So You Want to be a Wedding Florist?
“If I wasn’t a pharmacist, I think I’d be a wedding florist.”
Don’t get me wrong- I absolutely LOVE what I do. In fact, if you ask me what else I would do in life, I draw a big ol’ blank. Trust me. I know. I’ve tried to think about that. Typically on Saturday night around 10:30 when I’m dragging my tired ass off the couch to go do a clean up in the city after a full week of hard work and wrestling my children to bed.
Being a wedding florist (or a florist in general) is a. lot. of. hard. work. Those pictures you see of a florist with a bunch of gorgeous blooms slung over her shoulder- there’s a reason you don’t see her face. It’s covered in sweat. Her mascara, if she’s wearing any, is smudged under her eyes. And she’s telling the photographer to “hurry up, I’ve got 15 more centerpieces and 20 boutonnieres to make and I really just need coffee and a snack.”
If you’re thinking about a career in floristry, here are a few things to consider (I’m going to start with the ugly first)…
Do You Want to be an Owner or a Designer for an Established Studio?
This is an important question to ask yourself. Do you feel deeply that owning the business is your destiny? Or, do you really just love the art and designing aspect?
As the owner of a wedding floral studio, you will not only be managing clients’ expectations during a highly emotional time in their life (read: family drama, perfectionism driven by Pinterest, and nerves), you will be dealing with supply chain issues, product quality, staffing and management, everything human resources, logistics, marketing, etc. etc. etc. Like in most small businesses, the floral studio owner wears all of the hats. Over time, hiring more staff may become possible and delegating some of these tasks out can be done if you are successful. But at first, you will do all of this AND be the primary designer. Or maybe you’ll have a partner and split it up a little. And you’ll also split the profits.
When I first started my business I had another full time job and I spent nearly all of my free time working in or on my business. Any money I made from flowers went right back into it buying supplies, vases, and a cooler. It was my passion though, so I didn’t mind. It didn’t feel like work. Plus, I got to do all of the creative designing for my clients. After over 9 years in business my time is now spent 75% in the office or in consultations and 25% designing. I won’t lie- I often miss touching flowers.
As a designer working for an established shop or studio, there is far less pressure. You won’t be hiring, ordering, meeting with clients, etc (unless it is in your job description to do so). You work your hours and create beautiful things during that time and you go home- sort of- not really.
It is HARD work to be a wedding florist! Designing all day everyday can take a toll. You’re standing all the time, you are always wet, and you’re either hot or cold. You’ll drink your coffee with a side of foliage, your hands will be torn to shreds from rose thorns, and you’ll never appreciate orthotic shoes more. Also- don’t let me fool you into thinking that the ONLY thing a designer does is create beautiful flowers. Floral designers also process flowers, wash buckets, sweep floors, prep hard goods, answer phones, and lots more depending on the structure of the shop. The less experience you have, the more boutonnieres and bud vases you’ll be doing until you earn your stripes to make the glorious pieces you see on Instagram.
There is the matter of seasonality and employment status, too. Work can be up and down. Hours can be long and plentiful and then come to a screeching halt during off season. You must be good at managing your own cash flow and possibly be open to working multiple jobs and balancing your schedule. You may be considered part time, seasonal, or be a freelancer. Often, the job does not come with traditional benefits.
Are You Willing to Give Up Weekends?
If you want to be a wedding florist, you have to be willing to give up a lot of weekends. Depending on where in the country you are and the type of shop you own/work in, it could be almost every weekend or just half of the year during the busiest season. I cannot tell you how many birthday parties, family dinners, and holiday gatherings I have missed over the years because I was working. Or, I’ve shown up exhausted and smelly from doing a sweaty wedding installation, only to stay for a couple of hours so I can go back to tear down again. As my kids grow, I know I will miss many games and performances. Again, it’s my business and my passion and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. But it certainly creates an emotional challenge. Fortunately, my family and friends have been nothing but supportive of my endeavors for the past almost 10 years.
Do You Want to Make A Lot of Money?
If you answered yes, then NO, you do not want to be a wedding florist. You can google it and come up with a bunch of different answers. The most positive of which being- a shop owner can make up to $100k/year. And that’s for a super successful and established shop with retail. Girl, that’s a unicorn. The most common answer, $20k annually for a designer. How’s that Pharmacist career looking now?
I worked a full time job for 3 years while I built The Blue Daisy Floral Designs. In those 3 years I did not take an owners draw (pay myself) once. I put all of the money back into growing the business. That said, I did charge what I was worth for my experience during that time. I never worked for free. As I gained more experience and clout in the industry I charged more to reflect the quality of my designs. If I were to do it again, I would pay myself from the start to make the transition to a full-time owner easier.
The Bright Side to Being a Wedding Florist
Nothing compares to that moment of seeing a bride light up when she sees the bouquet you worked so hard on. To have a client, at the end of a consultation, tell me that they are so excited about their wedding flowers and that I put them at ease is priceless to me. Seeing a ballroom transform in a matter of hours and the pride I take in my staff and the amazing job they do- it’s the pride of a mother watching her child score the winning goal. That’s what makes it worth it and what keeps me going after over 9 years.
Want to know if becoming a wedding florist is right for you? Or, if you’ve already begun the journey and have questions about… anything, I offer 1 hour video mentoring lessons. I’d love to be real with you and help you however I can.