Lessons: Floral Budgeting 101

23 October 2012

He asked.  You said, "I do!"

Now you are off to the races...selecting your bridal party, looking at venues, soaking out the excitement of your engagement.

After a while, you get more serious and it's time to set some budgets.  With so many columns, blogs, books, publications offering ways to create a budget, it's hard to figure out where to begin. Am I right or am I right?

For many wedding couples, the budget is set and possibly adjusted over time.  At first, one might just come up with a number through long deliberation and good advice from friends, parents, co workers.  Not a bad idea at all.   How one derives the amount is fine with me.  

I'm hoping to help one set a budget that is more realistic as you might want to consider a couple factors.  

Example #1 

As you know when you go out to eat at a restaurant, the pricing on the menu isn't really what you end up paying when you leave with your full stomach and I could say with flowers it's the same thing.
Let's understand this isn't a take out order but a full service/sit down dinner. Let's say you are a foodie like me and you go to the great restaurant in your neighborhood.  In mine, it's Radius.

You know from their menu posted outside their doors that they have appetizers, wine, drinks, dessert, and entrees.

I select the Heirloom Tomato Salad at $13.00 
I select for the entree the Fried Chicken because I love my FC at $23.00 
Instead of wine, I order an Ice Tea at $2.50
And finish with Lemon Curd Tart at $8.00
So I get out my wallet and I'm putting down $46.50 right?


That's just not what happens.  Seriously!
In San Francisco, there's an 8.5 % sales tax on my dinner.
That means $3.95 is tacked onto my dinner

So I pull out $50.46.

Wait Again!!!!!

In San Francisco there is a 4% SF Employee Mandate fee.  So that means $1.86 is added to the bill.

But we also know that we don't leave without a tip.  Assuming I get average service,  an average tip of 15% is $6.98. 

So my bill is

$46.50 for food and drink
$3.95 for Tax
$1.86 for the SF Mandate
$6.98 for Tip and Service

Total cost of my dinner at Radius (not including any valet or parking because I walked!)

My actually food and drink was 78% of my total bill. The other part of my bill was for tax, SF mandate and Tip/service.  Now, if my budget for food was under $45, I probably should have planned not to have the ice tea or the tart.   And this holds true for floral budgeting.  Just stay tuned and see my next example.

Now, you might be saying....what's your point ,Nance?  Surely, a restaurant food bill has no correlation with wedding flowers.  Well...wait and see! 

Example #2 

So to prove it, I decided to order just a simple bouquet of flowers via 1800flowers to see if there were additional fees and taxes.

I picked a white medium size floral centerpiece.  With seasonal flowers.  Classic in style for $79.99. See below

There was a $14.99 service charge plus a 8.5% SF tax fee.  Total charges were $14.99 + $8.07 for taxes, making it a total of $23.06 of additional fees on top of the flowers.

Total cost for a $79.99 arrangement =  $103.05.  

Bottom line: Cost of floral arrangement is not the end cost.  Be realistic and think about service and taxes and possible other design fees.

(Remember that my example is of a single arrangement, not an entire full service floral design.  No one comes to clean up the flowers when they die.  No one comes to recycle the glass in a couple days.  No customization.)

If I had a budget of $80 out the door for my flowers, I wouldn't be able to afford this arrangement.  I would have had to scale my flowers to a $60 arrangement to afford the additional fees.

So, why did I give you two examples?  It is because many clients simply budget a number and don't look into the other fees associated with their floral budget.  One has to understand that there are other costs that need to be accounted for.  It doesn't mean you have to up your budget.  It means you have to understand what your money is going toward.

Let's look at a $3000 floral budget using the scenario and % from the Floral Order in Example #2.

Having said this, perhaps when you get 2 or 3 floral proposals, they are above your budget, look at the details to see what items you can cut.  Like my restaurant bill, had I not had ice tea or a dessert, I would have made it.  On the other hand, when you are budgeting, ask yourself, did you budget for your local tax?  Did you include delivery and setup?

My advice  --- take these things into account upfront.   It will make for a more realistic budget because if you think flowers are the only category that has other fees, you might be wrong.  There are labor fees when you hire a lighting company.  There are delivery fees when you have rental items.  And even photographers charge taxes if they are "physically" selling you a finished product!


Michelle Loretta said...

Such a great post Nancy! Thanks for enlightening us on all the costs of event florals. AND - I'm going to guess that you're faced with the same sort of charges when YOU purchase flowers (from the florist side of things). You can't just walk into the flower mart and expect that the $2 flower you see ends up just being $2. There are a number of other factors that go into the end price. And - that doesn't even consider all the labor and creativity costs that go into a FINAL arrangement.

Klassy Kreations Floral & Event Design said...

very nice! Another informative post as usual. I will certainly share this post with brides. I look forward to your follow up post on language of style. Have a great day!

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Leagh@bunchesdirect said...

Thank you for sharing,very informative for a future bride!

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