We recently had a VERY revealing conversation with Elite Circle vendor Your Event Florist and we had to share their words of wisdom and unique perspective with you. What florists won’t tell you but you definitely need to know when interviewing wedding florists…
Be You: Two important factors any vendor needs from a client to be effective are the real budget and open communication. Sometimes brides put up a wall so you don’t really know their budget or if they like what you are presenting to them- kind of like poker faces! This makes it very difficult for us to present designs that are within budget and match the couple’s wedding style.
Be Honest and Realistic: Perhaps one of the most frustrating aspects of our job is when we are given a budget, we design with that budget in mind, then we are asked to discount our price. When did bartering become the norm in weddings? If you have $3000 that you have allocated for flowers, don’t you want the most bang for your buck? Trying to barter to save $50 to $100 doesn’t really make sense, especially if your florist’s proposal comes within the given budget.
Do you have a Christian Louboutin/Louis Vuitton/Mercedes budget or a Nine West/Coach/Honda budget? Neither are wrong or better than the other, but we cannot appropriately design or offer suggestions if you want Louis Vuitton at a Coach price. The simple fact is that you don’t get custom luxury at a discounted rate! Often clients want high end/elaborate/over the top looks they see on Pinterest (those centerpieces are $350+ usually) but their budget just doesn’t match up.
(Floral: Your Event Florist)
Regarding Cost and Living in the Desert: When it comes to flowers there are two costs: the actual flowers that are a hard good (that happens to be perishable) and the design service.
If you’re not an insider in the industry, you probably don’t know that floral quality is graded on the open cut floral market. One flower may look similar, but it can have less petal development, lower longevity, is smaller, or is inferior to its high grade counterpart. For example, most roses you see advertised cheaply are Sweetheart Roses or lower grade roses, not Garden Roses, which are more desirable for weddings. Also, ALL flowers are shipped in to Arizona, nothing is grown here locally, so freight is automatically added onto the price. What I pay for a peony shocks an East Coast florist because they have them growing in their backyards! Lastly, flowers are sold in specific quantities. If we only need 10 roses, we can’t buy just 10 since Standard Roses are always sold in quantities of 25.
(Floral: Your Event Florist, Photo: Andrew Jade Photography)
(Floral: Your Event Florist, Photo: Kimberly Jarman)
We Are Individuals and Artists: No two vendors (and especially florists) are alike. For example, give two fashion designers material for a dress, with similar instructions for what you want, and I guarantee you won’t receive the same dress. You will have two totally different and amazing dresses!
It’s the same with floral design- the individual talents and artistry of each floral designer are intangible skills that brides need to keep in mind when deciding who to hire. No two florists have the same skills, training, or even design style. Yes, we all can offer similar looks, but no two arrangements will be alike. It’s an art form and a skill to select flowers that will complement the color palette as well as provide depth and texture.
As far as owners of floral shops/businesses, no two are the same either. You have florists that work out of their homes, so their overhead is low. You have florists that have a location separate from their home, which means overhead costs are built into their pricing (rent, utilities, insurance, employees, etc.). You have florists that take multiple weddings per day and you have florists that will only book one wedding per date to focus solely on their bride (this is what we do only at Your Event Florist which is why we require and maintain a design minimum).
(Floral: Your Event Florist)
(Floral: Your Event Florist, Photo: Nicole Walker Photography)
Good (and bad) Business: Sadly, not all vendors follow proper accounting practices. If you designate money collected from a client to book an event deposit vs. a retainer, you technically need to hold it until the date of the function or when you incur expenses for that event. A retainer on the other hand has a different classification legally and you can utilize the funds immediately. We use retainer terminology in our contract, but actually keep our retainers in a deposit account to ensure solvency. Sometimes businesses close, leaving clients hanging, and because they funded current expenses with future event deposits, when they close, they cannot return those deposits. This is bad business. The sad part is that many reputable wedding businesses do this. Brides need to be aware of who they are doing business with and ask questions. They are paying fees a year out sometimes and they need to know that vendor will be there in a year. Of course, there are established and reputable businesses in town that have shut down too so there are no guarantees but you want to have the most information as possible.
Follow Your Heart. SERIOUSLY.: Cost will always be a factor in the decision process, but clients also need to consider personal factors such as reputation, longevity, experience, skill, value, and a good connection. Do you feel confident in the product and skill level? Do you trust them to provide what they are telling you? If you hire based on cheapest price, unfortunately you will get what you pay for. Think of it like this: You don’t buy your wedding dress based on the lowest price, why would you pick your wedding vendors that way?
We’re betting that your eyes are wide open now, thanks to Your Event Florist’s information. Take heed, use this insider info at your next vendor meeting, and share it with your family and friends. NOW!!!
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