Tuesday, June 16, 2009

But aren't they filler flowers??

Well ladies, I have had my first major jaw-dropping wedding consult... FLOWERS?!?! I have no idea how much flowers should cost, but I do know one thing for sure... brides get SCREWED OVER!! I have been postponing the whole flower consult thing for a couple of reasons: they are NOT my priority; I know very little about flowers, so I was intimidated to go; I don't like getting screwed over by the WIC; I don't have a big budget for flowers... and even worse, I have no idea what I should have in the budget. BUT, suffice it to say, the meetings had to get started, and I had to start figuring out what I was doing about my bouquet!! I set-up two appointments in Calgary, one with an off-the-beaten-path florist, and one with a more trendy downtown florist. I came prepared... along with pictures of my dress and my girls' dresses, I brought a whack-load of floral inspiration gathered around the bridal-blogs! Of the stack I brought... this was my short list:

top row (L to R) from here, here, and here; second row (L to R) from here, here, and here; bottom row (L to R) from here, last two pictures... can you help me with the source? Sorry, these have been in my inspiration folder for so long... can't remember where they came from.

My first appointment left me pretty underwhelmed... to start, the lady doing my consult was late?? The lady who ended up sitting down with me (not the one I was supposed to meet with) was an older lady who had certainly been in the business a long time, but unfortunately I did not really connect with her. I found her educational and professional, but for some reason, I left feeling a bit let down. The quote for 4 bouquets was ~$400. Now, this where my complete lack of knowledge in this area is messing with me... I gasped at that price!! I didn't want to spend more than $300 for the 4 bouquets (you'll remember we already got our gorgeous bouts and corsages from Myra). When I asked my lady if I could get a copy of the worksheet she had filled out (with all the names of the flowers, etc.) she told me it was against store policy to do so unless I had put a deposit down... um thanks for nothing!!

OK, onwards and upwards... on to the 2nd meeting. I LOVE this flower shop... have received a few very special bouquets from here!! I immediately connected with my young, chic consult lady, and really felt that she knew what I was looking for. She had great ideas, but more importantly, she listened to my thoughts, even though I am admittedly uneducated in this arena! I was more prepared to ask questions at this meeting, and really wanted to get to the bottom of the pricing... since the first quote seemed to get pulled from thin air! She told me that they do up a detailed order sheet, add up the per stem costs, and mark-up the total by 30% for wedding orders... yup, that's right ladies, 30% more than anyone else would pay because why?? Because we're brides, and we should pay more?!?! When I asked her for a guess-timate, she told me she couldn't off the top of her head, but she would send me a quote in a few hours. She reassured me though, since most of the flowers I wanted were "filler flowers" (her words, not mine), it wouldn't be very expensive. No callas, peonies, hydrangeas, orchids, etc... yes, ladies, I want filler flowers!! Here are the details we worked through (which she sent me with her quote, copy and pasted directly from her email):

Bridal Bouquet
Style of Bouquet: posy, gathered-look of ‘wild flowers’, loose structure.
Colour of Bouquet: More purple/blue flowers than white to contrast bride’s gown.
Bouquet to include: yoko ono mums, misty blue, trachellium (purple),
white spray flowers (only white flower in bouquet), single kale (purple veins), eryngium (blue sea holly), lavender, heather, herbs (such as rosemary), seeded eucalyptus, wheat (bunches of three, trimmed) a bit of greenery.
Open-stems (approx. 2” at bottom). Stems wrapped in burlap with lace details and finished with silver pushpins.
Bride will be bringing in burlap and lace for stem wrapping.
Price: $195.00
Bridesmaids Bouquets (3)
Style of Bouquet: same as Bridal bouquet, but smaller scale.
Colour of Bouquet: More white flowers to contrast the bridesmaids’ gowns.
Bouquets to include: Same flowers as bridal bouquet, but no kale, no trachellium.
Open-stems (approx. 2” at bottom). Stems wrapped in burlap WITHOUT lace details and finished with silver pushpins.
Price: 3@ $140.00
Total for Flowers $645.75 (GST inc.)

Ummm, what?? $650 for herbs, wheat, and filler flowers?!?! REALLY?? OK, well, at least the $25 consult fee got me the list of flowers right?? Because I definitely do NOT have $650 in the budget for bouquets!! Where to next?? Craigslist!! I MUST think outside the box, and find someone who will work with me to create flower bouquets, NOT wedding bouquets... because apparently there is a big difference!! Any other suggestions on how to get these bouquets done for a more reasonable price??

help!! please!!

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  1. My best suggestion would be to DIY them the day before the wedding by ordering your flowers wholesale (scope blogs for online retailers) and heading to an arts & crafts store for floral materials. This would be especially useful because you want "filler" flowers instead of more expensive flowers that may get damaged in shipping. For example: I'm doing 5 bouquets,several bouts/corsages, and all of the centerpieces using wholesale roses (freshrosepetals.com) for less than $350. Much more reasonable... Just make sure that you have some space in the fridge to store them so they don't wilt. Also, I would suggest a small test order to make sure you are getting good flowers from wherever you order them from.

  2. Girls, girls.... If you are trying to save money, go right to the source. Everyone is within driving distance of a flower farm or great farmers market. If you aren't a bridzilla and are willing to to do a "flower dejeur" you can get incredible flowers, fresh and flawless...if you are willing to take what is locally available at the time. Flower farmers know more about flowers than florists. Some of them even specialize in weddings. www.ascfg.org is a start (Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers) Good Luck!