Booking your florist. What to expect and How does it work?

As 2018 bookings start coming in, I wanted to give some advice and insight on my booking process!

First I want to clarify that there are different types of florists, the main two are  Retail Florists and Event Florists. If you are looking for a Holiday Centerpiece, or an arrangement to have sent out, then I'm probably not your girl. You would want to order from a retail florist who has flowers in store at all times. Event florists plan and order flowers specifically for their bookings.

Now that we cleared that up..

Florist tend to book about 8-9 months in advance.  However, flowers are usually near the bottom of a couple's TO DO list. It is usually one of the last vendors to get booked, and there is a bit of sticker shock when clients realize the cost of wedding flowers. 

Set aside a reasonable budget and do some homework. I suggest getting up to three quotes.  You can definitely get more, but keep in mind the more quotes you get, the harder it will be to make a final decision. This step will also help you build that budget. I can't stress enough how important it is to choose a florist based on how they design and not strictly on price. Yes, cost does play a big role and although any good florist can execute any style, you want someone who you can trust to achieve the look you are after. Florists are artist, and all design in a different way. View their website, search their social media, they will show you what they can do and that will help you decide on a good fit. 

Soo let's just say you chose me..lol..what now? 

To build that quote/proposal, I would need to know a few things first!

  • Do you have a theme or colour scheme?
  • How many are in your bridal party?
  • Do you need ceremony or altar decor like centerpieces, garlands or an arch?
  • Any specific flowers you want used? Perhaps a favourite flower?
  • Do you have photos you have saved or a Pinterest page I can view?

This information allows me to build a more accurate quote and gives us a starting point. Once I send the quote is when clients usually decide if I am within their budget and want to move forward with a consultation.

During the consultation, we chat about your vision for your wedding. Going over seasonal flower and greenery options, and also viewing pictures to make sure we are on the same page. We also chat about additional decor if required. Feel free to ask any questions you may have for me at this time.

From all the information I gather from our meeting, I write up a formal invoice that summarizes everything we discussed. At this point the client will have a chance to look it over. A 50% deposit can be made to reserve the date from this point on. Dates cannot be reserved until an initial payment is received. Keep in mind as a small business I book only 1-2 weddings per weekend. This allows me to focus on my client and maintain quality of service.

I make sure to stay in touch with my clients leading to the BIG Day. I follow up approximately a month before the wedding and check in if there are no more additions or changes. That being said, I tell my clients to keep in touch and never hesitate to contact me with any floral questions. I also confirm any last minute wedding details like delivery and pick up times. Once we finalize the order, I will have all the information I need to proceed with ordering my product. 

Finally...you made it to the end..it may seem like a long process but I assure you, you are in good hands. This is why trust is so important in choosing your vendors. 

You can relax and leave the rest to me to create beautiful florals for your special day!

 

Peony Season...Short Lived but Well Loved. How to have peonies for your wedding.

Peony Season is here!!! They have definitely made a comeback in weddings and are no longer just your grandmother’s garden flowers! Peony season usually last from May-July, so if peonies are number one on your “must have flower” list, then to avoid disappointment, I would make a mental note of booking your wedding around these months! The season is short but sweet, truly adding to their charm.

If you are a DIY bride and it’s something you are considering growing for your own wedding, here are some useful tips!

1-If you plan on getting married in 2-3 years...PLANT THEM NOW!! It takes a while for peonies to mature and establish. It would probably take that long to produce enough blooms to use for your wedding. Keep in mind they do not flower in their first year of planting, so something to think about if you are planning ahead!

2- FULL SUN please and in rich, fertile well draining soil. Try it out! Our cold winters are prefect for these hardy plants and grow easily in Edmonton (zone 3)..just look around, I'm sure you can spot peonies growing in someone's yard or garden!

3- Cut flowers while still in BUD form, I usually wait till I start seeing the color of the peony and the buds don’t feel too firm, give it a squeeze, it should have some give like a marshmallow.  This way they should last up to a week in a vase and won’t have ants crawling inside them! Make sure to give the stems a fresh cut before placing in water with flower food!

 

My top 3 personal favorites are these varieties (NOTE: these are Paeonia Lactiflora sp..and yes they are growing in my garden!!):

Shirley Temple - you get a mix of peonies that can’t decide if they are ivory or blush

Sarah Bernhardt –large blooms with multiple petals that are the perfect bright peony pink

Duchesse De Nemours – a creamy white peony with a fluffy pale yellow centre

--->As a side note I planted my first tree peony this year..I don't have much to say about it yet..these ones take even longer to establish..so check back in say.. 4 years?!..hah..

Oh and about the ants…I have been told by more than a few people that they are there to lick the sap to help the buds open, and well I’ve been too polite to outright tell them they are wrong... but I guess if you are reading this blog and you are one of those people…then…I'm sorry to say but “YOU ARE WRONG!”…the ants are definitely attracted to the sweet sap on the buds, but they don’t do anything for the plant, so feel free to flick them off and enjoy your flowers!

 The white peonies with flecks of crimson pictured here are from my grandparent's garden:  " Festiva Maxima " variety. The dark pink was from a family friend's garden and she didn't remember the variety..possibly a " Big Ben " variety

The white peonies with flecks of crimson pictured here are from my grandparent's garden:  "Festiva Maxima" variety. The dark pink was from a family friend's garden and she didn't remember the variety..possibly a "Big Ben" variety

DIY Flat Lay Backdrop

This project was inspired by Heather Page’s blog tutorial! She’s an incredibly talented florist from Winnipeg who I super admire!! I have been following her Insta: @heather_page since day one and she is nothing short of amazing! I will attach her link to the blog post!

So here’s my attempt at it! It was quite simple. I purchased an 18”x24” white canvas from Michael’s that came in a set of two and since I think it was a special Mother’s Day packaging, it even came with some paint but I still grabbed an 8oz white acrylic paint and a wide paint brush. I also purchased a small tub of spackling medium called Dyrdex and a plastic putty knife from Home Depot.

This project cost me about $17…For a couple reasons…Home Depot was offering a 10% off when using the Home Depot credit card for my purchase. Also we all know about Michael’s coupons and the one I used was 55% OFF! Yaaaass!!!! Pro Tip: Bring your Hubby..He'll never want anything and you can make him buy you another item ;)

I started by just smearing the spackling all over the canvas just to give the whole surface a quick cover, I then added more and moved it around with the putty knife to add texture! I didn’t layer it on too thick, I’m afraid it will crack in the long run, but I did do the two layers so it wouldn’t chip off either. Don’t forget to work over some newspaper or a drop cloth; it can get messy when bits of the plaster flake off. The type of spackling I bought starts pink and turns white when it's fully dried!

It says on the packaging it will be ok to paint within 1-5 hours. Heather’s tutorial said to wait 24 hours, so drying time may vary due to the plaster you use! I’m sure I could have waited 24 hours but I went out for dinner, came back and painted..so about 6hrs dry time. I'm also super impatient and was too excited and just had to finish it up!

I quickly dusted the plastered canvas with my paint brush to remove the bits that would fall off anyway. I then mixed my paint, I was going for blush..so I mixed a bit of the free red acrylic paint that came with the canvases and approx 1/4 of the white paint I purchased. I brushed on two coats, letting it dry in between.

And just like that…TADA!!! I’m pretty happy with how it turned out and will definitely be using it with some flat lays! You should give it a try!

Source: http://www.heatherpage.ca/journal/

Aging Galvanized Metal DIY

So.. you might be wondering why I'm writing about aging galvanized metal...well I was in search of some tin pails for centrepieces and I came across a few at Dollarama! As much as I love using fancy containers sometimes the most budget friendly ones are the best, and this way I can spend the money on the flowers!

The only down side was they were shiny, and really didn't fit the look I was after. After looking through google for a good half hour about how to age the metal or dull it down a bit I ended up using one of the methods I found. I was torn between using vinegar or Lysol, but I figured I wasn't about to waste a container full of vinegar on this project.

I went with good old Lysol toilet bowl cleaner!!! I put some gloves on and rubbed it on the tin. The cleaner bubbled up a bit and I left it for only a couple of minutes, washed it off and VOILA!!! From shiny metal to a dull aged look! The longer you leave the Lysol, the more it becomes rusted looking..but I didn't want to go too rusty. It was just enough to rub the shiny coat off.

I'm now ready for my August bride...yup thats right.. August..lol

 Notice the left side is shiny with my reflection. the right is duller with some browning at the top edge of the tin

Notice the left side is shiny with my reflection. the right is duller with some browning at the top edge of the tin

My First Blog Post. The Intrigued Experience.

I wanted to dedicate this first blog post to the time I spent in Maryland for The Intrigued Experience (organized by Sarah Campbell) and all the lovely things I took away from it!

This past February I attended a Floral Conference called "Intrigued Experience" and let me tell you ..WOW..Learning from ladies like Francoise Weeks, Nicole of Soil and Stem and Katie of Ponderosa and Thyme was amazing!..And If those ladies names meant nothing to you, that's completely fine..think of it this way...It's like meeting all your instagram celebrities in one place! 

Let me start by telling you the reasons I went on this little self improvement adventure! Since rebranding to my married name, I felt like I needed to do more and learn more! After years of calling myself a "self taught" florist and having retail experience, I took a leave from work as a Medical Lab Tech to attended the Canadian Institute of Floral design. That was the moment I was able to officially and confidently say "I am a professional floral designer". It was a great experience and re-enforced my skills, but I didn't want to stop there, I learned through trial and error, and a whole lot of you tube videos. I wanted to know how to make luscious arches, tall arrangements, and fabulous garden style bouquets that I had been seeing on Instagram for years. I wanted to see it done in person so when I finally got a request for these, I knew I would be able to execute it with the proper mechanics! However, I couldn't find a workshop/conference within Canada that was as all encompassing as Intrigued Experience. I had to act fast since this conference sells out within weeks... So I bit the bullet, signed up and flew to Maryland!  

I learned floral costuming and woodland arrangements. We made two styles of bouquets, garden style and ones in european bouquet holders, learned tons of tips and tricks for styling and photographing our work, social media advice, and we worked with the most beautiful flowers I have ever laid eyes on! But I didn't only learn from the best of the best, I came back with so much more! I felt rejuvenated! I came back Inspired and excited about this small business of mine! I met others in the same boat, wonderful florists who had the same passion I had. Florists with home based studios that were successful without a store front! I met "Part-time" florists who juggled a day job with a weekend passion. They all shared stories of struggles and stories of accomplishments and it was really inspiring and made my short time there unforgettable!

One thing I took away from the conference and really wanted to work on was how to FOCUS. Making time for important things and getting the most out of my time. So as much as I wanted to book a ton of weddings, truthfully... I couldn't! I want it all and for that to happen I had to set limits, because I am a one woman show. I am the definition of a small business...I'm the secretary/assistant (I answer all emails, calls, send quotes, and TRY to keep on track with my social media) the buyer (it takes time to research what's in season, and buy the right amount of product with the least amount of loss), I process everything (hours of unpacking and hydrating flowers), I'm also the creative (the best part!), the clean up crew (sweeping up after my mess and washing buckets and vases to be ready for the next wedding) and the delivery driver (self explanatory) I knew that deciding to start my own business would be ALOT of work, I went down from a full time, well paying job, not because I had visions of grandeur about making it rich as a florist. It's because I love it! Because I still get excited opening a shipment of flowers. Because I can spend hours and hours on a wedding and not feel the time passing. Because the gratitude from my clients make it worth it!

So if you have decided to book your wedding with me...please know that even if you chose a small home based business, you chose someone who is formally trained but won't pretend to know it all. You chose someone who is still growing and learning. You chose someone who will focus on you and most importantly someone you can trust!