The $850 Bouquet

Flowers grow in backyards for free. So the hefty prices attached to wedding bouquets often puzzle brides. "It’s not just flowers," explains floral designer Dana Markos. "It’s labor, a perishable product, and artistry." To show what $850 in petals looks like, Markos created this autumn-themed arrangement—one you may not want to toss to your bridesmaids.

GETTING CRAFTY

Non-floral embellishments in a bouquet add unexpected texture. Here, Markos weaves in $30 worth of feathers, plus nearly $125 worth of amber crystals, which catch light as a bride walks down the aisle.

FULLY WIRED
Some flowers, like orchids, have almost nonexistent stems. "I wire and tape each blossom," Markos says. Labor can run $75 per hour, and can account for a third of the bouquet’s price.

HIDDEN STEMS
You can’t just tie a rubber band around the flowers’ stems, and to have them wrapped in ribbon or silk can cost $50 or more. While Markos won’t reveal all his secrets, his process ensures that the flowers won’t wilt.

HANDLED WITH CARE

A good florist can adorn the handle to complement a bride’s gown or the décor. Here, Markos repeats the amber crystals, but he might use pearls or rhinestones, too. Custom add-ons can ratchet up a bouquet’s price by more than $50.

EXOTIC SPECIES
Green-striped lady slipper orchids are endangered in the United States, so they’re raised in hothouses or imported from places like Costa Rica. At $12 to $15 per stem—and 30 to 45 stems per bouquet—that adds up.