Today I'm writing about one of the questions I get asked time and time again - how much should you expect to pay for your wedding flowers?
Now, this is by no means a new subject, I know. Last year I wrote a blog post about budgeting for your wedding flowers and, knowing how much of an issue this can be to couples, I also produced a downloadable pdf about the cost of your wedding flowers as part of my Wedding Hints and Tips on my website.
Having done all I can think of to help and, noticing that this is still a source of worry to some, I thought I'd write a post about my recent experiences of the tricky subject of budgets (or sometimes the lack of them!).
I know when I got married my priority was always going to be the flowers. Many of my brides spend a lot more than I did on their wedding gowns, we all have different budgets, I totally get that. Different couples have different budgets for their venue, rings, dresses, photographers etc. This should, and does, apply to flowers. I have weddings this year ranging from £200 to a lot over £1,000. Different strokes for different folks. Again, I get that.
So why do I sometimes feel I'm in a bazaar haggling about money?
I totally understand the emails I get asking for a rough costing, these are easy to deal with (see second paragraph!) but when I've produced a really detailed quote following a consultation (during which time I'll have identified all the flower varieties, within the correct season, and pretty much designed everything) what I don't get is that my quote used as the basis to 'get the best price'. I feel this devalues what I do and I'm not sure the same would be done with venues, rings or wedding dresses for example. Maybe it is, I'm not sure!
Generally, I'm really lucky. The majority of people I see do book with me and I think that most brides come to me because a) they can see I'm creative and they'll get something specially designed for them b) because of my knowledge and c) my customer service means they're going to be looked after in a way they really want.
What I would say is, if this is your business model, then a 'stack 'em high, sell 'em cheap' attitude isn't going to work. I'm by no means the most expensive in town, but I'm not the cheapest either and, as with everything in life, you get what you pay for. And I might be biased, but I happen to think that with Campbell's, given everything we'll do for you, we're a bit of a bargain!
So, what are the solutions? Well, I could get tougher I suppose and stop trying to please all the people, all the time. But that's just not going to happen!
Practically it would be a whole lot easier if brides had some idea of what they wanted to spend and approached their florist knowing their budget. This way, you're truly not going to get a worse deal, you're going to get a better one! If I know how much you're spending, I can make suggestions and come up with clever ways of making your budget fit - this gets you the optimum possible for your money and saves a lot of time and to-ing and fro-ing.
Another way to get what you want, is to plan. One of my very lovely Brides, Angela, came up with a really clever way of budgeting for her flowers and she's kindly agreed to be part of this post - this is what she had to say ...
"I always knew that flowers were going to be integral to my wedding and that they would be one of the main features in creating a wonderful atmosphere. To start with, though, I had no idea of how I wanted my wedding to look and one of the first things I saw were Tracey's flowers at a wedding fayre. Their 'just picked' design gave me the idea of bringing the outside in and I knew I wanted everything to have a really natural and ethereal quality. From these first thoughts I've been able to plan the colour scheme, bridesmaids dresses and invitations.
Because I wanted lots of gorgeous flowers everywhere, I decided to pay for my flowers monthly over the months leading up to our wedding, as this was so much easier to budget for I hardly notice the small payments each month rather than one big chunk near the actual day. I really didn't want to have to take out loans to pay for the big day - especially in this financial climate. I just thought, why not approach the cost of our wedding in the same way we now pay for many of our outgoings and bills? Direct debits have always worked pretty well for us!"
I love this idea and I'm sure that many of you out there are applying a similar philosophy towards saving for your big day. Having the wedding of your dreams and keeping the costs to a realistic level are, in my experience, the hardest part of planning. So, all I can say is, do a bit of research first, decide if you can what you want to spend and credit us flowery people with having some integrity - why would we be so short-sighted as to not look after you? After all you've friends, relations and lots of lovely people you know who are all potential customers as referrals - happily that's where I get most of my business from!
So, how are you budgeting for your wedding day? Have you had good experiences with your venue, florist, wedding boutique? Or, have you, or any of your friends had nightmares?
I'd love to hear your thoughts - my thanks too to Angela for being a part of this post.
Photocredit: Jess Petrie Photography
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