I am sure the sentence ‘flowers are so expensive’ has probably crossed your lips at some point during the planning of your wedding, party or other event.
And this post is not here to deny that – there is no doubt that these days, flowers are a luxury along with many other things. Given what they cost, our aim is to ensure that when you want the luxury of nature’s blessings, that we give you something incomparable to make it really worthwhile.
What we hope to do in this post, is give you a little ‘fly on the wall’ insight into how your flowers go from growing on the farm, to setting the incomparable atmosphere for your wedding or event in perfect condition. And it doesn’t end there either.
FARM TO MARKET…
If you have an hour spare, and you are interested, then click here to watch an incredible BBC documentary on the journey of flowers. Our flower market operates in a very similar way here in South Africa and whilst we are blessed with amazing weather and incredible flora, many of the flowers that are popular for weddings and events are not grown locally for commercial consumption, or are available in very limited quantities with limited seasons for example white hydrangea, dendrobium orchids, gloriosa lilies, hellebores.
The growing, and marketing of fresh cut flowers is one aspect of what goes into telling your story florally but before this avenue merges into your story here’s what we do…
ONCE YOU MAKE AN ENQUIRY…
Once we receive your enquiry, we really want to take the time to get to know you as a couple or client. This is incredibly important to us as we want YOU as a couple, to feel reflected in the venue, we want to leave the venue on the day, knowing that we got it right for you.
To do this, we need to have a reasonable understanding of you. This is initiated by asking you for a bunch of information about your wedding or event and a bit more about your personalities.
We take whatever information you provide and flesh it out in flower and decor terms, often putting a mood board together in Pinterest with ideas for you.
These ideas may be to:
- confirm we have understood you and the overall look and feel correctly
- to illustrate options of flower varieties, containers, styling, lighting etc
- to show you examples of designs that may or may not work based on our experience and what you have requested
- show you ideas you may not have considered yet but that may fulfil your brief
Pinterest is a great tool to confirm that the look and feel is correct and for additional inspiration but at the end of the day we want to create a unique look – just for you. We don’t like to copy and believe that individual choices and attention to detail create a different story for each couple. We would love to see your inspiration if you have some as well, so share your Pinterest board with us too.
Ideally, once we have sent you a moodboard, we’d set up a complementary consultation, in which we can go through the information you have provided and the moodboard. This is the ideal chance for us to fill in any gaps that we have, to discuss options presented, answer any questions you have.
Consultations are done locally or via Skype. We meet for about 2 hours and go through all the details together with you. We make suggestions that will add to the mood you wish to create as well as share our experience on where an idea might not work. We can suggest and arrange for additional décor items such as linen, furniture and glassware, if you require.
Also for you to meet us and to see if we are a good fit. Flowers and decor are one of the aspects of your wedding that involve more decisions and designs/styling that you anticipate and so we need to ‘get one another’.
We like to work with an overall look rather than a just recreating a reference image, as this allows us to source the most beautiful flowers, foliage, berries from what is available in your colours and styling. We make suitable substitutions if certain flowers are unavailable and are honest with you about risky options. We can import if particular flowers are not locally in season.
“As a bride, I found working with Coral and Chantell to be a great experience. They helped me hire in some of the other décor items for our reception, and this was one of the best planning decisions I made. In addition to bringing together a beautiful and cohesive overall look, Coral and Chantell provided invaluable tips along the way, from reception layout to the fine details, they were able to tap into their many years of experience in the wedding industry to give great advice, as well as anticipate and proactively address potential issues. “ – Julia Martin
Share your budget with us if you have set one, it helps us make realistic suggestions about what can be achieved. We are passionate about giving you the very best in terms of your vision but like to manage expectations in terms of your budget.
If you are not sure, try to think of a ‘feels comfortable’ number that you’d be happy to spend. Alternately, we will quote you on your wish list, but if your wish list feels like ‘too much’, then we are very happy to suggest ways to prioritise your flowers and decor in order to get the most out of your budget in the places that really count towards your memories.
From here we put together a preliminary pricing proposal, based on your feedback. This can also be done prior to a consultation, if you are already quite clear on what you want.
We can tweak your quotation based on floral priorities and your feedback as your plans firm up. But once you think we are a good fit for your vision, then we suggest you book us, particularly for popular dates which book up quickly. A booking deposit is payable based on the quotation value and confirms our services for your day. Details are provided in your proposal or quotation.
At this stage, any difficult to source flowers may already be ordered and decor is also booked for you, whether our own or outsourced. Then we do a lot of internal admin as well to be sure that we have everything we need in place for the production process of your event.
BUT WAIT, THAT’S NOT ALL…
A mock up service is available to couples who have booked us. For some clients, this assures them that the overall look works and that the flowers work together with the other décor items such as linen, stationery, favours, lighting and so on. We charge for mock ups but believe this is money well spent if you want peace of mind. After the mock up you are welcome to take the flowers home to enjoy.
“When my fiancée and I arrived at the mock up, we were floored by how beautifully and creatively they interpreted and executed our vision. We thought they couldn’t possibly out do the mock-up, then the day of the wedding arrived and, WOW they really, REALLY exceeded our expectations. The flowers were exquisite. My bouquet was more beautiful than I could have ever imagined. All of the décor was stunning, creative and unique, with no small detail overlooked. A month on, we are still receiving compliments from guests!” – Julia Martin
A few weeks prior to your wedding or event, we get in touch to firm up your guest numbers, double check on the finer details and confirm the size of your wedding party, as well as all the dates and times. Once confirmed, we finalise recipes and start sourcing all the flowers and decor that have not already arranged. From the recipe, we order the flowers from the most suitable sources and try as far as possible to get the flowers locally.
FLOWER COLLECTION & CONDITIONING
Flowers start to arrive anything from 2 weeks before your wedding, up until the day before depending on the varieties and season and the amount of time needed for each flower variety to be cleaned, prepared, and stored after conditioning to their prime state for your event date.
Conditioning is a vital step to ensure that each flower variety is treated correctly to ensure it reaches it’s prime at the right time and lasts throughout the event and beyond.
Flowers usually come from more than one supplier. The florist will also organise containers, candles and décor items. Everything needs to be delivered in perfect condition, set up correctly and then be collected, packed and returned again afterwards. Occasionally, some of the flower work can only be done on site, requiring additional set up staff.
At this stage, we are also potentially dealing with last minute stock shortages or damaged goods, in both floral or decor items, sourcing & procuring appropriate substitutes, confirming any outsourced items with the service providers, liaising with the venue and/or wedding planner and/or other dependent service providers about the timing for the set up and collection.
Only now does the actual flower arranging begin. Which entails making sure the right containers in the right quantities are available, sorting the flowers according to their allocations per quote item, that all the right tools and mechanics are available and prepared. Once a bowl of flowers or a bouquet is completed, it still needs to be correctly stored and looked after until delivery.
DELIVERY, SETUP AND COLLECTION:
The delivery & setup fee is determined by the distance to the venue and the time and set up needed for each wedding. Just like you, no wedding is alike and neither are the flower and decor designs. As a result, every wedding can take a different size team and number of vehicles to get everything to your venue and set up perfectly.
These fees can be influenced by venue restrictions e.g. same day strike, early morning collections as well as factors like multiple deliveries or multiple delivery sites. Typically we find that delivery and setup fees amount to roughly 20 percent of the flower costs but we assess and quote on the requirements of each function individually.
All the flower and decor items are packed safely for transport and then loaded into the delivery vehicles. Lists are checked and double checked, emergency or standby items are included, with staff, and refreshments whilst on site. Staff are briefed on the setup.
Then we head out to the venue, and offload as per venue restrictions. Once off loaded, staff are again briefed on the setup and Setup commences.
Once everything on the quotation has been perfectly setup, a final inspection is carried out to make sure no broken blooms were overlooked, all candles are in place, bouquets, buttonholes are delivered and that we can give ourselves the nod, that we believe we got it right for you.
Then, all the packing materials and installation tools like ladders, crates etc are reloaded into delivery vehicles, staff are dropped at home.
Collection requires bringing all of the relevant packing materials and de-installation tools back to site, sorting out flowers that need to remain vs those that should be removed, accounting for and retrieving all hired decor items, packing them safely for transportation, loading them back into the delivery vehicles and returning to the studio.
Back at the studio, the job is still not over, any left over flowers are repurposed, if necessary, for donation or are prepared for compositing. Vases and candle holders and votives are cleaned and stored for future use. Hired decor items are returned to their suppliers. And stock take is confirmed to account for any missing or damaged items, for the damages deposit reconciliation.
Then a message of congratulations, administration of your deposit, hopefully some gorgeous images to share on social media, and then we are finally done with your wedding.