Like many florists, I have done my fair share of big weddings. There’s a lot to do before the first blossom is placed.
Look, I don’t know about you, but it’s hard to make money at the best of times, let alone adding to it the hours, days and months of labor with a show-off—I mean, large—wedding. (You can assume I’m not a big fan of these spectacles!)
You have to be an accountant to keep up with the hours spent on the phone; in person; and now online via email, FaceTime, Zoom, etc., and, often, by the time you’ve added all that up, you have a huge bill with no flowers to show for it yet. Oh, and don’t forget the dreaded but necessary “PITA” (Pain in the A##) charge; mine is 15 percent!
Smaller weddings are now a trend apparently, and isn’t it wonderful how we adjust and make do when necessary? (What’s that old saying about necessity being the mother of invention?) Several years ago, I decided to take a pass on some of the bigger weddings and focus on smaller, more-intimate ones because, frankly, those were ones I really enjoyed. People were less grand, often much more relaxed and seemed to be actually enjoying it all. Also, you tend to hear such horror stories about the biggies like dress injustices; no olives (scandalous!); and, of course, the wrong shade of “soft creamy (not yellow or pink!) almost white but not too open but not buds, and they can’t be too small and must have fragrance roses” that absolutely ruined the whole day. Please, what ruined the day was maybe the fact that you know in your cold black heart you should have spent the money on liposuction and a boob job in Costa Rica.
I did a wedding years ago that took more than two years to plan. Thank goodness it was before the internet (or I would surely be just getting out of jail now!). I had two contracts, actually: one for the bride and another for the mother, who came into the store weekly (for two years!) to check on things and/or change and/or add some silly bit of tat. I would call the bride monthly to discuss Mother’s decisions and amend them as necessary. Oh, and she knew a charge was going on her card every time Momma set foot in my store, too. (I used that money for therapy!) Anyway, the wedding went off, I like to say, with a bang, but methinks there wasn’t a lot of banging going on that night because everyone was wound up like a cheap watch. Ahhh, good times, good memories.
How many of you know 200 or more people you would buy a drink for, let alone a $50 (or more) meal and night out? Well, the “trend” of smaller, more personal weddings is going full guns now, thank goodness, and we need to jump on board and accommodate these couples. They are a lot more intimate, so here’s where you can add real personal touches that actually mean something to all in attendance. I’ve done many wonderful little weddings, so here are a few ideas to give you some inspiration to show how far you might go to make a name as the “Go-to Florist for Bespoke Custom Wedding Florals.” (That’s a mouthful, isn’t it?)
With smaller weddings come smaller venues, back gardens, parks, etc., which can be a lot of fun to decorate. I did a cool wedding on a balcony garden at a condo complex, and because the bride liked lots of white flowers, I got potted white azaleas, mums, callas and other plants, and tucked them within all the greenery and shrubbery already there. It was so easy and so effective. The bride carried a selection of garden-type flowers, too, which also made my buying easier. That’s the thing, oftentimes, with smaller weddings: We, as designers, get to offer more services with less fuss and drama, which, frankly, makes for a more beautiful wedding.
Personalization is big with these small weddings, so go further than letting your clients just pick a picture. Because these events are intimate, we can take time to add special touches to make the day even better. I try to get to know a little about the couple.
I remember a lovely fella whose granddad (who had just passed) came here, back in the day, from Italy, with a little bit of grapevine to grow. I suggested we use pieces from this now massive vine in the wedding. It was the hit of the day for sure!
Another couple, who owned a little bike rental company, asked how to use their bikes in their outdoor service. You knowI decorated the bikes and had them ride up the aisle! I even did a potluck wedding, which was incredible! People brought wicked food, everything from lobster and other seafood (I live on the Atlantic Coast) to some of the best desserts ever! (Ever had blueberry grunt? Look it up!)
Look, I say this to every couple as we plan their day: “Remember to enjoy the planning and the day, and don’t bother with what makes you crazy because it’s yourspecial day—and, frankly, the day after, you’re just a married couple, and that’s no big whoop!
Stay well, be creative, and share LOVE through the beauty of flowers!