PIA + JADE (WEDDING FLORAL EXPERTS) WITH THE DIRT ON FLORAL COSTS & WHY YOU SHOULDN'T DIY
Firstly, tell us a little about Pia & Jade
I have always loved creating and designing. I studied Interior Architecture at university, but didn't like how computer based it was; I wanted to be more hands on. I had recently moved to the South Coast when booking weekend properties for weddings started to become popular, so I took a risk, dived into events, and have never looked back!
Weddings and events give me the hands on creativity I was looking for; I still get way too emotional when a concept that has been floating around in my head for months finally comes to life, I just wish it lasted longer than a day!
I launched the business in 2014, but have been operating full time since 2016.
Our style is Modern, sculptural, feminine and we are based on the NSW South Coast, but service the South Coast, Southern Highlands, Sydney and Canberra.
Engaging in a wedding floral service; when in the planning process should couples be reaching out?
After choosing your venue, looking into a stylist and a florist (hi, that's me!) is a good idea to start the creative vision for the day. This will then help you pick stationery, a dress, bridesmaid dresses/groomsmen suit colours and give you a better understanding of what the whole day will look and feel like.
Floral Budget; why do couples need one?
The budget is the ultimate starting point, it helps determine an appropriate creative brief right from the start. There is no use suggesting large scale installations or premium florals if the couple are wanting to be modest. A budget also helps with suggesting floral varieties as these also range in price. A client giving their vendors a budget is honestly the most helpful piece of information to make sure we can advise and design something wonderful without having to sell a kidney!
The quotation process; how long on average does this take?
After many years, I finally have this down to an art and can quote clients after their first email. I wanted something super seamless and easy to use, so I introduced a link at the bottom of every page of my website, where a client can download my package information and pricing. Accompanied with the download is a series of questions such as wedding date, budget, guest numbers etc. If the client can answer all of those questions and provide a few inspirational pictures, I can have a quote to them straight away.
Minimum spends; why do florists implement this?
I can't talk for all florists out there, but for me, I have a minimum spend to attract a specific clientele, as well as to make sure my day-to-day business expenses are covered, no matter what the job. I am also located 2hours from the flower markets, so for me to source flowers for a client, it's a 4hour round trip, plus the time spent at market; which for bridal party flowers on their own, may work out to be quite expensive, compared to a full scale wedding.
Why can’t I get my own florals from the flower market & have you do the rest?
The ingredients a florist picks from the markets to create for you are like their own secret recipe, style and trademark. As florists, we know what we love to work with, what our staples are, what will last the entirety of a wedding day, what we want to experiment with and what we hate working with (hello silver dollar gum!!). Also, there is nothing glamorous about waking up at 3am to be at market at 5am!
Variations in floral costs: Why?
A few reasons; roses for example, we have imported vs. locally grown. Then there are some flowers and foliages, like Dogwood or Hydrangea Paniculata that are only available for a few short weeks per year, but the demand for these sexy babies are insane! Nabbing these at the markets is like liquid gold!
There is also the processes in which it takes to grow and create the flower. At the moment, preserved and bleached florals are very popular, but they are so expensive as they are heavily treated/dyed and then imported.
If a client is wanting to save money, always look at what's locally grown (props for also supporting small business!!) abundant and in season.
Flower Prep: What’s actually involved?
Once I get back from market, the bunches of flowers need to be unwrapped, leaves and thorns stripped, then each stem needs to be re-cut and placed into fresh water. If we are in the warmer months, they need to be stored in a fridge, or if quite delicate, we might place them in water that also has flower food to make sure they remain fresh and perky and last the wedding day.
Flower hanging installations; why are they so expensive?
Because we are basically installing a forest! The foliage alone needs to be lush, abundant and hardy. This comes at a price! A beautiful hanging installation will have multiple layers, multiple textures and one hell of a rigging system holding it up! There's then the sundries, ladders and additional staff that need to be there to install on the day. After we pull it down, there is then the clean- up and green waste fees which are not cheap.
Also- Scale. Is. Everything!! I cannot stress this enough!
If you have a 10x15m marquee, you betcha that hanging installation has to be appropriate to the size of the room, or you are going to be underwhelmed! If a large installation is going to blow out the budget, a great florist will be able to make alternative suggestions to create height, depth or scale to the room without breaking the bank.
What does a typical day look like for you both in the office / on site?
On an ordinary week, we set aside Mondays and Tuesdays as admin days, Wednesday is market day and prepping the florals in the warehouse, as well as cleaning and packing styling items for each wedding. Thursday is a bit of everything; admin, confirming final logistics for the weekend and if we have a Friday wedding, we will be prepping for that wedding. Fridays are warehouse days prepping for a Saturday wedding, with Saturday being on site, setting up and installing a wedding, then Sunday's are for pack down, unpacking the van at the warehouse and cleaning. Yep, weddings are a 7 day job!
Costs involved with running a floristry service; aside from the pretty blooms?
SO many!! Warehouse rent, fit outs, water and electricity, van running costs and petrol, staff and freelancer wages, advertising, website/email domain fees/subscriptions, social media programs, fridges, an evolving styling inventory to keep up with different styles and trends in the wedding industry, sundries like scissors, floral foam, boxes and paper to package flowers, ribbons etc. That's the main things I can think of off the top of my head, but I am sure there is much more.
Internet, telephone, computer, insurances! Omg, insurances! Argh!
Downfalls to DIY wedding florals; what is often overlooked?
Time and mess! Creating what we do for each client takes days and days of preparation, planning, logistics and creation. Along with hair, makeup and the other stresses that come with a wedding, I think it's unrealistic for a bride to think her and her bridal party can choose appropriate flowers for a wedding day that will withstand the day, as well as have time and energy to make the arrangements and bouquets, especially for a large scale event like weddings.
It really grinds my gears when people assume "anyone can be a florist" or "playing with flowers all day must be so lovely"... It's really hard yakka! Super early mornings, endless hours on your feet, scratched, filthy hands and nails, blood, sweat and tears! Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't change it for the world, but like all talents and careers, there needs to be years of practice and an overwhelming sense of passion and drive, to be an expert in a field and perfect your craft.
There are loads of people out there who are wonderful cooks and enjoy being in the kitchen, but no way would they decide to cater their own wedding. The flowers and styling should be no different.
What piece of advice can you give to future couples looking for a floral stylist?
Choose a florist whose work you really love. Look at their previous work and if their style and brand aligns with your vision, you're in for all kinds of floral magic that will sweep you off your feet! By all means, other florists can take inspiration from those you love, but it will never be exactly the same; it's a different set of hands, a different eye and a different way of working.