How To Hire a Florist For Your Wedding / Price over Style
I wrote an epic blog post called How to Hire a Florist for your Wedding / Style over Price back in October. It has since been the #1 post from 2017 (or maybe ever) that people have asked me about, referenced, loved, and found informative. This post is it’s cousin. That post was for the couple who values art over price. They have some extra cash to put towards florals and want to give it to the florist that meshes the best with their aesthetic.
This post is for the rest of you. You either A) could care less about flowers and simply want something nice enough to put on your tables, B) have to hire the least expensive florist in town due to budget constraints, C) will only buy anything if it’s on sale/a bargain/you have a coupon, or D) honestly believe in your gut that florists are ripping you off. That last sentence is totally not TRUE AT ALL. But I must not ignore the fact that many articles about wedding flowers spread lies about the “wedding upcharge” and give you advice such as “tell them it’s a party not a wedding.”
It’s all bull. Those things are not true. But, alas, some people’s minds cannot be changed. I’m not here to change your mind about how much value you put on flowers at your wedding. I’m not going to convince you that you NEED to spend $200 on each centerpiece or else your wedding will be a failure. I touched on my opinions about valuing a florist’s creativity in the last post.
(I personally recommend shopping based on style, not price. Although, I’m not naive and I completely understand that everyone does not have the luxury to book their favorite florist. Throwing a party for 100 people gets pricey. All the costs add up quick. Flowers aren’t on your priority list, that’s cool, this post is for you.)
This post is for the price shoppers out there. This is transparent advice on how to purchase floral decor for a wedding ceremony and dinner for 100 people. Something I’m sure you’ve never done before. Let’s dig in.
1. Set your budget
I could write (and most likely will) a whole post about how to come up with your floral budget for your wedding. And no, going against popular belief and the information from big wedding media, it’s not a percentage of your total wedding budget. That’s a silly way of setting budgets for things. Because it doesn’t take into account the amount of money you are comfortable spending in a certain category. In this scenario of finding the least expensive florist, the amount you are comfortable with is low, but it still needs to be realistic.
Think about the last time you sent flowers to someone. How much did it cost? $75? What did the arrangement look like? Was it small? Medium sized? Did the flowers look fresh/nice/basic? If that same arrangement is your table centerpiece, will you be happy with that look? Will it look dinky on a giant table in a giant ballroom? Will it be too big for a very narrow table at a restaurant reception?
Use your answers to those questions to decide if $75 is enough money to buy a centerpiece you will be happy with. Now multiply that by the number of tables you have. Say it’s 10 tables. We are at $750, which will turn into $1,000 after adding on delivery and sales tax. Add on ceremony decor, personal flowers, some simple decor for the bars and cocktail tables, you are probably up to $2k.
Visualize the types of florals you want at your wedding. Even if you don’t care about florals, entertain the idea of making a pinterest board and adding a few images on it that convey the colors and style you like. You are going to send this board to two florists in your area to get quotes.
2. Research florists
Nothing is worse than having an inbox full of replies from florists all telling you your budget is too low for their minimums. Yes, many florists have per event minimums. We do this in order to pay our staff and feed our families. First, look at photos of your venue decorated for past weddings. Find ones where the flowers don’t look over the top. Contact those florists first. Next, get referrals from friends and family. Finally, check the local vendor listings on big blogs like Style Me Pretty, A Practical Wedding, Wedding Chicks, and The Knot.
When you reach out to the florists, tell them a little about your wedding, send them your pinterest board, and tell them your budget you are comfortable spending on flowers. End your email by asking for their advice.
What can you provide me using my pinterest board as purely inspiration and my budget? How do you recommend we stretch my budget to fill the space at the venue? My pinterest board is simply for color reference, please quote using the most economical flowers possible.
And be completely honest if flowers really aren’t your thing but you need something on your tables…
Hey florist, flowers aren’t really my thing, but my mother is insisting I need them. Can we work together on a budget of $2k for a 100 person wedding? What could you provide me for that price?
3. Comparing pricing
This is tricky. Once you have quotes from two florists, you can compare what they both sent you. Since you’ve never shopped for flowers before, and floristry is an art, it’s actually impossible to compare apples to apples. One florist’s bridal bouquet is not exactly the same as the other’s. Same for centerpieces and ceremony decor. They will both probably use some of the same flowers and be in the same color palette, but without seeing the exact bouquet already made, it’s impossible to compare the art that they are describing to you. Trust them that they gave you the best price for what you asked for. Trust them that they are taking your small budget and making it work. Since you are shopping based on price only, pick the cheapest one and book them. Or, if their quotes are very very close in price, pick your favorite one and book them.
Do not send the cheaper quote to the more expensive florist and ask them to match it. This is insulting. I’ll go into more detail on this in a how to save money on your wedding flowers post that’s coming up soon.
In all honesty, you will always be able to find someone to do it cheaper. The quality and professionalism and experience will dwindle the cheaper you go. Be aware of this. Just like I could buy denim at JCrew or at Old Navy or at the thrift store. There is always a cheaper option, although the cheaper option might not always be the one that makes you the happiest or makes your butt look the best.