Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Viola! We've renamed ourselves!...

So I have renamed the blog "Petaled".  Hopefully it is more direct, clear and to the point on what this blog is about.  It's about flowers.  It's about weddings and special events.  It's about cool and exciting things happening around the world. And it's about the flower shop.  My family's flower shop in little downtown Winchester, VA.  My family is not the Snellings family.  The Snellings family is long established and well respected and started Flowers by Snellings in 1952.  The Harrison's (us) bought the business and building in 2003.  Of course we kept the name.  It would be silly to change the name after so many years.
Social Media is a different animal altogether.  And while the blog is intertwined with the shop, it is more than just a blog about the shop.   So moving forward I give you "Petaled".  And yes, that is a proper english word and derived from "petal".   (I double checked wikipedia and webster's to be sure)

Monday, March 23, 2015

Wedding Estimating- The Inside Scoop

I just finished a wedding estimate up this morning (yay!) and thought I would share what exactly happens on the florist end for wedding estimates.

Step 1: The initial consultation.  This can be face-to-face, over the phone, or through a series of emails with pictures and links attached.  Or it is a combination of all of the above.  (30min -60 min)

Step 2: The break-down.  No, not the mental kind ( ha ha).  This is where I look over all my notes, my emails and try to mentally build the bouquets and arrangements and estimate the number of stems (approximately), containers, accents like ribbons, brooches, marbles stones, etc.  needed.    Some sketching /or Microsoft Paint programs are involved because I'm a visual person and need to actually draw it out.  (30min -60min)

Step 3: Research.   This will include multiple emails/phone calls back and forth with my suppliers, visits to websites of suppliers, to get the costs and availability for all fresh flowers and supplies for the specific time frame of the event.  This produces even more emails and phone calls when the event is 6-9 months away and different growing cycles and seasons effect product shipping and availability.  Also if I have to special order event vases to rent out to the bride, where and when they would be shipped, quantities needed, etc.  (time invested varies greatly, small weddings 30-60 min, larger weddings with rental items, 2 hrs total )

For example; Peonies.

Short seasons, either during winter or mid spring, early June, even locally grown are still really pricey.  $15-$20 per stem.  (so yes, if you have tons of peony plants in your yard, by all means, DIY your centerpieces)

Creating Proposal: I type pretty darn fast (thank you Typing 101 in high school! Algebra, not so much)  So this doesn't take long to actually type everything, provided I don't get interrupted with the daily business of the shop. ...which happens frequently because there is always someone celebrating life in all its stages from birth to death.  

Emailing Proposal:  Attaching estimate(s), attaching links, pictures of previous weddings, contracts, etc.  5min-15 min.  

Have you added up the time invested yet?  It's quite a little bit just for the average wedding.  Multiply by 2-4 weddings/events per weekend, multiplied by at minimum the wedding season "months" (May-October).  And this is all at no charge to you, the bride.  All we ask (the floral industry) is that if you must miss your scheduled wedding appointment, please call.  Nothing is more irksome than scheduling 4 appointments for a busy Saturday and no one shows or calls to say they're not coming.  Saturday appointments are a PREMIUM.  Especially in spring with all the other floral holidays and proms going on.  

 And if you decide to use another florist's services- it's okay to let us know you chose another florist.  Really, we won't be mad or scream.  It significantly helps to know when we send out 6 proposals for the same wedding date to 6 different brides, who's booking and who's not for scheduling purposes.   

Monday, March 9, 2015

Flower Girls- What you REALLY need to know about flowers for little girls.

Having children of my own has greatly improved how I sell flowers for flower girls. Why?  Because not all little girls like you messing with their head.  Case in point,  My little girl, age 6, is just now allowing me to braid her hair and put it in pony tails.  (and that's only because she's in L-o-V-e with Elsa and Anna and all things "Frozen")  Before then, she would rip out bands, headbands, ribbons, barrettes, etc. much to my frustration.  It didn't matter that mommy thought she was so adorable with her hair up.  
That being said, it made me realize that to sell a product for a flower girl just because I could, didn't mean I should.  And just because you see it in a magazine, does not mean it will be practical for your wedding.

So if the child is yours, you already know their personality and what they will and will not tolerate.
If the child is not yours, know the child's age and find out how they normally wear their hair.  Up? Down?  Do they like to play dress up?  Are they a total "tom boy" and flowers are just not a realistic option?

Here are some options for Flower Girls : flowers to carry, flowers in their hair, and petals to drop.

Let's talk about hair flowers:
I try to think about comfort as much as style.  Most of my hair accessories are simple, clean and lightweight.  Sure, a whole halo of roses looks pretty, but it's heavy.  And heavy means fidgety, and fidgety means it's getting ripped off the head sometime soon and Nobody's happy.  If you don't favor halos, then pieces that can be clipped in are a great accesorry for any age: 
Next up, flower balls, flower spheres, pomanders, etc. These are great as long as you keep the weight in mind.  Even the smaller balls are heavy when made with fresh flowers. For small children, I highly recommend silk pomanders or choosing the smallest diameter ball possible.  (*remember, some children may see the pomander ball as a missile to be launched)  

As you can see, even a 4" diameter sphere takes a substantial amount of flowers to create the "ball"

Finally there are several other options in the flowers-to-carry.  A simple single stem of hydrangea with a ribbon gives you a larger flower but is also very lightweight.  
Petals: A satin basket with petals is also an option.  Just be sure to check with your venue on the rules about flower petals (real vs fake) and who's responsible for cleaning up the petals afterward.  
There are also lots of other neat ideas for flower girls, even halos to carry: 

As long as you remember that little girls like to touch and smell EVERYTHING.   Whatever you decide it needs to be durable, lightweight and ultimately comfortable for these little ones to keep everyone happy on your wedding day.