Booking First Few Weddings

I’ve started to book small weddings for the Summer and early Fall – the weddings I’ve booked so far are perfect for my situation – brides who want beautiful flowers, like my style and are happy to give me some latitude within it, and have a smaller budget or only need personal flowers, so they may not meet the minimum budget requirements of lots of well established wedding florists (I do have a full time non-floral job so I am not equipped right now to do big weddings that would require time off anyhow!)

These are such a win-win – because I’m newly established and looking to build a small side business, I’m still able and willing to spend tons of time and energy consulting with and designing for brides no matter how small their order, and I’m getting experience and photos for my portfolio in a way that fits into my schedule.

I’m wondering what other florists did at this early stage in their business to begin to spread the word about their services?

I’ve tried listings on Craigslist and had some success but I don’t think it’s optimal for budding wedding florists.  I don’t have a budget yet to advertise on wedding blogs or paid directories (or in print obviously!).  And really I’m looking to gain experience doing very small weddings or personal flowers only for the coming year.

I am going to look into listing a small ad in my church bulletin, and in the meantime, have also made a listing on Thumbtack advertising my wedding floral design services.  (Thumbtack seems to be a classed up Craigslist that verifies the credentials of its vendors- I first heard about it because the site emailed me a ‘lead’ – a bride who had posted a listing seeking a wedding florist who I could bid on, and she ended up booking with me).

Anyhow, interested to hear from any more established wedding florists how they first started booking paid weddings (I know that friends weddings are the best way to get the ball rolling, unfortunately I missed the boat and almost all of mine are already married! ; ) and thought I’d pose the question here!

 

 

 

 

 

 

July 25, 2011 - 1:10 pm

janet - Call me and I’d be happy to tell you about my experience!

July 25, 2011 - 4:45 pm

Spencer - Make sure you have all of your weddings you already have booked leave testimonials on the knot/the nest. I follow a few wedding photographers that were pretty small time that eventually went to the big time from just that.

July 26, 2011 - 7:33 am

Holly - Hi Kate!
When I was revving up for more official paid work I found it most helpful to take little stacks of business cards around to the venues in the area and shake hands with the venue coordinators. Tell them how much you admire their rental space and how honored you would be to fill it with flowers. Most importantly ask if they have a preferred vendors list and how you can make the list. I got all my first year work via referrals from photographers, planners, caterers, and venue coordinators that I slipped cards to.

Good Luck your work is gorgeous!!
Holly

July 26, 2011 - 8:31 am

Lesley - Hi! – I’m not a florist so I can’t advise – but I wanted to wish you the best of luck. I have enjoyed reading your blog for quite a while and love your style – if I were a bride in your area, I know I wouldn’t hesitate.

My main job is as a writer (flowers are an obsession, but a hobby) and I built my business just as you are doing – -start small – but as Spencer says above, gather testimonials – you might even want to branch out to another blog (or this one) as a showcase for your talent and add the testimonials to that. I added testimonials to my writing site and they regularly bring me work.

As I said, best of luck – I look forward to seeing lots of lovely pictures of the beautiful bouquets you will create.

July 26, 2011 - 12:37 pm

Quintessential Lauren - Hi there,

I started my floral business two years ago as an “on the side” thing too. I still focus on personal flowers and smaller centerpieces. My best advertising was and still is word of mouth. Research free listings like Wedding Wire and mywedding.com. I’m still not paying for any advertising and I’ve managed to double and almost triple my bookings and am even to the point where I’m sadly having to turn things down. Reviews are great if you can get brides to write them!

Good luck to you, it’s a fun and rewarding adventure and the hard work is worth it!

July 26, 2011 - 4:19 pm

Kate - Thank you! Much appreciated and nice to hear from someone else doing it on the side!

July 26, 2011 - 4:20 pm

Kate - Thanks so much – testimonials / reviews are a great idea!

July 26, 2011 - 4:20 pm

Kate - Thank you – will definitely plan to do this! Appreciate it Holly!

July 26, 2011 - 4:21 pm

Kate - Thanks Spencer ; )

July 26, 2011 - 5:09 pm

dayanra - this is news to me..i found your blog when i needed to do some small centerpieces with carnations…i just now realized that you are starting your business…you are amazing and i love your style there is no doubt that you will be a top florist! keep up the excellent work 😉

July 26, 2011 - 9:06 pm

courtnee - Hi! I just discovered your blog. I love it! I’m in a similar situation. I’ve worked for a florist and I’m very interested in starting to book smaller jobs and build my business.

I love all the feedback. It’s great to have another resource to gather inspiration:)

July 26, 2011 - 10:19 pm

Kate - Thanks so much Dayanara!

August 16, 2011 - 8:23 am

Emelie - I agree with what’s said above. Wedding fairs is really good, but it cost more… But why not cooperate with some other companys in the wedding business? venues, photographers, hair dressers, brides wear shops ect. Exchange business cards and but them on each others counter/table. Facebook is also great!

//Emelie

August 16, 2011 - 12:30 pm

Kate - Thanks Emelie – I think you’re right, that until word of mouth referrals start coming from previous brides, the best source of new business could be referrals from other vendors through networking (over advertising). I very much appreciate the tip!

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