A Wedding Planner’s Perspective: Why Are Wedding Flowers so Expensive?

Bouquets, floral arches, centerpieces, reception décor – there is no doubt that flowers play a huge role at weddings.

And even if you keep your big-day blooms simple and only purchase a few bouquets and boutonnieres, you’ll likely have a bit of a sticker shock once you see the price tags. Especially if you compare what they are today to prices a couple of years back. 

How can something so small and with such a short lifespan cost so much? And are they worth it?

Several factors contribute to how much wedding florals cost, which you’ll read about below. 

As for the second question, from a wedding planner’s perspective, absolutely! And I’ll tell you why at the end of the post. 

Persian Christian Ceremony at Tehama Golf Club
Britt Rene Photo

The Pandemic

Many industries were hit hard by the pandemic – particularly when it first began in the spring of 2020. Not surprisingly, the floral industry was one of them. And the result was a domino effect causing high demand, labor shortages, lean farm operations, and increasing cost of supplies. 

Here’s the lowdown:

Businesses closed their doors, including floral shops and farms, sending their workers home. At the end of 2020, the US floral industry employment rate was 5.64 million – down 247,717 jobs from the previous year. And if they closed temporarily, they limited their stock.  

There was a lower demand for flowers during the early days of the pandemic. Couples canceled their weddings and events, leading farmers to slow production to avoid wasting inventory. Some flower farms ended up having to destroy hundreds of flowers.

The other problem was that fewer flowers were planted and harvested in 2020. This means that farmers are struggling to keep up with the current demand. And when they do have enough stock, they don’t have enough workers to bundle and load the flowers. So some of the harvest gets left sitting in the heat and dies.

Wedding Bride's Bouquet
Brooke Borough Photography

​​​​​​​Supply and Demand

​​​​​​​You may have already heard about the great flower shortage of 2022, but if you haven’t, it’s basically a supply and demand issue. As mentioned above, couples who had to postpone their weddings in 2020 and 2021 are creating a wedding boom that has increased the need for florals. 

But because of the pandemic domino effect and the fact that farmers have not been able to realistically keep up, farms worldwide have been unable to produce enough flowers to meet the demand.

Hence the flower shortage. And this leads to fewer flowers in local shops, longer wait times, and higher prices. 

Growing Conditions

It might seem like I’m pointing out the obvious here, but I think we fail to remember that flowers are living things. They are delicate, temperamental, have short lives, and are affected by soil conditions and weather.

Unfortunately, the growing conditions and weather haven’t been ideal for places like South America, where most of the US sources their flowers.

Farms on the home front are also experiencing weather-related issues. The East coast planted a month late due to unfavorable spring conditions, so popular wedding flowers like roses and dahlias are growing behind their regular schedule. In some cases, summer flowers won’t bloom until fall. 

And on the West coast, right here in California (which happens to be responsible for 3/4 of US flower sales), farmers have had to battle droughts and wildfires – not the most ideal conditions for growing flowers. 

Table Floral
Julie Cahill Photography

The Product and the Service

There is a lot that goes into flowers that you don’t see. So it’s not just the flowers you pay for but also a service.

Behind the flower, there are the florist’s years of training, continued education, shop costs, cooler costs, labor, trucks (often special air conditioning units on trucks), and storage units for containers and arches. Plus, there are a lot of mechanics that go into making gorgeous arrangements and bouquets that you purposely don’t see.

Florists also work extremely hard on the wedding day to keep flowers looking pristine in often harsh conditions like sun, wind, and rain. Even if the weather feels fine to you, it may not be ideal for the blooms you chose for your day. 

Type of Flower and Season

Some blooms can cost $2 a stem, while others can cost $5 or more. It definitely helps to choose flowers that are in season. I know this may be a bit harder with everything else that’s going on (crazy weather conditions, pandemic problems, and the like), but typically, seasonal blooms will cost you less than those that are out of season. Plus, seasonal flowers are fresher. 

So why are some flowers, like garden roses, more expensive than others, like chrysanthemums? It depends on things like how difficult they are to grow, if they have to be imported (or how far they have to travel from field to florist), and their level of popularity.

Wedding Cake Floral
Ivan Makarov Photography

Are Wedding Flowers Worth the Cost?

While hiring a florist with lower prices can be tempting, you should also ask yourself why those prices are so low.

Sometimes floral savings can be because the florist doesn’t have a shop/overhead, but I have also seen blooms not be professionally transported or stored and then look terrible on the day of.

Flowers are expensive, but not investing wisely can be a huge mistake that actually costs you more in the end. 

As a wedding planner, I’m here to help you invest wisely in your flowers and in every part of your day. Contact me, and let’s talk about your vision and how we can make it happen in a way that suits your budget.  

  1. Krzystoff says:

    “years of training, continued education, shop costs, cooler costs, labor, trucks (often special air conditioning units on trucks), and storage units for containers” you could well be taking about bubble tea, which has most of the same attributes. Perhaps bubble tea should be $100/sm.cup or flowers should be $7/bunch, based on your reasoning.

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