When it comes to wedding expenses, sometimes it’s hard to understand just why a particular element costs what it does, or why there’s such a range in rates. Something as seemingly simple as cake can cost anywhere from $1.50 to $12.00 a slice! Well today we thought we’d take a look at bridal bouquets to see if we could better understand some of the factors that might result in a certain price tag…

Christina McNeill, Twig & Twine Christina McNeill, Twig & Twine

1. The Flowers

Let’s start with the most obvious thing: the flowers themselves. For all flowers, there is the cost of labor and resources required to grow and transport them, which can fluctuate based on things like weather and the cost of gas. And of course some flowers are easier to grow and/or transport (in-season sunflowers, for example), while others are more difficult and delicate (say, cattleya orchids).

Just like with fruits and vegetables, seasonality affects both the quality and cost of flowers. If you want peonies at the tail end of the season, they won’t be as full or lush as their peak-season counterparts, so you’ll need more stems to get the same effect. You might even be able to get peonies in November, but they have to be shipped from around the world, meaning you pay extra transportation cost.

Christina McNeill, Twig & Twine Christina McNeill, Twig & Twine

2. The Florist

Sometimes called a floral designer, the florist you hire will play a role in what you pay for a bouquet. The more experienced, skilled, and in-demand the florist, the more they can charge for their work.

In addition to their time and talent, and the retail mark-up on materials, florists have overhead expenses you might not expect, and that gets factored into what they charge: rent and utilities (retail space or work space), transportation costs (to and from market, to and from venue), and supplies (tape, foam, tools, buckets), to name a few. And as with everything else, their costs depend on location (overhead will be higher in San Francisco than in Milwaukee), which results in a higher or lower mark-up on their product.

Florists may also have to purchase more flowers than they’ll actually end up using in your bouquet. Even if a bouquet will only include 6 tulips, the florist might need to buy twice that many to guarantee they open the right amount at the right time, and that they aren’t damaged or bruised.

Christina McNeill, Twig & Twine Christina McNeill, Twig & Twine

3. The Bouquet

And then there’s the bouquet itself. A large bouquet of tulips will obviously cost more than a smaller bouquet of tulips. If your bouquet includes more delicate flowers that require refrigeration, you may end up paying more. And what about the size of each flower? Garden roses and lily-of-the-valley might each cost $10 a stem, but you’ll need far fewer garden roses to make an impact.

Something we see a lot in wedding magazines and blogs is bouquets tied with beautiful ribbon – not something that immediately comes to mind as an expense! Though some brides prefer a simple ribbon wrap, a more elaborate ribbon embellishment will cost more – and that cost goes up depending on the quality of the ribbon, which can run anywhere from $4 to $20 a yard.

Christina McNeill, Twig & Twine Christina McNeill, Twig & Twine

If you’re thinking about your own wedding bouquet, and wondering how all these things might factor into what you carry down the aisle, here are three similarly-styled bouquets, each from the same Los Angeles-based florist, with three different price tags…

 

$150 Bouquet

Christina McNeill, Twig & Twine Christina McNeill, Twig & Twine

Some of the reasons this might be a $150 bouquet: medium size, use of a few expensive garden roses, use of less expensive sweet peas and crab apple to fill things out, simple color scheme and design.

 

$250 Bouquet

Christina McNeill, Twig & Twine Christina McNeill, Twig & Twine

Why this bouquet might cost $250: slightly larger size, uses more large flowers than the previous bouquet (such as peonies, lilac, and ranunculus), uses fewer “filler” flowers like sweet pea and crab apple, accented with four unique ribbons.

 

$350 Bouquet

Christina McNeill, Twig & Twine Christina McNeill, Twig & Twine

Now for a major splurge! Reasons this bouquet might run you $350: quite a large bouquet, almost no “filler” flowers except to add some texture, uses more of the expensive flowers (such as lilac, peonies, garden roses) with the addition of even more expensive clematis, tied with antique French velvet ribbon, more elaborate overall design and color scheme.

 

While it’s good to have a sense of what’s available for your budget, a smaller budget doesn’t have to mean low expectations; it just means being more flexible. A good florist should be able to listen to your ideas and then work within your budget to create something that you’ll love – even if it’s not an exact replica of what you originally had in mind. Who knows – you might just find that a bouquet starring ranunculus can be just as beautiful as a handful of peonies!

 

Thanks to Twig & TwineAdelphi Productions, and Christina McNeill for sharing these inspiring bouquets with us! You can see more photos of these bouquets in the gallery.

Photographer:  Christina McNeill / Florist: Twig & Twine / Event Planner, Stylist: Heather Johnson Mullin with Adelphi Productions / Venue: Santa Barbara Historical Museum in Santa Barbara, California
68 comments posted +add a comment SEE MORE: Inspired Ideas
  1. Stephanie

    Interesting post! And gorgeous flowers. Would be great to see a series of Budget Breakdown posts, actually! Neat idea.

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  2. Renee

    I honestly love the 2nd one the most!

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  3. Melanie King

    I second Stephanie’s thoughts. As a planner, it is often a difficult conversation to have with clients when they realize that a DIY-looking wedding on a blog can run into six figures. When they understand the values behind the look (like the hand work needed for that “rustic” escort card table), its a little easier to reign them in. More, please!!

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  4. Sullivan

    Great post, I’m sure that this will be very helpful to brides to see how a few changes in flowers impact the overall price. One thing to note flowers vary regionally as to what’s an inexpensive filler flower. Here in the NE sweet pea comes at a premium price most of the time as opposed to CA where it’s plentiful and grown locally making it quite inexpensive.

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    • Kathryn

      Great point Sullivan! As with everything, season and region make a huge difference!

  5. Mindy Dalzell

    Amazing post! Very well broken down and so helpful for brides. thank you.

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  6. Jessica Moir

    Thank you SO much for posting this! I have a few brides that I’ve already sent this to – the photos are a great visual. I agree with Stephanie that a whole series would be awesome! Brides are always shocked at how much a “DIY’ Pinterest project can cost!

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  7. The Petal Company

    Thanks so much for this! Sharing with brides!

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  8. Sheri Nicholson

    As a floral designer and event planner, I battle with the prices of flowers everyday. Brides do not understand that what they see in an article or on a blog, might have been flown in for the day’s shoot. Not to mention that with Pinterest and the world of wedding blogs (Snippet and Ink being the best one of course) Bride’s and their mothers (and the public at large) have come to de-value creative arts like floral and details design. Thinking how hard can it be…why should I have to pay for it! Flower prices here in the NY area have tripled in the past 3 months because of less demend. Brides have cut back…so we have to add those prices into our work as well. Great article maybe this will give everyone something to think about when they are working with the creative artists for their event

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  9. Rachel {finch and thistle}

    Thank you so much for this post! I could not agree more with the other comments from fellow floral and event designers that there is a huge need for more education about why floral bouquets and centerpieces cost so much. I feel like I have to answer that question and defend my own prices every time I meet with a new couple. Not a single designer I know is in it for the lucrative income! The cost of our product is so high that in every wedding, we are probably making the lowest profit margin of every vendor involved, including the caterers. We do it because we love it and because most clients value our work.

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    • Heather from Twig & Twine

      Totally agree Rachel. Lowest profit margin for all the work (months in advance let alone the week of the wedding and then the clean up!) and the high cost of product. Sometimes I think clients believe we have a little flower fairy that drops off the product on our doorsteps in the middle of the night. I wish! I don’t see clients batting an eyelash at paying top notch dollar for a venue or photographer but then they try to haggle us down by pennies sometimes. It can be very frustrating and exhausting so that’s why I really wanted to do this feature. And you said it right…none of us are in it for the income but rather because of our passion!

  10. Erin

    I actually like the least expensive one best… the others are so fussy. That’s not meant as an insult to the florist at all, I like a lot of Twig & Twine’s work very much. The $150 bouquet is just so lovely and easy, just what I’d think a bouquet should be, while the others are so large and involved they seem like they’d overwhelm the bride.

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  11. ginny branch

    MORE PLEASE!!!!!!!! On behalf of everyone in the wedding industry, it would be so great for brides to be educated on why everything seems so expensive. The costs to produce a wedding is extremely high, not to mention that at the end of the day it is a business and the stylist/floral designer/planner/photographer/etc has to make money too! Thank you for this article!!!

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  12. Rachel {finch and thistle}

    Also these bouquets are gorgeous, Heather! Beautiful work (as always!)

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  13. Ashley

    Bravo! I agree with everyone else who said they’d like to see a series of these posts. I don’t know how many times I’ve tried to explain this to my clients and it just falls on deaf ears.

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  14. Margery

    This is such a thoughtful, helpful and interesting article! The bridal bouquet and beautiful flowers do become such an important part of a wedding making all other details more special too. Kudos to the photographer, Christina McNeill, for bringing these bouquets to life and showing off the designs!

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  15. Cheryl

    These are stunning…the photography is awesome and really brings the bouquet to life! There is so much time and effort to go into the floral arrangements as well as all the details of any wedding. The details are so important. Brides should remember that details like this do cost money, but will be forever remembered fondly with a great photo and photographer to capture that moment. These small items are priceless. Bravo designer and photographer!!

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  16. Expert Advice . What Flowers Cost | Jackson Hole Weddings - I DO! Jackson Hole

    [...] Find out what you should expect to fork out when choosing your bouquet. Check out the budget breakdown on Snippet & Ink. [...]

    / Reply
  17. Mandy Grace

    I agree more please!!! Great article. It’s all starts with educating our clients which I assume every other designer out there has to do each consultation. It’s great to see such an amazing blog write on the issue. Beautiful bouquets too!!

    Thank you!

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  18. Chhavy (Style This Shindig)

    Thank you for this post because it’s much needed. Thanks for explaining the cost of the actual flowers. You’re right, someone had to grow them, harvest them, pack them, ship them. One of the misconceptions is that flowers are “just flowers, why do they cost so much!”.

    The consumers forget that a “DIY” look takes time, resources (such as gas and electricity), energy, volunteers, care,/processing and skills to achieve. Take the flowers in this example, we can’t forget that the designer put thought into the actual design!

    So it is never “just flowers”.

    Thanks again.

    / Reply
  19. Hurriyet

    Nice Post!!! I agree with the floral designers above. There is so much work that goes into the smallest details of designing a bouquet or even the whole wedding set-up, that the clients won’t see. As you mentioned, the pricing differs wherever you are.
    I worked in NY & LA and now I am in Germany and it is a completely different world. Sometimes a client will also compare the pricing of the flowers from the corner store florist (who is only there to sell a bunch of flowers, without cleaning them or paying attention to the quality) to what you as a designer are offering.
    Fortunately there also the clients that appreciate, love and understand the work.

    Again…..beautiful post that will definitely be forwarded to future clients…..

    Gorgeous Bouquets too!!!

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  20. Dawn

    Excellent article. Well written and easy for clients to understand. Beautiful photograph also. As a professional designer, I will keep this as a reminder to myself as we’ll as a way to educate my clients tactfully. Thank you!

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  21. Suzy VanDyke {Lukas & Suzy VanDyke}

    This is so interesting! I always wonder how other wedding vendors price things. Thanks for sharing!

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  22. Kelly

    Personally, I think some of the problem has to be attributed to expectations For many brides reading blogs, we’ve internalized the idea that unless our wedding is a “blog perfect” wedding we’re not doing it right. Maybe blogs should highlight ordinary, everyday, affordable weddings so that when I’m scrolling through all of these million of blogs and pinning, pinning, pinning my expectations are reasonable. It’s unfair to show only the very best of the best and then complain that a bride should have realistic expectations. There’s no way for me to know that the bouquet I see over and over again in these elaborate weddings is really a $350 bouquet until I take it to my florist and say, “Make me this but in a price I can afford” . If you’re not showing realistic weddings, how are we to know what a realistic wedding is? Or, in the alternative, put a price tag on every single wedding shown. That way I can admire it from afar but realize it’s way out of my league.. Just a personal pet peeve from a bride with a small budget reading every wedding blog out there.

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    • Kathryn

      Thanks for your thoughtful comment Kelly – and congratulations on your upcoming wedding! We’re always trying to make this blog as inspiring and helpful as possible for brides, so we’ll definitely take your thoughts to heart. I can only speak for Snippet & Ink, but we do our best to highlight a range of weddings, and though most brides don’t feel comfortable sharing their budgets, we’ve been lucky enough to have a couple give us the full rundown.

      http://snippetandink.com/budget-friendly-wedding-kate-billy/

      http://snippetandink.com/real-wedding-budget-breakdown-from-jessica-james/

      Cheers,
      Kathryn

    • jenny

      @Kelly, shouldn’t a lot of that be common sense? Things are in blogs and magazines BECAUSE they’re the best of the best. Nobody wants to look at what is average. You wouldn’t read a fashion or design magazine and expect to be able to afford everything in it. But they’re great to go to for inspiration and then translate into what you can actually get in your budget. The trick is to be inspired, not expect to copy the exact same thing.

    • Evan G. Cooper

      I agree 100% with Jenny. It meant to be look at as inspiration.

    • Erin

      I think a lot of people need to look at what is average, simply because we don’t have any frame of reference. Where do we see weddings the most? On TV and in movies, and then when we start researching for our own, in blogs. Maybe a great feature to do would be one where you take some of the “inspiration” shoots and suggest/show realistic ways brides can integrate some of the ideas into their weddings? As it is now, what we’re getting out of this is, oh I can’t afford that, so I guess there’s no point looking at it anymore. Or maybe what you’re really saying is just that people like me or Kelly aren’t who you want reading your blog in the first place?

  23. Weekly Round Up | Hunt & Style

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    / Reply
  24. Petales and Pretties

    What a well-written guide! Sharing immediately. We couldn’t have explained it more clearly ourselves… ; )

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  25. Wedding Invitations

    These are so pretty! I can only imagine them being used in a wedding, for the bridal bouquet or the tablescapes and so on. Won’t they look lovely as inspirations for wedding invitations with watercolour drawings or even prints! So pretty!

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  26. Molly

    Thank you for this post! I’m just starting to plan my wedding and this is such a helpful reference point.

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  27. Joni Schrantz

    So interesting to see this. I think often people assume vendors just make up huge numbers because it’s for a wedding, when in fact, there are good reasons things like flowers cost what they do. Thank you for writing this post!

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  28. Karin {Haute Horticulture}

    Well done! Twig and Twine those are stunners!! All of them.
    In our area (Memphis TN) there are such small profit margins for flowers that most of my fellow designers are in it for the passion and not the money. I am glad to see that so many industry vendors commented, but also that a future bride commented on her side of the story as well. It is promising to see open discussions about our resources, inspiration, and expectations. If I could say anything to the brides out there who are fustrated by the rising costs it is that the floral designers are not out to take advantage of wedding customers, I find myself time and time again wanting to give it all away just to give my client (whom I usually have a bond with before the wedding) the best flowers. But if we give it all away, we cannot be in business for long. I liken it to fashion, I know that runway looks are never in my budget, but that is what is in the major magazines. It is inspiration so that when I am shopping I know what I can do within my own price range that may be the same cut or color. If brides think of the flowers in magazines as Couture, it may help them to understand that an entire clutch of Lily of the Valley is akin to buying a Coach Bag. Thank you so much for the lovely photos and well put together article.

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  29. Lauren (Palazzo Del Sol)

    This is so helpful for brides to be! Job well done! Palazzo Del Sol just loves this site : ) http://www.palazzodestin.com

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  30. » My Blog

    [...] I love flowers…can you tell by how many instagram flower picks I post!! Here’s a little post from Snippet and Ink has a great post all about the budget breakdown HERE. [...]

    / Reply
  31. Heidi

    Gorgeous images. Thanks for breaking this down for us!!

    / Reply
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  34. Elizabeth @ HobbyLobbyist

    I really enjoyed this post. I hope you continue it with other wedding items (stationery, dresses, etc.)

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    • Tyne

      Agreed! I know my wedding is going to cost at least some money but it is nice to see where the money goes since these are things I’ve never had much to do with until now and probably won’t again till my own daughters get married!

  35. Yvonne

    Great article – we will be sharing with our community so that they can pass along to their clients. Thanks!

    / Reply
  36. Marcia

    This article comes at the perfect time. Had a potential bride recently who seemed furious about the cost of a dozen roses (red) bridal bouquet during February. They just don’t understand that head sizes makes a difference, let alone the overall design of using just 12 roses. Chances are you may have to plug another 3-4 stems if roses to make it look decent as a “bridal bouquet”.

    / Reply
    • Steve

      Not to mention the price of red roses in February, which can be nearly triple any other time of the year…

  37. Carolyn

    Great and very informative. Thank you!!!

    / Reply
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  44. Jade O'Neill

    This is a fantastic little article you have here! I’ve known people to spend silly amounts of money on wedding flowers only for them to look half dead on the day itself, its good to see that there are better and more cost effective solutions out there for budding brides to be: :)

    / Reply
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  48. Jessica {Storyboard Wedding}

    This is a really WONDERFUL feature and great breakdown to help brides get their heads around why bouquets cost as they do. Really well done!

    / Reply
  49. Brendaaa

    This article was very informative, I always thought brides were crazy to spend so much on a bouquet but I had no idea so much work went into creating a bouquet tailored to the bride, very helpful tips, thanks! :)

    / Reply
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  51. Maribel

    This is a fabulous post, thanks so much for sharing,

    / Reply
  52. Barbara

    Thank you so much for this thoughtful article. I am especially grateful for the mention of beautiful ribbon. I LOVE beautiful ribbon and agree it adds texture and dimension to a bouquet! I do appreciate the recognition that pretty ribbon can cost a pretty penny!

    / Reply
  53. Gina Thresher

    Ran across this post by accident! Glad I did. Love the positive spin and showing something available in all budgets. I hate disheartening brides that bring me pictures out of Martha Stewart Weddings! I feel horrible when I break the news that what she is looking at is a $400 bouquet. I am such a budget minded person with my brides, I want them to feel comfortable with what they are spending and feel that I am doing them a valuable service, but it’s hard when there are so many diy brides now a days. Its an art and a talent to be able to make a wedding beautiful with flowers. Not to mention using a florist for a least the bridal party flowers is a stress saver. I got into the floral business doing my own wedding!!! MISTAKE! but, I wouldn’t have figured out how much I loved it if I hadn’t done it. I was up till 3am doing boutonnieres, and finished my own bouquet moments before I was hurried into the car to leave LOL.

    / Reply
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  58. Lea

    Thanks you so much for breaking this down!!!! I have tried feverishly to explain this. I have created memories for 19 years and have to continually explain. This is something I will certainly save to my favorites for my clients. VERY informative and insightful.

    / Reply
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