Saturday, March 01, 2014

What You Don't Know About Your Wedding: Flowers
Kim Williams owns Enchanted Florist in Burbank, and she's the first person I send my clients to. She's always so enthusiastic and passionate when she talks to my couples, pulling out flowers, books, making suggestions. It's obvious that she loves what she does, and loves working on weddings.

"I’m so excited for them that they’ve found someone that they love and that they want to marry!" Kim gushes about her clients. "And I enjoy being a part of their day. it’s an honor to be chosen to participate in someone’s wedding. I always feel so touched by that, and I want to do my best job for them."
So, what happens when a couple comes in for a wedding consultation?
Typically, I want to know what their date and location are, just in case we have other weddings and events that are scheduled for that day," Kim tells me. The shop staff can handle 4-6 weddings a weekend, depending on the day and the distance.
Your wedding venue is another consideration, too, especially if the majority of the day will be spent outdoors. The heat can wreck havoc on flowers, Kim tell me, so delivery should be timed so that they will hold up through pictures and through your ceremony.

Most couples bring in pictures or printouts of centerpieces and bouquets they like, or pull up their Pinterest boards at the first consultation. "Yeah, and everyone's pictures are really consistent - it's the same thing over and over again, which is great! It just confirms that's what they like, that's really what they like, and that's totally what they like. It's nice," she laughs.
Kim will put any pictures you print out into the file she makes for each wedding, so you'll have your own personal "style guide" for her to follow.

Next up? Your budget. "Your budget is super important. It's really good if everyone is realistic and practical, and tells me what you're aiming for, what your budget range is." You may not have an exact floral budget, but you should have an overall wedding budget, and you can use that to decide how much you're willing to spend on your flowers, based on how important they are to you on that day. Combined with the photos you show her, that will help Kim determine what the possibilities are, as she moves you through a checklist of arrangements and floral pieces."Most people have no idea what flowers cost," she says. "But if you tell me what you can spend, and what it is that you like, I can tell you what I can do."

B &G Photography
The first piece she will discuss is your bridal bouquet, or if it's a wedding with two men, the boutonnieres. The wedding couple's personal flowers set the tone for the look and feel for the rest of the flowers. 
"For brides, their bouquet is usually the first thing they want to talk about,too," Kim says, "and based on what ideas they come in with, I also like to show them something they may not have seen or thought of." The rest of your personal flowers, bridesmaid bouquets, family corsages and boutonnieres, are next. I've personally noticed one thing that couples don't realize when they're talking with her: How many flowers that adds up to! Think about it - everyone in your wedding party, plus family. Ceremony aisles and decoration. Something for the check-in table? And, 100 guests generally means 10 guest tables, and a centerpiece for each of those. You may not want all of that, but you do have to think about it. 

B &G Photography
Centerpieces can be tricky, Kim tells me. It all depends on the flowers you want on your tables. "You can do a tiny centerpiece that costs a lot of money, or a tiny centerpiece that costs next to nothing. Everyone wants a big arrangement that costs a little bit of money, but if you're talking about peonies or dahlias, or anything else that's imported or out of season, you can't go 'big' with those, without it getting expensive." If you're more flexible on the flowers than on the look, Kim makes suggestions about which flowers can be changed out, or how the design can be simplified and still achieve the style you want. "I always ask you what you don't like, too, in that case," she says."That's just as important, to make sure that we don't put something in there that you don't want." 

 There's a lot of overhead cost with wedding flowers, and not as much of a profit margin as people think. We get that all the time," Kim says, " 'I could go down to the flower market and buy a bundle of roses for $15, $20', and of course you can, but someone has to clean them and arrange them, too. And, you need to have extra flowers, to account for breakage, and back-up." Like how you would never rent just 100 dinner plates for 100 guests, or how you always need extra ink and paper if you're printing your own invitations. Kim continues, "And, we’re getting good quality flowers, which is a huge difference. The labor - when you’re paying people to do this for you, there is an expense there. And, not just arranging, but delivery and set-up. It could be just a driver dropping everything off, or as many as five people on-site, setting up the ceremony and reception. You can definitely control the costs, but they still have to be factored in."

What other questions do couples ask about saving money on their flowers? Multi-purposing - can you re-use your ceremony flowers for the reception? Yes. Can you bring in their own vases and containers for her to fill? Yes, but she needs to see a sample first, "before you go out and buy 20 of them!", and one of my couples is having her do this for their wedding this summer. Can you rent vases instead of buying them with the arrangements? Yes, but Kim will remind you that is going to be a little more work on your part, to make sure that your guests don't take them at the end of the night. "If you're talking about larger items, candelabras or urns, then of course, you can rent them and bring them back. But for the smaller arrangements, it might be better to use our vases, and we can talk about that." 

Kim writes up an estimate for you during your meeting with her, and it includes labor, tax, and delivery. If you decide to book with her, she requires a 50% deposit at least a month before your wedding date. By that time, you'll also have finalized the details that will affect your final order - what your wedding party and your parents are wearing, what your linen colors are, or whether you went up or down on your number of guest tables. Once you give her the deposit, you can schedule a day to see your centerpiece sample. Communication is key when you're working with a florist, Kim says, so pick someone that you're comfortable with. "You should be able to say, 'I don’t want to spend that much, or 'I like these flowers, or 'I don’t like these flowers, can you try to find me these other ones?' This is crucial to getting your wedding how you want it to look. If you feel like you can talk to your florist, I think that makes for a much better relationship, all the way through." You can contact Kim Williams and Enchanted Florist at 818-840-8556 or

See you at the end of the aisle,

Liz Coopersmith
Silver Charm Events

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