What is the biggest challenge you face with brides and weddings today, and how do you deal with it?

 I am routinely presented with the same inspirational images, which requires me, in each consultation, to encourage the couple to make their look and style feel authentic to them rather than an imitation of a trend. But many do want trendy looks, so we find ourselves making the “same wedding” several times each summer: greenery runners and white or blush bouquets. This is a challenge to my creative side, but it is money for the mortgage, and that is one of the reasons I am in business. So I will happily source those Eucalyptus runners but will keep doing styled photo shoots to show my couples what else is possible.

Tobey Nelson
Tobey Nelson Events & Design
Whidbey Island, Wash.

Attracting bridal clients and convincing them that what we charge is worth the investment is our biggest challenge. Bridal shows and print advertising have generated little or no ROI, so I’ve been focusing on styled photo shoots, which generate a much better ROI. Each vendor posts and tags all other vendors associated with the shoot on their social media. We all promote each other and gain more exposure.
Once brides are in the door, it can be a challenge to get them to understand why things are “so expensive.” As I walk a couple through a consultation, I educate them on the design process, flower care, sourcing, etc. I want to help couples understand the skills and knowledge our profession requires. Some understand, and some still just see dollar signs.

Adrianna Duran-Leon, AIFD
The Flower Company
Albuquerque, N.M.

The biggest challenge is with the industry, which has kept the prices for everything from everyday arrangements to weddings low. Many in this industry seem timid about raising their prices. We must educate consumers what it takes to get flowers here from all over the world. The skills of selling the value of what we offer, negotiating and providing extraordinary customer service are missing in many shops.

Lisa Pritchett
Lilium Floral Design & Events
Colleyville, Texas

Managing the time we give to our bridal clients is a challenge, especially with smaller events. We spend a lot of time explaining costs, coming up with budget-friendly options and making frequent edits to their proposals. We want to please our brides and give them the attention they seek, but from a financial standpoint, we have to consider the value of our time.

Amy Epstein McManus
Crimson & Clover Floral Design
Baltimore, Md.

Our biggest challenge is battling the competition. So many people have entered the bridal industry in the last 10 years, and to win in the competition today, you have to give the best free offer to win the sale, like buy a bridal package and get flowers for the flower girl free or if you have six bridesmaids, we’ll give you one bridesmaids bouquet free. When today’s brides hear free, they light up!

Michele Caponi
Designs by Michele & Fine Gifts
Phoenix, Ariz.

The most difficult challenge is coming to a meeting of the minds between the brides and the floral designer when it comes to point of view and compatibility with the bride. For example, a bride may like a specific color that doesn’t work well with her skin color, a bouquet style that is not right for the silhouette of her dress or her stature, or candles in centerpieces for receptions during the daytime. We must achieve satisfaction for both the bride and the floral designer.

Manal Solaiman
Wardy Flower Design Cairo, Egypt

Our big challenge is clients not valuing the expertise in design and styling. Between big-box stores’ prices and “helpful friends” saying to just “do it yourself,” it is a challenge to educate clients on everything from the difference between specialty garden roses and standard roses from a grocery store to structure, mechanics and design and how that affects the pricing of their weddings.
Pinterest brings its own challenges as brides see so many possibilities without any realization of how much those weddings cost.

Rachel Stevenson
EverAfter Floral Design
Myerstown, Pa.

Pinterest and lack of knowledge of floral costs are our biggest challenges. Many brides do not understand the costs of the stunning arrangements featured on their Pinterest boards. I always explain that before we look at floral designs, we need to establish a budget. I separate the personal and ceremony flowers from the reception flowers so that if they need to cut their budgets, they can more easily decide which to reduce. I also show them examples of how they can get the looks they want while staying within their budgets.

Eva Hensley
Addie Jane Originals
Hallsville, Mo.

The biggest challenge is price shopping. There are a lot of people creating florals for weddings in their homes and undercutting established wedding florists. Big-box stores and online give these people access to product. I believe that this is just a trend and it will eventually swing back to brides seeking professional florists.

Reonna Martinez
The Flower Patch Florist & Events
Palm Desert, Calif.