Budgeting for Wedding Flowers

Because no one tells you this stuff and we're here to help!

If you’re like most brides, you don’t know an awful lot about flowers, much less what’s in season on your wedding day and how much it all will cost. And frankly, it’s rather intimidating. Going to a consultation can sometimes feel like taking your car to a mechanic. How do you know you need a new air filter? Does your car really need to be aligned and the tires rotated? Is the extra few hundred you spend now going to save you thousands in the future? There’s really no way to know unless you drive around and visit with two or three other auto mechanics. And who has time for that?


At the end of the day, you need to feel comfortable that someone isn’t taking advantage of you. And the best way to feel comfortable is to arm yourself with information. This article will walk you through the various costs so you can figure out your overall floral and event design budget. After you know this, finding a florist willing to stay within your budget should be your goal. Obviously prices and styles can vary by region but the underlying principles remain the same regardless of where you live.


The rule of thumb is 12%-15% of your overall wedding budget should be spent on flowers and décor for your Philadelphia area wedding.


PERSONAL FLOWERS
These are the flowers that are carried or worn. This includes the bridal and bridesmaids’ bouquets, corsages for moms, grandmothers and other special ladies, boutonnieres for the guys and any flowers for the flower girl and ring bearer.

The Bridal Bouquet
$100 On The Low Side
$350 On The High Side
$225-$275 Average Range

Bridal bouquet of one flower type and accent greenery. Depending on the flower, this type of bouquet is less expensive than a bouquet with multiple flower varieties.



These are the most important flowers of the entire day. The crown jewel arrangement of any wedding. Treat it with respect. The bride carries it all day, the guests will see it up close, it’s in every photo of the bride and it’s probably even photographed separately. Bottom line – don’t compromise. If you spend the dough anywhere, spend it here. 20 years from now, it will be one of the few things you remember.

Factors That Influence The Price
The number of different flowers in the bouquet. A bridal bouquet of one flower type is generally less expensive than a bouquet of 7 to 9 different flowers.
The cost of the flowers. Some flowers are more expensive than others. You’ll have to decide if the color and style of the bouquet is more important than the types of flowers you like.


If it’s more about getting the color of the bouquet right rather than having certain flowers, then opt for a lower-cost substitute flower to help keep the cost down.


Bridesmaids’ Bouquets
$40 On The Low Side
$125 On The High Side
$65-$85 Average Range

Bridal bouquet of multiple flower types. Because of the variety of flower and complexity of design, this type of bouquet prices much higher than a bouquet of one or two flower types.



When it comes to the personal flowers, this is the one place where you need to be careful. Whereas the bridal bouquet cost is multiplied by a factor of 1, the bridesmaids’ bouquets are multiplied by the number of girls in your party. If you have a large bridal party, you are going to spend more. In some cases, a lot more.

Example of a bridesmaid's bouquet. While a bridal bouquet typically measures 10-12" in diameter, a bridesmaids' bouquet measures 7-8."



Factors that influence the price:
The number of bridesmaids in your Philadelphia wedding party.
The number of different flower types in the bouquet. The bouquets for your girls should be smaller, simpler versions of yours. If you have 8 different types of flowers in your bouquet, stick with 3 or 4 for your girls to keep the price down.
The cost of the flowers. To keep the price in check, go strictly for color rather than specific flower type.

Corsages
$25 On The Low Side
$45 On The High Side
$30-$35 Average Range

Example of a pin-on corsage. While slightly more expensive, consider a magnet corsage so it can be easily transferred to clutch purse during the reception.



Most of the personals that are not bouquets have a relatively fixed price. It’s more about the skill and time it takes to produce the arrangement than the specific flower type.

Factors that influence price:
The number of guests you are buying for. At a minimum, they are usually bought for mothers and grandmothers. Beyond moms and grandmoms, there are godmothers, special aunts and/or a female officiant (but these folks - while you may love them - don't necessarily need flowers.)

Example of a wrist corsage of spray roses. While traditional, this classic design can be shaken up to be more contemporary by adding an interesting band, using fewer flowers and modern ribbon tying techniques.


How it's fastened. Pin-on corsages are less expensive than wrist corsages. Magnet corsages are like pin-on corsages but a magnet is used to secure the arrangement on the dress instead of a pin. This is typically priced somewhere in-between the pin-on and wrist.

Boutonnieres
$12 On The Low Side
$25 On The High Side
$15-$16 Average Range

Example of an intricate groom boutonniere. The groom should wear flowers that coordinate with the bridal bouquet and stand out from the groomsmen and other men in the bridal party.



Like the corsages, it’s more about the time it takes to make them than the flower type.

Smaller, simpler boutonniere - perfect for groomsmen and ushers.



Factors that influence price:
The number you need. The more guys you are buying for, the more it will cost. Generally, the groom and groomsmen will get one, as will the fathers and grandfathers. If it’s important, there are also godfathers, ushers, readers, officiant, etc.

Flower girls love crowns and wands!



Flower Girl Arrangements
$15 Low
$45 High
$25-$35 Average Range

Pomander balls are very sweet and traditional for flower girls of all ages.



Flower girl arrangements can include flower crowns, pomander balls, flower wands, flower basket (petals) and flower basket (arrangement.)

Factors that influence price:
The number of flower girl(s) in your party.
Age. The age of the girl influences what type of arrangement she should receive. Some are too young for anything (2 and under.) Some are older and might carry a petite bouquet (12 and older.)
The “formality” of the wedding. Pomander balls and baskets with small arrangements are more formal (and more expensive) than more casual weddings with baskets of petals and flower wands.


When it comes to the "personals", it's more about the labor than the flower type - so the pricing doesn't vary much. Go for the good stuff. Just remember - the more you need, the more expensive it's going to be.


CEREMONY DECOR
What you spend on flowers for the ceremony can vary quite widely depending upon where it takes place. The biggest influence on cost is the location. Churches, temples and other places of worship are generally less expensive to decorate than ceremonies that take place at some other location.


Of course, while flowers and décor are important throughout your Philadelphia wedding day, the ceremony space is likely to be the least critical. If you have a strict budget, it’s best to apply the money to the personal flowers and the reception spaces first. Anything left over can then be used for this portion of the day.



Churches, Temples, Etc.
The price of the flowers is almost always dictated by the size of the place of worship. The larger it is, the longer the aisle, the more money it is to decorate. Following are the types of arrangements generally used to decorate:

Altar Arrangements - $150-$275 each, depending on size. Two are typically required.
Pew Decorations - $15-$30 per pew. Simple bows of fabric are less expensive than flowers with cascading greenery. Not every pew needs to be decorated. Every other pew or every third (or even more) is just fine, so long as it’s the same on each side of the aisle.
Aisle Runner - $75-$150 depending on the length of the aisle.

Keep in mind that many places maintain strict rules on what you can and cannot do as far as décor is concerned. Be sure to check with the event coordinator before committing to certain types of arrangements.

Indoor/Outdoor Ceremonies
Outdoor ceremonies can either be the least expensive or the most expensive to decorate. If the location you select is a destination and naturally picturesque to begin with, then specific décor may be unnecessary. On the other hand, if the setting could use a boost of color to make more interesting then the décor requirements may be extensive.

Traditional pew décor of a single head of hydrangea and cascading greenery. It is not necessary to decorate every pew. Instead, go every other or every third, depending on the length of the aisle.


The key to decorating your ceremony area is to “frame the space” where you will each be saying your vows. Remember – it’s all about the photo album. Flowers and color infinitely enhance the pictures of the two of you standing within the ceremony space. Something is needed to draw in the eyes with color. Arrangements at either side of you or a wedding arch above you are the most popular options. These can be pricey to rent and then a fair amount of flowers are required to decorate.

Example of a rail of petals lining each side of the aisle.



Wedding Arch - $200-$600 rental fee
Arch Flowers/Décor - $150-$500 depending on the size of the arch and amount of flowers used.
Petal Rail - $225-$400 depending on length of the aisle and thickness of each rail.

Example of a "floral spray" across the top of a wedding arch. This is the simplest way to add flowers and color to your ceremony space.


Stanchions with hanging flower arrangements - $25-$35 per stanchion. Similar to the pew décor, not every row needs a stanchion. Every other row or every third or fourth is fine.


When it comes to decorating for the ceremony, it's all about "framing the space" for the photographs. A church or other place of worship does this naturally. If you are somewhere else, it might be more critical to add flowers and décor so the photos of the ceremony area *POP*.

Example of a small arrangement hanging from an aisle stanchion. HINT: Repurpose these to the cocktail hour after the ceremony!

 


RECEPTION DECOR
So we have arrived. This is where you are likely to spend the majority of your décor budget. Obviously pricing here can vary from the hundreds to the many, many thousands of dollars. For practical purposes, I will assume your last name isn’t Kardashian or Trump or Jolie-Pitt and outline what is typical for those of us with more modest means.

While this may be the most expensive place to decorate, you can take comfort in knowing it makes the most sense. This is where you and your guests will spend the majority of your time. At the end of the day, you are getting married and throwing one of the biggest parties of your life – décor is a huge part of any important shin-dig.

A traditional altar arrangement. Two are used and placed either on pedestals, on the floor in front of the altar or on the steps leading up to the ceremony area.



Here are the typical places to decorate, starting with the most important:

Guest Table Centerpieces (Low to the Table)
$40 On The Low Side
$125 On The High Side
$85-$95 Average Range

Low centerpieces can be anything from non-floral décor like compote bowls, lanterns, candles or goblets to floral arrangements designed in a small vessel.

Example of a "low" centerpiece. This type of arrangement, with multiple flower varieties in various sizes and textures, prices at the higher end of the average.



Factors that influence the price:
Number/type of flowers. As with the bouquets, centerpieces that have only one or two types of flowers are generally less expensive than those with many different varieties. The more complex, the more expensive. Getting the color right is probably more important to you than specific flowers. If this is the case, make sure you go with larger flowers that come in a variety of colors and are in-season and relatively inexpensive.
Number of tables. This one is fairly obvious. A wedding with only 10 tables of guests will cost a lot less than a wedding with 25 tables.
Size of the room. Rooms with tall ceilings generally look better with some elevated centerpieces. If the room has lower ceilings you can easily get away with more lows and forgo tall centerpieces altogether.

Example of an elevated centerpieces designed right in the vase. This type of tall arrangement is typically less expensive than tall arrangements where the flowers sit directly on top of the vessel.


Guest Table Centerpieces (Tall/Elevated)
$95 On The Low Side
$450 On The High Side
$150-$300 Average Range

Factors that influence the price:
Type of tall arrangement. There are two types of tall arrangements. Those where the flowers are arranged within the vase itself (more of a "vertical" arrangement, less expensive) and those where the flower arrangement sits on top of the vase or other type of elevated hardware (more of a "rounded" arrangement, more expensive.)
Number of tables. See above. The more tables, the more arrangements you need.
Number of flowers. Maybe you see a theme by now? The more varieties of flowers you have in an arrangement, generally the more expensive.

Example of an elevated centerpieces where the flowers are designed in a small plastic dish with oasis cubes. The arrangement sits directly on top of the vase. This type of arrangement is one of the most expensive you can buy. (But are also some of the most breathtaking!)


All other types of arrangements
If you’ve made it here you are probably worn out. Your head is spinning and all you see are dollar signs. I totally get it. Weddings are expensive things, for sure. Hopefully, though, you feel somewhat relieved that someone's finally given you some solid intel. Either way, to keep you from really losing it, I’m simply going to outline the other most common places to decorate and the average costs:

Place Card/Escort Table
$75-$225 Average Range

Cocktail Tables
$8-15 Average Range (per table)

Example of cascading cake flowers. Cake flowers add a pop of color and interest to your cake - you know it will make it into the photo album!


Cake Flowers
$45-$95 Average Range

Gift Table
$50-$100 Average Range

Delivery/Set-Up/Breakdown/Taxes
The stuff we always forget about. Buying the arrangements is one thing – now someone has to deliver them, set them up at the venue and then break them down afterwards. And, of course, each state gets their cut of the action, too.

Assume an average of 15% of the total flower cost for the set-up and then your state’s sales tax number on top of it all.

For those with a taste for simple elegance, go for a simple topper and accent of flowers on the tiers.



The One Thing I’d Like You To Remember
None of this is in stone. Ultimately, any budget can be met so long as you set realistic expectations about what you can get. Buying flowers for your wedding isn’t unlike buying anything else – the greater your budget, the more options you have. A $20,000 budget for a car means you’re limiting yourself to something small and economical. A $50,000 budget gets you compacts, sports cars, luxury cars, SUVs...pretty much whatever you want.

If you take nothing else away from this article, remember that YOU ROCK. It's your wedding day and you're the boss. You are going to be spending many months or even years working with your vendors. Make sure that you LOVE every single one of them!

 



At the end of the day you need your budget to sync up with your vision. Once you do that, find a florist who gets you and everything will come up roses!!

About the Authors
Jill & Steven Letendre
Owners, Willow & Thistle

Based in the beautiful Philadelphia suburbs, Willow & Thistle provides flowers and décor for weddings and other special occasions. (Click on the link to meet us!)

Willow & Thistle

WINNERS 2014 Best of the Knot

 

Willow & Thistle

WINNERS 2013 Best of the Knot

 

Posted by Jill & Steven Letendre Owners, Willow & Thistle on 08/05/2014

Category Articles: All In 1 Event Spaces Provider: Willow & Thistle
Provider Articles: Willow & Thistle

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