Why Are Flowers So Expensive?
We’re all familiar with the little grocery store flower bouquets sporting attractive $10-25 price tags. But, if you’ve ever hired a floral designer for a wedding or event, you know the price tag for professional flowers is much higher than a simple bunch of flowers next to the produce aisle. If you’ve ever wondered where that difference comes from, this post is for you!
There are an incredible number of steps that fresh blooms go through before they get to you and I wanted to take some time to demystify that process and hopefully give you some clarity on what you can expect when you place a floral order from a designer for a special occasion.
Weather and Flower Variety
I cannot overstate how large a role weather and growing seasons play in the life cycle of flowers! Certain flowers have a longer growing and harvesting season that lasts throughout the year meaning the demand is not as high which translates into these stems being less expensive. But, flowers with shorter growing windows mean supply is more limited and, if a flower is in high demand like peonies and ranunculus, this adds up to a much steeper price tag.
Mother nature can also have a HUGE effect on supply and demand. A heavy rain or storm might decimate a certain flower and availability suddenly plummets. Growing seasons can also shift from year to year by as much as a month or more! Freezes or heat snaps can hit and flowers are completely at the whims of their environments.
Certain flower plants produce a high yield were one seed produces tons of flowers like feverfew, but others have a very low yield where one seed produces just one single flower like snapdragon.
If you have your heart set on certain exotic blooms, it might surprise you to learn that these rare beauties come with very particular care and handling requirements. Orchids, for instance, are very difficult to get locally and need to be shipped in water sources on an overnight airplane from places like Hawaii and Thailand.
Origin and Sustainability
Location brings me to another BIG factor you need to consider when choosing your blooms: who are you paying to grow these flowers? Is it a local Colorado farmer managing a small business who continues to contribute to your community and who hand-selectively harvests? Or is it a large South America company who drives a tractor into a greenhouse to mechanically harvest? Flowers are very much an industry that has options ranging from bulk to boutique. Sustainability and supporting local Colorado growers are two of the most important tenants of my business and, when you hire me, you can rest assured I do everything in my power to provide you with fresh, quality blooms from people right here in our community who have conservation in mind throughout their entire process.
Processing and Designing Before Your Event
Now that you’ve learned just how much weather, location and sustainability can effect flower costs, let’s talk about what happens after the flowers leave the grower. Before your blooms reach you, they undergo a rigorous, detailed process that allows them to fully shine on the day of your wedding or event and last as long as possible afterwards.
When large deliveries arrive from the flower farmers (a wedding delivery can range anywhere from 500 stems to upwards of 3,000 stems depending on how lush you want your designs to be!), I first have to unpack everything and perform a quality check. Any stem that does not pass inspection gets replaced with a new stem of comparable or more expensive quality.
Next, all of the flowers undergo the hydration process: each stem is cut underwater and placed in a super-clean bucket with a hydration solution that will prevent bacteria along with a special sugar (food) that the flowers need to stay healthy and fresh before being placed in the cooler. This process translates into longevity and vibrance in your flowers and gives them the best chance at a long, hearty life.
The flowers are given 24 hours in the cooler to drink and “harden off.” I then pull them back out and separate them, making sure everything is accounted for. I hand-select every single bloom for your wedding. The best stems are worked into personal flowers (bouquet, boutonnières, crowns) and designs that are seen up close like centerpieces. After this long, intense process, the flowers go back into the cooler again.
I then begin creating pulling out the bunches one at a time to create your designs one by one, and, when a design is complete, they once again go back into the cooler in fresh, clean water. The final step is pulling them back out of the cooler for ribbons and finishing details before packing them all up for delivery.
Transport, Arrival and Set Up
Finally, the day of the event arrives when your flowers emerge into the world to show off their beauty! But first, they have to make it to your location safe and sound. Packing a van for transport is similar to a high-stakes game of Tetris: traveling with flowers is extremely nerve-wracking because even the slightest bump could have disastrous effects.
Once I arrive on location, all of the flowers are pulled out of van. I deliver the personal flowers first so the photographer can begin using them when needed. I then head over to the ceremony site to create any arches, alter, or aisle arrangements, often dragging along ladders and a ton of processing tools. Keep in mind that arches cannot be constructed prior to your wedding so you need to factor in a couple hours of my time on the day-of for design and creation!
Last on the list is the reception centerpieces and designs. After everything is in place and you have your wonderful wedding, I often have to stay for clean up as well!
There are so many factors behind the reason flowers cost what they do. When you get a standard bouquet from the store it averages 15-20 stems, whereas a bridal bouquet contains anywhere from 50-150 stems! Creating personal flowers for a wedding (bouquets, boutonnières, crowns ect.) is a full day of DESIGN work alone, which does not include the lengthy processing procedure they first have to undergo. Many DAYS of preparation, planning and intense design go into creating lovely arrangements for your wedding – not to mention the hours spent on the day of your event transporting and assembling everything.
With so much work and so many resources going into your flower vision, I don’t blame you for not wanting to throw away your flowers after just one day of use! Gorgeous flowers are undeniably an investment which is why I am SO passionate about providing bouquet preservation. When you choose to send your flowers back to me after your wedding, I will create a beautiful piece of art for you that will last as tangible memory of your blooms. You can read all about the process on my Bouquet Preservation page!