Choosing A Vendor: Florals - Lilac & Lace - Lara Stasiw West Toronto Real Estate Blog

Choosing a vendor is a lot like choosing a real estate agent. You want to find someone who can see your vision, cares about your goals & has your best interest in mind!

Working with someone who is like-minded & loves what they do can transform your entire experience. Florals may not cause as big a dent in your bank account as buying a house, but it can add up to a sizable percentage of your event budget. For weddings, it’s the forefront of most pictures & sets a visual tone for your whole day. No pressure, but florals are a big deal! The vendor you use should be too.

Okay great, thanks for the pressure Lara. But how do I decide? 

Great question.

Choosing A Vendor: Florals - Lilac & Lace - Lara Stasiw West Toronto Real Estate Blog

Introducing Reine: Owner & brilliant mind behind Lilacs & Lace.

I have known Reine for 7(?) years both professionally & personally. If you’ve read my bio you’ll know I spent close to 10 years working retail in home decor. Reine was my manager for the better part of that time! Becoming friends was an instant & natural progression.

Given our history, I can personally attest to her professionalism, quality of work & level of integrity. She doesn’t rest until everything is perfect & you are happy (sounds far fetched but honestly – she will & HAS pulled countless all-nighters perfecting her work). On top of all that, she is REALLY talented!

I’m the expert in real estate, Reine is the expert in florals & event decor. So I’ve asked her a few questions!

Reine: Lilacs & Lace, primarily, is a creator of event florals and tabletop decor. But there is virtually nothing that I will say no to. We have made invitations, constructed money boxes, arbors, itinerary signs, and the like. Our main specialty however is everything floral!

How did you get started in floral design? Was it always your passion?

Reine: When I was sixteen I was supposed to be a doctor. At twenty a professor. At twenty five a visual merchandiser. And in between that all, I’ve yet to abandon my dream of being a reclusive but terrifyingly successful author with a house on a lake and a wrap around porch. So no, flowers were not always my passion. But somewhere during my decade in retail management I started to really enjoy making floral arrangements. We worked so closely with brides, interior designers and just regular folks looking to spruce up a dining table— so when they thought that we were professionals decorators, we sort of just became them. I had repeated customers returning to me every season for a new floral arrangement, then we kept them in stock for new guests and eventually all I wanted to do was play with flowers. A few years ago, with a not so subtle reminder that life is far too short, I started Lilacs & Lace and recruited my siblings to follow my dreams with me!

I'm just going to put it all out there in one all encompassing question...
How does someone pick a floral vendor?

Reine: Pick a floral vendor the way you’d pick a friend— do you like them? Could you share a meal with them, chat over a cup of coffee? This might not seem like the most important thing at first, but the simple act of forming a genuine relationship with your florist (or any vendor) relies heavily on whether or not you get along. A lot of clients base this decision so heavily on the cost of the vendor, and though your budget is important, a positive relationship ensures proper communication throughout the duration of your professional relationship. Most of the time, this will open a channel of communication where you can address your budget and your florist, now FRIEND, will be happy to make suggestions and look for ways to cut costs if that is a concern.

I love florals, but I'm not a flower expert.
What if a client is unsure of their floral "style"?

Reine: Most of us are unsure of our floral style. Florals are difficult to translate the same way we would identify our fashion sense— there isn’t necessarily one word for each style, as so many flowers can be used across all looks. The one thing I would advise you to identify is what you do not like. By narrowing our options simply by cutting out the things you don’t like, this allows us to present you with other categories that you might never have heard of. If you tell me you hate pink and nothing at your wedding should sparkle— I am immediately envisioning a particular aesthetic that leans away from those key words.

How much notice do you need to do florals for an event? What is wedding industry standard?

Reine: Most floral studios require services to be booked within 9 months of the event date. But this number really does depend on how large and how busy the particular vendor is. I’ve put together weddings in less than a month, and I’ve also had events booked a year in advance. If you are very particular about the type and shade of flower you need, the more time you give your florist the better. We have seen flowers come in slightly lighter or darker than pictured, so if you think your unique shade might take a few orders to get right, be sure that your vendor has the time to reorder samples just in case. I ask that clients book about six months in advance. This leaves ample time for us to meet at least once, so that I can get to know you and to better understand your taste and style.

I LOVE flowers & know florals/greenery are a huge part of my style & are therefore a priority for my events, but this is different for everyone.
Do you work with all budgets? Does a small budget always have to be a huge visual compromise?

Reine: We will work with any budget you have in mind. The key to navigating a budget is understanding what you can achieve with a particular budget in mind. If you want to keep your costs low, but insist on having peonies and hydrangeas— then we might be able to get you one or two good arrangements. Small budgets need open minds. You need to be willing to look at less expensive florals to make a greater impact. If you are flexible with your floral choice with regards to style and colour, a smaller budget is significantly easier to work with. When something does not have to be custom ordered or imported, and can be grabbed from stock materials, smaller budgets do not pose much difficulty.

Last but not least, will you make open house arrangements for me?!?

Reine: Yes and yes. What I love about these tasks is that no job is too small. Suppliers usually have minimum purchase amounts, so we’re required to buy 36 stems when maybe we only need 12. This means you might pay a little more for a single arrangement than you would ordering online or using a mass supplier, but it also means that you’re helping a small business keep a dream alive.

More on Lilacs & Lace

Reine’s writing is a whole other talent in itself… (she majored in English at UofT & it shows!).
If Reine’s humour left you wanting more, she has started a blog of her own that I encourage you all to take a look at!

Lara Stasiw • Real Estate Agent & Home Design Connoisseur

Lara Stasiw West Toronto Real Estate Blog

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