The dreaded feeling when you go and meet with Florist after Florist and you get the proposal back and you realize that your dream is out of reach of your budget. A few tears later, maybe a glass of wine (okay the whole bottle) and your search continues. You worry that if you hire a cheaper, less experience florist, that your Big Day will reflect that. In the end you ask yourself
'Why do wedding flowers cost what they do?'
Over the next few weeks I will be exploring that very question. We will touch on topics like where to save, where to splurge, what to cut to meet your budget, and a ton of other amazing information.
The best place to start is usually the beginning. There are hours of work involved just to even be able to provide a couple with an accurate proposal of their dream wedding. First the communication back and forth before a formal consultation, then actually creating a proposal that is accurate. I would never want to send anything out that would have a total cost of more than what I included in the recipies to create your items, just like I don't want to send out a cost that would end up not being enough funds to create your wedding flowers.
1. Pre Consultation Communication (2 - 4 Hours)
2. Consultation (1 Hour)
3. Creating of the Proposal (experience and software dependant)
Once you have your proposal back, that is when the real work begins. One of Three things will happen, it will be so far out of your price range that you and the Florist will not be a good fit, the proposal needs some tweaking to match your priority list but could work with effort, or it is perfect and you are good to go. For the record there has never been a single couple that I have worked with that has not tweaked their proposal. There is a lot of back and forth to make sure that your priority list for your Big Day is not compromised, but that your floral costs fit within your price point regardless if it is $100 or $100,000
4. Editing the initial Proposal (2 hours)
5. Signing of the Contract and Retainer Paid
Now you have a Florist under contract, you can sit back and enjoy your engagement! This is when the real work begins for the Florist. This is when we have to research pricing, make sure the wholesaler or farm that we are buying from will stand behind their name and that the quality is up to standard, and I have exceedingly high standards. We double check all of our stem counts for each of the line items on your quote, and go through it with a fine toothed comb to make sure we did not forget a single tiny detail. Your day is our entire life. When we are certain, without a doubt, that our shopping list has been perfected, we place official orders. Depending on the wholesaler, they require different timelines and processes. Especially if you are ordering farm direct.
6. Confirming Shopping lists (2 hours)
7. Placing Orders with Approved Farms and Wholesalers (3 hours)
The weeks go by and you get more and more excited that it is almost Wedding time! We begin preparations for creating all of your wedding flowers. Your Florist will make sure that they have every specialty container purchases or rented, they will go through all of their supplies to ensure that they have enough floral food, any additional additives to the water for specialty blooms, all the tools that they will be using, and making sure the walk in has plenty of space for all the shopping that will be taking place. When the day comes to pick up the order of fresh flowers, or if you are in a remote area, your flowers are shipped to you. Processing the flowers takes so much time. I can't even tell you how much of my week is spent just processing wedding flowers on Monday's and Tuesday's.
You strip all the leaves off, cut fresh ends, pull off any petals that are damaged from shipping, depending on the variety you have to dip ends in a chemical that causes them to absorb water super quickly, and then you put everything into flower food to ensure longevity, then you spray with a special sealer to make sure all the water they are absorbing doesn't just evaporate out of the petals. Then you have to determine which need to stay out of the cooler to open up and be at their peak moment, and which need to immediately be put in the cooler.
8. Checking of Supplies/Securing Rentals (2 Hours)
9. Processing of Fresh Flowers (2 - 8 Hours)
So here we are. The flowers are prepped, the designers are ready, and everything is perfect. Now it is crunch time. All of your wedding flowers are created. Each piece of art is meticulously gone over and double checked to make sure it is perfect. This is the sticky part. I can't put into terms how long this really takes because there are just too many variables. How many bridal party items there are, how many centerpieces, any wedding flowers that have to be done on site like large scale installations. The list can go on and on. Then there is delivery and setting up that once again has a hundred variables that will determine how long. Including if you have a flip you have contracted us to stay through, or any clean up at the end.
10. Creating your Wedding Flowers
11. Delivery and Set up of Your Wedding Flowers
12. Possible Flip/Clean Up
A few other variables to consider is the experience level, and business structure. There are home based florists that do not have a retail location, and work out of a room in their home. There are studio based florists, like myself, who have a private studio and then an office outside of the studio to take appointments and consultations. Retail full service florists that do day to day deliveries on top of weddings and events, and then there are the premiere florists who are like the gucci of the floral world. We all have our own ideal client, design style, and pricing structure. Not a single one of us will give you the same price quote at the bottom of the proposal because we all have different costs associated with our business.
In the end you have to decide who is the best fit for you, there is no wrong answer. Take into account experience level, how many weddings they have done and how many they take the same week as your wedding, and what your design style and price point is. Above all check reviews, look at their social media, and make sure their personality is a good fit with you and your partner in life. Remember to enjoy the experience, and happy planning!