Wedding Flowers, Sonoma, Napa

There are various things that you need to take into consideration when pricing out your wedding flowers and choosing your floral designer. First know that this is truly a labor of love! From the time I get up at 1am to make the drive to San Francisco to hand pick each bloom for your event, the long hours of production, to the moment I hand you your bouquet, YOU and your wedding are the most important thing I am doing. There are many hours that lead up to the day, planning every detail. Each wedding is unique, the florals are custom designed for you.

Photo: Tim Halberg

Pricing and cost is important to every client so I want to demystify it a little bit & tell you how it really works.

Your style, size of your event, quality & types of flowers desired, along with the complexity of design, staffing and production hours are just all parts of the many components of pricing. The installation & breakdown of your event is also crucial, the staffing & timing, late night hours to breakdown an event, all must be impeccable, adequately staffed and there are many more hours involved in just this part that you can possibly imagine. We always breakdown our events at the end of the evening, no matter what time that is.

The Budget…it must be realistic, and I know this is hard sometimes to figure out as there are many variables, and not enough information available.

Flowers themselves are expensive no matter where they come from, whether local, seasonal or imported. Product quality is extremely important & my long-standing relationships with my wholesale vendors are key as well. Each type of flower has a certain price tag, and this is not always due necessarily to it seasonality. Local and seasonal products are often comparable in pricing to the imports. The local bunch of flowers might be a little bigger, giving us a few more blooms to work with, but the price differences are not anything substantial. Pricing has stabilzed over the past few years, meaning we do not experience the huge product price fluctuations as we did in the past, except for maybe around certain holidays like Valentine’s day, however flower prices have taken an unexpected 20% to 30% increase this past season (2012).

More often than not brides want to talk about “seasonal product”, thinking this means their flowers will be less expensive. This is not always the case. Also, if you think about it, “Seasonal” really means whatever is growing outside at that time in whatever color or shade is at the moment. Not every shade of every “Seasonal” flower (any any flower for that matter) is available every week. Most brides do not plan their wedding flowers or color palettes this way.

We are extremely privileged to have the San Francisco Flower Market as our main resource, one of the largest in the country. Here In California “Local” product comes from as far as Southern California to Washington State. Quite a lot of our product is imported. Flowers & pricing may be different than the rest of the country. In recent years things have changed quite a bit due to the global shipping of product from around the world. What was once considered a very seasonal product is now available sometimes year round, or during the opposite season (Like spring flowers in the fall) as it is spring somewhere in the world or the growers in other parts of the world have figured out where & how to grow things that are off season. The prices of these items in the “Off season” are not much more expensive than during their normal season. The quality of these products is excellent for the most part, much of the time being more consistent than much of the “Local” product. Again it varies widely from grower to grower, wholesaler to wholesaler, and this again is why I work closely with my regular suppliers, as they know I am picky and what my expectations are.

I am always very upfront from the beginning with my clients about product quality & availability. The reality is that whether a floral designer is using local, or imported product, we require some flexibility on the bride’s part, as one never knows exactly what has arrived to the market, the exact shade or color, or condition of the product until one picks up one’s order and actually looks at it. I always equate it with being a chef and going to the grocery store, something every bride can relate to. One looks at one’s orders and makes an assessment. If there is something missing or wrong, then you choose something else to make it right, or even better. The market is always full of lovely surprises week to week, and sometimes the best floral designs come out of improvisation, or substitutions. I am still after this many years always excited to get up at 1am on flower day to go and see what is there.

Brides must absolutely trust trust their floral designer to make choices, and let them feel they have the freedom to make substitutions as needed without worrying. They will get better results.

Take a deep breath – you have chosen your particular vendor to create your floral designs for a reason, so let them do their thing and create for you. I always tell my brides I want to “wow” them, and bring them a present. Every thank you note from my past brides is filled with “it was so much more than I expected or could have imagined!” This is what I live for.

TO BE CONTINUED…..