The inside scoop on wedding day florals | With this Ring

Why are wedding flowers so expensive? | Cinnamon Wolfe Photography | North NJ Wedding Photographer

By Jessica Davis, owner of SOULflowers and co-creator of The Ember Circle

Transcribed and edited by Amber Smith

“Charge what you’re worth and don’t apologize for it.”

This simple statement it easier said than done for a lot of people. It resonated deeply with me because money makes me uncomfortable. This is not an easy subject for most small business owners, especially those in creative businesses. When your art form is your livelihood there is vulnerability that other occupations do not require.

When asked to contribute to this series, it did not take me long to decide what I would write about. I want to remind people why they hire event professionals. Understanding the many aspects of planning a wedding or event is crucial for consumers. I don’t think we should ever stop educating our consumers.

I would like to begin from the client’s point of view. When looking to book a florist for a wedding or event, obvious concerns come to mind: “How could I get this in the most budget friendly way?” I want to encourage the consumer to start thinking differently.

The old saying you get what you pay for is something you should keep in mind when hiring the best person for any job. A good service provider always takes into consideration that people have budgets.

A good service provider will help you figure out where your money will be well spent in order to achieve your expectations.

This leads nicely into the next question that plays on honesty, “How do I know that I can trust whom I am hiring?” In most things it is always important to trust your gut, but the way I run my business is by being as candid and straight forward as possible. I want to educate my client as well as I can so they have an understanding of what all is involved to create their event.

So, “Could I do it myself?” In the age of Pinterest and DIY, people are falsely lead to believe these things are easily achievable. What sounds like a night of getting the girls together to craft, ends up being more expensive and time consuming than fun. There is absolutely something to be said for hiring professionals.

Why are wedding flowers so expensive? | Cinnamon Wolfe Photography | North NJ Wedding Photographer

photo by Cortney Smith  

I want to now talk about all the work we do that goes unseen. Let’s start at the beginning.

We have our first meeting. The majority of initial meetings are complementary, but the work has already begun. Initial meetings generally take thirty minutes or more. During this time we are getting to know each other and discussing event details. From there, the next step is sending a proposal. So begins the office portion of the job. Alone this task takes ‘x’ amount of hours. Gathering prices, figuring out labor, assembling inspirational materials to send along an overall package to the potential client is all part of this work. Assuming we are hired, this probably means the event is at least six months away.

From the signing of the contract to the day of the event, here are some of the other unseen efforts:

  • Countless emails, phone calls, and text messages go between the florist and client, but also the various suppliers, wholesalers, wedding planners, venues, photographers, and cake artists.
  • Additional in-person meetings will take place leading up to the big day.
  • Then, there is the design aspect, which is taking the client’s wants and needs and personalizing it to create something we can all be proud of.
  • Next are the other team members involved. Team members are used for the prep work, such as cleaning flowers, prepping containers, building props, making garlands, floral arrangements, bouquets, boutonnières, etc.
  • Delivery and day of set up, depending on the size of the event, can occupy hours or days of labor.
  • Break down not only consists of on-site deconstruction, but also post clean up, i.e. washing vases, ridding candle holders of their wax, restocking shelves, cleaning shop, and the returning of rentals, just to name a few tasks.
Why are wedding flowers so expensive? | Cinnamon Wolfe Photography | North NJ Wedding Photographer

Photo by Nathan Westerfield  

Moving on to the seen, overhead things that as the consumer are probably the most obvious parts of what make up the budget. Flowers, candles, various textiles, and vessels, all of which make up centerpieces, bouquets, and all other floral décor.

Things to consider:

  • market prices
  • time of year
  • type of flowers
  • quantities
  • proportion of greenery to flowers

One of the most important things to consider when constructing arrangements is that flower choice and quantity play a bigger role than overall size. For example, bouquet small in size, though comprised of only flowers, is often assumed to cost less than a bouquet that is larger in size but consists of some flowers and mostly greenery. In this case, the smaller bouquet with a higher stem count will be more costly. It is a misconception that bigger must mean more expensive.

Why are wedding flowers so expensive? | Cinnamon Wolfe Photography | North NJ Wedding Photographer

photo by Ashley Posthuma  

One last intangible but vitally important part of why it is worth it to hire someone like me (that I probably should have mentioned first) is the ground work laid to build the business and reputation it has taken to be successful. To build a reputation, patience and time are needed. Relationships must be forged with vendors and past clients and other industry folk. The tenacity and perseverance expended in the process of building up a business has many crossroads. Pursuing your passion can lead you to intersections where remembering to choose your love of the job can co-exist with realizing your worth.

Why are wedding flowers so expensive? | Cinnamon Wolfe Photography | North NJ Wedding Photographer

photo by Alex Blackwelder

When I first got into the business, I remember knowing that my goal was to make this passion a career, a livelihood, a way to contribute to my household’s earnings. I channeled my energies and devoted time towards seeing my passion become what it is today. A career that is a mix of artistic expression and business determination only achieved through training and schooling and years of experience. As consumers we should never assume to know everything it takes for a field we are not a part of to operate. We have to trust who we hire because they are professionals in their field. Doing so allows us to communicate respectfully to feel good about the end goal.

Why are wedding flowers so expensive? | Cinnamon Wolfe Photography | North NJ Wedding Photographer


photo by Alissa Saylor

Why are wedding flowers so expensive? | Cinnamon Wolfe Photography | North NJ Wedding Photographer

I am Jessica Davis, the owner of SOULflowers and co-founder of The Ember Circle. I got my start in the floral business at age 16 in a beautiful shop in the North Shore suburbs of Chicago. I studied interior design then headed west to San Diego where landscape design became my focus. I now live in a small town just outside Nashville, where I started SOULflowers in 2009.

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All about that Cake: 10 questions to ask | With this Ring...

Choosing a wedding cake | Cinnamon Wolfe Photography | North NJ Wedding Photographer

Ten Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Meet With Your Wedding Cake Artist by Leanna Brown

I am SO excited to share this list of questions you should ask yourself before you sit down with your cake artist. I know this is a stressful time, but you’re going to do great! This is one of the most exciting parts of planning because you get to stuff your face with delicious cake while you talk about your wedding! What could be better than that? Let’s get started!

1. What is your wedding “theme”? 

Are you a rustic bride? Are you a prep style modern bride? Are you an elegant, classic bride? What kind of wedding are you wanting? I see it all the time. A bride/groom sees a cake they love, shows it to me, and it is NOTHING like their wedding style. You don’t want a dirty iced cake at your art-deco wedding. So I urge you to decide this before you sit down with your cake artist. 

2. What are your wedding colors?

You may think this doesn’t matter when you talk about a cake, but IT DOES! Why? What embellishments are going on your cake? Do you want color on your cake? What are your table linens looking like? Are you doing gold or silvers? All these things matter SO much! Don’t be surprised when your cake artist asks you this question. Be ready to answer! Bring your wedding swatches, photos of your bridesmaid dresses, maybe even share what your guest tables are going to look like.

Choosing a wedding cake | Cinnamon Wolfe Photography | North NJ Wedding Photographer

3. What is your budget?

This is a huge moment of truth right here. Most of my couples will sit down with me, and they have NO IDEA how much wedding cakes cost. Guess what!? You don’t have to! That’s not your job, so you can relax. Just for kicks, I want you to think of a price in your head right now for one-hundred servings of cake. If you’re guessing around $500-$1500, you’d be right. Yes, those are extravagant differences in price. It all depends on who you’re talking to. I myself, charge $4.00 for buttercream cakes, and $8 for fondant cakes. (If you were wondering!) This is a tricky question, because each and every cake artist defines their cost by their expenses, level of expertise, and how much they want to be paid hourly. I know this seems like a lot of information all at once, so let’s slow down.

4. Pinterest board or no Pinterest board?

I say, PINTEREST YOUR LITTLE HEART OUT! Just don’t let it define your cake. Don’t strip your cake decorator of his/her favorite part. Designing your cake. This is what I tell most all of my brides. “Put a board together, invite me to it. Find cakes that you love certain things about. Like the lines on that cake? Like the cake stand on that one? Like the color scheme on that one? Pin it, and put in the comments what you want me to know! Then, we will sit down, and I will sketch up all the things you love about all 12 of these cakes.” 

Choosing a wedding cake | Cinnamon Wolfe Photography | North NJ Wedding Photographer

5. Should I schedule a cake tasting?

OH MY GOODNESS! Yes, girl. You should! This is SO, SOOOO important. If you get nothing else from me, get this. You need to know that the cake you are investing in, tastes to your liking! I URGE you to make sure you love the taste. There is nothing worse to me than going to a friend’s wedding, seeing the cake, and biting into it…only to be absolutely disappointed by the way the cake tastes. If your cake artist doesn’t do cake tastings, ask them to make an exception. If they absolutely won’t, order cupcakes from them. Do whatever you have to do to make sure that cake is worth eating!

6. Should I have my cake delivered?

This. This question is so important, and the answer should always be YES! I know it’s tempting. It’s such a high fee…but the last, and I mean the VERY last thing you want to happen, is for your cake to be splattered in the back of your Aunt Millie’s car. Firstly, this can ruin relationships with people. You might have a hard time forgiving someone who ruined your 4 tier, $1700 cake…but ultimately, you went with the cheaper option. You have to prepare yourself for that kind of risk. Don’t put any of your loved ones in that position, with that much responsibility. You know who could handle it? Your professional cake artist! We deliver cakes all the time, all week long. We have the equipment, the space, and the knowledge to handle your cake delivery. I know the delivery fee may be hefty, but the stress and complications, not to mention the time it takes to deliver a cake, is WORTH every penny you spend. Protect. Your. Investment.

Choosing a wedding cake | Cinnamon Wolfe Photography | North NJ Wedding Photographer

7. Real flowers or sugar flowers?

We all have different opinions on this. My professional opinion, is to go with what you like the look of the best. It’s pretty rare anybody actually eats your sugar flowers. (I’d be absolutely disturbed by anyone eating your real flowers! Hah!) This is one way to cut your cost. Most sugar flowers are anywhere from $25-$60 per flower. If you absolutely need to cut costs, just do real flowers! **Important** PLEASE give as much advanced notice as possible. Most cake artists make their sugar flowers at least a month in advance, if not more. It’s important to maintain a healthy relationship with your vendors. (Not just your cake artist!) Please be mindful of their time. 

Choosing a wedding cake | Cinnamon Wolfe Photography | North NJ Wedding Photographer

8. Will I have to pay upfront?

It definitely depends on who it is. A lot of people do things differently, just like any other vendor field. I would ask this question while you’re scheduling your cake tasting. (Because you’re GOING to have a cake tasting, RIGHT?!) Most cake artists require a 50% retainer. Just be prepared for that during your tasting. A lot of cake artists will give you a certain amount of time to sign the contract, and pay your dues. If you’ve expired that time, your date is FREE game, girlfriend!

Choosing a wedding cake | Cinnamon Wolfe Photography | North NJ Wedding Photographer

9. Cupcakes or a large cake?

Before we go into that, let’s talk about sheet cake. I know, I’m just crazy over here expecting you to follow along, but hear me out. Somewhere in the deep depths of the Internet, someone released an article that says that sheet cake makes your costs cheaper. THIS IS SO UNTRUE. If you go to the grocery store, and you want 3 loafs of bread. They are all the same price, aren’t they? You buy each loaf at the same price. It doesn’t matter how it comes. The only way it will differ in price, is by the brand you buy. Think about that the same way you think of cake. A slice of cake, is a slice of cake, is a slice of cake. Now, about the initial question at hand! Cupcakes or a large cake? I know a lot of you see these beautiful dessert tables on Pinterest and you just SWOON over the idea of those cute little cupcakes. Cute they may be, but cheaper they are not. How many flavors of cupcakes are you having? Let’s say you’re having 4 cupcake flavors, and a 5th flavor of cake. Uncle Henry isn’t going to take one cupcake. You may want to, in your mind, think he will be modest as can be at a beautiful cake table covered in delicious sweets. However, he’s going to take a red velvet, a chocolate, and a slice of your cake. What does that mean for you? You guessed it! Your serving numbers will rise!

Choosing a wedding cake | Cinnamon Wolfe Photography | North NJ Wedding Photographer

10. Is it worth the money?

Let’s be real right now. This isn’t just any day. This is YOUR WEDDING DAY. Do NOT sell yourself short. Do not go cheaper just because you want to save a few bucks. Twenty years from now, people are going to be looking forward to seeing two things. Your dress and your cake. Walk in there, and GET WHAT YOU WANT! You will regret it if you don’t, I promise.

Choosing a wedding cake | Cinnamon Wolfe Photography | North NJ Wedding Photographer

I sincerely hope this helped! Cake is a wonderful thing, but it is not just cake. 

“May this cake mark the start of your sweet new adventure.” I know planning a wedding can be VERY stressful, but try your hardest to enjoy each moment! Once you see it all come together on your wedding day, you will see all your hard work has paid off! Now, get on the phone ASAP and call your favorite local cake artist to schedule that cake tasting we talked about!

My name is Leanna Brown, and I am the owner and operator of Cake Me With You, located in Tallahassee, Florida. I am 26, I have a loving husband, and two beautiful daughter’s.

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To see all posts in the With this Ring HERE