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  • Do you take on weddings during the holidays?


    Holiday Pricing
    Advice from Constance Byers, Smith Herman's Flowers, Great Falls, Mont.

    I haven't had a lot of requests for Christmas weddings, but I have never turned one down either. I do advise the customer that I may have to charge them more than I would at another time, both for the flowers and for my time.

    Normally I do most of the weddings here personally, and I am willing to spend whatever time it takes, but at Christmastime I may have to hire an extra person or pay a designer overtime. If the customer has asked far in advance about a holiday wedding, sometimes I have told them that I cannot give them a firm price estimate, because I don't know what flowers are going to cost at that time. I'll give them a fairly wide price range instead. I haven't had a problem with that policy as long as I have been upfront with the customer from the start.

    In any case, I always tell my brides that I'll work within their budget. If they can't afford to go over a certain amount, then the bouquet might be smaller or it might be made with different flowers, but that doesn't mean it won't be beautiful. I would never turn a wedding down, because I think that if you make a wedding couple happy, it leads to more business down the road. People attending the wedding may have their own weddings coming up — and not necessarily at a holiday time.

    Fair Warning
    Advice from Bunnie Hovan, AIFD, Hovan's Flowers, Stratford, Conn.

    As long as we get the order for the wedding early enough to plan ahead, we will take it, because we always want to accommodate our clients. We do explain carefully that flower availability may be restricted because of the holiday and that we may have to make substitutions. That flexibility is something we always ask for from wedding clients, but it's especially important at a holiday time. Fortunately, if we explain it to them ahead of time, most clients are pretty understanding. They're more interested in color choices and an overall look than in specific flowers, and they have confidence in us.

    What's very important is to have enough notice so we can plan the wedding down to the last detail and make sure we're prepared. For example, at other times of the year, I might have the same driver deliver wedding flowers and also make other deliveries. But if it's a holiday, when there are so many regular deliveries, I'll always have one driver and one vehicle just for the wedding, even if it means I have to pull in an extra person.

    Silks Only
    Advice from Bruce Zschokke, Glassing Florist, South St. Paul, Minn.

    When people ask us to do a wedding during the Christmas season or any peak holiday time, we tell them we are sorry, but we cannot do it unless they would like to have their flowers done in silk. We have 13 employees, but we also have greenhouses where we raise all our own poinsettia plants, so it's extra busy at Christmastime. We usually have a wedding Thanksgiving weekend, and that would be the last one we accept before Christmas — unless it's a silk wedding, which allows us to do most of the work a month or two in advance.

    Most customers decline the silks option. They'll take it only if they're locked into the date and they've exhausted the other options. But the policy doesn't seem to cut into our wedding business during the rest of the year. We often do three or four large weddings a weekend, or up to six or seven smaller ones.


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