My bridal bouquet post was a big hit! I'm glad everyone found it so helpful. I really needed to get it written. It's hard to explain how flowers work on a tropical island and I think I've written that exact post in emails about 100 times in the past couple of years (sans pictures, which I'm sure made it more confusing for brides). I've received a few questions about centerpieces...does it work the same way? And then I posted a FABULOUS centerpiece picture on our Facebook page last weekend and that sparked some questions as well. So I decided to do another blog post on how centerpieces work.
The quick answer is, yes, they do work the same way. I think this photo is a perfect example:
A bride recently sent me this photo to see how much a centerpiece like this would cost for her reception. I showed it to our florist, who said an exact replica of this would be $600 but if they had the freedom of what flowers to use, it would be $400 (that's a significant savings...imagine if you had to do 10 tables...that's a $2000 cost difference). The centerpieces would look the same, but just different flowers would be used.
My centerpieces for last weekends wedding sparked a lot of interest. My iPhone did not do them justice. Here are some pictures from a real camera:
This is really a perfect example of how centerpieces work here. All of the elements to our method apply. First, the bride sent me this photo and asked for a price quote:
As you can see for yourself...1) It's beautiful....but 2) there isn't a TON of info to go on. I knew she liked the sea fans, the blue orchids, the overall white theme (she was ok with green too) with the blue accents...but you can't see what type of base the flowers are in, or the overall size/shape of the centerpiece. My bride was going to have long dinner tables, so we envisioned this to be the length of the table. My bride did not care what type of containers the flowers were in so I suggested something low to the table. This way guests can easily see over them and so that we weren't spending too much money on rentals (a clear glass square vase is going to be more expensive than a cheap plastic bowl that you won't even see because it is so low to the table). The bride did not care about what type of white flowers were used. She did really want the blue orchids but as it is just the same for bouquets, I told her lets just request the blue orchids but not demand them. I was pretty confident that the florist would be able to use them without us specifying that they were a "must have" which overall, is going to save you money. You just have to be willing to live without them if they are not available.
The florist, as I predicted, was able to use the blue dendrobium orchids, and she included the sea fans and the starfish (which were returned to her after the wedding). She used a low bowl so guests did not see what the flowers were in. This centerpiece (per table - note: two tables were used in the above pictures) was $200 per table. But, as gorgeous as this table was, not every element was provided by me, or the florist. The bride added her own special touches, which I set up for her (that's part of my job - you want to mail me something and have me set it up? I'm happy to do so! I love to see what my brides come up with on their own). So...let me break it down some more:
Provided by the florist: vases with sand...sea fans...starfish...flower arrangements
Provided by me: arrangement on the table (I got so many compliments for it too! I felt bad...it was the brides vision and the florist put the flowers together...I just arranged them on the table - I guess this is where my education in design helps me out)
Provided by the bride: table runner, name card holders & name cards, blue votive holders
I have an album on our Shutterfly pages called "Fun Stuff" (help me out with a cooler name!). This album highlights the items that our brides do on their own, like those really cool name card holders and blue votives. I once had a bride ask me for pricing on a few items she found in the "Fun Stuff" album and I had explained to her that those were items that past brides had brought with them or shipped in advance. Her response was "so I have to bring everything I want with me???" and NO...you don't. But often times, it IS cheaper. For one, I am not a party supply rental company. I don't have the storage space (although I do have the hoarder tendencies!). For this particular wedding, the bride wanted blue votive holders...the next may want red, or green, or silver, etc. You might need five...or fifty! There is not a company on the island that we can rent these items from and I know my husband would kill me if I tried to collect every color! So yes, it's cheaper to purchase these types of items on your own. You can send them to me in advance or bring them with you (if you order online, you can have items sent directly to me, which saves in you shipping fees - don't send them to yourself just to box them up again and send them to me). We can pretty much get anything you need or want, but more often than not, you'll be able to get it cheaper on your own. Between the florist and myself, we do have some elements for centerpieces to rent (the florist has a ton of different sized, colored and shaped vases) so don't buy anything without checking with me first to see if we already have it here.
IMPORTANT TO CONSIDER IN REGARDS TO CENTERPIECES: keep in mind that some of the elements of a centerpiece may be rented, from either me or the florist. If the vase is rented, it must go back to the florist. It is customary at many stateside weddings that guests can take the centerpieces at the end of the night but with rented items, this is not always possible. We've actually had to stop some guests on their way out of a reception and let them know they were welcome to keep the flowers, but the container would need to stay. Discuss options with your wedding planner if you would like guests to be able to take flowers with them at the end of night.
We also often purchase items from brides - if you are bringing or mailing something in advance that you think we can reuse again in the future, let us know!
By the way...how freaking GORGEOUS was my bride?? Check her out as she admires her centerpieces:
And a gorgeous photo by Blue Glass Photography...