Charlie's Flower Boutique


Posts in wedding flowers
Do you have a price list please?

More often that not when a new enquiry comes to me it will usually say something like

‘ Can you provide a cost for a bridesmaid bouquet, bridesmaids, buttonholes and maybe some centerpieces’

Well, no not really…..

Here’s why and this is good advice when approaching florists if you want to find a few different quotes.

  • Firstly, know roughly how many items you need, 2 or 20 buttonholes?

  • What time of year are you getting married?

  • Are there any particular flowers your really want or really don’t want?

  • What colours do you like or hate?

  • What budget are you thinking you’ll spend?

  • Where are you getting married? Will you be at the venue in the morning? Where will the groom be?

  • Are you bringing in a venue dresser we can work with?

  • Does the venue need us to come back at 1am to pack up?

The budget question is really important, florists will always cost up items based on the best possible flowers available to them, afterall, it’s your big day and you deserve only the best! However, keep in mind that even when flowers are seasonal, they can still be very expensive - hydrangeas a wedding favourite are incredibly expensive and personally I will always order more than I think I need because you’ll always get a couple that decide to die at the last minute unexpectedly! I’ve heard that some florists say 10% of your wedding budget should go on flowers. I’m not sure what this is based on to be honest but I think you should think of a budget and add on another couple of hundred just to be on the safe side.

It’s not just the act of creating your flowers that you’re paying for it’s other factors that are built into the costs such as;

  • Initial meeting, creating and putting together an estimate , changes and amendments to this

  • Venue visit - double checking against estimate

  • Second client visits if meeting was over 6 months ago

  • Speaking with venue / cake / wedding planners contacts regarding logistics

  • Sourcing non flower items if necessary - this will include trips to wholesalers or haberdasheries,

  • Ordering and prepping your flowers, often this will be a split order to ensure some flowers open on time

  • Care of the flowers whilst they are drinking and hydrating

  • Creating your bridal party flowers, boxing up , tagging, dividing flowers up

  • Venue flower creation, I try to do most of this on site if possible to cut down on the time in my workshop. I will probably have had a couple of hours of sleep before this!

  • Packing up, cleaning up,

  • Returning to venue to collect items (here’s where you can cut some costs by offering to do this)

So, maybe a bit more than you may have thought and this is why flowers can be 3/4 times more expensive than you see in the shops. Afterall, we are a business and whilst I always (luckily) have had great relationships with all of my brides - I don’t think one of them would like to think I’ve come out of it, out of pocket. Some may ask why on earth do it? My reason is that yes it can be stressful but I love the process and I love creating something different every time - and the biggest reward? Seeing the bride’s face when she sees her bouquet. If they cry, I’ve done my job properly!! ha! I’m joking, some brides aren’t that fussed about flowers and I get that, but as long as they’re happy. So am I. My other half and my lovely assistants will testify that i’m a nervous wreck until that bouquet is handed over. It’s a massive thing to be entrusted with something so important and that’s why I will take 2/3 hours alone creating the bridal bouquet.

I’ve had to make a decision recently that after working in the industry for nearly 7 years and still not really making enough (it’s a labour of love) to be able to warrant not having a weekday job and with there only being a certain number of weekends in the year, that I will no longer take any budgets under £1,000. This is partly down to thinking I still need to build my portfolio up but actually after rejigging my website - I think i’m a bit past this now! I know that rules out some customers but there are plenty of up and coming talented freelance florists who would be happy to take on smaller budgets.

I hope this helps you and keep this in mind when you’re speaking to your slightly frazzled looking florist.

Are bridal flower workshops taking business away from florists?

Can I be honest? Understandably some people do not know what to expect or have no idea about the cost of flowers for weddings, there is (I think) a common misconception that we florists hike up our prices when the word 'wedding' is mentioned. Maybe there are some that do, but I think mostly florists want to provide a good service at a fair price, after all, we want a return trade and good reviews which leads to more business. I think alot of people would be surprised at the amount of hours that can go into creating wedding flowers (I'll make another blog on that!). Anyway, I feel that there is a real trend in DIY weddings boosted by the sharing of information and inspiration on sites such as Pinterest and YouTube, where you can virtually find out anything and how to do it.

There can be many reasons why a bride wants to organise her own wedding flowers, being part of the creative process if you are that way inclined,  control, having a budding florist in the family, but I think in most cases it comes down to budget.

Talking to a fellow florist at an industry function about this subject, she commented that if a bride decides she is going to arrange her own flowers, then she will do it and so I think you can't take business away if it's not there in the first place, but what I can do is help be a part of the process. So if they can come along to a workshop, have a nice day and learn a few skills whilst paying for the educators time and knowledge then I think everybody wins. The florist receives some income from a wedding client they wouldn't normally have done and the bride has more confidence in her floristry skills whilst eating cake and drinking champagne, and with my workshops, they also receive ongoing support and advise until the big day which surely will help with any last minute changes.

I think there is room in the industry for freelancers such as myself who can offer workshops and courses along with the more traditional florist shops. I like running workshops, they're fun, give me a chance to connect with some of my Facebook fans and meet new ones, and they allow me to do something different to my wedding work. I'm excited to be running Autumn/winter wedding and Spring/Summer Wedding bridal flower workshops as well as my Christmas and Mother's Day Workshops, I'm hoping that from a business side they grow and grow and I get to do the job I love all the time!

For more information on the workshops please visit the Workshop page

Please feel free to follow me on Instagram (Charliebeeflowers), Facebook or Twitter.





How to choose the right wedding florist.

So how do you decide which florist to choose when there is so much choice out there?

So you've set the big day, your venue is booked, bridesmaids dresses have been chosen (or not!) and you have your colour theme, next is to book your florist. But how?!

You might not give two hoots about flowers and quite happy with a simple classic rose bouquet, or you've been trawling though Pintrest every night and have about 3 different boards of different ideas and can decide what on earth to go with! Whichever sort of bride you are, personally I don't think you can book your florist early enough but from my experience I would advise on the following:

  • How quickly have they come back to your enquiry? Yes florists are busy people especially during wedding season, but if it's been over a week - I would say move on as they're not going to be able to show you the dedication to your wedding if they can't even email or call you back in a decent time frame.
  • Recommendations - have a look on their Facebook pages, on Google + etc for reviews by other brides, or ask your family who they have used and if they would recommend, it sounds simple but word of mouth is very powerful. As florists, we love knowing our brides are telling people about us! Nicely!
  • Have they just given you a price straight away without asking more questions about the day? If you've not specified your wedding date, I would be dubious of a florist giving you a price for your flowers (unless you are having an all year round flower like a rose).
  • Make sure when you do receive a quote that there is a description so you know what flowers are going to be included, google them and make sure you know what they are and that you like them. 
  • Make sure the quote includes everything including any hidden charges such as hire fees for any props and delivery / pick up fees. Some florists will also charge for their time on the day if you are having your ceremony room turn round into your wedding breakfast and flowers on the table, the florist will be waiting for a few hours in the wings to do this so there may understandably be a charge for their time.
  • Are they flexible? have they kindly agreed to change a few things, or look for budget saving ideas for your wedding? By having a trusting relationship with your florist, you will be more relaxed about what you will have on the day!
  • Be open minded - sometimes florists can have nightmares trying to get hold of specialist flowers for weddings, things beyond our control can go wrong but personally I am up front and honest about this to my clients so there are no nasty surprises.
  • Vintage flowers? Rustic wedding? country, boho wedding flowers? Make sure that your florist knows where you are coming from by showing them pics of what you have seen. With these whimsical and unstructured wedding bouquets, the florist's artistic flare will shine through and they will do what feels right with the materials on the day so it might not look like to picture you've showed them - but it will be better, unique and yours.

Lastly, and I think most important is - Do you like them? Afterall, why would you want to part with waht can be a large sum of money to someone you're not that keen on or is a faceless big brand? Support your local florist and seek our those independent florist who are more likely to provide you with attention to detail, time and passion.

Of course, i'm a bit biased :D