Ah, budget. The easiest conversation to have, right? Wrong.
Typically, wedding budgets allot approximately 10% - 15% to florals (that number depends greatly on whether or not you’re requiring floral centrepieces and decor pieces). Now, this might work for you or it might not, but here’s my best tip for any bride looking for her florist: DON’T book a florist strictly because of budget. Book her because of her style, aesthetic, and her designs—which you need to love! Instead, after getting a feel for what she does and making sure that it fits with your vision, discuss your budget with the designer and ask her what she can do to make it work.
So, you’ve met with an awesome designer who really connected with and love her work. But, the quote is coming in higher than you can afford. What should you do? Take that quote to another florist and price-shop it? No (or at least, not yet). This just really isn’t going to give you the best result.
The first thing you should do is tell that designer, “I really love your work and would absolutely love to hire you, but right now the budget is too high. I would like to stick around $xxxx; what would you suggest that we change up to be able to make it work?” Now, you have two options: 1) the florist could be less-than-awesome and tell you that there are no changes that can be made (giving you the perfect opportunity to connect with another designer), or 2) the florist will get down to work to find ways to make it work for you (and you may need to be flexible with your wish list in order to make that budget happen).
The reasons why it’s not best to bring that initial quote to another designer are many. Some of the best ones are:
-You’re taking the creativity of one person, who likely spent a good amount of time creating that custom proposal for you, and just handing it over to another person. It makes it a lot easier for the second designer to just coast along, not bringing in any of their own creative ideas. She should be able to prove to you that she understands and appreciates your style, wants to work on your flowers, and has awesome ideas that you’ll love as much or more than the initial proposal you received.
-A second floral designer has a major advantage in looking over a quote that someone else has put together, and that is being able to analyze it from a different perspective: the budget perspective. Unless you specifically told the initial designer how important budget is to you, she will have put together a proposal for you based on your style, interests, and her ideas on how to pull together the most beautifully designed blooms for you. That second designer can then look at it all and cut out whatever will bring the budget down, which may very well change the style completely -- and, it's not going to be a fair comparison for you to make in your mind. It’s much better to fall in love with the creative ideas of a specific floral designer, and then bring that proposal back to her and ask how she can keep the style in a similar vein, but bring the cost down.
We know and understand that you have budgets. I was a budget bride, and as much as I would have liked to have flowers on all my tables, it just wasn’t a reality for me. But, shopping for wedding flowers isn’t like shopping for furniture—you can’t walk in and announce to your salesperson what you’re willing to pay, and expect the florist to be able to drop her bottom line to make it happen. We have real, hard costs that are very tangible to us—there is no sales manager to to go back to who can tell us exactly how much we can mark things up or down. Flower prices are not dictated by us; they are dictated by the growers and the wholesalers.