Arizona

11 STEPS to Our Bridal Floral Design Process

madison wi wedding florist

I ‘ve had more people over the past couple of months ask me about how the floral design process works before and after we book a couple for a wedding. I know that florists all operate in a different way, but I am more than happy to share what has worked for us so far. The key is that I like to keep the entire process stress-free and enjoyable (for both myself and the clients), and to always stay consistent and organized. So here’s the rundown of how it all works with 1209:


1.) EMAIL INQUIRY

1209 receives all inquiries by email only, typically through our website. This is really important and helps to better keep track of all the initial requests for information. I reply to all inquiries within 48 hours or less (unless we’re in the middle of working on a wedding, which I do set up an auto response so potential clients are aware). I never want anyone to feel ignored because I know they are super excited about planning their wedding! Usually, the inquiry shares very little information about the wedding, yet asks for an overall quote. I kindly explain that I am unable to provide an exact number right away because every wedding we work on is completely different from the next due to several factors: guest count, bridal party size, flower choices, season, date of wedding (if it falls on or very close to a major holiday), intricacy of designs, etc. I ask the potential client for some basic information, along with a few inspiration images to go along.

2.) DETERMINE IF WE’RE A GOOD FIT

When the potential client sends the information I’ve asked for, I carefully review it to determine whether or not we would be a good fit. We do not take on every wedding that comes our way. Why? Maybe what they are asking for is not our style of work. Or maybe what they want us to provide is not reasonable to make happen based on their budget. Or sometimes I have to determine whether or not a wedding is worth doing if the date falls on or close to a major holiday because it will take away from quality time with family. So I will respond with an email either sharing that we are interested in hearing more, or that we am unavailable and recommend a few florists who I know would be of better service. 

3.) 30-MINUTE TELEPHONE CONSULT

If we are interested in hearing more, I’ll ask to set up a quick phone call consultation. This helps me get to know more of the potential client, hear about what they do for a living, what they like doing in their day-to-day lives, understand their style, as well as allows me to share a little bit about myself and 1209. This is a critical part to the beginning steps of my process because if we are to work together, I want to make sure we like each other before moving on. I’ve learned from past experiences that this makes for a much better working relationship. I have a list of additional questions I ask so I can get even more details about the wedding so I’m able to determine cost. I don’t let these phone conversations go for more than 20 or 30 minutes, and can normally tell from the conversation if it’s going to be a good fit for us or not.

madison wi wedding florist
madison wi wedding florist
madison wi wedding florist

4.) DRAFT FIRST PROPOSAL

After the call, I will draft the first proposal. I itemize everything instead of just sending back one big number. This is a personal business choice that seems to work best for us. It is my duty as a florist to share and educate a potential client about what goes into our work and where their money is going. A wedding is a big investment and such a significant day in a person’s life, so I don’t hide a thing. Couples are choosing to spend their hard earned money with 1209, and therefore I choose to show them exactly what it’s going toward. I also show all service fees, travel expenses, additional labor, and taxes. I include a document that explains why we have services fees in place since that is often questioned. It is most likely that this couple has never planned a wedding before, nor knows the cost and time that goes into floral design and event décor. This itemized proposal really helps most couples (or whoever is paying for the wedding) understand, and they often share that they find it comforting to see the breakdown. 

5.) ONE REVISION + CONTRACT

It is very normal that the first quote sent is higher than what the couple’s budget might actually be. I explain this to them during our phone call to avoid any crazy surprises. This is because I am pricing them out for every single thing they want so that they can see what it would cost should they move forward with all items. If the couple wants to cut costs, I have them tell me what is the most important part of the wedding so that the bulk of the budget is spent on that area verse an area that might not matter as much. From there, we can determine where to scale back, make cuts, or swap out flower choices so that we can get to a more comfortable place to move forward. I do ask a contract to be signed after I send the second proposal before I spend any more of my time making revisions. I do offer one complimentary in-person consultation before they sign our contract (or a 1-hour phone consult if they are out-of-state). I also ask for the 50% deposit to be made within two weeks of receiving the signed contract in order to officially reserve their wedding date. After that, I will make any additional changes to the proposal.

6.) CUSTOMIZED MOOD BOARD + FINAL PROPOSAL 

When the potential client sends back the contract with deposit and becomes an actual client, I will then create their customized mood board. For this, I use InDesign and will email a PDF version when it’s finished. If the couple has a Pinterest board, I have them narrow down their favorite images, and I will include some images and ideas that we might gravitate toward after seeing their inspiration. I will make revisions to the board per the client’s request and will send back the finalized mood board and proposal. Revisions at our discretion can be made up to 1 month before the wedding date. 

madison wi wedding florist
madison wi wedding florist

7.) FLOWER + MATERIAL ORDER

A client’s flower order always goes in 2 weeks before their wedding date. We don’t allow any changes to be made at this time, what so ever. Any additional specialty items that are needed will be ordered 1 month before the wedding date. We are very strict about our ordering timeline to ensure that all products arrive on time.

8.) CHECKLISTS + PLANNING

Our client’s wedding date literally becomes 1209’s life the entire week that leads up to their wedding date. Every day for the next 6 or 7 days is dedicated to a task that has to do with their wedding. And this all starts with the checklists and planning. I have several lists in place to make sure we have everything needed… from floral tape to décor items. It all gets prepped. I also make sure that we are appropriately staffed and that everyone has their assigned tasks. If we are traveling, I make sure that we have the correct vehicles needed for transportation, and that any travel arrangements have all been made.

9.) GROOMING + DESIGNING

We typically pick up the full flower order 3 days before the wedding date. I carefully scan all of the flowers and foliage ordered to make sure that it’s quality product and the correct colors. If they are not up to our standard, I make the executive decision to swap it out for something of equal value. We load it all up, drive it to our workspace, and unload. That entire day is spent grooming everything we just picked up. It’s not magic when all the stems are clean from thorns and leaves, or getting certain flowers to bloom quicker so they are perfect for the day of the wedding. The next two days after grooming are spent designing the bridal party items, centerpieces, and prepping for any installations that we might be doing the day-of. This literally takes two full days with sometimes several additional team members, depending on the size of the wedding. 

madison wi wedding florist
madison wi wedding florist
madison wi wedding florist

10.) WEDDING DAY SET UP

This is the day all of the hard work has been leading up to. I tend to reflect on the very first email and get excited to finally put it all together. The day normally starts early to make sure we are 100% prepared, and we safely pack it all up for transport. Bridal party personals get delivered, centerpieces put in place, installations built. It all happens pretty fast and can get a little hectic, but it’s an amazing feeling to see it all completed. But it’s not over yet. The wedding day is completely dedicated to our couple, so we can’t go far since we have to be back to the venue after to clean it all up when the party is over. We have a late night ahead of us cleaning and packing and driving all the way home.

11. CLEAN UP + ORGANIZE

The following day we are exhausted, but vases need to be cleaned, and sometimes we even remake flower arrangements to donate so they do not go to waste if the client opts to not take the flowers with them (which is 9 times out of 10). Everything used gets packed away after being cleaned until the next time!

 

Photos by Kym Ventola

7 Ways to Not Lose Your Cool As a Small Business Owner

You tend to often hear about how owning your own business can be "awesome," "amazing," "the best thing ever" ...but business owners tend to not share what it can really be like. It's an extreme challenge, even when you are doing something you truly love.

Creating flower arrangements and working on events and weddings are not our only responsibilities behind 1209. We have part-time jobs (plural... jobs), on top of motherhood, personal obligations, random life events that come out of nowhere... all while juggling a very real and very important career path in this industry. I literally LOL if the term "work-life balance" is tossed our way. Work-life balance? Ha! Don't make us laugh. Learning to master that would just be another thing "to-do" on the already never-ending "to-do" list. 

Never-the-less, when you're a small business owner, you just gotta keep it together. Don't let the people see you sweat because no matter what, you got this. It's what you signed up for; it's what WE signed up for. No one told us it was going to be a cakewalk. And in all honesty, I don't think I fully thought it was going to be as difficult as it has been. I've learned that when you start something of your own, you don't get to pay yourself right away, and you work harder than you have ever worked, AND you most certainly do not have an abundance of free time for yourself. Did someone say vacation? Nope. I think they actually said overtime... all the time. 

Time is of the essence, and time is probably one of our most valued possessions. We do what we can in our time because after all, it's OUR time. It belongs to everyone, yet each individual has the choice to use it how he or she chooses. So here are 7 ways to use your time while running a business so that you can stay mostly sane and (almost) never lose your cool.

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phoenix-scottsdale-wedding-florist
phoenix-scottsdale-wedding-florist

7 Ways to Not Lose Your Cool As a Small Business Owner

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  1. Creative Outlets: Do something creative when you have the chance. Bored? Build something, write something, draw something, cook something, plant something... DO SOMETHING. And whatever it is, make sure it's for fun. For example, when we're bored we tablescape and play with leftover flowers. We are humans and need to find healthy ways to express ourselves other than working. 
  2. Keep Up on Communication: Ummmm... it's everything to us. It's what makes the world go round! Don't get behind on emails, follow-ups or phone calls with clients and colleagues. It will all catch up with you, and even if you hide under your bed, it's allllllllll still going to be there when you eventually crawl out. An email a day keeps the headaches away! Just sayin'.
  3. Coffee Breaks: Caffeine? Foam? The smell of cinnamon and nutmeg wafting in the air? We're there... first in line. Oh, but have you tried spicey coldbrew?? If you haven't, you've been living under a ridiculously heavy rock... literally, in the depths of an undiscovered crater. You'll find this amazing bad habit at Be Coffee. Life is not the same without it.
  4. Schedule In Finances: Ok, it's not exactly fun or glamorous, but "Finance Day" is the best day because once it's over, there's an over-sized glass of wine filled to the brim waiting for you... *clouds parting* and *rays of sunshine* happening. There's a light at the end of the tunnel... until the next month when it starts all over and you want to run away. Just keep up on your expenses, taxes and all things dollar bill related. It's important to get better at that boring stuff because you learn the ins-and-outs of what's going on within your own business. Organized spreadsheets will (may I repeat, WILL) become your besties.
  5. Networking: Chances are there are people out there just like you... trying to make a dollar doing what they love. And chances are there is a possibility that you can work together and somehow help one another out. AND chances are they love alcohol as much as you do. So we say go out, have a drink and make sh*t happen!
  6. Pet Therapy Sessions: At the end of the day, no matter what, hanging out with your pet is pretty chill. They don't judge, they don't talk back, and they think that you're the best ever. Don't have a pet? Go buy (or better yet, adopt) one. You'll have something to vent to 24/7, and they always think you're right. And the best part is you don't have to pay for them to listen (because you'll probably be broke for awhile being an entrepreneur). It's a win-win!
  7. Netflix Binges: Sometimes we need to escape reality and give our overworked brains a rest... soooooo, what better way to do that other than to find a new show on Netflix to binge watch until 4am?! YAY! It's the only way to keep some sanity and partly escape dealing with the outside world. Shameless, Blacklist, Peaky Blinders, American Dad, Stranger Things... give us all of the shows!

phoenix-scottsdale-wedding-florist
phoenix-scottsdale-wedding-florist

About the photos above: We did a styled photo shoot with BTS Event Management this past April (photos soon to come), but had a ton of leftover flowers from it. We hate to see flowers tossed away when they are still so beautiful, so we decided to do something with these super cool carnations. We will be the first to say that carnations definitely get a bad rap (seen as the sad grocery store flowers) BUT carnations are making a comeback. We've been seeing a variety of them coming in from our wholesalers in these amazing colors... plus, they last forever  and are easy to work with. As florists, we're into all of that. So for fun (and #1 on our list above) we chose to partake in a creative outlet and create a Southwest-inspired tablescape with these carnations, a vintage China and crystal set, Crate & Barrel napkins and silverware, copper mugs, and a few decorative pieces from our 1209 decor collection. Ta-da!

 

photos by Nicolas Alexander

It Was All A Dream :: Erin + Patrick

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There is a special connection we have with each and every wedding we are a part of. Every bride and groom's personalities, styles and overall visions for their wedding day are always different, which is why our job is far from dull. Each wedding we do never looks the same as the last, and each team of creatives and vendors we get to work with changes. A couple's wedding day seldom goes forgotten, and we make it a mission to provide flowers and decor that is fitting to who our clients are as individuals.


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wedding-florist-madison-wisconsin

On the day of December 31, 2016, Erin and Patrick were married at The monOrchid... where they also rang in the New Year with their loved ones by their side. These two worked closely with a team of people who came together to create a wedding to be remembered. One of the reasons why this wedding came together seamlessly was because of the quality relationships the vendors already established with one another. With the help of Kris and Tyler from Konsider It Done, a dream team was literally created. When you are working alongside your friends (those who just understand your style and trust in your work) it makes the process that much more amazing. We admire the efforts that every single vendor put into this wedding, especially Kym Ventola. We go wild for her work! She pays attention to the details, the moments, the light, the emotions.... to everything that truly matters in a photograph. She has been featured in countless print and online publications, and once again her work (and the team behind Erin + Patrick's wedding) was highlighted on Junebug Weddings this week! It's always an honor to know that one's work is being seen by people across the world... it's a trippy feeling.

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wedding-florist-madison-wisconsin
wedding-florist-madison-wisconsin
wedding-florist-madison-wisconsin
wedding-florist-madison-wisconsin
wedding-florist-madison-wisconsin
It was all a dream, I used to read Word Up! magazine
Salt-n-Pepa and Heavy D up in the limousine

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wedding-florist-madison-wisconsin
wedding-florist-madison-wisconsin
wedding-florist-madison-wisconsin
wedding-florist-madison-wisconsin
wedding-florist-madison-wisconsin
wedding-florist-madison-wisconsin
We’ll never forget looking out at our friends and family between laughs during the ceremony. It’s humbling to feel the love from so many people rooting for your success with every ounce of their hearts. And then when looking back at each other, we were so filled with undying love, excitement, and pure contentment. We could live in that moment forever.

wedding-florist-madison-wisconsin
wedding-florist-madison-wisconsin
wedding-florist-madison-wisconsin

wedding-florist-madison-wisconsin

Photography: Kym Ventola Photography ❖ Event Planning: Konsider It Done
Venue: The monOrchid ❖ Floral Design: 1209 Creative
Catering: Conceptually Social ❖ Donuts: Welcome Chicken & Donuts
DJ: Ingram Entertainment ❖ Videography: Love Story Films ❖ Invitations: idieh designs
Makeup: SN Makeup Artist ❖ Hair Styling: Vanessa Yvonne Hair ❖ Nail Art: Chica Artista Nails
Wedding Dress: Rime Arodaky via LOHO Bride ❖ Bride’s Ear Cuff: Ryan Storer
Bride’s Shoes: Free People ❖ Custom Leather Jackets: Bananna Bones
Flower Girl Apparel: Carken Design (Leotard), Design by Erica T (Skirt)
Groom’s Apparel: Brothers Tailors
Rings: Hamra (Engagement), House of Diamonds AZ (Hers), Shane Co. (His)
Rentals: Tremaine Ranch (Ceremony Backdrop + Benches), Courtesy CoinAZ Pro Rents

7 Reasons Why We Like Working From Home

Where is your studio? Where's your flower shop located? How do we find you?? Hey, where you at???

We'll never tell.

Just kidding.

We get asked those questions a lot. So, where does 1209 Creative do their work? Sherry and I actually work out of our Phoenix homes. We don't have a public studio or shop and cannot be pinned on Google maps. We do have plans of someday creating a space open to the public, but for now, we are happy and fortunate with where we currently are with 1209 Creative. There are so many positive reasons why working from home has its benefits for us during this newer stage of our business.


phoenix- scottsdale-wedding-florist
phoenix- scottsdale-wedding-florist

7 Reasons Why We Like Working From Home

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  1. No overhead cost for an office. This is a pretty big decision. Yes, I did say that we would like to have a space open to the public, but it's a smart move for our new business to save time and money where we can. We are two very busy gals with a lot on our plates, so managing a separate studio or shop would actually put us behind. We like having our ducks in a row as we expand. 
  2. No need to commute. Bumper to bumper traffic, watching people text and drive, and the waste of time simply sitting in a car... no thanks! 
  3. It helps us manage our time. We are in our own spaces where we feel most comfortable. And because of this, we are able to work better, achieve a longer list of tasks and maintain more of a realistic work-life balance (the best we can).
  4. We can wear whatever we want. We do spend a lot of time outside our homes, but it's nice to feel comfortable on days that we're home catching up on emails or cranking out flower arrangements for an event or wedding. We don't have to worry about people popping in and out while we're in our stretchy pants and t-shirts... or maybe emailing in our undies (no lie, that happens).
  5. Happy Hour is any hour. Enough said.
  6. Don't have to pay a daycare. This is a pretty big deal with a two year old around. Playing Finding Dory or Zootopia on repeat with a bowl of popcorn and fruit keeps Sherry's little one pretty content. It also allows her to spend time with her son while still being able to get some work done. Being a mother and entrepreneur is not an easy thing, but it's doable! 
  7. It makes us happy. We started 1209 Creative a little over a year ago. It's grown so much this past year. Working from our homes has allowed us to accomplish so much within our business, while still being able to focus on other things outside of this. We have learned that it is not easy starting a business of your own, and it takes a lot of time and dedication to grow it. But that's what makes it so rewarding. We are happy and thankful with the pace that we have been growing, and it makes it easier to have everything we need under our roof tops (for now). 

 

phoenix- scottsdale-wedding-florist
phoenix- scottsdale-wedding-florist
phoenix- scottsdale-wedding-florist

phoenix- scottsdale-wedding-florist
phoenix- scottsdale-wedding-florist
phoenix- scottsdale-wedding-florist
phoenix- scottsdale-wedding-florist

The two of us are both located downtown... we literally live down the street from each other (it's pretty awesome how that worked out)! We may work from home, but we are also always out and about. You can find us over at Be Coffee or The Dressing Room a lot of the time (owned by Sherry's hubby). They're our go-to meeting spots because they have all the goodies! So if you're ever in the area and want to get together, reach out! We love meeting new faces and making friends. 

photos by Nicolas Alexander

Christian + Meagan :: A Valentine Engagement

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A simple Valentine's Day inspired engagement shoot for this charming couple. 

"There is only one happiness in this life... to love and be loved." - George Sand
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phoenix- scottsdale-wedding-florist
phoenix- scottsdale-wedding-florist
phoenix- scottsdale-wedding-florist

phoenix- scottsdale-wedding-florist
phoenix- scottsdale-wedding-florist
phoenix- scottsdale-wedding-florist

Photography: April Maura ❖ Rentals: The Confetti Studio ❖ Coordinator: Desert Whim  

Florals: 1209 Creative ❖ Desserts: A Bake Shop

 Hair + Makeup: Kensington Makeup