So this is my first blog with BBBJ and I thought I’d address something that I’ve heard a lot of stories about over the past year. We’re all aware that almost everyone has been affected by the struggling economy and having been in the floral industry for the last 8 years I have witnessed the swing from high-priced fantasy weddings to more conservative, budget-friendly weddings. The one aspect of this turn of events that really frightens me though is this horror stories I hear from Brides and friends….
Recently a friend of mine from Pennsylvania told me that she, like many Brides, was extremely conscious of her wedding budget throughout the planning process. She and her fiancé were responsible for the entire wedding budget and although she wanted to have her dream wedding, she also had to keep in mind how much she could afford to spend. She tried to keep costs down wherever she could, and that included flowers. She met with several florists in her hometown for consultations and called me for some advice, she was torn because one florist would provide her with her “dream” wedding but would be outside of her $2000.00 budget. However, another florist claimed to be able to pull off the same look of hydrangeas, roses and calla lilies for almost half the cost. I warned her that the cut in cost of flowers would most likely result in a cut in the end product. She decided to go with the “budget-friendly” florist as opposed to the florist who could guarantee her the wedding she wanted. The day of the wedding arrived and so did the bouquets that had no hydrangeas but carnations and centerpieces that were not the grand show the Bride expected. She told me later that she was so let down when she walked into the reception and found that it wasn’t at all what she had been envisioning.
I hear these stories quite frequently and its always disheartening. I want to shake these brides and explain that you deserve better than that on your wedding day! I know how much other people’s advice is worth but for you budget-conscious brides out there, you might find something here to think about:
1. Clearly state your budget for flowers to your florist at the very first consultation, preferably the minute you sit down with them, so that they have a marker for your bottom-line. Don’t be ashamed if you can only afford $500 for flowers, a good florist should be able to create your vision, even if it’s not an exact replica.
2. Decide if there is any leeway in your budget, if the difference between your dream wedding and your perfect budget is a couple hundred dollars, decided whether or not the impact of a beautiful ceremony, reception, etc. is important to you. Some brides realize that all it costs to achieve beautiful wedding flowers is $200-$300 more and they are willing to spend it, so be open to that possibility.
3. Have options! Yes, peonies, calla lilies, and gardenias are your favorite. They’re also expensive. Do some research of flowers (www.sierraflowerfinder.com is a great resource for flower varieties) so that you can offer your florist a variety of flowers to choose from and stay within your budget easier. For example, you’re a fan of peonies; well dahlias are a good substitute as well as some new versions of roses. Flower growers have come a long way and are offering a number of flowers in new breeds and colors.
4. Keep your florist informed. When Jen and I send out quotes, we frequently give the bride some options for bouquets as far as pricing and what goes into the bouquet. If you like option 1 for the bouquet but prefer the price of option 3, let us know, we’ll figure out a way to make it work. The worst is when a bride calls and says “I’m going with someone else because you were too expensive.” If a bride just tells us that the initial quote was too much, we can usually find a way to bring things down.
5. Be careful when comparing apples to apples. Many times brides will take a quote from one florist to another florist and ask for a comparison. Frankly, most florists should run about the same for the same flowers seeing as how we all buy from the same wholesalers and growers. Unless the shop is a “big-box” store who buys flowers by the thousands, then price comparisons should be the same. Unfortunately, these “second shop” florists will take the estimate from the original florist and the bride’s budget and find a way to come in under the original quote. Like my friend from the story above, this usually means substituting a pricier flower for a cheap one. They may also cut the size of arrangements to stay within your budget. Just make sure that what you’re getting is exactly what you want. If your quote from the original florist is for hydrangea, roses and calla lilies, make sure that the new “budget-friendly” quote is also for hydrangeas, roses and calla lilies, and not carnations, daisies, and spray roses.
6. Choose the florist that’s right for you. Yes, all this advice can help but in the end it all comes down to your gut-feeling. They tell you when you try on the right dress, “you’ll just know.” The same should apply to every other aspect of your wedding. If florist A is the one you just know you have to have, but florist B gave you a cheaper quote. Call florist A and explain, hopefully they’ll work with you and provide you with the gorgeous day you’ve been dreaming of.
Looking forward to helping create your perfect wedding in your perfect budget Call 419-367-0588 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule your free consultation!