We are going to be featuring some of the vendors we love to work with and recommend to our brides.
This can help provide some insight on the owners of the business as well as some tips for you along the way.
This blog is featuring some questions and answers with Lisa from Aspen Florist
- How would you describe your design style? (e.g. traditional, modern, rustic, organic)
Organic & Romantic
- Do you recommend specific flowers depending on the month of the wedding? If the flower is in season is it more affordable for the bride?
Yes, we try to persuade brides to use the prettiest blooms available in their season. While some of the most loved wedding flowers are available year round from Holland, these premium flowers are imported at market value pricing in the US dollar. If brides have their heart set on peonies for example, I recommend they get married late spring to take advantage of our local growers when they’re a little more affordable. Pricing on premium wedding flowers is also driven by supply and demand.
- Are you able to provide organic, pesticide-free, or sustainably grown flower varieties?
Yes, upon request we can source these options for our brides from a variety of wholesalers and growers.
- What should brides budget for their flowers? Is there an average range?
This really depends on the scale of their needs. If they’re looking for full coverage they should budget 15% of their wedding budget for flowers and possibly up to 20% if they’re looking for high quality blooms such as garden roses and premium imports with complicated installations.
- If someone gives you a picture of a bouquet and/or centerpiece that they like, can you recreate it?
Yes we can, but we remind the bride, no two designers will create a bouquet exactly the same, floral design is an art form and each designer has their own unique style or fingerprint.
- Can you create sample arrangements before your client signs the contract? If so, is there an additional fee for this?
Yes we do offer samples upon request and yes clients will be charged for the cost of the arrangement.
- Will you work with the cake designer if the bride decides to add flowers to their wedding cake? If so, is there an additional setup fee for this?
Yes we are happy to work with your baker to add flowers to your wedding cakes. However, it is our experience, most bakers prefer to put the flowers on themselves, so in this case we just deliver the loose flowers to the hall and leave them there for the cake designer to arrange. We do not charge extra for putting the flowers on the cake if we do it.
- What colour lighting would you recommend based on flowers and colour scheme?
It depends on your colour palette. If your venue or DJ includes uplighting, I would be sure to ask what colours they offer at your meeting. You don’t want blue uplighting for example unless the blue glow compliments your colour palette.
- Can you assist brides in the preservation of their bouquet after the wedding? If not, can you recommend someone?
We do not offer bouquet preservation however we can definitely recommend a preservation vendor upon request.
- Do you charge a delivery fee?
Yes we do charge for delivery, the charge will depend on the size and location of your wedding. We may need to rent a vehicle that is large enough and properly equipped to store your flowers at the proper temperature for the commute. Proper delivery is crucial, the last thing you want is for your flowers to arrive damaged or wilted because they were crammed into a small backseat!
- Do you have an extra charge for the setup and breakdown of the floral décor?
Yes we do have a labour event charge for set up and tear down if it’s required. Again the cost is based on the location and the amount of staff needed for the scope of the event. We have to pay our event staff accordingly for their time, while setting up in a timely manner is crucial for obvious reasons, we also must respect the venues requirements for tear down at the end of the evening and make sure we complete the task within their business hours as well.
- How long does it take you to set up?
This really depends on what has been ordered. Every set up or installation is different, some are simple and we’re in and out after setting flowers on the tables, I have others where we’re on site 1-2 days depending on the complexity of the designs.
- What time will you arrive to deliver personal flowers and set up the ceremony and reception arrangements?
On average we deliver personal flowers 2-3 hours prior to the ceremony to the bride, groom and bridal party, followed by the ceremony and reception set up. If the installation is complex we’re on site as early as the venue will allow and will make arrangements for another member of our staff to deliver the personal flowers as per instructed.
- Is there an extra fee if you need to stay throughout the ceremony to move arrangements to the reception site?
This service is included in our delivery and event labour fee. We do however charge extra if it’s an outdoor wedding and we need to evoke an emergency plan to relocate the ceremony quickly in inclement weather.
- How far in advance does a bride need to secure your services? How many weddings do you do a weekend?
If you want to make sure we’re available for your date, I recommend you contact us 12 months in advance, on average brides book with us at least 9 months ahead. We prefer to focus on just one wedding per weekend, however if the weddings are of a smaller scale and local we will book two on occasion.
- What can brides expect the process to be like if they’re interested in booking Aspen Florist?
Often the first communication we receive comes via email. We then send out an introduction with our pre-consultation checklist to request more details about their wedding followed by scheduling a one on one free consultation with them. Following the consultation we will research availability and gather all the information we need to prepare a detailed personalized quotation. After the couple receives the proposal they’ll have 2 weeks to request revisions if required before finalizing and securing their wedding date with a 25% non-refundable deposit. All flower decisions must be confirmed 10 weeks prior to the wedding so we can order the flowers. The final balance will be due 3 weeks prior to the wedding. Emails, phone calls, texts and/or site visits during the months leading up to the wedding are always included in our services.
- When should the bride finalize the order?
Our proposal and contract must be signed and finalized at the time of booking accompanied by the deposit. Final details like the colour of family corsages must be confirmed 10 weeks prior to the wedding.
- Where did you receive your training?
I am constantly upgrading my floral training and learning new techniques in this business. I originally studied full time at Sharon’s School of Floral Design while expecting my 3rd son in 1996. More recently, in June 2015, I took a wedding design intensive workshop led by one of America’s & Martha Stewart’s Top Floral Designers, Holly Heider Chapple & became part of the international collective known as the Chapel Designers. In order to remain a Chapel Designer we are required to refresh our training with Holly each year at one of her international workshop events. I’m looking forward to our fall workshop in Virginia this year and I’m extremely proud to be 1 of the 177 Chapel Designers worldwide! http://www.chapeldesigners.com/international/
- Do you do the floral arrangements yourself or do you have another floral designer that does them too?
While I do the majority of the designing myself, I also have an assistant designer who I have personally trained working with me. On select large-scale weddings, some of the chapel designers come help out with designing and on-site installations, which is very exciting for our brides!
- How far in advance do you start working on the wedding, when do you create the bouquets and arrangements, and how are they stored?
The wedding starts on Monday or Tuesday for me, I go into Mississauga and personally pick up the flowers from the wholesaler that I’ve ordered to be sure everything is perfect. Then I come back to the studio to cut, process and hydrate all of the flowers. Depending on the size of the wedding, this can take anywhere from 1-8 hours. The flowers are then stored in one of our two floral coolers at the proper temperature and humidity. On a large wedding, I will start greening in the centerpieces 2-3 days before the wedding and store them in the cooler, the bouquets and arrangements will be done the day before the wedding while the corsages and boutonnieres will be done last, usually late the night before the event. The flowers will be packed for delivery the morning of the wedding and delivered with care by my expert trained staff or by myself personally.
- Why do wedding flowers cost so much?
This is such an important question. Many brides and grooms don’t realize what wedding flowers actually cost and are shocked to learn their dreamy Pinterest flowers may come with a hefty price tag. Please note, wedding florists are not trying to scare you or rip you off, we truly want you to have beautiful blooms for your wedding that you and your guests will reminisce about for years to come. If you’re looking for quality flowers and not just a random bouquet from the supermarket or poor quality bruised flowers, you will need to pay more. The last thing we want is for you to look back and see bruised or wilted flowers in your wedding photos. Quality is the vital component and we only use premium quality flowers for our weddings. Many of these dreamy flowers are imported from all over the world, coming in from countries like Holland, South America, South Africa, Italy, Thailand and the United States. All of these flowers are imported into Canada in the US dollar and unfortunately our dollar has dropped significantly this past year, which has led to price increases across the industry. The growers, wholesalers, florists and consumers are all affected.
It also takes a great deal of time to offer you professional quality floral design for your wedding. From the numerous emails we will spend going over every detail, to the one on one consultation, writing your personalized proposal which involves several hours of our time while working out the flower math, to writing a recipe for each of your designs, to placing the order, to picking up your flowers, to processing them and then ultimately designing, delivering and setting up your flowers on time for your wedding. Hours and hours are spent on each and every wedding and all this time needs to be calculated and ultimately compensated for in your wedding flowers.
- Do you have any advice for brides?
Whether you’re hiring Aspen or another floral designer, choose something you love but be flexible. You’re far better off to choose a colour palette and an overall look then request very specific flowers. Please be patient while we work closely with our wholesale customer service representatives to determine your pricing and flower availability, before we can start to prepare your proposal. While we work as quickly as we can, often we’re working on several other proposals at the same time not to mention designing flowers for other weddings and events. Send your floral designer some bouquets styles that you love then let them create something unique and special that’s your very own, at the end of the day the designers creativity is what you are paying for. Remember to enjoy the process, choosing flowers is one of the best parts of planning your wedding so have fun with it and hire a professional floral designer that will listen to your requests and handle all aspects of your wedding with the utmost professionalism and creativity.
It’s important to note in this business you really do get what you pay for. While we are not the cheapest wedding florist in the area we are not the most expensive either. When comparing quotes, keep in mind what flowers you are comparing from one designer to the next. If one florist is quoting you for David Austin Wedding Roses and another designer is quoting you for standard roses there will be a considerable price difference, also pay attention to the size of the arrangements. Are they both quoting the exact same design? My guess is probably not, so be sure to ask questions. It’s important you find a wedding florist that understands your vision and has a style that fits with your wedding. Ultimately I want my brides to know they’ve hired a professional, they can trust in me and know everything will be taken care of just as they envisioned and I want them to be overjoyed when they lay their eyes on their wedding flowers.
For more information or to have your consultation with Lisa please see her contact information below.
Lisa Radu – Owner & Creative Director – Aspen Florist