Wednesday, February 1, 2012

And the Winner of the Courtenay Lambert Florals Bouquet Knowledge Contest is...

Jessica W!!!!!  Jessica did her research, and not only did she get the pricing order correct, her explanation is pretty darn close as well.   Thanks to everyone who played.  I thought this was a fun way to educate people and get them to really think about flower pricing.  We will probably do more "cost" type posts from time to time, and hopefully it will be helpful to our customers and readers when choosing flowers.  My explanation below is super lengthy (sorry), but hopefully helpful. 

And to my floral designer friends, please feel free to comment!  I would love to hear if you concur and any other helpful hints that go into your pricing that I may have missed. 

Here are the bouquets in order of price: 
Bouquet #1 – $165
·        includes Roses and Lisianthus, with ivory satin and pearl stem treatment

Bouquet #4 – $245 (without brooch $195…using an average price of $50 for a vintage brooch)
·        includes Hydrangea, Stock, Roses, and Freesia, with a stem treatment of satin edged Bengaline Moiré ribbon and a vintage brooch

Bouquet #3 – $325 (without brooch $275…using an average price of $50 for a vintage brooch)
·        Fuji Mums, Roses, Lilac, Scabiosa flower, Kale, Berzelia berries, with stem treatment of celery green dupioni silk, burlap, and a vintage cameo brooch

Bouquet #2 – $495 (without 2 brooches $395…using an average price of $50 for a vintage brooch)
·        Football Mums, Fringe Tulips, Hyacinth, Lilac, Calla Lilies, Ranunculus, Berzelia berries, and bouquet jewel embellishments, with a stem treatment of emerald green dupioni silk and vintage brooches

Here are the bouquets in order of price from lowest to highest: 

Bouquet #1

Bouquet #4

Bouquet #3

Bouquet #2

Here is Jessica W's response to our contest:

I know next to nothing about flowers so I tried my hand at researching the costs. I looked up wholesale prices--I even made an excel spread sheet--this revealed very little except for how much I don't know! So here's my attempt:

(least to most)
1 ($190) - it's the simplest and the smallest, and the stem embellishments are least expensive.
4 ($225) - it's an average size with a number of filler and in-season flowers. The moire ribbon is less expensive than silk. (I counted all of the brooches as being about the same price, since I think there are a lot of options out there with Etsy and such).
3 ($260) - some filler here, but a pretty large size and the silk... if my research means anything there are some more expensive flowers here as well
2 ($315) - the largest, you can see how many stems there are; calla lilies and ranunculus are expensive and ranunculus are seasonal; plus the little jewels probably cost more because I would guess they're labor intensive.

Great contest! Can't wait to read the follow-up post.

CLF explanation of what factors affect the price of a bouquet? 

(These pricing guidelines refer to bridal bouquets only, unless otherwise specified below.)
Believe it or not, size has little to do with the price of a bouquet unless you’re comparing apples to apples (or in our case, Roses to Roses, Callas to Callas, or Hydrangea to Hydrangea).  What affects the price are the types of flowers that go into a design and how many of them you use (see “Amount” section below).  For instance, if we did an all Calla Lily bouquet that is the same size as bouquet #1, it would be approximately $400 - $500 (compared to bouquet #1’s price tag of $165).  The reason for this is that per stem, Calla Lilies are expensive and it would take many of them to achieve the same size as bouquet #1.  Although gorgeous, Callas are small and narrow, and do not add much mass/volume to a bouquet unless you use a lot.  On the other hand if you did an all Hydrangea bouquet, your costs would be low because you don’t need as many Hydrangea to achieve a good size…they add a lot of mass/volume to the size of a bouquet.  From a size standpoint, you could use 40 – 50 mini Calla Lilies to create a bouquet that has the same circumference as a bouquet that only includes maybe 3 Hydrangea.  And Hydrangea per stem can be more expensive than Calla Lilies, but it takes far less of them to get a full, large look. 
****Size does come into play more when we’re talking about centerpieces and other floral arrangements and designs.  The larger the arrangement/centerpiece typically increases the design and installation time and therefore the price. 
The amount of flowers in a design affects price, of course.  But, bouquets typically fall within a certain size range.  So, if you use large, cost effective blooms then you don’t need as many to achieve your size and you can keep your price lower.  If you use small blooms (whether they’re cost effective or not), you’re going to need more of them to achieve a certain size…so these types of designs can sometimes end up costing more.  The exception would be if you use very inexpensive small blooms like say Alstromeria.  But we’ve found that most of our customers don’t want the super inexpensive blooms.  They want the more popular wedding blooms that have a tendency to not only add beauty but also add cost.  These popular blooms like Ranunculus, Anemones, Freesia, Lilac, etc. add a beautiful textured look, but you need more of them to achieve a decent sized bouquet. 
Texture/Types of Flowers:
Another thing that affects pricing is texture (using lots of types of flowers and non-floral fresh elements).  Many people think that the little floral and non-floral elements that give lots of texture to a bouquet do not cost much.  On the contrary, those little organic elements, like berries and succulents and small flowers like Ranunculus, Lilac, Veronica, Lily of the Valley, etc. can be expensive; and they don’t add a whole lot of mass/volume to the bouquet. 
I always explain it like this to my brides…if you purchase a simple but beautiful $200 dress, it looks great on, it’s a beautiful dress, and you don’t need to do anything to it to wear it.  But, let’s say you take that same dress and add little accents, embellishments, and accessories…you decide to add sequin palettes or crystal rhinestone banding or even a silk sash with a fabric floral pin.  The dress can be worn either way, and is going to look gorgeous; but it’s definitely going to cost more by adding these things to it.  Not only that, but the designer of that dress is going to spend more time designing the look and adding those embellishments, it’s a customized and more complex design that takes more thought and creativity to accomplish; hence it will add cost.  Have you increased the size of the dress? No.  Are you getting two or three dresses for the extra money you spent?  No.  You have just increased the customization, materials, and design time for the dress; hence the cost.  And when we are designing with flowers, we have to purchase these fresh floral and non-floral elements in volume…we typically cannot buy just the quantities we need to accomplish the bouquet (we have to purchase in bunches or a certain volume).  And sometimes, we are not using the same exact elements in the centerpieces (if we do, it does help disperse the cost).  Hence, a highly textured bouquet is typically going to be more expensive. 
Complexity of Design:
I touched on this above, but suffice it to say a complex design takes more thought to concept and more time to complete.  If we are wiring a lot of elements into the bouquet, i.e. orchids, stephanotis, succulents, it’s a more difficult design, it takes more thought to coordinate the colors, and takes longer to accomplish; hence adding cost. 
Exceptions to Cost Rules:
There are exceptions to all rules.  For example, there are changes in market prices, there are extenuating circumstances out or our control…shipping, weather (floods, droughts, and extreme heat), changes in availability…all which affect pricing.  Sometimes product that is available locally or domestically is no longer available, and we have to order that product oversees.  Extreme shipping costs will increase the price of the end product.  Sometimes certain fresh product has a higher decline rate (waste), so we have to order more of it and choose the best blooms from the bunch (and the declined blooms which we paid for go in the trash).  So, we have to constantly keep ourselves educated on product quality, types, and availability.  And we have to be able to suggest substitute product if the product requested by a customer is cost prohibitive or the quality is not worth the price.  So that is the other thing that comes into play…expertise. 
When you are dealing with a well educated and experience floral designer, you are also paying for their expertise, style and vision.  Just like going to a salon to have your hair cut and styled, you are paying for an expert who has made it their profession, they stay educated on the latest trends and techniques, and they will do a great job and make you look fabulous.  Sure, you can take a scissors to your own hair, but unless you're really good it could result in a very home-spun look.  Working with an experienced, professional florist is just like working with any experienced professional, and you are paying for their expertise and knowledge.  You are paying for their advice so that they can guide you in choosing designs and blooms that are going to work best for you, that are going to work best for the time of year, and that achieve the look you want to achieve. 
********Different geographical markets have access to different fresh floral products.  Depending on where your floral designer is located could affect your end price because of product availability and shipping charges for fresh product that is further from their location. 


  1. Congrats Jessica! Awesome job and such a fun contest Courtenay!!!!

  2. Thank you!! Fun contest and very eye-opening post!