From ranunculus to roses, peonies to poppies, the artists whose hands form your precious posies are equally crucial to the florals you choose for your wedding day. More than just providing an arrangement on your wedding day, your florist will be an intricate part of your design process and wholly responsible for its execution on your wedding day. As such, couples can be surprised when receiving their wedding day floral quotations if they haven't accounted for the incredible amount of time, communication, design, preparation, storage, and on-the-day-curation your florist invests in bringing your vision to life. So to help demystify the process and set realistic expectations, we've chatted to industry professionals Tamara and Beau from 'Toowoomba White Weddings'. With over twenty years of combined experience in the industry, they've lent their expertise to help answer the questions you'll find yourself asking and outline a general and realistic industry pricing guide to help get you started.
What arrangements do you need on your wedding day?
There are no hard and fast rules for wedding day florals, with endless and limitless options, even options for those who aren’t partial to florals. The choice is yours, from bridal bouquets and arrangements to elaborate hanging installations, floral-laden arbours or decadent centrepieces. To assist with formulating a realistic budget for your day, we've outlined a general industry pricing guide along with recommendations on where you should splurge and where you can save!
Your bridal bouquet is undisputedly your day's most essential and photographed arrangement! So be sure to start here when allocating your budget.
The most common styles of bouquet:
Simple yet effective, these posies are often larger and include stems casually grouped together to look more rambling than ordered. They are often tied with flowing silk or ribbon, and stems may have varying lengths for a whimsical feel.
In an elongated bouquet, your florals will appear as if they are effortlessly cascading or ‘showering’ from your hands. Unstructured, partially wired or fully wired these bouquets lend themselves to a wider variety of flowers, including dahlias, anemones and orchids.
Round or posy
Opt for a round or posy bouquet for classic chic. These bouquets often feature one or two varieties of flowers cluttered together with little to no foliage to create dense blossoms.
If you want your bouquet to live long past your wedding day, then opt for dried flowers. Working with dried flowers will ensure that you are not affected by seasonality and that your colour and design options are endless. Be warned, though, what you make up for in longevity you pay for in your budget with dried florals being markedly more expensive!
Tamara notes your bridal bouquet should always look to compliment your wedding attire and styling aesthetic. So first, determine what other key accessories you have and ask yourself if you want your bouquet to be the cherry on top or the statement feature. Secondly, consider your height (especially when you add heels) to ensure the size of your bouquet is proportionate and that it appears neither dwarfed nor overbearing when you hold it. Thirdly, consider the style of your dress and its scale. For example, if you have intricate lacework, detailing or beading, you may want to consider something more minimal to avoid your ensemble looking too 'busy.' Alternatively, if you have a voluminous skirt or ballgown style dress, you'll want to match its size, so your bouquet doesn't feel lost.
Splurge on your bouquet! Choose the key florals you want and have them as the feature of this arrangement, as it is the piece de resistance of your wedding day florals. If you plan to toss your bouquet at the end of the evening, have your florist provide you with a separate 'tossing bouquet.'
Save on other areas! If your having a large bridal party and your budget doesn't stretch to your bridesmaid's bouquets, opt to have them hold a single stem of the feature flower from yours. It will look paired back and elegant while helping keep their hands centred for the walk down the aisle.
Wedding planning tip: Try something a little more personalised and instead of tossing it, pick a single flower out of your bouquet for each of your single friends and let them know that there is someone special out there waiting for them.
Bridesmaids' bouquets typically have taken inspiration from the bride's bouquets but on a reduced scale. However, current trends have seen brides opting for their maids' simple yet sophisticated option of rose cluster bouquets.
Splurge on matching bouquets (a downsized version of the bridal bouquet) for swoon-worthy bridal party portraits.
Save on florals by placing your bridesmaid's bouquets in vases in your reception space after the wedding portraits are completed.
Traditionally, the groom and each groomsman will pin a boutonniere to their suit lapel - often a complimenting feature flower chosen from the bride's bouquets.
Splurge on boutonniere for other key family members - father of the bride, father of the groom and grandfathers.
Save by opting not to have them. These are an 'added extra' and not something essential for your day, instead, add a beautiful pocket square
The greatest budgeting tip for ceremony florals is choosing a venue that is naturally beautiful. Many venues may boast a 'blank space' but bear in mind this will always mean a more significant styling and floral budget to bring it to life. By choosing a venue with a ceremony space that needs little to no initial embellishments, you'll have more flexibility with the number of florals or arrangements required. Remember, on average, wedding ceremonies will usually take twenty to forty-five minutes so to ensure your arrangements can be enjoyed throughout the evening, organise for your florist to repurpose them into your reception space post-ceremony. Smaller or low-set arrangements can be set on reception tables or in front of bridal tables, and larger arbours can be repurposed and set behind a bridal table for a stunning evening vista.
Be sure to enquire as to your florists ‘arbour policy’ most will include arbour hire/assembly and pack-down in their quote. Many florists will elect to only use their arbours to ensure that the structure will hold the weight of the festooned flowers and withstand any wind etc. Florists should also include a fee for repurposing your ceremony florals to your reception in their quote.
Splurge on a decadent full floral-laden arbour to say your forever 'I do's' under.
Save on reception florals by repurposing arrangements into your reception space and choosing arrangements to frame the aisleway rather than an arbour.
While the bouquets and ceremony florals will be the most photographed of your day, there is no doubt that the reception florals will be most enjoyed. When planning reception florals, ask the following questions:
Do I want a statement piece in the space? Statement pieces can take the form of a repurposed arbour, hanging installations or large arrangements festooned from key features in your room ie. pillars, posts, entryways, rafters etc.
Do I want to incorporate other styling elements? You can cleverly minimise the number of floral arrangements required by pairing them with candles. Tealights, pillar, tapered, and floating candles will not only throw beautiful and warm light over your setting but will also help reduce your floral spend.
What type of tables will my guests be seated on, and what style of meals am I serving? It may seem trivial, but both elements will play an essential role in your decision-making process. When hosting a reception with long tables you may want to consider smaller repeated arrangements which are not only visually compelling but will allow for adequate space for table settings. While round tables lend themselves to more extensive arrangements, consider if you want your guests to be able to chat unobstructed across the table. If offering a 'feasting style' menu served to your tables, minimise the number of arrangements to ensure a great guest experience when sharing and passing dishes across the tables.
Splurge on large overhead floral installations as opposed to large table arrangements, which will photograph beautifully and ensure guests have adequate space and line of sight to chat.
Save on arrangements by utilising bud vases displaying one or two feature stems—partner with warm candlelight for an elegant but budget-savvy option.
For couples that want to have a full floral aesthetic on their wedding day, consider organising the following arrangements:
Splurge on romantic rose petal confetti for guests to shower you as you walk down the aisle.
Save on signing table arrangements by placing your bridal bouquet on the table.
What influences the cost?
When it comes to wedding day flowers, at some point in the planning process, couples may ask, 'are florists charging us more just because it is a wedding?'
And the answer is, in short, yes, they are! But with good reason.
On your wedding day, most couples will spend more in one day on flowers than they would in a lifetime. So why is this exactly, and why do wedding day florals appear so much more expensive than a bouquet purchased from the local flower market or grocers?
Investing in creativity and artistic expression.
When choosing florals for your wedding day, you purchase a product and an entire creative process. From the moment you contact a prospective florist, you are engaging with a professional to creatively bring to life and execute a precise vision - your vision - for your wedding day. As no two couples are the same, and no two wedding florals are the same, each design requires a tailored and unique approach from your florist. Usually, you can expect to walk into a florist, choose an arrangement and then collect it the day later. However, the wedding planning floral process involves hours of communication discussing your vision, quoting, mood-board creation, discussions with growers for sourcing blooms, liaising with your venue, and ordering and prepping. And all this, before one flower has been carefully arranged!
Perfect on the day...not in the days to come.
Most people's experience with flowers involves purchasing arrangements as a gift or for their home. These arrangements are often generic and designed to last some time, meaning florists can afford the luxury of having varying blooms pieced together, knowing they will unfold over time. With a wedding, however, every floral piece is primed to look like perfection on your day. Making sure your flowers present and look phenomenal on your wedding day is a meticulous art requiring accurate ordering, cold storage and careful preparation to ensure they are at their best on your special day - not a day earlier or a day later!
Looking after all the details on your wedding day
On the day, your florist is responsible for transporting and arranging your floral styling elements. In most cases, arrangements like centrepieces, boutonniere and bouquets will have been pre-prepared and need careful transport. In contrast, hanging installations, arbours and other floral installs will need to be hand-crafted on the day. For example, hanging structures may require your florist to arrive early at your venue and have them installed before the reception tables are set. Arbour structures may need to be assembled onsite before flowers are added. Your florist will be required to clean the ceremony and reception spaces after installing their flowers andwill come back to repurpose floral items from the ceremony into the reception space. The day after the wedding, your florist will need to collect any vases, leftover and unwanted florals, arbours etc. and dispose of any waste or green matter. If you have hired vases or additional styling items, these will also need to be transported, cleaned and stored in a warehouse or studio.
There is no getting around it. Flowers are a luxury item.
Flowers are a decadence you invest in on your wedding day to honour the significance of the once-in-a-lifetime celebration. Like a great band, flowing champagne or fireworks on your wedding day, they are the beautiful extras that make the experience all that more memorable. As such, there are really no 'budget-friendly' flowers. Rather there are creative ways to ensure that your budget can stretch further without compromising on your vision.
What aspects impact the floral quotation most?
Your floral quotation will mostly be affected by the size, scale, floral density and labour required. Some flowers will also have a notably higher outlay per stem than others, with the popular choices of imported roses and orchids, costing markedly more. Tamara notes that many of their favourite blooms to work with are local and seasonal, and at times if requested, they will exclusively use these. As significant supporters of local and Australian-grown florals and foliage, they have cultivated industry-wide relationships with growers and have specific farms which are their 'go-to' depending on the time of year. However, there also can be times when, due to demand, Australian farms may not have the stock or may have been affected by drought/flooding/pests etc. In this case, imported flowers do have their benefits in that they are markedly bigger and have an increased lifespan. Imported flowers can also be strategically sourced for larger floral arbours, purchasing fewer stems with increased longevity.
So why then do we include flowers in our wedding celebrations? Why, on a day when there are already so many expenses to budget for would we prioritise being surrounded by flowers?
What do I need to consider when choosing my florist?
Is my florist full-time and how long have they been operating?
If booking your wedding 12-24 months in advance, this question is important! You want to ensure your florist will still be around in the years to come and has been able to deliver on the experience they have promised consistently. A full-time florist, as opposed to a 'hobby florist', will be more likely to have organised systems and processes in place pertinent to wedding day floristry, be engaged in current wedding trends, have liability insurance, dedicated studios and the ability to store your flowers in cold rooms in the lead up to your wedding.
Is experience important?
This answer will depend on your priorities for the day. A less experienced florist trying to build their portfolio or establish their business may charge accordingly, in which case you may be able to stretch your budget further. An experienced florist will, charge accordingly, but will also be better positioned to weather the 'wedding day storms,' and any problems that may arise - move of location due to weather, sourcing flower alternatives due to supply issues, organising other industry professionals to replace them in the case of illness etc.
Don't just love their work, love the way they work with you!
How your florist interacts and communicates with you is as important as loving their creations. Remember that a significant component of your wedding day quotation cost is the service you receive in the lead-up to your wedding day, on your wedding day and the day after. Within reason (they will be busier in peak wedding season), expect fast and transparent responses to questions and an openness to exploring your ideas and vision. Ask for the quotation to be itemised so you can choose which items you may wish to forgo if juggling budget constraints. Lastly, chat with your wedding venue and ask if they have previously worked with them and ask for a review. Your vendor's ability to work cohesively is essential to your wedding day's success.
Where do I start when choosing my flowers?
When starting the process of choosing flowers, Tamara recommends engaging your florist with a colour palette or theme in mind as opposed to being as concerned with a specific flower. Adding this flexibility to your design process will allow your florist to recommend seasonal varieties that may align with your budget expectations. While every florist will work closely with you to ensure they include your preferred florals where possible, there have been instances where weather events and other unforeseen circumstances have affected availability. So rather than creating the potential for having your vision unhinged due to factors outside of your control, choose a florist you can trust to craft your arrangements and stay true to your aesthetic regardless of any last-minute challenges that may arise.
Below is a list and examples of popular floral colourways and the blooms available:
Blues and purples - Delphimium, Hydrangea Blue Thistle, Tweedia, Pansy, Muscari, Water Lily, Anthurium, Clematis, Hyacinth, Blackberry Lilac, Phalaenopsis Orchid
Pinks and reds - Blossoming Oregano, Roses, Sharry baby Orchid, Parrot Tulip, Anenome, Dendrobium Orchid, Queen Protea, Double Tulip, Scabiosa, Bromeliad, Garden Rose, Mokara Orchid, Lepto, Quince, Amaryllis, Gloriosa Lily, Camellia, Gerbera Daisy, Ginger, Mini Cymbidium , Croton leaf, Sweet Pea, Lisianthus, Godetia, Peony, Cherry blossom, Snapdragon, Icelandic Poppy, Oriental Lily, Spray Rose,
Whites - Agapanthus, daffodil, Chrysanthemum, Gardenia, Tuberose, Calla Lily, Ranunlcus, Spirea, Chinch, Stephanotis, Fritillaria, Veronica, Helleborus, Queen's Anne Lace.
Oranges and yellow - Freesia, Pincushion Protea, Mini Calla Lily, Mine gerbera Daisy, Ruffled Tulip, Heliconia, French Parrot Tulip, Carnation, Cymbidium, Dahlia, Yarrow, Craspedia, Witch Hazel, Mimosa, Sunflower,
Greens - Snake Grass, Eucalyptus, Lotus Pod, Brunia, Jasmine, Fiddlehead Fern, Anthurium Leaf, Bird's Nest Fern, Dusty Miller, Succulent, Viburnum.
Popular options that come in a variety of colours:
Peony - a show stopper with a grand presence often used as a feature flower. Dahlia - perfect 'face flower' chosen for their array of colours and variances in size. Lilac - a simple, delicate, elegant and romantic touch. Ranunculus - perfect accent flower for brides who want a touch of whimsy or a 'rambling feel.' Sweet Pea - great for adding movement to an arrangement. Hydrangea - creates a 'fluffy cloud' feel with multiple blooms. Orchid- often used in conjunction with other florals for cascading arrangements or a statement piece.
With such a wide range of breathtaking varieties and colours florists can reach for, who you choose is invariably more important than what you choose!
Lets finish by busting a few myths
Babies breath is cheap.
While babies' breath may be a cheaper floral than most, the volume required when creating elaborate arbours or floral installs quickly combats its budget price tag. In addition, couples wanting to create large, ethereal, statement pieces with baby's breath also need to consider the amount of time required to assemble these due to the tiered nature of the blooms on the stem. So while a baby's breath arbour or install may not cost you more than any other floral arrangement - it isn't necessarily a 'cheaper' alternative.
I'll just add a lot of greenery and half my quotation!
While a great florist will always be willing to workshop ideas to help you stay within your budget, adding greenery isn't always the answer. In some instances, foliage and greenery may come at a lower price point, but they will often require the same labour component as arranging flowers. Another consideration is how exchanging florals for large amounts of foliage will affect the 'feel' of your vision and your wedding day vignette. So instead, ask your florists about a range of creative ways you can maintain your vision while staying within your budget.
My florist will just be able to use flowers from their garden or my venue's garden.
A florist will rarely grow their florals, and if they did, you wouldn't want to be relying on one garden to produce your wedding day blooms. Same with your venue! While you should always look to compliment your florals with your wedding venue's gardens, do not look to rely on sourcing their foliage or picking their flowers to add to your day's decorations. Instead, florists lean upon an extensive network of Australian and international growers and farms to source wedding day blooms, all of which is factored into the pricing of your quotation.
Everything you read is not necessarily current and entirely reliable.
Wedding blogs can be outdated. Article expectations can be unrealistic. Instagram never has the cost noted in the comments. Instagram and Pinterest are invaluable sources for swooning and gleaning inspiration,however, these stunning images never come with a price tag. Look to gain inspiration but also carefully manage your expectations. Choose the elements that appeal to you in pictures and be open to exploring different ways to make it suit your budget and wedding day. Ensure when reading an article regarding pricing that they are not only current (Covid and the changing economic climate have caused significant price rises across the entire industry) but also relevant to your region.
The more, the merrier.
When it comes to decision-making, this isn't always the truth. At the end of the day, it is YOUR wedding, not your mother, mother-in-law, sisters or aunties. While having people who can offer support is essential, avoid adding unnecessary stress or pressure to the mix by including individuals in the planning process whose vision doesn't align with yours.
For most couples, floral arrangements on their wedding day are essential on the ‘must have’ planning list. By choosing an experienced florist to bring your vision to life you’ll ensure that on your day your blooms are perfect as the promises you make to one another.