Lesson Learned: Flowers


When I first started planning the wedding, I immediately resigned myself to the fact that though I love flowers, they just weren’t in the cards. Keep in mind, those were the days when I also thought I could get out of this spending under $10,000 – and I was taking it as a personal challenge to do so! Clearly, I have since been set straight and have revised my budget, thus my search for a second job. But oh, those simple days!

Flowerless Centerpiece (Not ours, but still cute!)

I knew I wasn’t going to NOT have flowers, but I’ve opted for centerpieces without them so that really cut out a huge expense. I’ve also decided on some simple options for décor at the church, so there isn’t going to be a big flowery show there either. And I plan on doing my own flowers. Ok, that’s a lie. I planned on doing my own flowers, until my future mother in law found out about it.

She told me that it would be too much, that I’d be so busy, that there’d be no way! Ah, but did she give us money for flowers? Not exactly. Her contributions (which are many, AND very appreciated!!) are going toward a few other things like photography and even a bit toward my gown. Thanks, Momma M! But she did convince me to meet a family friend who has been a premier Philadelphia florist for 30 years. I knew his work, and I knew it was expensive. But we were told we’d get an old friend discount. His band played at M’s bar mitzvah, so I did have a little hope that the price tag wouldn’t be crazy.

When we arrived for the appointment, there were flowers everywhere – and too many. They’d asked me to send inspiration photos and so I sent a pdf of flowers I liked, explaining why I liked each photo, and what I wanted for my wedding. Instead of having mock-ups based on the inspiration I provided, they had flowers just waiting, and I was to put my bouquet together with them.

Now let me interject a sidebar. It seems that florists handle this in 3 possible ways:

  1. They show you bouquets or sketches of what they have in mind and you tweak it with them.
  2. They show you FTD books and say they’ll add stuff, but really you’re lucky if you get the picture as is. 
  3. They have the flowers and you put it together with them.

For a multitude of reasons, I prefer option #1 and I’ll tell you why. At the family friend’s place, there were SO many options. We took forever to build up my bouquet. They told me peonies were too expensive, so we did something else. Then I added some purple stock, but that was later replaced with orchids. And then roses were added. And then some of this, and some of that, and more of those, and a ton of these!!! Before you know it, I had a giant monstrosity that looked NOTHING like my photos, had flowers that I didn’t want like roses and orchids, and weighed a ton! They were trying to convince me that it was pretty. It could have been, but it wasn’t and I was so overwhelmed by the experience and WAY too many choices that I couldn’t tell the difference. And then came the quote. It seemed quite high, but it was the preliminary. The real quote was coming via email on Monday. We told ourselves that the real quote would have that good old discount. When it arrived, it did not.

Heartbroken, I started searching again. I hadn’t wanted all this stuff to begin with, but once I opened the door to let myself dream just a little I couldn’t go back to my sweet idea of roses with hypericum berries. The damage was done and we needed someone who was affordable and beautiful. After googling, I came across this blog for Royal Design Flowers, a small flower studio in Philadelphia. The blog is what sold me, because the owner Necoh just seemed so sweet and would go above and beyond if needed.

When M and I met with her later that week, we went to her small studio in a collective of studios situated in an old Mill – it was super cute. She showed me what she saw based on my visions. We talked, we had some tweaks, I got ALL the flowers that I wanted, and even at the absolute biggest and best options for what we could have chosen, Necoh came in WELL under the family guy’s quote – including a huppah rental! Not only that, her quote came with break downs so we could see what the cost would be if we chose to get the bouquets in different sizes AND she included photos so that we could see how large a small bouquet would look against a person holding it versus a medium or large. In the end, she won our business because she was flexible, honest, and her work looked beautiful.

I’m so happy this is all over, but I’ve learned a few tips that I’ll pass along to you:

  • It’s great to listen to your friends and family, but always go with your gut.
  • Try not to let high pressure or fast-paced situations with vendors get to you. YOU are paying them, so they can slow down a little if you need it.
  • The first impression is usually the correct one. If you feel “some type of way” about a vendor, trust your intuition!

I’m so super psyched to see these flowers next year, and I can’t wait to show you. I know you’re going to love them as much as I do!

Thanks for reading! – A

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May 4, 2011. Tags: , , , . 2011.

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