I remember just four years ago deciding to officially add floral design as a service to my existing planning offerings. I was a few years into my business at the time and felt like I was ready to expand and better serve my clients on a design scale. The aesthetics of a wedding is where I felt like I could best utilize my talents and be the most fulfilled so I worked really hard for about a year learning everything I could about floral prep, the cost of being a florist, proper care, finding my style, and more. I wanted to feel confident and have proof of my work before I offered those services to a client. I’m happy to report those 12 plus months of hard work did just that.

The time and financial investment to learn the ins and outs of everything was for me, very much a turning point with Hey Gorgeous Events and one of the business decisions I feel has been my best yet.

MaximizeFloralPrep1

In a little over four years I’ve learned so much about flowers, floral design, and all the ins and outs of the industry. On Tuesday last week after I posted a behind the scenes image of a centerpiece on instagram, someone asked if I always tackled centerpieces that far in advance (for a Saturday wedding). I thought that was a great question and it inspired this post on how to further maximize your floral preparations as a floral designer. The week leading up to a wedding is a race against the clock and usually a pretty exhausting one so here are some things we do to ensure we can stay the course at a consistent pace!

ONE

{Have Foolproof Timing & Scheduling}

Timing and scheduling is paramount when working with fresh flowers because they are obviously perishable. We typically start processing flowers on Tuesdays. Because we have access to a cooler we know our florals will be fresh until game day on Saturday. This in turn gives us the time we need to design everything Tuesday through Thursday, with time to tie up other wedding planning loose ends on Friday. If we run into any snags during the week or get behind for whatever reason, we like to leave Friday as a buffer day if we need it. Tuesdays are when we process everything and start greening out centerpieces. We also pull all the personal flowers to make sure those gets the most pristine blooms. Wednesday is when we tackle centerpieces and bigger statement pieces. Thursday is when I design personal florals and the girls take on smaller items. And you get the idea!

Basically we have a schedule during the week leading up to each wedding and it’s pretty consistent from event to event. This schedule allows us to maximize the small window of time we have between the flowers coming into the wholesaler and the early morning day of when we load up to get everything to the final destination. It also allows us to work from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm on those floral days (for the most part) which in turn gives us a good part of our afternoons and evenings free to do other prep as needed.

MaximizeFloralPrep3

TWO

{Depend on Teamwork & Invest in Helping Hands}

I could not take on the scale of weddings we do at HGE without the help of my team. It would be impossible. The first two events I did flowers for were really big learning lessons in this department. And they were really humbling experiences for me. As soon as I admitted to myself that I wouldn’t be able to confidently offer floral services to clients without a team, I made it a priority to find really great people to work alongside.

As soon as I found Betsi and Jess and they came on board with HGE I was able to really flourish as a designer because I was able to relax and trust that we would be getting things done according to schedule versus a 3:00 am mad dash to finish up arrangements the night before a wedding. I have to also add that learning to staff weddings appropriately (based on the size of the event, timeline, location etc) is a serious asset and something to really consider. For example, a wedding with more day of installations and a shorter window of time for set up allowed by the venue is obviously a case where MORE helping hands will ensure we stay on track. And helping hands can be anyone who is reliable, trustworthy, and hardworking like a friend or family member.

MaximizeFloralPrep2

THREE

{Create Processes & Play to Everyone’s Strengths}

Processes are everything at HGE. We have a set way of working as a team and for the most part it stays that way from event to event. While I outlined above the typical things we do the week leading up to a wedding, there are also specific jobs assigned to each of us throughout those days. These jobs play on our individual strengths and help keep our productivity as a group as consistent as possible.

For example, I always design the bridal bouquet, bridesmaids bouquets, and the first arrangement for anything that needs to be duplicated like centerpieces. Betsi is a master corsage and boutonniere designer. She’s also really wonderful at making darling flower crowns and shaving floral foam like a boss. While I tend to bounce around from project to project, she is the steady force. Jess is killer at greening out anything from centerpieces to installations. She’s also our go-to for efficient packing, loading, and transportation. We could not pack a delivery van better than Jess and she has alleviated my load in anxiety almost entirely! When we have freelancers join us for larger events, they fill in the holes where we need them and it always works out perfectly. Processes that work for YOU and your business will help streamline your efforts while maximizing your preparations.

MaximizeFloralPrep4

FOUR

{Use Mock Ups to Help Maximize Time} 

I wrote this post HERE on mock ups and why I believe in (and depend on) them. I can’t tell you how helpful mock ups are to help us stay on track during those time crunched days leading up to a wedding. There is less guesswork, less wondering how big arrangements should be, less worry if we’ll have enough product, and overall less stress surrounding our prep because the groundwork has been done to ensure we’re set up for success. I know mock ups aren’t the right process or decision for many designers, but as a full service planning, design, and floral company, it absolutely it is for us, and it’s helped our week of preparations tremendously.

MaximizeFloralPrep5

FIVE

{Tackle Non Perishable Tasks in Advance}

The actual flower design process is such a small fraction of the big picture. The big picture is far less glamorous and includes many things that have to be done like pulling inventory and supplies, ensuring my order is confirmed with my wholesaler, finding substitutes for things if they don’t arrive as expected, prepping the team on what is being done for each event with meetings and hand outs, prepping containers and labelling them, setting up our workspace for efficiency, gridding out or adding foam to containers, filing buckets, processing flowers, and the list goes on. To make sure we can maximize our design time in those crucial days leading up to the wedding, we try to make sure all of the non perishable tasks are done well in advance of our design days. As a result design days are usually fun because we have time to actually design and work at a steady and not a frantic pace. I believe that my efforts to always be over prepared ensure we are right on track.

MaximizeFloralPrep

As always, the gorgeous photos in this post are from Samantha James Photography and the graphic was created by Becky of Salty Anchor Designs. I’d love to hear your tips and tricks for staying productive with your work flow so leave your comments below. Happy Monday, friends! Xo