There is one question that I get all the time from brides. Want to guess what that is? It's "how much are my wedding flowers are going to cost", of course!
That is such a difficult question to answer, and not because we florists don't want to answer it. The truth is that some brides want lots of flowers and others want the bare minimum. I find that most fall somewhere in between. Taking the time to find out what the bride envisions for her day along with any budget she has set, is priority #1 during first consultations with me. The issue that have is that most families have not set an overall budget for their weddings. This is not good!!!
Not setting a budget allows for overspending. You wouldn't ask your realtor to show you houses without telling them how much your mortgage was approved for, would you? You don't go car shopping with an open checkbook? Planning a wedding will be one of the most expensive "purchases" you will even make and I can not imagine planning one without it.
How does this relate to the flowers? If you look on most wedding planning websites such as http://www.theknot.com/ you'll notice that they have guidelines for each area of spending. For example, the general rule of thumb is that your wedding flowers should be about 8% of your budget. Is this always true? Of course not. I've had brides that have planned very small weddings with an overall budget of $20,000 and flowers played such a big part that they budgeted 20% to achieve the look they wanted. I've had others spend less than 3% on flowers and decor. It truly is up to the bride and groom to determine what's important and what is not.
Where it gets difficult for me as a florist is answering that dang question - "how much are my flowers going to cost me". I usually start off answering this question by explaining that their budget is personal and something that I take seriously. I tell them that if they have a budget, they should share it with me so that I can come up with flower choices and designs that keep them to that budget. I explain that a benchmark that most people follow is the "8% of overall wedding expenses" rule. The trouble is that most brides and grooms have not set that ultimate budget. They are free-wheeling all the way! Holy cow!! Not a good thing. They don't know that large number in order to give me that lower 8% number.
Right then and there without further investigation and fact-finding, I can not give a overall price. I have no idea how many brides maids or centerpieces. I have no idea if the wedding is to be a large formal affair or a small, private one. I have no idea if their flower tastes are for lots of high end blooms or small amounts of casual flowers. And so my job begins by asking lots of questions and looking at inspiration pictures.
The lesson to be learned? Set a budget, both for your overall wedding and each component. Once you have your floral budget, share it. Let the florist come back to you with ideas that give you the look you want without breaking the bank!!
For help with budgeting, check out this budgeter at http://www.theweddingcolony.com/Tools/Budgeter/WeddingBudgeter.aspx and for inspiration for your wedding flowers don't forget to look at our own picture gallery at http://www.perfectweddingflowers.com/