Q&A :: Florist VS Event Designer

The Question:

Would you consider a post regarding the line between being the florist and being an event designer?
Recently I had a bride come in with picture of what she wanted for floral. We finished the quote and then she wanted to know what chairs, dance floor, invitations, hanging lights vs festoons vs up lights, etc. I am all for providing opinions and feedback. That’s not what this was. This was more of a expectation for a design rollout. She even told me, “well, the florist designs the wedding”. I think this is from an era where the only design choices were linens and what color bow to use to cinch that net filled with Jordan almonds. Now the bride’s wearing cowboy boots and emerald jewelry in her engagement photo because in a year she’s getting married in a barn and her bridesmaids will be wearing emerald dresses.
In this age where the drinking straws match the pendants, which coordinate the menu cards, which have the same font as the “Pick a Seat” sign, which has a small, hand-drawn sketch of cowboy boots which harken back to what the bride wore in the engagement shoot a year before, I am not interested in event design. Can you provide some feedback on where the line is? I want to be helpful, but I don’t want to provide free design services either.
The bottom line – how do you make it clear to a bride when you want to do flowers only vs when you want to offer full event design services?
-Sarah

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The Answers:

I think if you are uninterested in designing the wedding, I think it’s completely sufficient to answer a few questions and as soon as you feel like it’s too much, simply say “I’m sorry, I don’t offer design services. The service that I provide is floral design and decoration. I’d be happy to refer you to someone who does event design.” If you are interested in providing event design services, I would list it in your pricing documents as a separate service, and define what the service is. This way brides know that if they’d like someone to help with linens, lighting, room arrangement etc, they are free to solicit your event design packages in addition to your floral design packages.
Blair of Sweet Blossoms, Maryland

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I think the best thing to start with is explain to a client what you are willing to provide vs. what you won’t provide. Starting with “I won’t do _____” may put a negative light on your business. Make sure your marketing and website reflects your focus on florals as opposed to other design elements. If you get the sense a bride is wanting this level of service in a consult, clarify what you offer and maybe refer them to a wedding planner or event designer you know of in your area who can do that for them while working alongside you. If that doesn’t fly for the client, it probably wasn’t a good fit in the first place. Listen to your gut and stay true to the core of your business.

Michelle of Blossom & Vine Floral Co., Vancouver, BC

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Comments

  1. I laughed out loud when I read Sarah’s hilarious and hyper-detailed description of what some brides are doing now, design wise. With the straws matching the pendants which flip back to the engagement photos, etc. So true. I’m not adding anything new to the party here. Sarah, just be clear as to the services you offer and make sure that line doesn’t get crossed. Some florists only do florals. Some event designers also do florals. Some event designers contract out florals. It can be overwhelming for us in the industry. Part of our job as wedding pros is to help educate our clients so they fully understand the process and can manage their expectations. Stay true to yourself and communicate clearly. You’ll be fine.

  2. Its getting complicated and some of us floral designers end up designing the event or at least making suggestions. These days when getting published or featured on a blog where every single detail counts its hard not to make suggestions regarding decor. You can also throw the wedding planner into the mix since most of them have their own ideas of what looks good. Is a planner a designer? Is a floral designer an event designer? Who knows

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