Question: How to Successfully Mange Brides with Unrealistic Expectations?

Teresa, a Canadian Florist subscriber, recently wrote to us with this question:

I’m wondering if you can give us some direction. We have been finding it more and more difficult to cost out our weddings and deal with our Brides with some exorbitant requests and low budgets!!

We want to prepare some sort of write-up to add to our wedding website that would layout some directions to the brides regarding costing, minimums, what the cost of flowers really entail, etc., before they come in for their appointments. Is there some advice in a publication or where we might go to locate same? We’re finding it difficult to know exactly how to lay this out and what to say. Appreciate any feedback you can give.Regards, Teresa

We asked Ryan O’Neil of to provide some expert assistance. Ryan is an owner of Twisted Willow, a wedding & event florist, and created the Stem Counter app to help florists quickly and accurately create winning event proposals. He was also a featured speaker at Canadian Florist Business Forum 2017. Here’s what Ryan O’Neil had to say:

Hi Teresa,

This is great question, and one that we’re seeing a lot of florists encounter these days, especially as there’s a rise in the number of Pinterest brides with caviar dreams and intimate budgets. Our team at Twisted Willow gets that question more than any other initial question for people that find us online. I get it… it’s their first time putting together an event like this so they don’t know.

What can really hurt your chances of booking a client is trying to explain why you charge what you do when you’re IN the consultation. People get suspicious when anyone tries to educate them and sell something to them in the same breath – even if they need to be educated. It’s much easier to educate a client beforehand and then sell them in the consultation. I’ll go a step further. I think that clients want to feel like you’re giving them an impartial answer.

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We created our budget calculator on our website to help with this. By asking a few questions about the size of their event and what styles of arrangements they want, we can give them a high/low range of what they can expect their floral budget to look like. For some who don’t know anything about the industry, this can be a HUGE eye opener of what to expect. It shows them the true value of what they’re getting beyond the raw numbers because it causes them to consider the vision they have for their big day. We also include a layout of what they can expect from us (emphasizing the value we’re bringing to the event) in our client welcome packet that we give during the consultation. The other thing is that we use a florist software called during the consultation. When the price comes out higher than what they were expecting, we just say,”That’s what the software is saying your Pinterest idea will cost.” Yes, we are the ones who are set the markup and decide what our wholesale costs are. But the client feels like the software can’t be impartial.

Some other florists I’ve worked with have had some creative ways that they’ve handled it on their website. One put up that “Flower fun with xyz company starts at $2,000.” Another florist lists example prices on her website. “Bridal bouquets range from $125 to $250.” Another thing that florists do is that they ask for a budget and a Pinterest board before they get into the meeting. With that info, they can take a gander at what this bride has in mind.

To sum it up, I’d say whatever you decide, the principle is to find a way to educate your client before you get into the meeting. They want to feel like you’re impartial and helping them to decide an option instead of selling them an option. And the more legwork you can do before hand, the easier this will be.

Do you have questions about running your business? Send us your questions, or visit the Canadian Florist Community group on Facebook for some peer-to-peer support.

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Publisher at Canadian Florist
Ryan Freeman is the Publisher of Canadian Florist, 5th generation florist, and President of Strider Online Marketing. He has been engaged in web design and online marketing since 1994.

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