Before I go on, I want to highlight the fact that I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE what I do. I am really excited about each and every wedding we are a part of. I love meeting new clients, I love hearing their stories and I love it when after all the hard work everything comes together beautifully. I know that today’s post will not make me popular, especially not with the couples, and maybe it reflects the melancholy synonymous with today’s heavy skies and the rain, but it is more about sharing my frustrations over the lost time spent on pointless meetings and quoting. I hope the post bellow conveys this message.

” … the labour for the flowers are quite expensive – I will therefore opt for something more simplistic which is less labour intensive… would [you] be prepared to provide a revised quote if I send you a mail outlining in detail the exact type of decor and flowers which I have in mind?”

“… The labour option are they mandatory? Design, does this make or break the overall outcome? If so, it will exceed my budget before adding on the necessary details, please shed more light on these two… I would love a minimalistic approach as you advised for the tables – then exquisite detailing on our main table and other interesting features at the venue [insert flower wall and suspended installations here].

Sometimes, these are the types of emails I receive after a consultation, quotation and a detailed document explaining all the costs. Brides offering to work out their exact decor and flowers, other brides don’t understand why a flower wall and suspended installations are not exactly ‘simple’ endeavours, others promise family members to help out. Experienced stylists and florists heard it all and been through it all.  And at some point we all succumend to the unreasonable requests against our better judgement, but this is a whole different subject.

Couples often say “we want something simple”, thinking that this word would magically reduce their quote. Some of the most ‘simple’ looking weddings I have created were the most technical and required greater skill to produce, and not cheap at all. Personally, I think that it is super easy to create a beautiful wedding when there is an abundant budget for floral work. It is much, much, much harder to create a beautiful and stylish wedding working with limited resources.

Why word ‘simple’ drives me mad:

  1. The use of word ‘simple’ rarely means ‘stylish’, ‘sophisticated’, the underlying message is always I want it “cheap”.
  2. To get to ‘simple’ I still need to put the same admin hours answering emails, following up with orders, preparing the preview and then compiling a detailed document
  3. To make ‘simple’ at a wedding still means working on the weekend. It still means conditioning flowers, prepping the decor, arranging, packing and setting up. It means time driving to a wedding venue often on a bad road, it still means spending time away from the loved ones. Yes it is easier, but it is worth it?
  4.  ‘Simple’ will not help me build a stellar portfolio and will not allow me to showcase the depth of my talent or abilities. It will not push my professional boundaries. Telling me to use less of my talent and less of my skill is demotivating.
  5. “Simple’ wedding will not help me build a strong business. It means I have to work harder by myself for reduced rate because I cannot afford to hire help. It means I will not be able to make healthy margins and I will not be able to pay my bills, save or grow my business.

I stand by my statement that styling, flowers and decor make the wedding. I believe wedding styling is the most integral and most undervalued service at most weddings. Florists are rockstars and the amount of work we put into a wedding is seldom recognised or rewarded adequately and our rates are always challenged. There are 52 weekends in a year so there are limited number of weddings and limited number of opportunities to create and inspire the world. And sorry to say this, since we are running a business, a limited number of opportunities to generate an income for a company and people working in it.

What about the time lost on pointless quoting, how do we know our ideas are not going to be used elsewhere because let’s face it all brides shop around. How do we deal with giving up our time, expertise and creativity and exchange it for negative feedback? How do we greet the next couple with a massive smile and genuine enthusiasm? Like I said, maybe it’s the weather or maybe it is about mourning the loss of time.

  • Avatar
    Karen Serfontein

    Eve, I so enjoyed reading this piece… partly with a grin on my face and partly with a tear in my eye. It seems that most creative endeauvours are judged in this way … I make wedding cakes from cheese and I have time and again heard something similar. As if the actual making of the cheese is just a simple process (there’s that word again) and not taking into account the time it takes to prepare and stack the cake. I really wish that people can start to appreciate artisan work for what it is and be prepared to pay for the picture that they envision.

    October 18th, 2016 10:17

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