Congratulations on your forthcoming weddings!
I am a florist and looking at breaking away and doing my own thing. Before I make that step, I'm doing a bit of research and I'd be really interested to hear what your experiences have been in dealing with florists (i.e. what has worked for you, what hasn't, what has frustrated you, what has made your heart sing!). Hopefully you get my drift!
When I got married I was very lucky as a florist friend (who I trusted and knew me very well) did my flowers for me. I know that some of you aren't as fortunate - something that I would hope to rectify if my plans go ahead!
Many thanks in advance for your input.
My florist was amazing! My bouquet was perfect he made a little one for my flower girl and when they were delivered on the morning of the wedding he had put loads of petals in for us to use! He sourced beautiful local seasonal flowers for the tables for me to arrange. All this and I only booked in a few weeks in advance, and it didn't cost the earth!
I suppose it helped that I knew what I wanted. I had a June wedding because I wanted Peonies and sweet peas.
Good luck with your new venture.
I would put in a plea that you communicate well with your brides. When I got maried I put a lot of time into putting together a collection of pictures of bouquets and arrangements that I did and didn't like and discussed it all with the florist who I thought had taken on board what I had said. I repeatedly told her that I wanted my bouquet on a handle. On the day the flowers turned up whilst I was at the hairdressers and my bouquet was basically a sheaf of flowers definitely no handle. I didn't know how to carry it as the only ways it seemed to work was to lay it across one arm or to have it like a cricket bat. I was uncomfortable carrying it and I came very close to leaving it at home.
I spoke to her as soon as I saw it and explained how upset I was but basically she couldn't obviously do another arrangement in the time. After the wedding I wrote and thanked her for doing a good job with the other flowers (which she had done) and expressed my sadness over my bouquet. I didn't hear anymore from her. I wasn't abusive and I wasn't demanding compensation but some gesture would have been appreciated - even if it was just a note to acknowledge my sadness. I guess she didn't want to do that in case that had led to a demand for compensation.
Good luck with your venture
We did our own flowers, and put in an order of what we wanted from wholesaler. I'm not sure whether it was the right decision, as it was very hectic the day before, but the flowers looked ace, and we enjoyed doing them. MIL enjoys flower arranging, and mum's cousin used to work as a florist, and bridesmaids mum aunts cousins all helped. We had a big wedding.
We had the most amazing bouquets from a florist though, which took my breath away. I asked who was the best in the area, and was told this lady was. I took her some pictures of bouquets from rock my wedding website, and she surpassed my expectations.
We never saw the bouquets till they were delivered the morning of wedding, so not sure what to expect.
I think you need to be responsive when you get enquiries. My sister organised (and generously paid for) my wedding flowers, and she went round at least 6 florists to ask about what they could offer and not one of them followed it up. I think 2 or 3 she rang and they said 'oh nobody's here at the moment, we'll call you back' (no call back) and the others she walked in. One of them couldn't get the idea of a 'traditional teardrop bouquet' out of her head and when my sister said that actually I'd been hoping for a posy style, she basically said oh no, I can't do that, so that one was off the list, and the others said 'nobody's here, we'll call you' and she left the shop with no leaflets, ideas, suggestions etc - and never got a call back.
The florist we used in the end was quite a long way away but he was the only one who showed any interest. My friend recommended him and I passed on his number to my sister. She didn't catch him first time, but left a message (expecting to hear nothing as usual) but he called back about half an hour later and chatted for ages about ideas, 'come in and see some pictures' etc. He was great. And he has a requirement that you view your flowers the day before so that he can make sure you're happy with them before the wedding. I had to go up there the night before to view and sign it all off. There would have been time for him to change the bouquets and table arrangements if necessary.
I think the key issue I found with all wedding suppliers (not just florists) is basic lack of courtesy. The suppliers I chose were basically the ones who returned my calls. There were an astonishing number who just couldn't be bothered. And this was during a recession!
I went to two florists to get quotes and info/advice. I think the thing that was the most help was photos of other arrangements they had previously done. It's easier to look at something and say yes I like that, or I don't like that particular flower, or I'd like that shape, flowers close together or spread out, or I like these colours.
I don't know many flowers by name or what was in season so couldn't really make an informed choice re: cost. It would have been really useful to have pictures of flowers that were in season, possibly even bouquets made with seasonal flowers.
I loved my flowers and was really annoyed I hadn't thought about drying them and having them framed before the morning after! That would be a great little extra to add on!
The florist I used had an initial meeting where ideas etc were discussed. Then a week or so prior to the wedding we met again and she made versions of the bridal flowers so we both had a clear understanding of the plan. She was also prompt and polite. All things were appreciated.
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