J Starr's Flower Barn
Statement Garden Floral Designs Showcasing Eastern Shore Elegance

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A floral blog about J Starr's Flower Barn, owner Jamie Taylor & family, wedding floral advice, and real wedding stories

ABC's of A Floral Consultation

 Brooke Michelle Photography

Brooke Michelle Photography

After a busy week of wedding consultations, I am super excited for the wedding season to begin! However as I have been sitting down with brides all week, I have come across a few common issues related to the consultation process itself. I’ve condensed them into my ABC’s of Floral Consultations…how to prepare and what to expect of your wedding floral consultation!

A: Aesthetics!

Colors/Theme/Style - Most brides have some idea of color scheme and overall style that they want for their dream wedding

        BE SPECIFIC!

o   If you have a certain shade for bridesmaid dresses, say so! Better yet, bring a fabric swatch! If you want a rustic, vintage theme, but NOT “country”- say so! The more detailed information, the more likely chance of success!

        PINTEREST! – Every bride has one, so let’s put it to good use!

o   Share your board prior to your consultation! This allows the designer to prepare for your consult and come with fresh ideas that will match your aesthetics. It will also save time in the consultation by having everyone on the same page. Brides can follow me on Pinterest at “jstarrsflowers”

 It has even helped to create a mood board from Pinterest inspiration to really help focus wedding themes and details! (Photos taken from Pinterest shares, so original photo credit is unknown)

It has even helped to create a mood board from Pinterest inspiration to really help focus wedding themes and details! (Photos taken from Pinterest shares, so original photo credit is unknown)

 

B: Budget!

This is everyone’s least favorite part of the consultation - including the florist!!!

        $$$$!

o   Generally speaking, flowers tend to come after Venue & Food in terms of largest percentage of the overall wedding budget. Pinterest inspiration pictures are usually expensive, so be prepared for that when you want the “Pinterest” price! For a great read on pricing, check out this blogpost by Live Love Flowers!

         BE HONEST!

o   If you have a very specific or tight budget, please say so!! This will save both you and the designer a lot of time, energy& disappointment! When budgets and price quotes are too far off, the designer usually has to completely start over to make them align closer. Additionally, if you have a tight budget and it is discussed in the initial consultation, the designer can also be very honest with you as to what your options are so that you don’t end up having to eliminate design elements you were stoked about having at your wedding!

        MINIMUMS!

o   Many designers have minimums for full-service wedding flowers. Be sure to ask ahead of time! Many also have options for “a la carte” services, where you can order specific items (ie, bouquets & boutonnieres only)  and pick them up on the day of the event.

        NEGOTIATION!

o   This is a tricky one! The easiest answer is – it depends! Depending on a number of factors, such as number of bridesmaids, “must have” high-end flowers, large scale design elements, number of table centerpieces, there may only be so much that can be adjusted to fit your list of wants into your budget. The more flexible you are regarding some changes to your original vision, the more flexibility there can be in your pricing.

         ADD-ONS!

o   SALES TAX – if your state has a sales tax on goods, be prepared for that additional expense. In Maryland, it is 6% on the flowers & rentals, but no tax on delivery/set-up/pick-up services.

o   DELIVERY/PICK-UP – there will be charges for these services as these are additional expenses to your florist in time, labor, fuel, & vehicle maintenance.

o   NON-FLORAL ELEMENTS – many florists, including me, offer additional items for sale or rent to enhance your wedding aesthetics. Candles, Chargers, Mirrors, Arches, Shepherd’s Hooks, Lanterns, Doors, et.al. all come with additional costs that may or may not be included in your initial budget considerations for just the flowers!

 One of my "add-ons" available - a vintage wooden canoe that makes the perfect beverage cooler for cocktail hours and outdoor receptions!

One of my "add-ons" available - a vintage wooden canoe that makes the perfect beverage cooler for cocktail hours and outdoor receptions!

 

C: Communication!

       BE HONEST!

o   See a common thread? Designers aren’t mind readers, but we do our best to understand and accommodate your wishes. Just tell us what you like & don’t like!

        EMAIL!

o   With so many forms of communication available today, after meeting in person, email is really one of the soundest forms of communication. This will allow both you and the designer to have a record of what was agreed upon & any changes made.

        DON’T DISAPPEAR!

o   Please respond as soon as possible to the designer. While we understand it may take time to get approval from all concerned parties to OK the flower quote, at least let the designer know that you received the quote, are reviewing, and an estimated time frame for your decision. This will keep the designer from having to attempt to contact you multiple times to find out what is going on, plus they could have other interested brides for your date and can’t afford to be in limbo as to whether or not you are still a possibility.

         REGULARLY!

o   Most designers have a general schedule for contact with the bride, but even if they don’t, there is little chance that you will meet once, pay your bill, and never talk to them again. You should have ample opportunity to discuss any thoughts, concerns, changes, etc.

o   My basic guideline is after booking, we will at least chat or email at about 60 days (purchasing containers) and 30 days (final payment, last chance for major changes) prior to the wedding date. The week of the wedding, we will be in contact regarding the delivery of any personal items (ie bride providing centerpiece containers) and weather-related plans. On the day of the event, I usually prefer to at least say, “Hello!” to the bride and personally deliver the bridal bouquet. However, scheduling does not always allow for that to happen, so I do like to touch base with someone “in-the-know” who can verify that I have everything delivered as promised!

 

So that’s my ABC’s! And just to throw in D & E – DON’T WORRY! & ENJOY EVERY MINUTE!

 

 "Always remember, there is nothing worth sharing like the love that let us share our name!" - Avett Brothers (Photo: Coty Jones Photography)

"Always remember, there is nothing worth sharing like the love that let us share our name!" - Avett Brothers (Photo: Coty Jones Photography)