Flowers by the Numbers, Part 2


Bella Flora centerpiece Autumn Light Photography

Photo courtesy of Autumn Light Photography

This is the second part of our discussion on how to budget more effectively for floral – catch up with part one, then join us below!

NOTE – Any prices below are rough, and can vary WILDLY depending on season, type of flower(s), weather cycle, size, shape, style, and geographic location of your wedding.  Please don’t take these numbers as gospel.

When you’re looking at your floral budget, you’re going to want to think about 4 separate chunks: the personal flowers, the ceremony decor, the reception decor, and the service.  We discussed the first two in our previous post, so let’s jump straight into the reception decor!

Reception Decor

Reception decor can cover a wide variety of topics, so we’re going to focus in on those elements that might affect your floral budget.  When it comes to quantity, it is likely that your centerpieces will be your number one ticket item.  But there are plenty of other opportunities to use floral, depending on your style and your venue!

  • Centerpieces: Lots of factors here!  We’ll break it down a little.
    • Numbers:  If your venue has 60″ round tables (the most common size), assume that 8 people will be seated at each table.  So, if your estimated guest count is 150, guesstimate that you will need 20 tables.  You can usually adjust counts later.
    • Cost and Size: It’s difficult, when you’re not immersed in the floral world, to sort out exactly what you’re getting in terms of size and quantity of flowers in a centerpiece.  If you need a visual to help you with size, go to the refrigerated section of a nicer grocery store in town (Whole Foods, Central Market, Kroger Signature, etc.) and see how the pre-constructed arrangements are priced.  A $60 arrangement there will probably roughly correspond to the size and number of flowers you might see in your wedding centerpieces.
    • Vases and Containers: Unless specifically told otherwise, your floral centerpieces will be brought in rental vases by the florist.  These belong to the florist, and cannot be taken home at the end of the night.  If you want your floral to either be in a vase that can be taken, or be built so that it is easy to remove the flowers at the end of the night for family to take, please include that in your initial discussion with your florist.
    • Multiple Styles: Unless you’re having a very small wedding (think 30 guests or less), your florist will likely suggest at least two centerpiece styles to be mixed throughout your room.  This makes a more visually pleasing prospect, because it helps the eye move around the room and stay engaged.  If budget is an issue for you, consider having one style be a ‘statement’ piece and include a small percentage of those throughout the room to add interest.  Ask your florist to offer suggestions on smaller, more affordable options for the other style(s).
    • Reusing Other Pieces: Save a little money by integrating your bouquets, pew markers, and other ceremony decor into your centerpieces.  Be sure you assign someone to the task of moving these items, or ensure the florist knows that they are responsible for moving them.
  • Head Table: If you’re having a head table for your wedding party, be sure to discuss dimensions with your florist to find a style that will fit you space and your needs.
  • Cake: Do you need fresh floral for your cake?  Be sure to include that in your order!
  • Cocktail Tables: Don’t forget a little something to put in the center of any cocktail tables, even if it’s just candles.
  • Bar, Escort Card, and Guest Book Table Arrangements: If you have the option, floral on subsidiary tables always adds a little extra.
  • Specialty Pieces: These are the big pieces you might see – trees on tabletops, floral rings suspended from the ceiling.  Pricing on these items should be discussed with a professional in the context of your venue’s rules and regulations.


A service charge in the floral world usually applies to the delivery, set up, and breakdown of your floral elements.  This can range from a flat fee to a percentage of the total cost, depending on the florist.  Generally, we see 10-20% added to cover these costs.  Some florists will allow you to break down the floral yourself and return the containers the following business day.  We really don’t recommend doing this, because the money you save by doing this yourself often translates into an overtime fee from the venue or a replacement fee from the florist for lost or broken items.

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