We help a lot of brides with their weddings and it’s important to us that they are educated and prepared so they don’t get taken advantage of or add unnecessary stress to the planning.
In our last post, we helped you with all the tips you need for getting the right and perfect cake. Now we want to share some tips for getting the perfect flowers and hiring the right florist. But we felt it better to share some tips directly from the offbeat bride, a Seattle based wedding florist.
As a budget-friendly florist, these are her personal tips:
- Before you go "bouquet crazy," learn what flowers are going to be in season at the time of your wedding.
- Stroll around your local farmer's market. Talk with growers who sell cut flowers. Ask them questions, lots of questions. This tip is incredibly helpful if you are doing your own flowers.
- Pick three florists to interview. No more — no less. Too many florists and you're drowning in info, too few florists and you're very limited.
- When you first visit a potential florist, DO NOT show them any of your ideas. Don't even tell them your budget. Just ask them questions, MANY questions, like… What styles are your mainstays?, What is the typical budget you work with?, If a flower is damaged/unavailable for my event, will you substitute it without my consent?, Could I see your portfolio (of REAL weddings)?, and How many weddings do you book on a typical weekend?
- Have a fairly solid idea of the blooms and styles you want. DON'T be talked down unless a reason sounds completely legit. Insincere answers might mean you might need to find a different florist.
- When you ask to see a portfolio, a "Teleflora" book doesn't cut it. You need to see real photos of actual weddings and events that the florist has done themselves. If your florist cannot provide a "look-at-what-I-did" book, consider walking away.
- If your florist keeps reassuring you that he can get you that tropical bloom you want even though it's not in season, remember that the price could be anywhere between 3 and 5 times more expensive than when the flower is naturally in season!
- Look online at wholesalers and become familiar with how flowers are shipped. As an example, almost all garden roses must be ordered as an entire case. That's almost 100 blooms! If you only want garden roses in your bouquet and no where else your florist is going to be stuck with about 80 garden roses. In some floral shops, you will be charged for the full case, not just what you use.
- Many florists really don't want to play the price haggling game. There are "industry standards" that dictate pricing. Some florists work on a 3x mark-up, and many florists use a 5x mark-up on weddings.
- Learn about hidden charges, delivery fees, etc. If you want your florist to set up your arrangements, you might have to pay for their gas plus an hourly fee.
- Bring in your own ribbons and other floral accessories. Remember the price mark-up? A 2x mark-up is typically used on hard goods (ribbons, pins, etc.), so see if you can supply your own. That way you only pay for them once.
- DO NOT pay for petals! Have someone pick up a bouquet at a supermarket and have fun destroying the blooms yourself. It's an amazing stress reliever and you will be happy knowing that you didn't waste $10-$20 for someone else to rip them apart.
- DO NOT bug the heck out of your florist. Limit your phone calls and resist the urge to just "stop by." The last two floral shops I worked in would tack on extra charges for brides who took more time to deal with. (find out more about Ariel here!)
As always, we want the best for your big day and your floral experience should be beautiful and stress free! Remember that for those of you in the Southern California area, Ontario Bakery is here to make the perfect custom cake for any occasion!