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Looking back at my wedding, I still get giddy thinking about the beautiful blooms that surrounded me that day. But while we all dream of wonderful wedding flowers, the bill isn’t always as lovely. Erin Foster-Olszewski of A Stem Above is sharing the scoop on what factors play a part in determining floral fees, so we can all be a bit wiser and choose petals that are the best fit for our budget and style.

Starting The Process: Finding Your Flower Friend

Florists come in all shapes and sizes, so research florists based on your aesthetic and don’t be afraid to ask the budget questions up front to make sure booking an initial consult is beneficial for you both. Some floral companies will list pricing and minimums right on their websites; that’s perfect! Other companies approach the planning a bit more organically so they’re able to book for a larger range of budgets. Be aware though: most florists will have a minimum. Florists base their pricing on several factors: location, season, floral connections, and most importantly, experience.

Personal Flowers: Anything Carried, Pinned, or Worn At A Wedding Should Be Remarkable

Any accessory you tote on such an important day should be thought out to perfection. Flowers are no exception, but some brides are a bit surprised when the bridal bouquet budget exceeds the price of a new pair of boots. The bridal bouquet, as all the personal flowers, is a reflection of your style through a compilation of color and texture. A designer will order stems from the best seasonal sources, prep the stems days in advance, check their progress daily, and toss out the blooms that are not considered perfect (which means there is a percentage of over-ordering). Every personal flower will include hours of wiring, taping, and misting consistently. Additionally, putting the final touches on a beautiful floral crown or building personalized corsages requires unfathomable start times for us and our crew the day of the wedding. Your florist is solely responsible for creating works of art for you, your attendants, and your family; that personal attention has a cost.

Ceremony Floral: To Have or Have Not

Without a doubt, your ceremony is the most important part of the day. It is why your closest friends and family have gathered, and every setting is different for every couple. Survey your canvas and sum up what is important to decorate, remembering that the two people at the top of the aisle are what people notice. For the required elements such as a beautiful archway, chuppah, mandap, etc. for denominational weddings, know this is an undertaking for any company. Structurally, any focal piece takes hours to construct prior to the ceremony as well as the actual floral to be ordered and assembled to look perfect. The setup time for illustrious decor equates to a substantial price. If you are on an unlimited budget, any designer would love to flower bomb your ceremony, but if that is not the case, sit down and listen to options. Fabric rentals, candle work, and other decor are options. You can simplify your ceremony decor and it will still be a momentous event.

Dressing Your Dinner: Reception Decor

When you start the process of planning, you will venture online to Pinterest and popular sites with the most “pinned” images ever. Unfortunately for floral designers, the image does not indicate a price point. Rule of thumb: you get what you pay for when it comes to centerpieces. Floral pieces with an unbelievable combination of textures, signature colors, and eclectic rental containers are going to come at a price. We are creating a design, a piece of art – whether there are five or fifty tables, each one has been looked at with a microscope. Larger events flooded with tall centerpieces bursting with floral have to be executed by several freelancers on wedding day under the supervision of a lead designer that has originated the concept… the same designer who has personally carried the design from conception to table after months of planning. If the wedding is a simpler affair, your florist has still worked months planning, delicately choosing floral combinations, and preparing all the containers. A small tip would be to present overall concepts to a designer at an initial consult and have a sturdy budget range for decor. Understand we will do everything to create a beautiful reception, no matter what the budget. So pin away, but be prepared to be flexible!

The Bottom Line: What Are You Paying For?

Perfection. Any reputable florist strives to detail your wedding starting from your first meeting up to the wedding date. Quality blooms that are foraged near or far take planning. A bit of versatility goes a long way if you are budget-conscious. If you have an unlimited range, are open to suggestions of current trends, and give your designer free range to think outside the box; this makes us happy. Whatever your budget, there is something to be said about a personal relationship with your florist. Make sure it is someone with whom you have an immediate connection and try not to over analyze the numbers initially, as long as you are within your budget range. Someone you feel comfortable chatting with not only about your floral needs, but also family drama, quirky design ideas, and the overall planning process, will be personally invested in your day. Your flowers will reflect that!


Secrets Resorts + Spas


For our California Brides… Discount from The Ranch at Laguna Beach

For our New England Brides… Discount from Sweet Monday Photography

For our Tri-state Brides… Giveaway from NST Pictures and a giveaway and discount from Alexandra Grecco, discount from Femina Photo + Design!


Congratulations to our Plum Pretty Sugar winners Amanda H., Sarah, Kynzie, Lauren B., and Raschelle!

See even more wedding tips in THE VAULT! 


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