Floral report: Milwaukee averages and making the most of your budget
It's really important to me to set my clients up for success all throughout the wedding planning process. What constantly interferes with me doing that? The deceptive, but beautiful mistress that is Pinterest.
So, I’m half-joking; Pinterest is a business tool that I use almost daily. However, Pinterest can be incredibly misleading to couples planning their wedding. With phenomenal wedding inspiration right at our fingertips, it’s easy to get overly excited and unrealistic, especially when it comes to something like wedding flowers.
With that, I went a little banana sandwich researching everything Milwaukee wedding flowers; from specific item lists and money-saving alternatives, to broken-down floral budgets from past weddings I’ve planned. Let’s set you up for success with the most up-to-date wedding floral information so you can let your budget flourish.
First and foremost, you need to do some work in determining your wedding flower budget. It doesn’t have to be specific, but you should have an approximation of the money you’ve allocated to wedding flowers and décor. This number will save you time in your search, and help your planner find the most suitable vendor recommendations.
Second, you’ll have a chat with your partner to decide on a general vision for your wedding flowers and décor. There’s a large price difference between just personal flowers (i.e. bridal bouquet, bridesmaid bouquets and boutonnieres), and the inclusion of ceremony aisle and reception flower arrangements. And that difference could mean upwards of $2,000.
Having said that, let’s take a closer look at each floral item and their average costs in Milwaukee:
Milwaukee wedding flower price ranges per item:
Bridal bouquet: $150–$350
Bridesmaid bouquet: $65–$125
Flower crown: $45–$115
Wrist corsage: $20–$30
Flower girl petals: $20-$40 (per bag)
Ceremony flowers: $75–$500
Escort card arrangement: $65–$125
Ceremony/reception installation (on arch, ladder, etc.): $1-$3k
Guest table centerpiece: $75–$400
Cake flowers: $25–$75
Now, the main price differences in those ranges will typically just depend on the florists’ experience, and perhaps a bit on quality and time of year. With that information in mind, let’s talk about some floral misconceptions and tips:
The misconception that greenery is a much cheaper alternative-
Yes, but no. Is a bundle of silver dollar eucalyptus cheaper than a single garden rose stem? Yes. But, filling your reception with hand-tied eucalyptus garland could end up costing you way more than rose centerpieces ever could. To make a reception table feel ‘full,’ couples feel the need to over-order greenery, which costs them hundreds of dollars when it’s all said and done. And that’s not even taking into consideration the greenery needed for bouquets, boutonnieres, etc.
An alternative to the laborious hand-tied greenery garland (which normally could cost $300-$500 per table), opt for minimal, laid greenery down the center of the tables or bud vases with sprigs of textured greenery. This saves you money with a similar green runner look.
Along with that, the misconception that DIY arrangements are cheaper-
This one is actually true; but your expectations have to be realistic. If you’re doing a Costco flower order, and your Mom’s crafty Aunt is making the bouquets for free, please don’t expect a Pinterest arrangement.
Think about it this way: the cost of one centerpiece is 60% to pay for the flowers and 40% to have an experienced designer make it look correct, beautiful + long-lasting!
When you hire a florist to create your bouquets, you’re basically getting a custom piece of art, made with perishable, living things. There’s a reason it’s expensive. As the old adage goes; you get what you pay for. Just keep that in mind and appropriately set expectations.
**I had a Bride buy flowers from Whole Foods before her rehearsal dinner, and arranged her centerpieces that night with her Bridesmaids. I’m not saying this is a bad option. I just hate seeing frazzled, disappointed faces on my clients. If you’re creative, experienced or really love playing with flowers – by all means!
Tip: trust your florist-
You hired him/her for a reason, right? Trust in that thoughtful decision and let your florist take the reins a bit. This doesn't mean you need to relinquish all creative freedom, or the fun that comes with wedding flowers!
Let your florist shine in their profession. They are artists, and they’re ridiculously knowledgeable. Have fun with them while they introduce you to new flowers, trees and plants that you never even knew existed.
Avoid: stretching your floral budget too thin-
This is, again, where Pinterest can be a little minx. Every couple pulling inspiration from Pinterest/online feels the pressure to have a floral-soaked wedding reception. People come to their florists with $500 budgeted for flowers and try squeezing in ‘all of the things.’ Do you know what 12 reception centerpieces look like from a $500 flower budget? Sad.
Don’t worry about having all of those traditional wedding flower arrangements at your wedding if you cannot afford it. You’re only a Bride once, why not give yourself a stunning bouquet, and have 1-2 stems of greenery in bud vases at your reception, instead? It’s sometimes classier (and more authentic to you as a couple) to simplify rather than stretch a budget to meet unrealistic Pinterest dreams.
I wanted to include a breakdown of three real Milwaukee wedding flower budgets. This, along with all of the information included in this article, is, of course, a culmination of my observations in floral meetings over the years, contract work with floral bids and chats with industry professionals:
Milwaukee wedding flower budget #1 is from an autumn wedding in 2017:
Bridal bouquet - burgundy dahlias, blue berry viburnum, antique Dutch hydrangea, seeded eucalyptus, burgundy English garden roses, rust ranunculus, earl gray roses, and other seasonal flowers, $250.00
Bridesmaids bouquets - flowers included in the bouquets will be as those found in the bride’s bouquet with the exception of the roses, (2) - $110.00 = $220.00
(1) Junior bridesmaid bouquet - $50.00
Flower girl - wired florets of complementary flowers for the flower girl and junior bridesmaid’s hair, $35.00
Wrist corsages – colors found throughout the wedding and bridesmaid bouquets, (3) $25.00 = $75
Boutonnieres –ranunculus with blue berry viburnum and seeded eucalyptus, (7) $12.00 = $84.00
Ceremony - large statement design piece set on a wine barrel, repurposed to escort card table at reception, $400.00
Reception – memorial table; clutch of flowers laid across a chair at the reception, $50.00
Centerpieces - designed in a mix of wooden boxes and birch bark containers; whimsical and asymmetrical with a lush autumnal feel. Flowers used in the designs will be as those found throughout the wedding; fruit may also be added to the designs – plus small votive candles, (17) $100.00 = $1,700.00
Delivery + set-up $200.00
Milwaukee wedding flower budget #2 is from a summer 2018 wedding:
Bridal bouquet - loosely formed organic style bouquet of white garden roses, ranunculus, lavender, blue veronica, ruscus, thistle, escheveria succulents, dusty miller, silver dollar eucalyptus, $ 200.00
Bridal hair flowers - white ranunculus, garden roses, eucalyptus, $ 25.00
Bridesmaid bouquets - smaller versions of bridal bouquet and formed slightly tighter, (5) $100 = $500.00
Wrist corsages – ribbon flower bracelets of white ranunculus, succulent petals, eucalyptus and ruscus petals, (6) $20.00 = $ 120.00
Boutonnieres – groom; mini green/blue succulent with veronica, white waxflower, ruscus, eucalyptus, $ 15.00
Groomsmen; bundles of blue veronica, white waxflower, ruscus and eucalyptus, bound with thin gold ribbon, (8) $12.00 = $ 96.00
Ceremony - shepherd's hooks holding small bundles of greenery hung from gold ribbons line each side of the aisle, (10) $25.00 = $ 250.00
Large hanging planters hung from taller shepherd's hooks are filled with mixed greenery based plantings, (2) $65.00 = $ 130.00
Reception – centerpieces; small bundles of mixed signature foliages: silver dollar and eucalyptus, Italian ruscus, dusty miller, white waxflower with sprigs of blue veronica, (25) $25.00 = $ 625.00
Dessert table flowers - accents of mixed foliages and white waxflower will adorn the table, $25.00
Head table - garland of signature mixed foliages runs the length of the table, $160.00
Floral vases - gold julep vases, (6) $5.00 = $30.00
Subtotal $ 2,176.00
Tax: $ 138.65
Milwaukee wedding flower budget #3 is from a late summer 2019 wedding:
Bridal bouquet - Emphasis on large focal blooms in pale blush, yellow and cream, accented by unique whimsical textures in marigold/ mustard yellow and light pink, $ 200.00
Bridesmaid bouquets - Bridesmaids wearing marigold midi-dresses will carry bouquets designed in a smaller paired-down version of the bridal bouquet, (2) $95 = $190.00
Wrist corsages – Family will wear elegant corsages that feature both soft blooms and textural accents. Band will be a gold snap bracelet for easy adjusting., (4) $30.00 = $ 120.00
Boutonnieres – Men will wear unique, but simple boutonnieres to feature marigold yellow textural flowers and complimenting accents, (8) $ 15.00 = $120
Ceremony backdrop - Ceremony space will be framed by a stunning backdrop made up primarily of large impactful palm leaves, dried foliages and wispy draping textures. To soften the look and hint at whats to come, we will add minimalist pops of floral in more vibrant tones amongst the display. $600.00
Cocktail tables - Each table will feature a simple vase of focal flower and texture designed in a modern style, with the stem providing as much interest as the other components. (6) $25 =$150
Reception centerpieces (styles A, B + C) – These tables will feature white geometric vases in the center holding a unique flower arrangement. A small collection of assorted votives will complete the look. The second style table will feature a collection of sun palm leaves placed in upright bud vases. Candles and votives will complete the look. Style C will be a combination of both A + B, (qty 15 varying centerpieces) $990
Place card decor - Bits of Banskia, fan palm and other foliage elements will adorn this slat wall around the cards, $75
Delivery + setup: $390.75
Subtotal $ 2,835.75
Tax: $ 164.77
Now that you have a better idea of the numbers behind these beautiful arrangements, make the most of your wedding floral budget with these quick, money-saving tricks:
1. Choose a naturally beautiful (or blank slate) venue instead of something you have to 'cover up' with flowers
2. Choose flowers that are locally grown and in-season during your wedding
3. Repurpose ceremony flower arrangements at the reception
4. Choose one statement arrangement that speaks volumes like a flower wall backdrop or a hanging installation
5. Incorporate plants (and keep them for your home afterwards)
6. Couple expensive flowers with inexpensive flowers
7. Choose a florist that's really a 'fit,' so you can feel comfortable asking he/she for their honest input and expertise re your wedding flower vision