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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.

 

 

 

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2018.

It’s here. 2018. Are you tired of saying Happy New Year to everyone yet? I was ready to dive into my 2018 goals last week, but forgot our nanny is on vacation and then school was canceled because of a blizzard. It was me and Dean and multi showings of Toy Story and Cars 3 in pillow forts on the living room floor consuming absurb amounts of popcorn and hot chocolate. Now that we are back to our regular childcare schedule this week, let’s dive into these 2018 goals together, shall we?

I want to use another word besides goal though. It sounds…so…definitive. Like once we reach it, we will stand upon the mountain top, holding the big goal we finally hit. Then what? What’s the next step? A goal sounds like a stopping point.

“I reached my goal to lose ten pounds.” Ok, now what?

“I sold a $30k floral contract.” Ok, great, but what’s the next step?

But it shouldn’t be. Instead, a goal should be more like a stepping stone to the next thing. And the next. And the next.

I prefer the word objective. What are our objectives this year? Objectives are more fluid. They are juicy. Objectives are free flowing and can be changed, revised, rerouted, turned around at a moment’s notice. Very different then the word goal. An objective is a way of doing business, a mindset, a malleable bit of information that will ebb and flow each week, each month, each quarter.

Michelle Edgemont Design has five main objectives this year that I’m working towards. The last three years after having Dean have been consistent, which I’m proud of (because the to-do list only gets longer as a parent), but haven’t necessarily been years of business growth. We stayed on a straight line in terms of sales, profit, quantity of events, etc. We moved into an amazing studio. I was able to increase our childcare to four days a week. Five during the busy season. We booked some of our largest contracts ever. Now that I’m in the swing of things as a parent, we have a reliable schedule, a studio, and a close knit group of confidants in the industry that I treasure, it’s time for growth.

This is really woo-woo, but writing down objectives, putting them out there into the universe, makes them manifest themselves.

Here goes. Our 2018 list of objectives:

Design and decorate the studio to make it more organized, beautiful, comfortable, and inspiring. 

Any interior designers out there who can help me with this? Please email me! In a true “the cobbler’s son has no shoes scenario”, it’s so much more difficult to design a space for myself then it is to design a space for my clients. I get decision fatigue, afraid to spend my own money, not sure what to buy. Who can help me with this? I want to walk into the space an immediately feel calm and inspired. A high-end, colorful, pretty space with lots of interesting little nooks and smart organization.

HIre a studio assistant 

I’m hiring a studio assistant. As soon as I get the HR stuff organized, I’m putting it out there that I need help. There are a lot of day-to-day to-dos that I don’t personally need to be doing if I want to really grow this company. Starting with: studio organization, cleaning, and inventory. Keep an eye out for the job listing to hopefully go live in February. This person will inventory all of our props, keep stock of things we use a ton of, pull props for weddings, put it all back after events, help process flowers, and manage the cleanliness of the space. Job also comes with unlimited free coffee, snacks, and use of the space for your own personal creative projects in the off hours.

Build my email list and continue to develop the newsletters to be inspiring, informational, and unconventional

The email list is the way of the future. Social media is great. The majority of our clients come from instagram and pinterest, but I don’t own those audiences. At any moment they could go away. All of those lovely followers – POOF – gone. The pudding is in the email list. There is a certain finesse to writing pretty and interesting emails that people actually open. I know that I personally delete a lot of the newsletters I get. The objective here is to educate couples about hiring event designers and florists, building trust within our brand message, gaining a new audience through freebies, and loving on our current subscribers with coupon codes to the Michelle Edgemont Shop, special ebooks, behind the scenes secrets, and more.

Increase the number of amazing wedding planners we work with in order to gain larger floral contracts and continue to nurture the michelle edgemont design style 

Basically, I want to book a few larger contracts this year to really be able to show off what we are capable of. The last few years brought us some clients that were in the position to be able to pay for completely custom, made from scratch, decor for their weddings. Let’s get more of those this year. The majority of these clients were working with amazing, talented wedding planners who know what their clients wanted: the unconventional, kind of weird, totally custom, fun experience of working with Michelle Edgemont Design. Are you a wedding planner with these types of clients? Come to me, my lovely people. Let’s work together to really give your clients the insane, out of this world, wedding full of personalized details that they want.

Educate couples on event design and, especially, floral costs

Look, there is a lot of bad information out there, specially about budgeting for flowers for an event. I get it, it’s impossible to budget for something you’ve never paid for before. Especially something with so much emotion attached to it. This is why I wrote a very very long post about how to hire a wedding florist based on style. This week, I’m posting one about how to hire based on price. NYC might be in a bubble, and although our weddings cost more than the rest of the USA, saving money is often important to clients. The value in what florists do as creatives is important. Clients are buying our art and it’s ability to provide a beautiful environment to their wedding.

 

On a more personal note…

get healthier and stronger

Flowers are heavy. 75lb base plates for chuppahs are heavy. Pushing carts up ramps and through the backend of hotels is heavy. Schlepping buckets of water, crates of candles, and disco balls – yep, heavy. This is a physically demanding job. It requires a lot and my body needs to be ready for it. I can deadlift 250lbs, but it just doesn’t seem like enough when faced with 14 hours on my feet up and down a ladder installing hanging flowers over a giant venue.

Create a comfortable, simple home

Anyone else really starting to feel like all of their stuff is caving in on them? It’s too much. I don’t need twenty different scarfs. Or three ice cream scoops. Or five pairs of black sneakers. The design studio is full of stuff, it’s nice to come home to a place that, well, isn’t. On an entirely contradictory note, we need more artwork. Got any artists with incredible work that I can buy from? I want the walls full of inspiring images.

Go on more date nights

 Adam and I used to drop $200 on dinners out like, hey, just another Tuesday. Last month we spent $200 going to see Star Wars. Yep. Between the movie tickets, Ubers (too cold), snacks, and babysitter. Bye bye two hundos. How are these date nights going to happen? Be strict with our budget, find a few more babysitter options in the neighborhood, and come up with cheaper nights out. Anyone know a good sitter in Brooklyn who wants to make money just putting our well-mannered child to bed and watching netflix?

What are your 2018 objectives? Business or personal. Comment over on this instagram post and tell me! I want to know. 

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Woodland Baby Shower at The Nomad

Inspired by the couple’s current home in NYC and their new home in Vermont, we planned and designed a woodland themed baby shower overlooking Manhattan at The Nomad Hotel. Using the woods of Vermont as our muse, custom drawn illustrations on the invitation were turned into one-of-a-kind stuffed animals for the baby to treasure. Animal shapes were laser cut from Vermont wood and engraved with each guest’s name to decorate their place setting.

Loved ones filled out cards of advice for the mom-to-be to get encouraged by during 3am feedings. Photos of the mom and dad when they were kids were mounted on wood and scattered throughout the brunch. These photos and the stuffed animals then went into the baby’s nursery. My favorite part of event design is creating custom pieces that the client can treasure for years to come. These items hold a sentimental piece of their family’s history.

For a bit of fun, we brought in the Tarot Society to read Tarot for each guest.

Seasonal blooms of thin similax vine, umbrella fern, ranunculus, freesia, scabiosa, and mum decorated the long communal brunch table.

Scroll down to experience this urban woodland baby shower at The Nomad Hotel. Lovely photographs by Jonica Moore Photography.

This baby shower was also featured on Martha Stewart Living!

Planning, Design, and Flowers: Michelle Edgemont Design | @medgemontdesign

Venue: The Nomad Rooftop | @thenomadhotel

PhotographyJonica Moore Photography | @jonicamelanie

StationeryMKL Illustration

CupcakesBilly’s Bakery | @billysbakerynyc

TarotTarot Society of NY | @tarotsociety

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