By Megan Wise
When it comes to choosing a floral designer for your event there are a few things aside from the price of flowers to consider. Let me give you an example to explain.
Before I became a floral designer, I worked for a fashion brand in downtown Los Angeles who sells their clothes in luxury retailers such as Saks, Neiman Marcus, and Nordstrom to name a few. This company is known for making some of the softest t-shirts that make you feel like a million bucks, the kind of thing worth splurging on.
Now let’s say you want to buy a t-shirt. Where do you go? You might be thinking, a t-shirt is a t-shirt I can go pick up one at any clothing retailer near me, no problem. The look is essentially the same even if you buy the luxury version at Nordstrom. They sell soft t-shirts at Target, so why not just get a similar style and version there?
You have to ask yourself: Do you want the more affordable t-shirt that will last a few washes or the better quality version that will last you for years? I realize we are not selling t-shirts here, but the fact is when it comes to choosing a floral designer who as access to all the same flowers as the others, what’s the difference?
The answer is VALUE.
This word is different to everyone and the same goes when choosing a floral designer. Other than the price when it comes to flowers, there are other factors to consider in deciding if they are going to be a good fit for you.
Just a like a t-shirt, you’ll most-likely choose the one that not only fits your pocketbook but also fits your particular style. Some floral designers may prefer to use standard roses, baby’s breath, hydrangea, etc — flowers you would most-likely see at your local grocery store. They may even may infuse these ingredients with specialty flowers such as peonies. Other florists, similar to our style called “Fine Art”, prefer to use a mix of unique flowers that you most likely would not find at your grocery store or for a DIY wedding such as lisianthus, hellebores, frittilaria, the list goes on and on. When you put these specialty ingredients all together they create a look that your guests will talk about because they may have never seen these particular flowers before, making their experience feel extra special.
When planning for your event, even if the florist may be the most affordable, are they really the style you want? Even if they are the most luxurious, are they really the style you want? You have to consider which floral design style speaks to you — as in which would bring you the most joy to look at? Choosing the florist that fits your particular style is an investment in and of itself.
The Planning Experience
Do want to be more hands on with every little flower decision by choosing the exact type of rose that goes into your arrangement? Or do you want to have the experts bring your vision to life for you?
Perhaps you are full-time in school or busy in your career and don’t have the free time to think about every little detail. These are also factors to consider, as some floral designers will let you choose exactly the flowers you want for your event, going round after round choosing the exact rose in that exact color you want.
While other floral designers like to us who will propose ideas for you to choose from based on your vision, and as the expert choose for you the best flowers in season that will reflect your personality and match your event’s style.
You have to ask yourself once you find the design style you like, is the customer experience they provide what you’re looking for?
Last year one of our wedding client’s got married in the hills of Malibu at one of the most incredible venues I’ve ever seen. The venue was split up with the lower part of the hill for the ceremony, and the reception up much higher on the hill. There was one (very steep incline) driveway for each section of the venue and several large delivery trucks needing to set up at the exact same time as each other. To be the most efficient, I split up my designers into teams of two to make sure that set up was happening during the limited time we had access to the venue areas. As you can imagine without proper planning ahead of time, the day could go from complicated to downright impossible for set up and clean up. However, another wedding we had last year we were able to back our van straight up to the front of ceremony and reception areas, making delivery and set up a breeze.
The more complicated the venue AND the more complicated the designs, most likely the cost for services such as design, delivery, set up and clean will be higher, and vice versa. These services are other factors you have to think about when considering your floral designer. You’ll want to work with one who is experienced and comfortable setting up in complicated venue situations, as some may not want to work at certain venues because of this.
Best Business Practices
Working with a florist with certain best business practices in place, this creates not only piece of mind for you but it’s also just the smart way to go.
Is the florist professional and a good communicator? Will they work well with your wedding vendors? Do they ask lots of questions about your venue? This is highly important to make sure the day goes as smoothly as possible. Also, most venues require all of your vendors be insured, so working with an insured florist will give you piece of mind whether the venue requires it or not.
Does the florist make it simple for you to communicate with them? More and more floral businesses these days are implementing CRM (customer-relationship management) systems that make it easy for you to conveniently sign your contract online, view your invoice anytime, read your e-mails all in one place, and schedule a call at a click of a button. This time-saving, efficient process will make your floral planning experience so much smoother overall.
Last but not least, are they charging the (required) sales tax? Most states require florists — yes florists — to charge sales tax on their products and services. So let’s say you’re budgeting for a $5,000 wedding and the sales tax in your area is high, around 9%. That means there is an extra $450.00 on top of your budgeted amount is required in sales tax. We get it, it’s not fun but SO necessary to consider when planning for your event.