Top Tips for Booking the Perfect Wedding Florist from Jessie at West Dorset Wedding Flowers
Welcome to the wedding supplier Q & A series where we will be speaking to some of the best Wedding Suppliers in the Industry. We hope to uncover valuable information and tips that will prove essential within your own wedding planning.
Many have been chosen for their unique skills, offering something above and beyond the traditional standard services. All share a common love for the couples they work with, along with the leading knowledge within their industry.
This week I’m speaking to Jessie from West Dorset Wedding Flowers. She’s an Award Winning Florist who ran her own shop for a number of years before selling up and deciding to concentrate purely on Wedding Flowers. Working from a home based studio, she creates amazing displays and installations helping bride’s realise the reality of their dream wedding.
If you are wondering what a leading wedding florist can do for you and your day – read on!
Whats the story behind West Dorset Wedding Flowers & why did you get into Floristry?
Floristry is a second career for me. I studied Hospitality Management at university and went on to work in Customer Care and Bookings for a well-known nationwide holiday-park company. The customer relations experience set me in good stead for running my own business. Back around 2003 I decided that I fancied a change of direction, but didn’t know what I wanted to do.
After dallying with ideas of the police force I found a position for a Saturday girl at a local florist’s shop, and thought it sounded fun, despite not knowing my carnations from my chrysanthemums! Shortly after that I expanded my hours at the shop and enrolled for a local floristry college course.
I opened a floral boutique in Poundbury just one month after leaving college! It was a leap of faith but I was so excited by the challenge. 9 years on, and after winning numerous awards at the boutique, including UK Flower Shop of the Year 2011-12 and national accolades for my bridal floristry, I decided that there was time for a change again, and put my shop on the market with the ambition of specialising in the part of floristry that I enjoy most; wedding flowers.
Now in my third season as a freelance florist I couldn’t wish to be doing anything different; the flexibility that freelance gives me allows me to have a better work-life balance whilst also focusing 100% on my work.
Who would be your ideal client and why?
I suppose it would be a couple with an exciting budget in order to allow for the creation of really ‘wow’ grand designs, and with a basic brief that they are happy to trust me have free-reign to grow and expand on. So many brides play it safe with colour, so anyone who is happy to have colour play a big role in their day would get my vote!
If you could design the concept or work with anyone, who/what would it be?
Creating designs for someone from the art world would of course be exciting, as we could bounce exciting ideas off each other, having a mutual feel for colour and texture.
I’m a big fan of the oversized bouquet trend at the moment, and would love to see that grown even more.
And any bride who creates a clever theme for their big day is also a favourite of mine. Something quirky and Tim Burton-esque would be exciting to be involved with, if done properly as an overall concept.
What are your Top Tips for someone looking to book a wedding florist?
Book your date early to reserve your slot (I do this on an honesty policy, with no deposit to pay right away), but don’t be premature about moving on to consultations and further plans for your flowers; they really are the ‘icing on the cake’ and help to tie everything else together.
If you go to see your florist too early, the likelihood is that you won’t know your dress colours for definite, your table numbers/layout, your cake design, etc. etc. and these are all key things to have decided before you see your florist.
Getting a quotation too early is a waste of both your time and the florist’s time, as it will probably in no way resemble what you will eventually end up requiring. Any florist worth their salt should be able to supply you with a comprehensive price list that will give you a very good idea of prices for your budget, and then it really is down to you for a while; get collecting pictures, creating a Pinterest board, ordering fabric swatches of your dresses, etc. Then you will be ready to seriously start planning your flowers with your chosen florist.
What do you think sets you apart from everyone else / other florists?
I think it’s probably a combination of things, to give the magic recipe. Wonderful flowers (which I hope I always manage to achieve!) are just the end result; good friendly customer care and communication is key, particularly since most brides live away from their wedding destination and contact their florist online these days.
For very remote/abroad brides, the entire planning process is often held via email/phone/Skype, and so being able to demonstrate ideas and understanding of their requirements digitally is very important. Images are key here, and Pinterest is a great tool. I create personalised floral Pinterest boards for many of my brides, which gives them reassurance that we are both singing from the same hymn sheet.
Superb organisation is also important, to make sure that everything runs smoothly and is delivered to the required places on time for the big day. Knowing that brides are relying on you, and trust you to pull the rabbit out of the hat in the right place at the right time is a great adrenaline boost.
Finally I love a challenge. Many brides have said to me that they love how they can come to me with an idea (sometimes a crazy idea!) and – rather than say ‘it can’t be done!’ – I will almost always be able to say ‘we’ll make it happen’. It involves lots of ‘now how am I going to make that’ dreams in the middle of the night, but we always pull it off in the end!