Insider tips from a florist: 13 ways to avoid getting screwed on your wedding flowers

Guest post by Tiffany
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Flowers by Bouqs Co Weddings

I am a florist who strictly does wedding work (cake toppers, centerpieces, floral dog collars, and the usual) all for brides on limited budgets. I was visiting a friend of mine at her work (a big floral shop) and I overheard some things that I could not believe.

A bride was doing a consultation and the florist she was talking to kept trying to “up-sell” or downgrade every idea the bride had! There was nothing wrong with her ideas at all, except for the fact that they wouldn't put enough money in the florist pocket. It was sick. But the sickest part about it was that the bride agreed with every bad idea that the money hungry florist said. By the time my friend finished her lunch break, her coworker added at least a couple hundred more dollars to the unsuspecting bride's budget.

So I felt that I needed to share some tips with you. As a budget-friendly florist, these are my personal tips:

  1. Before you go “bouquet crazy,” learn what flowers are going to be in season at the time of your wedding.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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?
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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!
  8. 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.
  9. 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 wedding flowers.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.

There are soooo many more tips and little hints, but these 13 are the biggest areas where brides lose money. I realize that there are some florists out there who will disagree with me on some of these points, but I wanted to share my perspectives.

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DIY packages from The Bouqs Co Weddings arrive in loose stem form a few days before your wedding, giving you time to assemble your friends and family to help you arrange your bouquets. Plus, every couple also receives step-by-step instructions so each floral piece turns out exactly how you pictured. The Bouqs Co Weddings have floral experts who curate affordable arrangements that exactly meet your needs — whether you're going for a minimal vintage theme, rustic boho vibe, or deeply geeky… they've even done Lego wedding flowers!

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Comments on Insider tips from a florist: 13 ways to avoid getting screwed on your wedding flowers

  1. this artical is fantastic! i wish it had been up this time last year so we didnt get screwed over by or florists! they literally convinced me to go for something i didnt really want..and when the flowers arived on the day they were NOTHING like how i’d discribed. oh really didnt matter in the grand scheame of things and they flowers were ‘nice’ just not what i wanted! booooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

    • Not cool at all! My brides are the most Importent people on earth and I treat them as such. My idea is this, listen to these young, excited, beautiful people as they know better than anyone what’s popular and they set the trends. It’s so fun to meet with a happy bride and or groom. I love it when they know what they want, we learn from each other what is best and what will work with the overall theme and budget. I always make a list of every flower and greenery that I include so the bride knows exactly what she is getting. If a certain flower comes in looking bad or damaged I know what my plan B is, better than that my brides know too. It’s called communication and I have literally stopped production to call my bride and ask her before I include a different or another type of bloom. Being a grower I could very well have something blooming that matches and would be a fabulous addition. Loving my job more and more each year and you all just keep getting younger & younger. Lol. Happy Wedding, Happy Life

  2. So flattered you used one of our pics for this article… I can honestly say that I have nothing but praise for my florist. The first thing she asked..unlike all the others…. was how much was my budget? She then managed to come in under budget (she said that that would give me breathing space to cover unforseen floral needs, and she was right!) and gave me exactly what I had asked for. This was especially difficult as I knew exactly what I wanted and would not be swayed but she didn’t really try to change my mind anyway. She was careful to meet all the “special needs” we had too, my mother is allergic to Lillies (Calla’s are ok)chrysanthamums and any highly pollenated and scented blooms, so filler flowers were a difficult issue.
    As for what my flowers looked like… all I will say is I shed my first tears of the day when I saw my bouquet… it was stunning… and the rest were equally so. I think if you find a florist that works for you, shout their name from the rooftops… because mine was just an unassuming little local shop and she doesn’t get the volume of work she deserves… and yet she produced the most amazing work for a tiny budget!

  3. Yay! You featured our flowers (pink, orange, yellow and green bouquets) 🙂 I can not speak highly enough about Nellie’s Wildflowers ( in Davis Square, Somerville. Joyce was an absolute light to work with and was so up front with me about what was in season and what could work and what wouldn’t. I would recommend her to anyone!

  4. Amen! The first time I got married, I only needed bouquets, corsages and bouts. I had $300.00. I went to three florists that did exactly what Tiffany said–tried to convince me I needed centerpieces and arrangements for the church, etc. One of them reluctantly put together a bouquet/corsage/bout quote for me and it came in at $1200!!!. I finally found a floral designer who worked out of a studio instead of a shop and I said “Look, this is what I need, this is the style of my wedding, and this is my budget.” I had GORGEOUS flowers, she delivered them personally and even pinned the corsages and bouts for me, and the bill was $275.00. Because I didn’t care about what flowers she used (only colors), she was able to accomodate me.

    Don’t ever let a vendor dictate to you. If they won’t listen to you, it’s time to spend your money elsewhere.

  5. Hurrah for honest vendors! Tiffany, if I were near you, I’d totally hire you (after dutifully interviewing two other florists, of course! 🙂

    Thank you for the info! Good luck with your schooling!

  6. So true! For our wedding I just wanted bridesmaids bouquets, a bouquet for me, three simple corsages and a crown of silk daisies for the flowergirl. I tried to go really local but the place quoted me $1,300 for 6 bouquets, 3 corsages consisting of daisies & hydrenga!! I went to another local shop but it was a chain of local shops, $450 for everything and she helped pick out flowers and even included hand-dyed orchids in my bouquet to set it apart & gave me extras for my hair. The other place didn’t even sit with me to look at flowers, they just tossed me some books. I get the feeling the 1st place didn’t want to really do it because it wasn’t the whole big event with centerpieces & church.

    • I love my smaller weddings! I get really large weddings but I totally appreciate the smaller ones. It gives me more time to get creative. I’ve rocked out some beautiful work in this situation. I use a lot of my own blooms and botanicals as I’m a grower too so that always helps the bottom line. Happy Wedding and call me anytime if you need help. ?

  7. great article! no one wants to be taken advantage of.

    but you could be disappointed if you try out #13 at some places. i worked for a large floral wholesaler and they ALWAYS asked for a tax exempt number thus proving your business or organization is legit.

  8. Oh, the farmer’s market idea is great. I was planning to get my fruit from the farmer’s market so it’s as fresh as possible. I didn’t even think about flowers!

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