum spend for 2019 is £1,000 and for 2020 it’s £1,200. I can only assume that prices for flowers will increase. I also increase my labour rate with each year. Introducing a minimum spend has really helped me work at the standard that I wish to. I also found small budget wedding were as much, if not more work sometimes. 

If you are new to the game, and want to work on small weddings while you build your confidence, you still need to know what your minimum charge is for say, a bridal bouquet, so start to get your head around these costs. 

Some tips for florists to take away:

  1. Don’t spend more than 40% of the budget on flowers 

  2. Work out your day rate/hourly rate and stick to it firmly 

  3. When quote writing, be realistic with yourself and the client. This isn't a free service. Get the quote right from the start, to avoid feeling disappointed with yourself and help give the bride a realistic picture of what it costs.

Olivia & Rob, Boxgrove Priory

Olivia and Rob..shot by the INCREDIBLE Igor Demba. So mega excited to share these images with you.

Their ceremony took place in Boxgrove Priory, a twelfth century church with a breathtaking vaulted ceiling, followed by a party at Long Furlong Barn in West Sussex. 

I want to do it all over again...shame it doesn't work like that.

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Cake by the wonderful Laure at Pudding Fairy.

An English heritage wedding

Natasha and Theo made their vows last summer at one of England's oldest wedding venues, Almonry Barn - a scheduled ancient monument in Somerset. 

I had a feeling it was going to be a wedding to remember when I was contacted by Lauren from Flourish Caligraphy all the way from Canada. Lauren was curating the wedding for her friend Natasha, and their mutual friend -  fine art wedding photographer Megan Laura was also organised to fly over to shoot the wedding.  

They were really keen to use English roses, so we did.. use lots of them! Varieties include Margaret Merril, Charmant and Whiter Shade of Pale, all provided by The Real Flower Company

When people think of English flowers, they often think of 'wild flowers' such as daisy, cornflower and poppies, ending up in a riot of colour. These beautiful shots show that English flowers can be used to create a classic look, with a very muted and delicate colour palate. 

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If you are looking for beautifully crafted wedding stationery, take a look at Lauren's website. She sends her work all over the world.  

And Megan Laura Photography is a destination photographer and I know would love to come back to England to shoot more weddings..her work is incredibly special. 

Mother's Day shop now closed

Sorry, I can't help. All orders are now in the making, so the shop is closed.

As spring arrives, so too do British flowers. All bouquets are locally grown (except for roses, which are Fairtrade).

Bouquets cost £35 and will include: roses, ranunculus, narcissi and tulips, in a mix of bright colours. 

Bouquets are available to collect from The Good Florist workshop in Fairwarp (TN22 3BL) or from Wilderness Woods (TN22 4HJ) on either Saturday 25th or Sunday 26th March. 

 If you have a special request, or would like to know about delivery charges as an alternative, please email me roberta@thegoodflorist.co.uk

Each bouquet includes a donation of £1 to Wilderness Woods, helping to protect our community woodland. 

Hannah & Zac's festival wedding

Sometimes when I drop a bridal bouquet off, I want to stay and join the party. This was definitely one of those weddings.

Hannah and Zac live in Melbourne, but chose to get married in the UK at The English Herb Farm in Hampshire. They were blessed with a gorgeous summer's day. 

I wish I could tell you more about their suppliers, as these guys had everything nailed. The caterers were a sustainable seafood company called Clawfood, hand picked my Hannah & Zac who make their living selling pizza from a wagon in Australia. 

Hannah's dress was made by Australian designer Anna Campbell who specialises in relaxed, bohemian,  free-spirited wedding dresses, and the beautiful photography is courtesy of Mckinley Rodgers

Intimate banquet at Pelham House

Before the wedding season hots up, I wanted to share with you one of the most beautiful weddings from this winter.

To get married by candlelight and then fly to Sri Lanka for winter sun seems like a good reason to get married in January. 

Lisa and Toby tied the knot at Pelham House in Lewes, with their two children Didi and Zac.

Lisa has a really elegant and individual style and she opted for a printed silk dress from Stella McCartney. 

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Stella Mccartney dress

The reception was a dream for me to work on. We decided to create a winter garden, and I used lots of dried hydrangea, potted plants, lichen covered branches and fresh seasonal flowers including hellebores, muscari and narcissus.

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Wedding flowers Lewes

Photographer Sarah Weal is a Sussex based portrait photographer. Her website shows a beautiful collection of portraits, including some famous faces. 

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Pelham house wedding
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Pelham House is a 16th Century townhouse with a really intimate feel. The ceremony room has stately wooden paneling which adds warmth and depth, perfect for a winter wedding. It also has a beautiful garden.  

I would really recommend checking it out if you are looking for a wedding venue in Sussex. 

Second wreath workshop announced

The wreath workshop on 3rd December is now full so I've added a second date. 

Thursday 10th December, 7-9pm

Wilderness Woods, Hadlow Down, East Sussex, TN22 4HJ

Get seriously festive at this  winter wreath workshop. I'll be showing you how to make a wreath for your door, using natural materials and foliage foraged from the woods. 

Create your own design using evergreens, dried flowers, seed pods and pine cones and soak up the festive atmosphere by the fire in the cafe. 

Cost per person £30 which includes a drink from the Wild Bar. 

To book email me roberta@thegoodflorist.co.uk or call me on 07816 873138.

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