It's no secret the C word is affecting weddings in different ways. We've all been talking about guest numbers, social distancing, dancing etc. But when this is all over, the impact will drag on in more ways than we've even thought about yet.
One thing we know for sure will be affected is flower prices. At the moment there is a huge shortage of imported flowers in Australia, and as much as we like to think we're supporting Australian business, the bulk of flowers we see are imported from overseas - arriving just in time for you to get a good few days out of them.
Not only are flower markets empty, but prices have also sky rocketed. So where do we go from here? What happens to the big beautiful arrangements you had pinned for your florist? We had a chat to some of our favourite flower gals (Baylee from 'Bayleaf Florals & Styling' and Holly Howe) to get the run down on what we can expect to happen to the flower world and how you can get florals you'll love.
TWSCO: What is the biggest impact Covid-19 has had on flower imports?
BAYLEE: The biggest impact initially was the sheer amount that was unavailable, with overseas imports being massively reduced and often not being allowed into the country at all. In Australia we rely a lot on our imported flowers such as roses that come from Colombia or Africa, and tropicals like Orchids, because these items are basically impossible to grow here to a commercial standard due to our climate. So, this meant that we couldn't get our hands on these items, and the little stock that was in the country was unaffordable due to the demand. Local Australian growers also struggled to meet the demand so even if we wanted to buy local, it isn’t always possible. Since the initial shock of Covid, availability is beginning to pick up again but wholesale pricing is still sometimes triple the price of what it was pre-covid.
HOLLY: When it comes to imports, from my personal viewing it’s a mix between cost + availability, the freight is where the huge price increase is coming from for our growers. However I am seeing it is slowly returning to a slightly more ‘normal’ state which makes me take a sigh of relief for our incred growers + us as buyers/florists. People need to be aware that prices are slightly higher and it’s not just from Covid but also the horrendous fires that we are still continuing to recover from so we need to remember this. So so so many growers even locally were heavily effected by them as we know, so it’s still a climb back for many. I am not putting my prices up any more than 20% as it’s no more than that currently I feel. However I deeply educate my couples as to why and that it may fluctuate depending on the current pandemic.
TSWCO: Say a couple was willing to spend $3000 on flowers pre covid, what will that now get them if they spend the same amount?
BAYLEE: This question is hard because we have no idea what prices are going to be like the next week let alone in a few months’ time when the wedding date rolls around. If a couple have a strict budget that we have to work with then I’m going to do everything in my power to meet the initial expectation of what that budget physically looks like when the flowers are created. Sometimes I might have to work with my couples on what is most important to them like the smaller details or the grand amount of flowers in their wedding. Couples should expect that their florist is going to do the most they can with their money but when comparing it to pre-covid there will be a difference which SUCKS!
HOLLY: For $3000 you are looking at only maybe 20% less which is even hard to say, again a very personal view but each individual wedding is so very different so closely depends on what the couple is willing to work with, and I try to give them alternatives too. It is so very important to source what’s in season/available at market when their wedding date is and I do my best to educate my couples on ideas to help make whatever their dream is come to life.
TSWCO: Are there any types of flowers that a client may have had their heart set on that they might have to change their mind about post covid?
BAYLEE: Yes, imported flowers Like Phalaenopsis Orchids, Colombian Roses and even the newly popular preserved ranges are increasingly hard to get and if the client has a certain look in mind, then it would be best to have a chat to the florist about alternatives that would be available and that give similar a overall effect
A bouquet by Bayleaf including Orchids & Columbian Roses by Bayleaf Florals & Styling. Captured by Hungry Hearts Co
TWSCO: What are some alternatives to flowers that will be easier to find that a couple should consider?
BAYLEE: Locally sourced flowers and dried alternatives are your friends! These include Lush Greenery, Australian Natives, foraged local grasses and palms and florals grown here in Aus. Consider it a win win for everyone. You get beautiful flowers but you're also helping local growers!
Examples of naturally dried arrangements filled with Australian Natives & grasses by Holly Howe Florals. Photos by David James Photography.
TWSCO: Any other advice for couples?
HOLLY HOWE: I don’t want people to panic. Chill out and trust that your vendors know what they are doing when it comes to price. Ask questions and let them educate you more and be FLEXIBLE - particularly with flowers as it’s a natural product and we can’t control all the elements.