Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Bring Your Own? Not to a Wedding!

I have occasionally been amazed at the lengths to which people will go in order to save a penny. I'm not denigrating them, since I've always been on a budget and had to save where I could. But there is one place where attempting to save money by "bringing your own" is (or easily could be) a disaster. I am speaking of weddings. 

A florist friend of mine posted on Facebook recently that a bride had asked him if he would design the wedding flowers if she provided flowers that she would buy elsewhere (probably through an on-line "wholesaler"). I put that in quotes because if they sell to the public, they are not really a wholesaler.

In order for a florist to guarantee his work, he has to order the flowers himself, after careful consideration of the color scheme, the style the bride wants and the wedding budget,  from a reputable wholesaler or grower, whom he can trust to supply the best/freshest available product. If a bride or other family member wants to buy the flowers elsewhere, the designer florist cannot guarantee any aspect of it, and the bride is at the mercy of the company from whom she orders.

I heard one horror story recently; a bride called saying that the on-line company she had ordered all her flowers from had cancelled the order on the Monday before her Saturday wedding. They gave her no reason and she had no recourse at that point. I can assure you that the local wholesale flower company did not look kindly on her request to provide what she needed immediately(!!)  - indeed they turned her down flat. To be fair, she did not have the ability to buy wholesale anyway - not being in the business. I don't know what happened or if she was able to get flowers at the last minute. Wouldn't you hate being in that position?

When relating this story before, I found out that people do that to caterers all the time - meaning they ask if they can provide the food and have the caterer cook, transport and serve. It is the same problem for them as it is for florists. They cannot guarantee the quality if they have not ordered from a reputable supplier, one they can trust to deliver the best quality.

Booze is another item that people want to supply themselves, and have the caterers/club servers do the uncorking, decanting and serving. As that knocks out a lot of profit for the reception host, most will deny that request - unless you agree to pay an uncorking fee. I can sort of sympathize with brides and their parents on this one, since alcohol products are costly, even for the lower grades. Depending on the type of venue you choose for your reception, you might have the option to provide your own alcohol - so if that is your hope- make your reception venue selection carefully.

The profit made on the sale of booze is the same for food and flowers. Florists and caterers make money on their flowers and foods as well as their planning, service and delivery. You can understand, I hope, why allowing you to supply your own might not be in their best interests, nor ultimately, in yours.

17 comments:

Evil Twin's Wife said...

We had an open bar serving only wine and beer at our wedding. However, I was very specific about the champagne for the toast and the venue was good enough to let my dad bring it in. (He also tipped $1500, so I guess that made it all worth it in the end).

Lynn said...

My sister and brother in law provided the alcohol for their daughter's wedding reception (they could get it cheaper at the Army PX) and they ran out before the reception was over. I guess a caterer would know how to figure how much is needed.

I work for a commercial printer and people often want to supply their own paper for printing projects. We allow that, but it does cut out a little profit we make when we order the paper.

LL Cool Joe said...

Wow that would be like me dj-ing at a wedding and the people choosing ALL the music they want me to play. It just wouldn't work because it's my job to play the right music at the right moment. Mind you I've known dj's who've had to do this and then be criticised when no one danced!

Pat said...

Now I understand the meaning of the word 'cheapskate.'
Why employ professionals and then treat them like that?

NellJean said...

Well put, Judy.

Arkansas Patti said...

Pat said what I was thinking. The purpose of hiring professionals is that you know it will be done right and with no stress on your behalf. Guess I am not cheap enough.

sage said...

Most people spend way too much on weddings to start with and need to spend more on their marriage, just saying...

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

I indeed can understand, Judy. I don't understand someone NOT "getting" that part of the profit for Caterers and Florists, etc., comes from buying their own....
As to the Booze...like you, I understand that from the Party Givers point of view somewhat better. The mark-up on Booze is pretty stiff.
I know my Caterer, Will, actually doesn't want to be bothered with the Booze when he has done a big party for me...he actually encourages me to get it myself BECAUSE it won't cost as much...I don't know if he does that with ALL his clients, but he does with me....And, frankly, I appreciate it!

Gilly said...

Oh dear, Judy, I think you would have hated us at my daughter's (first) wedding!

She wanted to do all the flowers herself - at least, she and two of her Art College friends. And they wanted wild flowers! So the day before we all went into the fields and hedgerows and came back with berries, autumnal leaves, Old Man's beard (it was October), plus white shaggy chrysanthemums she had pre-ordered from a florist and they all got together in our garage to do these flowers. Which included her bouquet, the bridesmaids ditto, and a huge pile we took to the church, to the horror of the flower ladies there who wouldn't let us anywhere near the place!!

But,, they did a beautiful job, and it all looked lovely, if very different!

And the catering was done, completely, by a team from our church, who charged a very reasonable fee and took control of the whole lot!

Mar said...

You said it very clearly!!

Ginnie said...

I'm thrifty, to say the least, but I would never consider cutting the floral, food or alcohol people out of their well-deserved profit.
I've been to some at home weddings that were perfectly lovely and those three items were done non professionally. That is an entirely different thing and a good way to save without hurting feelings or pocketbooks.

Granny Annie said...

One word for those wanting to save money on their wedding...ELOPE:)

Peter said...

puts a new light on BYO!!!
I've been meaning to "ask" is this your old blog revived or did you rename the new one?

Grannymar said...

If I were getting married again, I would go away marry quietly then come home and have a party.

Imaginography said...

I totally agree Judy. It is similar for photographers as I often hear of horror stories where Brides use a friend or family member with a good camera, or a very chap photographer and then don't get the pictures they want. I also hate being asked to do a job and then asked for a disc with the images on. It mean that I cannot guarantee the quality of any products from those images as they will not be done by a pro lab and it also means I am effectively giving away the copy write on images I own, which means I am less likely to make a profit. Great educational post :)

~ Bobkat

Jay said...

As you know, I've been into the wedding business myself lately, and I love creative, DIY aspects, but I wholly believe that you cannot ask a professional to do 50% of his or her job. If you want to do the flowers, then do your flowers (at your own risk). But you can't order cheap flowers and ask a florist - my god, I can't even imagine that, what an insult. Personally, I LOVE flowers at a wedding and usually incorporate tonnes - and I want them done right, because flowers are about the WOW.

John said...

Amen to that! Very good article and I tweeted it from our florist twitter account!