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:
- 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 wedding flowers.
- 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.
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.
Another way to avoid getting screwed by your florist? Work with a service that caters specifically to the needs of Offbeat Brides! We love our pals over The Bouqs Co Weddings work so closely with folks who want to go for DIY flowers…. their DIY collections are great for couples looking to stick to their budget or have ultimate customization.
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!