Recently, a fellow floral designer and member of the American Institute of Floral Designers (AIFD), asked me why I promote the DIY floral projects and retailers such as Trader Joe’s and Costco that tend to undercut pricing at boutique floral shops. It was a good question and particularly well-suited for me.
Once upon a time, I owned a specialty floral design studio, Floral Creations by Wayne. I still feel a sense of longing when I recall the thrill of fresh flowers, endless creative materials and just the way the florist knife feels in my hand….so alive!
I also remember explaining to clients the difference between a rose at my store and that sold by a street vendor or the supermarket down the street. “This rose is long stem – you are paying a premium for it’s height and the size of the bloom. Also, because of its high quality, it will last for more than one week. But if it doesn’t, I stand behind my product and will replace it. Also, I add creative design and style touches to everything that goes out from this store, even just a single flower. But, I understand that all these things may not be important to you, in which case you will save a few bucks by buying elsewhere.”
Many of our clients now are interested in DIY projects, to save money and have more direct involvement with their wedding. We bring you tips on how to handle flowers, where to buy them and how to design them, if you are interested in doing it yourself, whether for your wedding or another celebration, or just because. But I will be the first one to tell you that not all flowers are created equal. What’s best? Well, it depends…
- Quality and selection of flowers and supplies. Specialty floral design boutiques have a greater selection of flowers as well as the ability to place special orders with their suppliers. If having blush peonies is very important to you, then a boutique flower shop is the best place to go. These shops also stock a wide assortment of supplies – containers, pedestals, accents and ribbons – and often have items available for rent, too. On the other hand, places like Trader Joe’s and Costco buy directly from growers and are able to offer fresh product at very reasonable prices. Because they order in bulk, special orders are not possible and in fact it’s best to use whatever is available.
- Design expertise and creativity. Professional florists train and develop their skill and talent over the course of years. To become an AIFD – accredited florist, one must go through rigorous testing in design and floral technique. Why does it matter? Fresh flowers are just the raw material – no matter how fresh and beautiful, they still need to be designed and displayed. Floral arranging is an art form, an expression of creativity. The pros know the proper mechanics to use; something that’s very important in bridal bouquets, corsages, and boutonnieres, as well as all floral decor for weddings and special events.
- Customer experience. The buying experience is vastly different when you visit a boutique flower shop as compared to buying flowers at a farmer’s market or grocery store. You can expect advice and recommendations about style, color and all other aspects of floral design, from a professional floral designer. Also, a flower shop is more likely to provide you with a sample of what you can expect on your wedding day.
- Refrigeration, delivery and set up. It’s really important to consider the logistics of how the floral arrangements will be stored, transported and set up on the day of your wedding. Floral businesses have appropriate refrigeration and trucks, as well as the staff to deliver and set up your flowers at the designated time. Clients are often surprised to find out that the venue that they’ve chosen for their wedding have a limited window of time for set up – it’s usually no more than two to three hours prior to your invitation time! If you are counting on friends and family to shuttle the centerpieces from your house to the hotel earlier in the day, you may find out that the room is not available for set up until much later.
So, what’s best, you want to know? What should you do? I have to ask YOU – what’s important to you? Are you looking for unique floral design, specialty flowers and personalized color schemes?
Do you believe that floral design and decor makes an important statement? My advice to you would be to select a professional floral designer whose style and expertise matches your vision. However, if you are simply seeking a pretty object to occupy the center of your table at the lowest possible price, then the DIY route and fresh flowers from a local retailer may be the right answer for you. Just remember to factor in your time.