There are so many beautiful weddings where all the details range from simply adorable, considerate to exquisite! However, there are certain details that shouldn’t be taken lightly as we’ve discussed in our past articles. We thought a detail like flowers at a wedding were always important, but we learned quickly that arranging flowers for a wedding has a lot more work involved than just buying them from a store and sticking them in a vase. We spent a week with Kerim Albanez, floral designer, event consultant and owner at My Wedding Blooms and talked to him for his expertise on the subject. Located in Los Angeles, CA, we saw the extensive process and care that goes into each floral arrangement. Overall, we’ve gathered that Kerim creates beautiful pieces with top quality flowers to ensure that your wedding looks stunning from beginning and past the end. Aside from his 26 years of experience, Kerim’s sweet and down-to-earth attitude is always a wonderful welcome to all stressful brides.
Q. What can a professional floral designer do for a client?
A. “Your flowers, your way!” Whatever my client asks of me, it’s what I do. Yes, there’s styles that I like for myself, but not to where someone else can say, “that’s all he does”. So if I have a client that asks me to do something modern, I’ll do something modern. If the client wants something rustic, I’ll do something rustic–whatever they want, I’ll do it. I bring you my expertise and peace of mind!
Q. How far in advance should a client book My Wedding Blooms?
A. Preferably, the sooner the better because we don’t over book ourselves. There are times where we can do two weddings in one day, but the times and locations have to be just right, and the one that actually determines whether we can take another wedding, is the first one to book. So if someone’s wedding has extensive detail and so on, to where I’m going to be using all my resources and all my people, we won’t take another wedding that day. With that said, we’ve had clients who book us 18 months in advance, and I have people calling me down to 4 days before the wedding wanting a consultation. (& I was able to pull it off in 4 days time) As long as I’m available, I can do it in such short notice but I don’t advise it for the sake of anyone’s sanity. Hahaha!
Q. Is there a process you and the staff go through in preparing for a wedding?
First, we prepare containers and gather all the supplies that are
needed for the wedding. Second, we receive and hydrate the flowers,
which means they need to be placed in water to allow them to reabsorb
the fluids they lost during shipping. Remember, these flowers come from
all around the world: Colombia, Ecuador, Thailand–everywhere! Third,
the flowers have to be cleaned and made ready for the final
process–making the arrangements. All of this is done in the process of
one week. So as everyone can see, the process is a lot more involved
then just bringing them back from the store and re-bunching them.
Q. What if a client has extravagant tastes, but a small budget?
It happens a lot. Thanks to the internet, everyone has access to a lot
of photos for ideas and unfortunately, these photos and ideas don’t
include the prices. So I have a lot of clients bringing me photos with
extravagant center pieces and their budget is not enough for what
they’re asking for. Realistically, if something is really extravagant,
it can’t be done with a very small budget, no matter where the bride
would go or even if she were to get the flowers herself. A lot of times
someone may have an idea for an arrangement, and let’s say, their proposal comes out to
be X amount of dollars
for what they want. However, it turns out that their budget only allows for half of that quote. But there are situations where flowers can be substituted for
something else, that will lower the price, but the client has to be
willing to accept adjustments first. But, if they’re very set to “this is
what I want, this is what I want,” and their budget is solid, it just
Q. Other wedding
professionals like hairstylists and makeup artists offer “trial runs”.
Do you have something similar, like a trial bouquet or centerpiece?
Everyone gets a free sample piece once they book. And that is so that
they can see their ideas materialized and from that point on they can
make adjustments if needed. Unfortunately, we do not make sample bridal
bouquets because the flowers we use are at a completely different level
and if I have to make a free sample of the bridal bouquet, then we would
both be in the red when it comes to price.
Q. How do you handle substitutions?
A. Flower substitutions to meet the budget is one thing–that is something that the client will know from the very beginning. But let’s say someone brings me a picture of a tall center piece that is mostly roses, peonies and other high end flowers. I will suggest using hydrangeas to cut the cost but still keep the height and volume to create the same effect. This is something the client will know from the first meeting. But then there are substitutions due to unforeseen natural disasters, like the tsunami in 2004 in Thailand (whom are the biggest producers of orchids in the world). I had an all orchid wedding booked 2 weeks after the disaster happened, and the orchid plantations in Thailand were completely destroyed. So we had to order our flowers from plantations in Hawaii which are a lot more expensive, and the other orchids we had to order from Denmark and New Zealand and then charge the difference. Fortunately though, these are all very, very rare situations.
Q. How many weddings do you book for a weekend?
We can book up to 4 weddings per weekend and that’s Friday through
Sunday, and as I mentioned before, if the times and locations are just
Q. What’s your advice to the DIY brides?
A. Don’t do it! Hahaha! But in all seriousness, I did the flowers for my own wedding and I don’t recommend it. Weddings are a one day event and it felt like I was working on the same wedding for 2 days straight. On top of that, I had huge bags under my eyes and the stress with it all was tough. But if brides insist on doing their own flowers, please ask for advice. I don’t mind answering occasional questions, but I will say this now, don’t use flowers that will wilt fast and not last for the reception, or even before the ceremony. Consider the weather because that’s always important. Stay away from hydrangeas in your bouquet!
Q. How do you handle the day of the wedding?
A. It depends on how hot the weather is. Because if the ceremony and reception is outside, I’m not going to arrive at 10am and expose the flowers to 100 degree weather for hours before the wedding begins. I’d rather come a little later, and bring additional staff to help me just so that the flowers are as fresh as they can be and be done at least 30 minutes before the early guests arrive.
Q. What is one thing about your business that you take pride in?
A. Quality, service, and the fact that I really love weddings. My goal at My Wedding Blooms is not to sell people as much as I can, but to make sure that their wedding is perfect the way they want it. Sometimes, that entitles me to tell my clients “you don’t need this”, “you don’t need that”, “don’t get this”, “don’t get that”, which at the end saves them money. My goal every weekend is to just make beautiful weddings. I take great pride in my quality and we provide very good service for our clients; I stand behind it 100%!
Love what you see? Call My Wedding Blooms to set up an appointment for your consultation!
1663 Blake Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90031
Phone: (323) 227-6600
Fax: (323) 227-6601
Have an amazing day, and remember to breathe.
As a fun loving couple, we love hearing “I Dos!” We provide beautiful photography and unique albums for your upcoming wedding and we capture who and what you represent to each other. Be sure to view our portfolio, and blog featuring Wedding Tips and Experts We Love interviews to plan your perfect day!