Today I wanted to share a little bit about Arielle and Nick’s D.C. wedding! Arielle is a wedding planner (Summer & Co Events: https://www.summercoevents.com/) who I adore working with, and I was so honored to contribute flowers when it was her turn to get married. To accent the artistic, industrial space at Long View Gallery, Arielle chose richly textured florals and long eucalyptus garlands for her wedding.
Garlands have a way of making reception tables feel more intimate, and they look great in industrial spaces. The garlands for this wedding had some special additions, like interspersed roses and thistles, and I loved how the dove grey taper candles added to the cozy and chic ambiance of the room.
The amazing vendors who contributed to Arielle and Nick’s wedding:
Most of the weddings we do at Violet Floral Designs are in Baltimore or surrounding areas, but sometimes we like to go on an adventure! Kelly and Jason’s city wedding at the insanely cool Front and Palmer in Philadelphia was so much fun. At the wedding, the Temple University marching band and the couple’s amazing dog made appearances, and the photos taken by Tricia Notte Images (tricianotte.com) in the Philadelphia City Center blew me away. I loved that this wedding was so full of personality and fun, and even from behind the scenes it was obvious that this day was resonating with love, meaning, and joy for the couple and their friends and family.
Burgundy and peach might be one of my favorite color combinations for fall and winter wedding flowers, and Kelly’s bouquet featured burgundy winter peonies, peach Juliet garden roses, anemones with navy centers, and navy privet berries. Lots of unique accent flowers and textural elements added interest to this bouquet: like thistles, astrantia, and willowy burgundy foliage. Our copper metallic arch rental also made an outing, and I loved the way the simplicity of the arch worked with the fabulous lights and backdrop in Front + Palmer’s ceremony space. We also added a little bit of wild smilax greenery to the ceiling, framing the dance floor and ceremony space. Smilax vine also adorned the long tables, along with lots of candlelight from eclectic and fun mixed candlesticks and votives.
The following amazing vendors were part of Kelly and Jason’s wedding day:
If you want the what, when, and how of booking your wedding flowers with Violet Floral Designs, here’s some more information about working with me! From booking your date, order changes, to contracts, and more, the nitty-gritty details are right here.
When do I need to select a florist?
6-12 Months Before Your Wedding. This depends on the time of year you’re getting married. Several of my June and September clients for next year contacted me more than a year in advance of their wedding–dates book very quickly in those popular months to get married in Maryland. May and October weddings book up next. If you’re planning a wedding that isn’t in those months, you can most likely book your florals six months before your wedding.
Check the availability of your date by filling out this quick Interest Form or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
What do I need to know before I reach out?
As a florist, this is the information I need in order to start putting together a floral package that suits you and your wedding: Your wedding date and location, the basic size of your wedding, and some details about the colors and inspiration you love. While it’s okay not to be entirely sure of your bridesmaids’ dress colors or the number of reception tables you’ll have, having a general sense of what your wedding is going to be like is going to help a lot during our conversation.
After you fill out the contact form, I’ll reach out to you within 24-48 hours and confirm whether your date is available. We’ll set up a time to consult, and I’ll give you a short form to fill out about your wedding so I have some more information about your wedding before we meet. During the consult, we’ll talk about your wedding, the flowers you like, and basic pricing.
Reviewing Your Proposal
Within three days after your consult, I’ll send you a proposal for your flowers which will contain detailed pricing information and notes on the flowers and style we discussed. This way you can review it and think over the details before booking. When I send your proposal over via email, I also put a temporary hold in my calendar for your date. The hold lasts two weeks so you’ll have plenty of time to make your decision and you don’t have to wonder if somebody else is going to book your date during that window.
During this time, you can reach out to me by phone or email to discuss details of the proposal, or review details of the contract.
Ready to Book?
You’ll submit the signed contract, along with a 25% deposit. When you sign your contract and book me as your florist, the details of your floral order aren’t written in stone. It’s okay to contact me anytime in the months before your wedding to make creative changes, tweak the numbers, talk through details, or add in new colors.
Six to eight weeks before your wedding, I’ll get back in touch with you to review your order and make sure everything still looks good. This is a good time to make sure you have enough corsages and boutonnieres, your wedding party numbers are accurate, and that I have an updated table count from you. I ask that you finalize these numbers with me four weeks before your wedding so I can accurately invoice you for your 75% balance (that’s due three weeks out from your event.) I’ll also request contact information for your venue, wedding coordinator if you have one, and a member of your wedding party, so I can set up a timeline for delivery and setup.
The Best Part? Your Wedding Day.
While you’re finishing up final preparations and starting the celebrations of your wedding weekend, I am hand-picking your blooms at local farms and wholesalers, designing your bouquets and arrangements in my studio, and making sure every last detail is perfect. I’ll coordinate with your planner, bridal party, or venue for delivery (one less thing to bother you with!) and when I deliver your flowers to you on your big day, I’m thrilled because I know I’ve done everything I can to ensure I’ve brought your vision to life. I hope you’ll be thrilled, too!
This year, I am getting married myself. I am constantly advertised to by wedding vendors, my email inbox is full of DJs I don’t want to hire, I have about six different planning spreadsheets, and I have a budget. I think it would be good for every wedding vendor to go through the process of planning a wedding: it has been really interesting to see the wedding business from the client’s point of view.
We had an honestly horrible time searching for a venue that worked for us. At one of the venue visits, my fiance and I were shoved into a tiny wedding chapel by a wedding coordinator who began cranking Pachelbel’s Canon from the speaker system. “This is weird,” I whispered to Joe as we counted forty chairs in the chapel. Despite the insistence of the coordinator, who we’re almost certain was faking a British accent, that we could fit 150 guests inside this chapel, which was the size of a 7/11, we decided to look elsewhere. Venue after venue, and we started joking around that we’d get married anywhere that wasn’t in front of a dumpster.
Then we had a prospective catering manager scold us in front of a lot of people for not having our whole menu picked out (eleven months before our wedding) at what we thought was an —initial— consult. In my embarrassment, I couldn’t find the words to tell her that I thought we were meeting with her so she could help us with this.
It reminds me of this time I went to the free counseling center at my college to unload some stress. After sitting for an hour and telling the counselor everything I had going on, she looked at me for a minute and asked, “Do you have anybody you can talk to about this?”
But wasn’t that why I’d met with her?
Good wedding vendors won’t make you feel stupid about not knowing where to start when planning your wedding. It’s their job to guide you through the process. I’m so grateful that I eventually found vendors who made me feel like my wedding was in good hands.
So, to folks considering DIYing part of their wedding: are you in good hands or are you taking matters into your own hands? If you’re taking on some of the wedding tasks yourself, how many of these tasks are you trying to do? Are you taking on too much–truly, are you?
In my own wedding planning, I had a (truly delusional) phase where I thought I might attempt to cook all the food myself the week of the wedding, justifying it with all kinds of reasons, even though I wouldn’t have a way of keeping the food warm or serving it to my guests, and even though the catering company usually does all of the setup and all of the cleanup, who provides the linens and plates and silverware, and even the tables and chairs sometimes.
DIYing my food became something I started considering, only because I was panicking over finding the right vendors. I didn’t like the vendors I’d met, and they hadn’t articulated their value to me. Because I hadn’t met the right vendors yet, I was scrambling to figure out a way to do it on my own. When I found my venue and met my caterers, I knew that I could trust them to bring everything together beautifully for me. They were also incredibly clear and detailed about the services they provide, and made me feel like I really understood where my budget was going. It wasn’t necessarily that they were cheaper (excellent service at a special event is never cheap!): it was that they made me feel confident in giving them my money and my trust. I knew I was in good hands with them, right away.
When you find the right vendors, they will make you feel like you’re in good hands, and they will articulate their value to you. By that I mean you will understand the services they provide, you will feel confident in their expertise, and you will be comfortable hiring them and trusting them with your special day.
One of the best comments I’ve ever received from a client was this:
“The day of the wedding, I had nothing to worry about.”
THAT is my goal as a wedding florist: not only providing beautiful, memorable, and timeless flowers, but also making sure my client has nothing to worry about. And as a florist I’ve been lucky to work with wonderful wedding professionals, who strive to create a good experience for their customer and bring their very best to making a wedding beautiful. You can find wedding pros who mesh with your vibe and personality, and you can find vendors who listen and care. So, in the panic of wedding planning, don’t give up yet! Your vendors are out there somewhere.
Once, a snowstorm twelve hours away from my city caused a massive shipping delay on a wedding order, and I couldn’t pick up the flowers at my wholesaler until the night before the wedding day: almost 48 hours later than originally scheduled. I got the flowers at 7:30pm, and then I spent most of the next 24 hours working nonstop to create all of the pieces and deliver them by Saturday afternoon. I’ve never been more proud of how beautifully a wedding turned out, and my client didn’t have to stress about this shipping delay for even a second.
Something like this delayed shipment is nothing out of the ordinary in the life of a florist. HOWEVER, while I was waiting at 7pm for the truck to arrive with my client’s flowers, another young woman was standing there with me in the loading dock of the wholesaler’s. I asked her if she was a florist as well, but she told me she was the maid of honor in her best friend’s wedding, and in charge of doing the flowers. Because of the delay, she was currently missing the rehearsal dinner in order to pick up the bulk flowers, and would have to, like I was, spend the whole night working on the flowers in order to finish them on time, and that several bridesmaids would help her. She had flown 3,000 miles to attend her best friend’s wedding and had no floral training or experience.
Y’all, I felt bad for this girl. As a person getting married, you do NOT want to go through this kind of situation or have your wedding party, friends, or mom go through this, the night before the wedding. Floral arranging can be fun, but it can also be tedious, stressful, laborious, and time-consuming, with unexpected hiccups. Just like a Pinterest DIY that looks deceptively simple, or learning to knit or sew, or assembling IKEA furniture, or baking an elaborate French pastry–putting together a bridal bouquet like the one you saw on Pinterest can be harder, and more time-consuming, than expected.
I set out to write this series only as a list of things to keep in mind for DIYing your wedding flowers, but upon reflection, experience, and conversations with other florists, I’ve changed my tune to say this: Yes, absolutely, you can do your own wedding flowers, but it is NOT for the faint of heart.I’m saying this because I don’t want anybody to be surprised by that.In the next posts of this series I’ll go over why this is the case, with the intent of providing education for couples planning their wedding.
There are lots of DIY tutorials online, and some of them are solid. And sure, you can save a little bit of money by doing your own wedding flowers (though bulk flowers and hard goods are expensive in their own right). But please know: it will be a time-suck, for you, for your wedding party, or for your family. And it can be exhausting, and hard, and it can take your loved ones away from the events of the wedding weekend. And the logistics might be hard. And unexpected things will arise. Florists are used to managing all of this, but it might be immensely stressful for your family and friends.
Two last thoughts. First–I completely understand the need to stick to a wedding budget. I’ve never met somebody who wasn’t worried about money when planning their wedding. However, my concern is that people underestimate the difficulty and the legitimate expense of DIY flowers–especially since many wedding magazines and blogs list it as the first way to save money on your wedding. The last thought I want to leave you with is regarding the value a florist offers you. When you book a florist, you receive their creativity, expertise, resourcefulness, professionalism, commitment, and good taste. Florists are under contract to ensure your wedding flowers are beautiful, and we take pride in the artistry and hard work that goes into what we create for you. As a florist, what I want more than anything is for my work to add to the beauty and joy of your wedding.
I wish you luck (and fun!) while making decisions about what to do for your wedding flowers! You can contact me here for more information about wedding packages through Violet Floral Designs.
Cheers! Mallory @ Violet Floral Designs of Baltimore, LLC