A quick little rant about florists

March 18, 2010 at 1:25 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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It turns out that finding a florist for your wedding can also be a frustrating experience. At the time of this writing, I have actually already settled on a florist with whom I am very happy, but before I found them it was quite frustrating indeed.

A carnation

Yuck.

I’m not too picky about flowers. I like ’em all. (Except carnations. They’re awful!) Pinks, blues, purples, yellows… They’re all just fine and would work fine with the wedding colors. Well, as I’ve been looking around at various wedding stuff, I’ve kept my eye out for photos of bouquets that I like.  When I’d find one I’d save the image into my wedding directory so that I could show it to some hypothetical florist in the future after I got all the more-important wedding plans taken care of. Well, after doing this for a while, a trend emerged: it turns out I did have a certain type of bouquet in mind! The images I saved all had bouquets of a particular shape and a particular color scheme even though I thought I didn’t care that much.

So I called a few florists to ask for prices. And I learned what is apparently the first rule of, um, wedding floristry:

Don’t tell any brides ANYTHING over the phone. Make them drive to your store for a consultation.

You want prices? Tough. You can only have prices if you make an appointment and then devote a few hours of your day to finding the place and then going in for the actual appointment. (This was unacceptable to me and so I did not visit any florists unwilling to give me prices over the phone.) After encountering this at all but one of the florists I called that day, I decided to try another mode of communication: email.

If you know me at all, you know I’m a big fan of email and not such a big fan of talking on the phone. So emailing florists seemed like the perfect way to go. Even better, I had a bunch of photos saved on my computer of exactly what I wanted, so I could convey that to the florists with zero ambiguity. And so that’s what I did. And then I learned the second rule of wedding floristry:

You can charge a million billion dollars for a bouquet and somebody will probably pay it.

I know, I know, it’s capitalism. And if florists can find people willing to pay a million billion dollars, I salute them and wish them all the prosperity they can produce. Still, though, it just seems ridiculous sometimes. Here is an image I sent to about seven florists asking for a quote on bouquets only:

Bouquets

This has been cropped, of course.

Guess how much the large one costs? All the florists who responded with prices (for which I applaud them!) gave me quotes between $175 and $200. How many roses can that thing have? 24? And then maybe seven sprigs of baby’s breath? I realize that florists are skilled labor, but even so that seems extreme. I bet the markup on this over the raw-materials cost is at least 500%. For the little bouquet containing (I’m guessing) a dozen roses, they told me $80. Needless to say, I did not order flowers from those people.

I also did not order flowers from these people:

Sarah,
Thank you for contacting us.  We do bridal consultations by appointment.  The cost for that is $35.00.  When you book with us (pay your deposit) we credit that fee back to you.
You will need to speak with [name omitted].  Consultations are done Tuesday-Thursday between 9am and 4pm.  Please call [phone number] to book one.
Kindest regards,
A florist with a ridiculous policy

Now if these crazies — I’m not going to give them publicity by saying their name — were working up a giant proposal for me, I could understand the need to charge a fee. If I needed to arrange flowers for every centerpiece, every aisle of seats, the cake, boutonnieres, corsages for the mothers, a church, and other reception decorations, I would totally understand the need for a consultation fee. Setting up a proposal for something like that would undoubtedly require a good bit of time from someone trained in flower stuff, and I can see the need to recoup those costs. That would be perfectly fine. If they need to tease my preferences out from some nebulous idea of what I want, that would take time.

But there’s no ambiguity here.

I sent them the photo. They know the kind of flowers, they know the color, they know the size, they know the accent flowers, and they know the date. How can a $35 fee be required before they’ll even give me a price? How absurd. I kind of wanted to reply to that email with all my thoughts on how preposterous a policy that was, but I knew it wasn’t worth my time and I didn’t. And really, if I had, what would they care? Somebody on the internet is mad about something? Scandalous!

So a few days later I called the fantastic folks at Smithville Florist and they couldn’t have been nicer. They gave me a quote over the phone and after some further discussion I agreed to come into the store to make the rest of the arrangements. I ended up with something a little bit different from the photo above — more beautiful, I think — and it has the roses I want and only came to $125. (Still a lot of money, but c’est la weddings.) I spoke with the owner (I think) and his daughter, and they were extremely flexible and friendly and were happy to discuss options til we had something I liked. Of course, I haven’t actually gotten married yet, but I certainly feel inclined to recommend them very highly based on my experiences so far. So if you’re getting married in Smithville or Bastrop and need a florist, be sure to check them out! Here’s the link once again: Smithville Florist.

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  1. […] Here is a funny rant about finding your florist. I don’t particularly agree with all her disagreements, but it’s one brides […]


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