WILLINGNESS TO PAY FOR WEDDING FLOWERS: WHAT PREMIUM WOULD CHARLESTON, SC BRIDES AND GROOMS PAY FOR LOCAL VERSUS FAIR-TRADE, CARBON OFFSETTING, OR ORGANICALLY PRODUCED FLOWERS?
This research investigated the willingness to pay for wedding flowers. Data were collected in Charleston, SC, a major wedding destination, from couples planning their wedding. The marginal willingness to pay (MWTP) of six attributes (local, fair-trade, freshness guaranteed fair-trade, organic, carbon offsetting, and grower information) was calculated following a survey using conjoint analysis and the Qualtrics survey platform. A website was created through GoDaddy to share the survey with 969 visitors. The completed surveys of seventy-two respondents asked them to make twelve buying decisions from which they chose two hypothetical bouquets or neither, then stated their agreement or disagreement to a series of environmental and social statements, followed by demographic and wedding questions, and lastly several open-ended optional questions. Respondents were primarily white, well-educated and female. Gender, age, percent of the wedding budget spent on flowers, and education influenced their bouquet preferences. They showed a unanimous concern for the environment. The largest MWTP was for the locally grown bouquet, followed by the freshness guaranteed fair-trade and the bouquets with grower information provided. No significant differences in MWTP were detected among the other three attributes.