Elyse Hall Photography/ L’Auberge de Sedona

After ten years working in Sarah’s Garden, and working with flowers off and on for 25 years, it was time to create a super easy and informative guide to help navigate the mystery that is wedding floral ordering.

Here are answers to the 4 main questions regarding:


that arise regarding ordering wedding floral.

1.COST- usually the subject that most want to know about first,  and the biggest question is “why wedding floral costs what it does”?

  • Often, the experience that most people have with fresh cut flowers are those found in a grocery store. These flowers are usually old and the “irregular” ones from the crop, so they are sold in bulk and cheaply to the grocery stores. The stores are able to sell them at a huge discount because it’s not a main seller. That’s also why they don’t last long. Flowers that are cultivated for professional designers and flower shops are picked at their peak, and go through lots of TLC, with constant refrigeration on airplanes, trucks, and then the wholesale flower markets that designers purchase them from. When the designer picks the flowers up, they need to be cleaned, rehydrated and refrigerated. This process requires a lot of labor and cost. Then there’s the cost of labor to design them and install them the day of. It takes a team of highly skilled designers and set up crew to make this happen seamlessly and beautifully. So when you’re seeing the price of an arrangement, it’s not only the floral that you’re paying for, it’s the skilled labor to make it fresh and beautiful.
  • You can control cost by prioritizing what is super important to you or what will be photographed the most, like the wedding party floral and the ceremony installations. (which can always be repurposed in the reception) * see below for more on this.
  • ask the florist how they propose allocating your budget to get the maximum floral and decor for your vision.
  • expect to spend about 10% of your overall wedding budget, ex. $30,000 budget/$3,000 in floral, decor and the labor to design and install it.
  • By floral and decor, we mean the rental vases the flowers come in, rental candles and holders, arches, pedestals, etc.. these items will have to be retrieved at the end of the evening and the cost to have the florist come back is often including in the installation fee.

2.WHAT TO ORDER- It’s so easy to have Pinterest envy and want ALL THE FLOWERS, but in a lot of cases those featured weddings were a total of well over six figures to produce. These are the main floral elements that will still make your wedding gorgeous without busting the budget

  • Bridal Bouquet– most photographed floral and the bride will be holding it at the altar.
  • Toss Bouquet– small version of the bridal bouquet for tradition to toss to single female guests
  • Bridesmaid’s bouquets– usually a smaller version of the bridal bouquet 
  • Boutonnieres (little floral that gets pinned to men’s suit lapel) for Groom, Groomsmen, Fathers, Grandfathers, Ushers, Ring Bearer, Officiant, Male Readers
  • Corsages-typically a wrist corsage, but sometimes pinned on for Moms, Grandmothers, Female Readers
  • Hair floral– can be small filler flowers like babies breath or a full floral crown. Most popular for flower girls 
  • Flower girl petals or mini bouquet– a bag of rose petals for the flower girls to toss down the aisle. Mini bouquet is a great alternative for a church ceremony since many churches don’t allow fresh petals
  • Sign floral– coordinating blooms and or greenery for signs
  • Welcome Table Arrangement– smaller coordinating arrangement for welcome table
  • Ceremony floral– Arch, Aisle decorations or petals. All can be repurposed except for aisle petals
  • Cocktail Hour/Seating Display– usually a small vase with a couple of blooms and a small votive candle 
  • Centerpieces– Can be low or elevated, or mostly candles or a combination of all styles, a variety of candles can be used to accent and create atmosphere and romance
  • Cake floral– fresh floral for the actual cake and or some floral or greenery for the table that it’s displayed on with a few 
  • Bar arrangement– not necessary, but adds a nice touch
  • Candles– are a great accent, but can add up fast. your florist needs to add labor to clean the holders, staff to light them all and retrieve them at the end of the night. Most venues require all the flame to be enclosed in glass hurricanes also. 

3.TRENDS AND COLOR PALETTES- we’ve all seen those funny wedding photos from past decades showcasing the trends of the time, so the choice is yours to go for a more timeless look or to get filled with nostalgia and giggles when you look back on your wedding photos.

  • wedding trends change just as fast as fashion does, so if you are naturally trendy in your personal style, go for whatever trends speak to you and have fun with it
  • if you want your wedding to feel more timeless, wedding whites are always a safe bet. You can also personalize with colors that make you happy and have always been a favorite of yours.
  • a super cool way to create a personal wedding is to take the inspiration from a favorite piece of art or a location in nature that you share as a couple. If you love the desert, there are so many amazing tones and flowers that can reflect that desert love. Or your favorite Monet painting can be shown to your florist as color inspiration. This is a way more personal approach than copying something already designed on Pinterest or a wedding blog. After all it’s YOUR wedding and it’s super meaningful and personal.
  • The best color palettes are either analogous on the color wheel (3 or 4 colors that are close together) or complimentary (opposite on the color wheel) They can be super muted or bold and bright. A great tip to create your own color palette is to grab paint chip samples from the hardware store to play with and bring to all of your design meetings. Grab extras to leave with your event planner or florist, too! 
  • A lot of couples take the color inspiration from the season that the wedding will be in. This does help with the cost of the flowers. Working with mother nature, flowers are farmed for what season they are in their peak and this often dictates the color. With that being said, global exportation allows for flexibility in this area. So you can choose Spring colors in Fall, but just like eating fruit or vegetables out of season, they’ll likely be more expensive and not as beautiful as when they’re grown and picked in their peak season. So choosing domestic (grown in US) and seasonal is usually best. 

4. TIMING- it’s always a great idea to get your florist booked asap, especially if you’ve been wanting to work with them or they’re a well known one. However, here’s a couple of tips to be the best prepared for the floral consultation.

  • Have your venue, bridal gown, and color palette chosen. The colors of the venue, the wedding party attire and color palette really effect the floral. For example, if you have your heart set on purple floral, but the ballroom at the resort has a wild patterned carpet in all reds and oranges, the purple flowers could look really odd in that space, you’ll want to choose a palette that works with the existing decor. Or you’ve chosen a ballgown with a voluminous skirt, the florist will recommend a smaller, more refined, bouquet to create balance.
  • It’s recommended to book your florist if you have a large installation no less than 6 months out, but if you’re going for more a simple design, you can order about 4-6 weeks out.
  • Once you book your florist, the design process begins, but a lot won’t happen in the months in between and then everything speeds up to be finalized 2-4 weeks out.
  • The florist orders about 2 weeks out to best insure the blooms are available for the design and then will receive the flowers early the week of the wedding to start designing for the wedding’s weekend delivery.

Wedding planning is so exciting, but can feel overwhelming at times, especially when you want it to be memorable and beautiful. My hope is that after getting some of the main questions answered that choosing and ordering your wedding floral doesn’t have to be challenging or such a mystery.

Answers to The Four Main Questions about Wedding Floral


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