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BB Expert Panel: Budget-Friendly Weddings

Mar 12, 2018


Over the years I’ve tried to find a way to cater to brides who cannot meet my minimum. I only take a limited number of events each season but would like to fill in some of my open weekends with some smaller events that don’t require the amount of attention, prep, setup, installation work, and breakdown as my larger events. At the same time, I don’t want to lose the integrity of my style in the process. I notice that some floral studios have different offerings for the lower budget client, but I haven’t been able to master a plan that maintains my style and also doesn’t require too much of my time/energy to make it worthwhile. I was wondering if anyone on the panel had ideas! I should mention that I am a small studio and do the majority of the work myself with the addition of freelance designers on the days leading up to the wedding and for setup.


A colorful bridal bouquet from a member of the BB Expert Panel

Several years ago we started a “From the Garden” offering. My husband had increased the amount of stems we were growing and we noticed the flowers were going unused in our higher end weddings. The point of creating this option was to give the stems a market and opportunity to be sold. Over time “From the Garden” has evolved into essentially a “Designer’s Choice” option. We explain to clients that we are not changing the quality of our designs or our stems, but we are willing to offer designs below our set minimum for full service weddings if the client is willing to go without a consult and willing to pick up their order or pay our minimum delivery and set up fee. Because we will not be spending hours consulting, sourcing, and writing recipes, this offering has a large reduction in labor which makes it easy for us to execute. Often the pieces we create for this offering are the same value as our full service designs, but we are willing to forgo our minimums if the client will work with us to reduce the overall labor associated with doing an event. I have always believed that offering bouquets/personal flowers only is a sound business model. After all, it’s the most enjoyable part and if you can remove the delivery and set up work, we are really talking about a fabulous time to create.

We offer the “From the Garden” option on our website and show images of past designs prepared for clients.

A floral centerpiece with yellow and pink flowers by a BB Expert Panel member A red and white bridal bouquet for the BB Expert Panel

The prices are actually still standard industry pricing, which would be at least 3.5 times markup. The reason the “From the Garden” option is helpful is not because the flowers are less expensive, but because it allows people to use our services without paying minimums. We sell the package approximately 15 times per year. We tell the clients the garden is most glorious from mid-May to frost, but then we added in the “Designers Choice” component so that we could provide this service all year.

Holly Chapple / Holly Heider Chapple Flowers & Hope Flower Farm

Images courtesy of Jodi & Kurt Photography and Abby Jiu Photography 

BB Expert Panel: two models holding dark bouquets with pink and purple flowers

I provide a service to both types of wedding clients, but do so under different brands/companies. I have seen a number of florists around the world do it this way and I prefer it this way as it saves confusion to couples as to what level of service they can have from my main business Mood Flowers or from my other business/brand.

At Mood Flowers we offer full service wedding flower design which includes two consultations, a full written proposal, a named lead designer, 30% retainer and final balance payment options, agreement of specified flower varieties and colours, delivery of up to four locations on the day of the wedding, transfer of ceremony arrangements after the service if required, collection of hired items the day after the wedding. For this service we have a minimum spend required in order to discuss and take on the wedding. However, this means that we turn away almost 70% of our enquiries, so now we offer wedding packages through another brand/company, MUD Urban Flowers which offers a completely different service:  online ordering only, no consultation, colours can be specified but not specific flowers, full payment must be made on booking, only one delivery address on the wedding day, no named lead designer.

BB Expert Panel: a bridal bouquet with pink flowers and greenery

Both of these work well and each brand/company actually refers clients to the other when they either don’t meet the minimum spend requirement or if they require a full service design package. Another way to look at your situation is to build up your business so that you have the desired number of larger weddings so that you can have your other weekends off. I like to be busy so this is not an option for me!

Nick Priestly / Mood Flowers & MUD Urban Flowers

Images courtesy of Visual Aspect

It is definitely possible to offer a lower price point for events without compromising your style. We do this at Love ‘n Fresh Flowers by using a much more streamlined approach to an event that greatly reduces the amount of time we have to spend with the client and the amount of stress the event will ultimately cause. Let’s face it: wedding flowers cost so much because of the time and stress on us, not just simply the cost of the flowers. So rather than reducing your flower costs for weddings/events, focus on reducing the time and stress you put into them leading up to game day.

For our streamlined approach, we send the client an online menu from which to select the items they want us to design. These items are all “standardized” on our end, meaning we have 3 or 4 simple vases they can choose from at any given time. We update the vase selection each season so choices are current with trends. With this approach, we can buy containers in larger quantities at one time and save on shipping. Same with ribbon choices, etc.

Love ‘n Fresh Flowers | M2 Photography

Additionally, the client picks from 3 or 4 “standardized” color palettes we put together for each season. They do not get the opportunity to give any input into what specific flowers will be used, just colors.. So that means we can also keep flower costs and stress down the week of their event by just using what is most beautiful at our farm within their selected color palette, rather than freaking out that we don’t have mauve-but-not-purple lisianthus to match the bridesmaid dress swatch.

BB Expert Panel: a bride with 6 bridesmaids holding matching bouquets
Love ‘n Fresh Flowers | Emily Wren Photography

While this sounds a little limiting for the client, we tell them this system really actually gives us a lot of flexibility as designers to create something more beautiful and yet less expensive. And it’s really worked well for both us and clients over the past two seasons. I think clients are actually appreciating not having to make so many decisions. Wedding planning gets out of control sometimes so some clients just want an easy, quick process that doesn’t require hours of meetings and phone calls.

BB Expert Panel: a pink floral centerpiece

Love ‘n Fresh Flowers | Maria Mack Photography

Regarding quoting/pricing: There is no consultation for this service option. We generate a quote based on what they choose from the online menu. Everything happens online. Pricing is listed per item in the online menu so they know costs up front as they are making their selections.

It’s worth noting that we do still offer full service, hyper-detailed design work for clients who are willing to pay for it.

Jennie Love / Love ‘n Fresh Flowers

Find the BB Expert Panel archives here!


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