I'd been sat racking my brains deciding which area of planning to tackle for you next when a lovely bride suggested I cover flowers as the whole subject confused her. How much should she set aside? How much does she actually need? Well, at the risk of offending my green fingered friends (you know I love you, right?) you don't actually "need" any. At a time where wedding DIY has never been so hot, it's no longer taboo not to have an abundance of blooms to show for yourselves. But that's not the answer you wanted, was it? Let's face it, with weddings come flowers, however big or small, they're an expected part of the big day.
I've teamed up with florist Gayle Evans of Bloomingales to find out more...
Where to start?
At the very beginning. Please. When you start to look at venues, take into account the size, style and colour scheme of the room(s) you might be using. This will have quite an impact on the flowers you choose. It's a lot to take in in one go, I know, but try and get an idea of what the space needs, ask the venue if they have any images of previous weddings. If you know you have a small flower budget and the room is sizeable with high ceilings, be realistic. Tall displays always work well in these situations and they're notoriously more expensive-particularly if you use candelabra as part of them. Smaller arrangements can look lost in a room such as this, so think carefully before you book and be prepared to allocate more of your budget to the flowers.
Many listed buildings also have rules about what can and can't be used for decorative purposes, so if your venue won't allow you to hang bunting, lights or drapery from the ceiling (this is a great way to bring a taller ceiling down into the room) then this is also something you need to think about carefully.
How much SHOULD I spend?
This is a tricky one as it depends on the size of your venue and the size of your bridal party. The average spend for flowers is around the £1,200.00 mark, although you can expect to pay a lot more depending on the size of the arrangement and the selection of flowers. Choosing flowers out of season (that need to be imported) will bump up costs, as will more technical arrangements or bouquets that involve wiring.
"This year has been a difficult one to comment on an average. I've had a lot of clients postpone their wedding until next year or just approach me for bridal work and nothing else. This year I have such polar opposites of client budgets with those spending just £75 for a single bride's bouquet to £3,000 for their whole day to be florally enhanced. I would say the average spend for a client wanting the whole package would be £700-£1,000."
You can expect a bridal bouquet to cost anything between £70-£150, buttonholes around £8-£10 and table arrangements anything from £50 upwards depending on the florist.
I've designed weddings with floral budgets smaller than £1,000.00 and they've been just as beautiful. Don't expect miracles-you get what you pay for. If you know you are working to a tight budget, let the florists you meet with know before they head off and write your quote. It'll help them to understand your needs, use the flowers that are the most cost effective and above all will stop you both wasting your time if the florist only works with larger budgets.
"A good florist will take the time and be able to help you stretch your pounds n' pence to cover areas that you long for and work them into your budget if you are honest with them about how much you can afford from the start. Actually talk between yourselves as a couple about what you think you want and if you haven't got a clue about costing and are really struggling to come up with a budget then speak to a florist ASAP, don't leave us as the last thing on your list as you may be shocked as to how much you need to raise in a short period of time."
How Do I Choose?
I always find it helps to pull together a scrapbook or mood board of flowers you love. It might be the shape of the bloom, the colour, the smell or the way a design has been put together.
Do your research. Find out what's in season around the time of your wedding.
Look at the colour scheme inside your venue. If the decor is neutral the world is pretty much your oyster, however if the space has a dominant colour scheme you'll need to be a little more careful with what you choose to compliment it.
Gayle describes her process...
" I compile a fully comprehensive break down of all arrangements that have been discussed with pictures of similar styles and colours and actual images of flowers that I am suggesting to be used for their day. I'm willing to meet with my clients as many times as is needed for their assurance and mine and to make sure we are all on the same page when it comes to setup and styling of the venue on the lead up to the day."
Why do flowers cost what they cost?
Well, there are several answers to that question.
"Tax is a big issue with the price of flowers at the moment as well as some crops failing due to weather related problems which had a knock on affect to the whole supply and demand chain."
Certain blooms are more expensive than others...
"Blooms such as hydrangeas are very large and when bought from Holland they will be cut and transported in water in a specially designed bucket and can fit only 10 stems in one whereas in the same bucket you can fit 80 stems of roses, so the hydrangea have a high distribution charge placed on them per stem than the roses which bumps their price up considerably."
"Around wedding season white flowers see a raise in price so I would say to brides to think outside the Kate Middleton all white box and think about being daring and colourful, you'll be surprised what you can get at a better price!"
Remember that the florist needs to factor in their labour-it takes time and skill to create beautiful arrangements. You're paying for their knowledge too.
What should I tell my florist?
The main points your florist will need to know at your consultation is
• The date of your wedding-the time of year will dictate what's available to work with.
• Whether you need arrangements for the ceremony, be it pedestals or pew ends.
• What your dress is like-this determines the style of bouquet best suited to your dress (although you can do no wrong with a hand-tied).
• How many bridesmaids you have and what their dresses are like.
• How many groomsmen you have and the number of buttonholes you need.
• If there are any female members of your family (mothers, grandmothers or aunts) who require a corsage.
• The number of tables you need to decorate at the reception.
• If there are any focal points at your reception venue that would benefit from a display (e.g. recesses and mantlepieces).
Ok, so it's quite a lot but worth thinking about before you get there.
I hope this has helped make the subject of flowers clearer and easier for you to approach when the time comes. Enjoy it-this is without doubt one of my favourite parts of the process!
Thank you to Gayle for providing us with some gems and do check out her gorgeous website for inspiration.