23 key takeaways from a session by Zoe Gallina of Botanical International Design & Decor Studio at the 2016 SAF Annual Convention.

SAF Maui 2016 Recap: 23 Ways to Work Smarter, Not Harder on Weddings

October 11, 2016 at 5:56 AM

At the 2016 SAF Annual Convention Zoe Gallina of Botanical International Design & Decor Studio presented a session on working smarter (not harder) on weddings. Here are 23 key takeaways.

  1. Manage your client’s expectations: respond to calls, emails in a timely manner, within 24 hours if possible.
  2. Give yourself realistic expectations and set up early on how long you will need for a proposal - ie. “you will receive a detailed proposal within 7 business days of our initial meeting”.
  3. Budget - set minimums for your events (could be low or high depending on the type of business you want to attract). Ask at the first interaction if they have a desired budget. Offered tiered pricing on your proposals, 90% of the time they will choose the middle or highest price point.
  4. Use email templates for meeting set ups, proposals, follow ups etc. Saves time but be sure to change the names and dates!
  5. Detail out your Front of House and Back of House workflow. Have a list of what you will be doing until the day after the wedding. This is helpful for staff, new hires, creates procedures for covering vacations and other absences.
  6. Manage your workflow. Create file sharing and calendar sharing via Google Calendar and drop box. 
  7. Use a Florist App like Details. 
  8. Hire a graphic designer (you can save money by using a student) to help with your printed material. You need a consistent look and feel on all your material from delivery vehicles to invoices. You want to keep this look updated and fresh as well. 
  9. If possible separate your business development from Accounts Receivable. It’s easier for AR to ask/remind the bride that a payment is due, which allows the event person to focus on being friendly and cozy with the bride. If this is not possible, you can use a separate A/R email address and email payment reminders - this gives you the illusion of a separate identity.
  10. Respect your brand - your logo should be everywhere including on your staff’s “uniform”.
  11. Dress the part - you are the first impression of your business. For Zoe’s business, her staff have a uniform of khaki pants and logo’d golf shirts. As consultant she is more dressed up on days where she has scheduled meetings and more casual on non-client days. Caveat - staff should be briefed on what no to do in their logo shirts - no bar hopping in your logo shirt!
  12. Never tell anyone how many events your that weekend! The bride and her family must feel that they are the only ones you are thinking about on their big day. This means using caution on Social Media.
  13. Never let your busy schedule be an excuse for anything. If you have booked too many weddings, it’s on you. 
  14. Set days for client meetings, e.g. Tuesdays and Thursdays and try to mee within standard business hours. Sometimes you will have to meet outside of these hours but for the most part brides can make it work. 
  15. Set a maximum number of meetings per day. This allows you to schedule time to work on proposals and get back to brides in a timely manner.
  16. Set up a complimentary sample viewing 6-8 weeks before the wedding date. This help you guide to the bride to flowers that are in season, set up a sample table at a minimum of two price points, decide on colours, linens etc. Have a staff member on hand to make changes if necessary. 
  17. Take lots of photos and notes of the final sample viewing table - this will help with production on the wedding day.
  18. Make a production schedule listing timing and responsibilities, this helps everyone from the bride to your staff know who is responsible for what and for when, and helps with any subcontracting. 
  19. Go the extra mile and confirm everything before the event, provide email and cell contacts in case of emergencies.
  20. Brides are detail oriented, so bring an iPad to the meetings to show images
  21. Make them a secret Pinterest board showing colours, styles etc. This is especially helpful with out of town brides. 
  22. Make sure you have someone approve all social media before posting and try to use professional photos where possible. 
  23. Contract details Must-Haves:
    • Personal flowers delivery time - Zoe charges extra if they are required more than 3 hrs before wedding time. 
    • Have an event extension clause in case the event set up crew is stuck at an event that goes long.
    • Be clear about how long the ceremony will be - some faiths have longer ceremonies that may delay transporting any flowers being repurposed at the reception. 
    • Charge a credit card convenience fee of 3% which helps pay your processing fee. (Most opt to pay by other means).

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