Monday, April 20, 2009

The Cost of Wedding Flowers or Would You Bring Eggs to the Baker?

I'm not sure why it's considered acceptable, but when it comes to wedding centerpieces everyone seems to think it's OK to provide their own vases to save money.

Why is it unacceptable for florists to make a living from the products we sell? I love what I do, but love doesn't pay the bills. Is there something about florists that makes people think we're all doing this as a hobby and a profit margin (small as it is) is irrelevant?

Just because you can get a good deal on eggs at Costco or Sam's Club, would you bring eggs to the baker? Would you bring steak to the caterer and say "I want you to cook it your way, but use my steak and charge me less?" No! Of course not! So why is it OK to do that to the florists?

I'm not talking about filling a customer's vase for everyday occasions, we're more than happy to do that. And certainly for a wedding we would use a client's family heirlooms or something that was handcrafted just for them. But a glass vase? Is it unreasonable to ask that you support your local florist who is putting all their talent and creativity into your wedding as opposed to the national big box discount retailer?

Really, would you bring eggs to the baker???


Angela Kusek-Schubert said...

I've never even thought about it that way and I am a former baker ;) Do you rent most of your vases or sell them? We rent most of ours. I did have a Bride recently who bought all of her vases in... she had bought them from IKEA and when I told her we had those vases and would have just rented them out, she was shocked- she didn't know we would just rent vases!

Sprout said...

Other than a 24" glass pilsner, no, we don't rent vases. Not sure many florists around here do.

I don't know what you charge, but have you done the math on it? The schelpping back to the reception site, repacking, schlepping back to the shop, washing all those vases, and repacking them till the next event, storing them in your valuable real estate (if you're in retail as opposed to a studio/warehouse situation)...hardly seems worth it for a glass vase unless you're getting a good fee for it, which defeats the point of renting.

I'm not against renting, and we may do more of it in the future, but the numbers have to work for me.

Angela Kusek-Schubert said...

How interesting... our contract states that vases must be washed, repacked and returned to us by Wednesday.

Thankfully storage isn't too much of an issue because we're in an old Victorian home and have a large basement.

Sprout said...'s like pulling teeth to get folks here to return just a pair of pedestals on time. Wish I knew how to make this work better, because I can see potential in rentals.

Apotheca said...

Wow! Thanks for that post.

Lavender Hill said...

We do rent our vases and other decor. We have specific clauses in our 4 page contract regarding rentals- yes, 4 pages.

And we enforce the cleaning fee, late return fee, if you bring us a dirty vases to use fee and if you damage or break our things fee.

I too, cringe when I hear they want to use their own containers; mainly because I honestly do not know what they'll really bring to us until they walk through the door. We also reserve the right to refuse using someone's containers.

We also have different pick up fees depending on if we have to remove rentals the same night or the next business day.

Sprout said...

Good for you on enforcing the fees! Like I said before, I can't even get a pair of pedestals returned in a timely 6 months once! I had to replace them and they refused to pay me.

I need a better rental agreement!

Nancy said...

I love the way you illustrate your point without getting snarky! I have always wanted to ask a client who comes in with a photo of a $300 centerpiece (but wants to spend about $75): Would you tell the chef you want tonight's Surf and Turf special, but instead of the $59 on the menu, you wanted to spend $19!?" I agree, florists are too often considered hobbyists and our experience/professional knowledge is under-compensated!


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