Little Black Book: Mary Jane Vaughan
For so many couples, flowers are really the cornerstone of their wedding decor. Florals are a way to tie a theme together, to style a venue the way you want it and really put a creative stamp on your day. You really can do anything you dream up with flowers, you've just got to take a quick swipe of Pinterest to tell you that. But with Pinterest dreaming comes the harsh reality of wedding budgets - flowers are usually way more expensive than you think. But fear not! We spoke to the lovely Tove at Mary Jane Vaughan Flowers - absolute floral geniuses - and asked her for some bridal tips and advice for budgeting for your wedding blooms.
So, Tove, we know it's impossible to say what the average wedding budget is because it's essentially asking how long a piece of string is. But for those couples just starting to put their budget together, what might give them an idea of where they should be pitching their flower spend?
You're totally right, wedding budgets can vary so much it really is so difficult to suggest a rule of thumb percentage of your budget or a flat figure. But, there are a few things that might give you an idea. The first is your venue - if you have already chosen one or have a style in mind that you know is going to need a lot of decoration, it's safe to say your flower budget might be higher than others. Some couples don't consider headcount in their flower budget, but there's a big difference between 10 and 25 tables when it comes to centrepieces. If you do have a large wedding and still want to create an impact, consider larger tables or a different configuration which lowers the number you need.
Does it worry you when bridal magazines are suggesting to couples that average spends on flowers are so much lower than is realistic?
The disconnect between Pinterest and bridal magazines is what may be slightly confusing for brides. Bridal magazines may suggest that the average cost is £2000, but on Pinterest (where most of our brides go nowadays for inspiration) the centrepieces are overflowing with flowers, and the bouquets huge, as these are the designs that photograph very well – but these designs will push up the costs as they are so full of flowers.
Saying that, if a couple comes to us with a certain budget and a look to achieve, we will try our hardest to achieve it for them within budget! It may mean choosing the items that are the most important and concentrating on those.
So if budgets are tight, how can couples be smarter with your budget when it comes to wedding flowers?
Concentrate on the most important things – the bride’s bouquet, and the centrepieces. Those are the things that you and your guests will remember and will be in most of the photographs.
Take your florist’s advice on what’s seasonal and go with that, there are beautiful choices in every season. If a flower is very important to you, get married at the right time of year so it doesn’t have to be imported at great cost. You may be obsessed with peonies but if you're not getting married in May or June, you'll struggle to stay within budget to have them!
You can create a lot of atmosphere with candlelight and amazing vases. If budget is tight use night lights, hurricane lamps and candlesticks and perhaps some rose petals, to decorate the less focal areas such as the drinks reception. On the table-centres themselves, a lot can be achieved with gorgeous vases and statement flowers, arranged with simplicity, or in a clever way, and highlighted with more candlelight!
What are some of the costs couples forget to factor in for their wedding flowers?
At the budgeting stage, some couples don’t think to factor in setting up and dismantling. Many venues need to be cleared that same night. If the ceremony is in a different place it may need a different team so will incur a separate cost.
VAT will usually need to be added, so if you aren’t sure it’s best to double check so you don't get a nasty surprise!
Do you have any other rules of thumb when it comes to how much flowers will likely cost?
Our prices usually run at around £4.50 + VAT for a buttonhole, a bridal posy bouquet can run at £90 + VAT, a stunning low centrepiece can be between £80 and £150 + VAT, with taller ones going up to £400 + VAT. But we will always work hard within your budget, whatever it may be!
Any other hints and tips for couples putting together their wedding flower budget?
Be open minded! It is so helpful to know what you want going in to your initial flower consultation, but if your budget won’t stretch to recreating what you had in mind, a good florist will suggest alternatives. There may be compromise involved, but flowers are so beautiful that there will always be a solution!