Wednesday, 2 May 2012

No pressure then?

Recently I was approached by a company that are in the process of setting up a Weddings website. Now I get approached by dozens of these EVERY single week (they all promise me they can get me 100 weddings per year.. blah blah blah - almost as bad as the advertisers telling me to pay them £300 per month and they will get me ranked number 1 on google - ummm.. I pay nothing and am number 1 on my own thanks). Anyway; get back on topic. So what made this company different that I am blogging about them? Well for a start it's free. "Where's the catch"? I can hear you asking. There isn't one. Honestly. Truly. No catch. See the thing is it is being set up by someone local who wants to bring together a whole host of businesses that are involved with weddings. However, they won't allow just anyone to have their own page (and links to their websites) on it. The people that will be featured on the site will all have been vetted to the point where any bride visiting will know that the companies listed have been subjected to some rigorous tests. When I say tests I don't mean we have to do exams or anything (that's a good thing because I was never any good at exams); we just have to have been recommended by more than one person (and or business). Our merits are based on word of mouth via brides to other service providers eg. Someone is a guest at a wedding where we have made the flowers. She then gets married and is chatting to her cake lady who asks "Where are you getting your flowers"? She says "From Moonstones. They did a beautiful job with my friends so I know I can trust them with mine" That cake lady then remembers us, checks out our work and any online reviews about us, and before we know it she is recommending us to any brides that may not have got their flowers yet. Surveys have also been carried out to see who other businesses would recommend for certain services.
As you can see being chosen to be the florist on the site is a real honour, as it means we have been nominated by many other businesses within the wedding sector. What can be better than the recommendation of not only your peers, but previous brides too? The fact they want no money from me to put me as their named florist is even better (I actually refuse to pay for any form of advertising. If someone wants to recommend me they do so on the merit of my work, and not because I am paying them).
This morning they have sent me the dummy link to the website so I can see how it will look when it is live (I have to say it's very impressive and really well laid out). On there is a link with a guide to "Choosing your flowers". Clicking on this link takes you to another page with this at the top of it.
We've joined forces with Sarah, director at Flowers By Moonstones to give you a guide to what you should be looking for when choosing your wedding flowers. With 30 years experience Sarah has a wealth of knowledge to help you get the very best when planning your floral displays.
No pressure then? Although I've only been doing this 26 years not 30 (fancy making me even older than I already am).
Those you that read this on a regular basis, will know that I'm not the best in the world at writing things. I tend to write as I speak so do end up with an awful lot of waffle (just look above at all I have written today), so I found it really hard being able to come up with something that would not only be well worded and professional looking/sounding, but also informative at the same time. I do however, think I may have achieved it. Have a read through and feel free to share on your FB, Twitter and G+ accounts if you agree.
Flowers can absolutely make a wedding; sadly they can also ruin one if the correct flowers for the time of year haven’t been chosen; if the person you have entrusted with the most important bouquet of flowers you are ever going to purchase, isn’t as good as they claim to be; or – and yes this sadly does happen – they aren’t even a florist at all and have no clue about the difference between a daffodil and a rose.
Research into the florist you choose to use is a must; ask friends who may have used them, or know of someone that has. Look online to see if there are any reviews about them. Check out their websites. Are the photographs on their site their own? Do they have online photograph albums set up that they regularly update with their wedding photographs? You can normally tell if the photographs displayed are from a generic brochure that can be bought anywhere by the actual photographs themselves; as well as by the bride in the photo. While we would all like to be models, the pose of a model in a wedding magazine is infinitely different to a bride on her wedding day. It’s these little things - that may seem picky and a waste of time - that can make all the difference. I’ve had brides phone me, or send a family member in on their wedding day – literally within a matter of minutes to go before the bride is due to leave home - with bouquets that have been made by people claiming to be florist, begging me to“do something with them” so the bride has something half decent to walk up the aisle with; basically these so-called florists have sent out flowers that a child with no training at all could have made better. The last thing you want as a bride is to walk down the aisle - whether that is in church, the registry office, or a hotel - and have your bouquet fall to pieces.
Before contacting your florist please make sure you have yours and your bridesmaid dresses already sorted. The reason for this is because your florist will need to know about the colours and style, so they can then advise about which flowers, colours and design will work best. This may seem like a lot of faffing around, but you really wouldn’t want a full shower bouquet if you were wearing a tight fitting dress – or a dress with a lot of detail on; equally you wouldn’t want a single gerbera, with a princess fairy tale style dress; the flowers should complement your dress, not take over from it or get completely lost against it.
Mood boards are a great way forward and ideal to take along – on a small scale – to your florist, as this will assist them in getting a better idea of the styles and flowers that you are looking for.
If you are going for a complete wedding package at a hotel, or wedding venue, ask them what flowers they will be using, and the costs involved. I knew a bride that allowed the flowers to be included in her package and it was a disaster. Not only was she charged 600% more than a florist would have charged her, the flowers were also the wrong colour and made in completely the wrong style as well. This is where your florist has the advantage. We all work closely with our wholesalers to ensure we get exactly what we want – within reason - a venue doesn’t have the same rapport and has to rely on their supplier hopefully having the flowers/colours they are after. This applies to the church flowers too. I’ve had brides quoted double the prices I would charge for the church to be decorated; they have also been made to agree to leave the flowers in the church. This to me is a complete rip off and actually slightly immoral. By getting your florist to decorate the church YOU get to keep the flowers and can have them moved to the reception after the wedding; either by your florist – who will have to charge for this –or by a guest/usher at your wedding. They can then be passed on to your guests at the end of the day, for them to take home and admire in the following weeks.
Please remember that while some florists do charge for a consultation – this is then taken off your balance if you book your wedding with them – others don’t. This doesn’t mean one is any better than the other, but whoever you choose or would like to meet with, please make sure you do book an appointment and don’t just turn up on the off chance. A wedding consultation requires time and no florist wants to have to rush through the finer details. This also applies to email requests for prices. Your wedding day is unique to you. The flowers will be unique to your requirements. Sending out an email to every florist in the area asking for a price is not going to get you the response you are looking for – unless of course you contact someone that is not trained. We don’t refuse to give email quotations to be awkward or annoying; it is done to protect not only ourselves but you also. Without knowing your exact requirements, along with the dresses, venue etc it is very hard to give a figure on the costs involved. I have read in many bridal magazines that you should allow between 15-20% of your overall budget for your flowers. This is totally unrealistic and from experience I have learnt that most brides allow less than 3%. You may see something you like and email it off to a florist for a quote, to then be disappointed if it cannot be made within your budget; however, if you book a consultation and the florist is unable to make the bouquet exactly as you want within your budget, they will have garnered a great idea of the look/style you are going for, and will therefore be able to offer a great alternative. Via email this would be impossible.
The worse part of a wedding consultation for any florist is when our bride comes in with the latest bridal magazine. While these do have some wonderful ideas, to us all they do is produce a few more grey hairs. I had a bride once that wanted Lilac Calla lilies because they were in the latest magazine. Calla lilies DON’T grow in a lilac colour. They had been photo shopped. It took me 6 calls to different wholesalers before she would believe me. Tulips in August are just NOT possible either, but I’ve seen them in a bridal magazine so often; one advertising summer weddings. I can only imagine how they would look after an hour in summer heat. I won’t use them when they are in season just in case it’s a hot day. In the magazine there’s the smiling model with her bouquet of tulips looking perfect. What you don’t see is that the flowers have been kept in water until just before they were photographed. On a wedding day this wouldn’t happen and for them to be out of water for an hour during the ceremony would do them no good at all. Peonies are in all the bridal magazines at the moment, and they are beautiful for weddings, but they have a 6 week season - 7 weeks if were really lucky - during April and May. You WON’T get them any other time of the year; the Bridal Magazine fails to tell you that and it is left to the florist to let down an expectant bride. The last thing any florist wants to do is let you down on your big day.

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