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  • Wedding Q and A

    A Word With Jim
    By Jim Morley, AIFD Fellow

    I get mixed comments from florists about doing weddings. Some say, "We love them and we make money on them." Others say, "We don't want any wedding work; we lose money."

    If the latter is your feeling, review your present practices to find the problems. Consider the following items to assure profitability: rentals, staffing and overtime, consultation fees, design techniques and any other items you may be giving away.

    Q. When using foam bouquet holders, how far ahead can we make our wedding bouquets?

    A. If the holder is properly soaked and your flowers have been conditioned correctly, I'll stick my neck out and say three days. There are other procedures that will help too. First, use Crowning Glory on the bouquet when it is finished. Let it dry completely. Then, place the bouquet in an airtight plastic bag and refrigerate it.

    For the doubting Thomases out there, try it first with a prom bouquet or sample bouquet. Do your own testing.

    Q. What do I do when brides want flowers that are not available from my local wholesalers?

    A. If the variety is one you can obtain from another source, or have grown for you, you may have to do your own testing to find out the best way to condition and hold the flowers.

    If a bride wants to use fuchsia in bouquets, arrangements and church décor, for example, order half baskets to hang in the aisle of the church and full baskets or pots that you can cut up for design work. Pretest the cut stems to determine the best way to keep them looking good.

    If you cannot find the flower you're looking for, check with the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers for growers in your area. The number is 440.774.2887. These growers specialize in not-so-common flowers. They can also supply you with care-and-handling tips for their crops.

    Q. What do I tell a bride who wants to use the bouquets as centerpieces?

    A. Explain that bouquets are made to be carried, not to lie on tables. If the bride insists on using her bouquet as a centerpiece or doesn't have the budget for centerpieces, suggest a bouquet clip that attaches to tables to hold bouquets. A good clip is offered by Lomey.

    The bouquet clip makes it possible for the bride to have lovely, affordable pieces for the headtable at little additional expense.

    Q. Should I discourage brides from having outdoor weddings?

    A. No, not at all. Outdoor weddings can be wonderful. The key is to have an alternative plan. If it rains, what do we do with flowers that were planned for outdoors? Will they work indoors just as well, or do we need to redesign them? A good "plan B" always helps control the stress factor on both sides.

    Q. How can we increase the number of weddings we do?

    A. Market your shop in businesses that usually see the bride before the florist does, such as bridal shops, photographers, caterers, bakeries and churches.

    These are the people you need to impress with your work. Meet with them and show them why you are the best. Here are three good points to talk about: service, creativity and satisfaction guaranteed. If you sell them, they'll help sell you to brides.

    Q. It's hard for some brides to choose a bouquet style from a picture. How can we help?

    A. Display sample bouquets made from fabric flowers in each of the basic shapes you sell. Brides can then hold the bouquets and get a better feel for the size and shape they prefer. It also helps illustrate how different bouquet styles go with different gowns.

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