So, you're planing your wedding - yay! - and now it's time to book a florist. As a wedding florist, I've been through many consultations with couples throughout all the planning stages, and these are top things you should know BEFORE talking with florists.
1. Many florists have a minimum, but this can actually be a good thing
While it can be daunting at first, a minimum price-point helps ensure a certain level of quality and service that you don't actually want to negotiate or compromise on. For example, a $2,000 minimum may cover the costs your florist needs to hire a team of skilled freelance designers, ensuring she has enough bandwidth to execute on your vision. If you force her to accept a lower price, she may have to cut corners on staffing, flower selection, and quality of materials - all of which will negatively impact the end result. For many florists, it's simpler to set a minimum price, making sure all the basics are covered and paid for, AND ensuring the florist makes a profit (which they deserve to do!). From your perspective, you then don't need to know about the nitty gritty behind-the-scenes budget details like: how many dollars of gas will be spent transporting florals to your wedding, exactly how many hours of freelance labor are needed, and the exact price of the hydrangeas vs garden roses. It's okay if you're not comfortable spending a florist's listed minimum; it's never a personal slight against you or your budget! The good news is, there are plenty of florists out there with lower minimums, different service offerings, or even no minimum at all.
2. Smaller bouquets and centerpieces aren't always less expensive
It's so tempting to assume that smaller bouquets and centerpieces are less expensive, but smaller arrangements are not always cheaper. For one thing, a smaller design may contain more premium flower to achieve the look you're love. A specialty flower (like a peony, garden rose, anthurium, or lilac) could be $5 to $10 per stem in cost to your florist - that's BEFORE labor, design, and transportation costs. A better way to address cost with your florist is to let them know that you're open to floral substitutions and their recommendation on how to achieve the look you love, as affordably as you can. Ultimately, there's still only so much that can be done to save on cost, as a large component of floral prices is labor (less expensive flowers take just as much time to prepare as more expensive flowers). However, the right florist will always respectfully consider your preferences, and do the best they can to allocate your budget on the areas that matter most to you.
3. In addition to floral design expertise, you're also paying for a whole lot of labor you don't want to do - don't be surprised when you see a labor line item in the quote.
This one is often a surprise for couples as they begin interviewing florists. The reality is, the majority of wedding floristry is labor, and hourly work is expensive! Your wedding florist team will be spending the week of your wedding doing a whole lot of manual labor that you and your friends/family members really don't want to do. Receiving shipments, opening boxes, prepping flowers, breaking down boxes, filling and carrying heavy buckets, standing on ladders, packing glassware and candles, renting UHAUL vans, loading vans, and hours of set-up, tear down, and cleaning on the day of your wedding - often in the hot sun (hello Arizona couples!). An average wedding could very well require 75 to 100 labor hours. At an average of $20 per hour (it varies depending on the florist, freelance designer expertise, region, etc), that's already $1,500 to $2,000 in just labor hours - before the cost of the flowers and candles themselves! Some florists will break this Labor line out separately in a quote and others will simply include it in the floral prices. A good rule of thumb when making sense of pricing differences between florists - if it sounds to good to be true, it probably is. Your florist should be charging enough to pay their team fair wages and generate a profit for their business. If one florist is charging way less than others, it's worth considering why that is, before signing on the dotted line.
4. For best results, TRUST!
More than anything, it is SO important that you trust the florist you hire, and that you are both working towards a shared vision. Allow your florist creative freedom and give them the leeway they need to allocate your budget appropriately and execute on something truly one-of-a-kind. At Juniper Flowers AZ, I aim to be as trustworthy, transparent, and honest as possible, but if for any reason a client doesn't feel completely trusting in what we have to offer, I'd rather they don't hire me. When you and your wedding vendors trust and respect each other - the final result is more beautiful than you can even imagine right now!