Doing your own wedding flowers is no small undertaking…
You have to consider what flower style you want, what fits your budget, how many do you need for each arrangement, and the list goes on. Many brides choose to order their bulk wedding flowers through an online wholesaler, as opposed to a local florist or supermarket.
There are several advantages to doing this.
First, you get a discounted price and can afford more flowers for less when ordering through a bulk floral wholesaler. Essentially by ordering from the online flower wholesaler you cut out the middle man to make the product (your beautiful blooms) more affordable.
Second, you can pick out your flowers ahead of time and browse by color, season, and price. When you buy from a local grocer, your flower selection is extremely limited. In fact, you only get to choose from whatever they have in stock at the moment (which honestly could be a few measly sub-par flowers).
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In addition to having a better selection, online floral wholesalers often offer superior ways to view and select which flowers you want. At Fifty Flowers you can sort flowers by season or color. Or browse pre-made DIY wedding flower packs.
As you can see, there are some great reasons that most brides do order their flowers from online floral wholesalers. But, if you choose to go this route there are a few things you need to think about before blindly ordering for your DIY wedding flowers.
5 Tips for Ordering Bulk Flowers Online
1. Know the Bloom Size
It’s very important that you check the expected bloom size before you order your flowers. I have made this mistake personally, and don’t want it to happen to you.
This is how it goes:
You know your heart LOVES garden roses because they are all so big and fluffy (so you think). And you click over to the garden rose section of your chosen floral wholesaler and browse until you find the perfect hued rose for your big day.
Hooray, it’s perfect! You think, and add it to your cart and check out.
Weeks (or months if you follow my Flower Timeline) go by and your flowers arrive as scheduled. You process them according to the instructions, knowing they come small and in bud form. You’re wedding day nears and still, your garden roses are looking tiny and sad… Nothing like the big and beautiful ones you KNEW you ordered!
When you hop back on the website to look at the pictures, you scroll down to the information section and realize that the garden roses you ordered only have an expected bloom size of 3 inches!!! Which means your flowers are not getting any bigger and you are so sad… too bad… on your big day.
You could have avoided all of this shenanigans in the first place if you had read the bloom diameter and realized the variety of garden roses you ordered were actually not as big as others you’d seen in pictures.
Check the bloom diameter. Take out your ruler and see if that is as big as you planned, before you order!!
2. Check the Suggested Delivery Date
Not all blooms live or bloom as fast as others. Don’t assume that if your tulips are supposed to come 3 days before your wedding, that your stock should arrive that early too. When you order your flowers online, most wholesalers (if they are the good ones) will give you a suggested delivery date based on your wedding day.
Listen to this advice and have your flowers arrive with ample time to bloom, and with too little time to wilt.
For my wedding, we ordered the tulips to arrive a day earlier than the other flowers because that is what Fifty Flowers recommended. And, true to their advice, the tulips were much slower to open up their beautiful petals than the Mayra pink ruffle garden roses which INSTANTLY sprung into hugely gorgeous blooms (be still my heart).
On the flip side, I didn’t pay attention to the other flowers like I did to the tulips and just ordered them all to arrive two days before my wedding… some flowers (those pretty peach stock) did not fare as well and started to wilt by the time of the wedding.
Always check (and adhere to) the suggested delivery date when ordering your bulk florals online.
3. Know the Bloom / Stem / Bunch Count
Because floral wholesalers are by definition wholesalers, they sell flowers in bulk. It’s rare to see flowers for sale on a floral wholesaler site by the stem. Instead they are often sold by the bunch.
A general standard is that 10 stems of flowers come in a bunch. But, do not rely on this rule because different flower varieties have different industry standards for how many stems come in a bunch.
When I order flowers online I first look at the prices per quantity. For instance, these light blue delphinium are being sold in either 10 or 20 bunches.
To find out how many stems of delphinium this includes, I scroll down to the flower product details section where I see that these flowers are sold with 10 stems per bunch.
But, next I go to order these cute pinky spray roses, and what in the world… they come in a small or medium pack… how many stems is that?
And I scroll down to the product information where I see that, (1) there is a range of 36 – 60 stems in a small pack, and (2) each stem has anywhere from 4 – 9 blooms. Well… that is confusing.
This is where it is important to understand blooms per stem. For these spray roses, one stem could come with 8 rose blooms, while another could have just 4. The wholesaler recognizes this discrepancy and instead of promising a certain amount of stems (which could have a varying amount of blooms), they try to guarantee the number of blooms.
Definitely still confusing, I know!
The takeaway for this point is, make sure you consider A. how many blooms there are per stem, and B. how many stems come in a bunch (or pack).
4. Read the Product Reviews
This may seem like a no brainer, but many brides are so consumed about the details in the flower description that they miss reading testimonials or reviews.
There are several very important reasons you need to be checking the testimonials and reviews before ordering.
First, they can be a great source of inspiration. Maybe a bride posts pictures using the flowers you’re thinking of buying, and she used a color combination or filler flower that really complemented your flower or choice. Suddenly you have new inspiration on what flowers you want to use in your arrangement.
Second, they can give you a real life picture. The product photos on online floral wholesale sites are helpful, but of course they picked the absolute best flower to display. And in some cases, they could have just bought a general stock photo of the flower and it’s not a representation of what they sell at all!
When you read a review or see a testimonial where a bride shares pictures of the flower in question, you can feel assured (or uneasy if they don’t match the product pic) that they are in fact the right flower for you.
I always read reviews and look at any real life pictures before buying and sometimes they give me infinitely more insight about the flower than any written description could. You can see how big they are, whether or not the color shade is true. And, my personal favorite, if they vary from order to order.
Set yourself up for success, read the reviews and testimonials before you buy your bulk flowers. That way your expectations should better align with what you actually get.
4. Research the Company
The last thing you want to happen is you order your wedding flowers, the scheduled delivery date comes, and… no flowers. You call the company and can’t get anyone on the phone!! What do you do?!?
I’ll tell you what you should have done… research the floral bulk provider ahead of time.
I am all for finding the absolute cheapest price for what I buy. But, if there is a cheaper price for something on a site that has absolutely no ratings or reviews anywhere I will buy from the more expensive store I know.
Why? Well it’s a lot cheaper to pay a few bucks more for something that WILL arrive as you expect than to pay a few dollars less for something that may not come at all.
You should have this same buying philosophy when purchasing your bulk flowers. And especially so, since you are likely spending hundreds of dollars on these delicate perishable goods!
Make sure your money is well spent and that your delivery is ensured by really looking into the credibility of the floral wholesaler.
Look for things like other sites (outside their own domain) that speak to the quality of their flowers or their customer service.
Read the testimonials and reviews on the site to see if they support the company’s claims.
What kind of guarantees does the company offer if you order from them? These are extremely important in case your flowers arrive off schedule, they send the wrong type or even bad flowers. You want to know that you will get A) replacements in a timely manner, or B) a full reimbursement.
I hope these tips help set you up for success with your DIY flowers order! To check out more tips on doing your own wedding flowers, click over to my resource page. Have you had any experiences (good or bad) ordering from an online wholesale provider? What advice do you have for brides looking to buy?