February 16, 2010

Wedding Flowers and Decor Delivery and Set-up charges demystified

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Occasionally I get questions about delivery and set-up for the flowers on the wedding day.  What is involved with the delivery and set-up?  How long does it take for you to service a wedding on the day of the event? Why am I being charged separate fees for delivery and set-up, transfer of the ceremony flowers to the reception and the pick up rental decor items after the event?  I want to address each question:

What is involved with delivery and set-up?

There are so many aspects to correctly servicing an event.  From the right way to pack a vehicle so the flowers and decor items do not get ruined, to what emergency tools to have on hand.  A few of the little things we pride our selves on are: instructing the bride on how to hold her bouquet, pinning the bridal party’s boutonnieres and corsages so they look great in pictures, being on time for the delivery. But most of all we pride ourselves on our clean, quick and professional work ethic.   There a million little things we handle on wedding day that add up to an event that is perfectly excuted with as little stress as possible on the bride and groom.

How long does it take for you to service a wedding on the day of the event?**

This was my delivery and set up time line for a wedding with approximately $3,900. worth of flowers at Wine and Roses Hotel in Lodi, Ca.  The ceremony that took place at 6:00pm.  I had a team of three people, including myself, that day.

1:00pm- Pack delivery vehicles with wedding flowers and decor

2:00pm- Leave for delivery

2:45pm- Arrive on site to start off loading flowers and decor items into the ballroom

2:45- Start set-up of reception decor in the ballroom.  Includes centerpiece set-up, head table decor, mantle candles and escort card table decor

3:00pm- Shannon delivers bouquets, flower girl flowers, corsages and boutonnieres to the bride’s hotel room.  Show bride and bridesmaids the best way to hold the bouquets.  Pin corsages and boutonnieres on Mother of the bride, Father of the bride and other family members.  Place flowers in flower girl’s hair.

3:30pm- Shannon joins delivery team to continue ballroom set-up

4:00pm- Shannon delivers boutonnieres and corsages to the groom’s hotel room.  Pin boutonnieres and corsages on the groom, groomsmen, ring bearer, Mother of the Groom, Father of the groom and other family members

4:00pm- Delivery team decorates ceremony area.  Decorate arch, place pillars and large arrangements, decorate aisle chairs and sprinkle petals down the aisle.

5:00pm- Shannon and delivery team continue ballroom decor. Decorate the cake with flowers.  Polish glass of all set-up vases.  Help light candles.  Make final pass through the room to make sure everything is perfectly set-up.

6:30pm- Move arch flowers, large arrangements and aisle decor into the ballroom to be re-used as reception decor.  Position flowers in ballroom according to decor plan.

7:00pm- Delivery team leaves.

11:00pm- Two delivery personnel return to breakdown centerpieces and other decor.  Retrieve rental decor items.

12:00pm- Wedding complete.

**Worth noting:  Set up and delivery become extremely tricky if the pictures, the ceremony and the reception are all held at different venues.  In that case I usually have extra team members to make sure the flowers and decor are delivered and ready to go when and where they are required.

Why am I being charged separate fees for delivery and set-up, transfer of the ceremony flowers to the reception and pick-up of rental decor items after the event?

You can see the amount of work and time that goes into servicing a wedding.  I like my couples to see every charge as a line item on their invoice.  So I break down all the day-of service charges so they can see exactly what is involved in the cost of their wedding flowers.  If I did not break out the services charges I would need the hide these charges in the cost of the flowers because I could not possibly absorb the the cost of servicing a wedding (labor, fuel, wear and tear) and still be business.  I prefer to be upfront with my brides and grooms about exactly where their dollars are going.

Many of my couples will choose to have a family member transfer the ceremony flowers to the reception and/or return the rented decor items to us.  If the transfer and the breakdown are simple going this route is a great way to save some money on the bottom line.  Because our invoices are detailed out with each service item being a separate line couples can pick and choose the services they feel fit their event and situation the best.

Images by Sharpe Photography (isn’t Kara gorgeous?)

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Tom Schaefer : 08:29 January 6, 2011
I loved your article. Can you help me with a question? My wedding is next Saturday. We are spending over $10,000 for design because we see the importance. But I am being charged a 30% service fee which seems high. What is a reasonable percentage in your industry? Many thanks. Tom
Shannon : 09:53 January 12, 2011
I all depends on your event and the amount of labor needed to set up your wedding. If that is an additional charge on top of the delivery and set up charge then, yes, that would be excessive. But if the 30% fee includes your delivery and set up then I do not think it is out of the realm of possibility.

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