One of the biggest parts of my creative process includes orchestrating a floral and design mock up for clients.
A mock up is essentially an opportunity to set up a complete tablescape for my clients so they can see their flowers, stationery, rentals, linens, candles, and other miscellaneous details all together in advance of the wedding. I used to only offer mock ups to clients that requested them but over the past year have included them in the cost of my services so they are available to everyone. These personalized mock ups are such a tremendous asset to the way I serve my clients and below is a little more on why.
Mock ups help me quote my clients more efficiently.
While some florists and designers are pretty great at knowing what to order based on each event’s needs, I find mock ups help to maximize profit and ensure I’m not over or under purchasing product. Creating a centerpiece to illustrate a design for a client allows me to better determine my recipe and ensure I purchase just what I need for the wedding plus a little extra for padding (something I do regardless). This helps me structure pricing in a way that is calculated and fair versus a way that feels like a guessing game that could potentially miss the mark.
Mock ups help ensure I am meeting a client’s expectations.
Because my team and I are so involved in the design of an entire wedding there are hundreds of details being proposed from our end to the client’s for consideration. While many can come across as straight forward (e.g. ‘an 8 foot table’ which is easy to picture), some require a bit more of a description and even, seeing in person to make sure every one involved is on the same page (e.g. ‘a garden compote created with blush floral varieties in a gold compote vessel’; What shade of blush? What size of container? Are we talking a brassy or a mercury glass gold?) I liken this to why gown shops offer alterations, caterers and bakers hold tastings, and stationers send virtual proofs. Our goal as designers and providers is to ensure we are delivering what our client will love in order to meet their expectations. And I’m going to do everything I can to set myself up for success!
Mock ups allow ample time for my clients and me to troubleshoot details ahead of the big day.
This reason is probably the biggest of all in favor of a mock up! Mock ups help me to work collaboratively with my clients and their team of vendors to troubleshoot potential problems before they can unfold on the day of. A few examples of some things that could come up at a mock up helping you to avoid disasters on the big day? A new vase you’re hoping to use for a wedding requires a liner because the material seeps water. Or a linen you’re dying to incorporate which looks beautiful online needs an underlay in real life so the table underneath doesn’t show. Or perhaps the centerpieces you’re creating are actually too big for your tables given that your client is having a family style dinner. A mock up in this circumstance would allow you to see if there is adequate room for platters of food on the tables or if you’ll need to consider a different table size or arrangement altogether.
As my pricing has changed over the past years, I’ve learned to incorporate the average cost of a mock up into the investment for my services. One reason I’ve done this is to avoid clients feeling like they’re being nickel and dimed. The other is to further establish HGE as a high end, all inclusive boutique business. I WANT my clients to have the luxury of a mock up experience and the peace of mind knowing what they can expect on the big day.
Since the cost of a mock up can obviously add up very quickly when you consider the price of flowers, linens and napkins, rentals, candles and stationery, plus the time and effort you’ll give, below are a few tips and tricks to help you maximize your efforts IF and WHEN you too decide to offer this as an inclusion to your clients!
ONE: Schedule a mock up around another milestone where you could utilize your florals or rentals a second time. Having a dinner party for a friend? Use the linens and napkins from the mock up! Did new neighbors just move into your neighborhood? Repurpose your mock up centerpieces into a welcome arrangement! In the past I’ve had mock ups where I’ve had to order more florals than needed for the tablescape so I’ve used the leftover blooms to make a bouquet for my bride or an arrangement she can bring home with her as a surprise. Or I’ve scheduled mock ups around a holiday and offered pop up shop arrangements using the flowers I would otherwise toss. If you think creatively about your mock ups you can make them worthwhile!
TWO: Communicate the benefits of a mock up to the other visual vendors playing a part in the wedding. Chances are they would be willing to cover the costs of their contributions in order to make sure the client is happy and the wedding will look as beautiful as possible. When I don’t host a mock up in the HGE studio, I instead bring everything to the rental company hired for the event, where I am graciously offered space in their showroom and complimentary access to the rentals for the mock up. This gives me a chance to show my clients everything to scale but also allows them a chance to see different rental options should they feel indecisive about their choices. Many times I myself have used the time at a mock up to play around with charger patterns, linens, or chairs and the final outcome has changed drastically from where my clients and I started design-wise!
THREE: Consider having your mock ups photographed (like I did here for Christine and Nick’s Chicago wedding in July!) Professional photographs allow you and your client to see how your designs will look from the eyes of your photographer who often captures things differently than you can on your iPhone. It also allows the photographer to get a feel for the wedding ahead of time. Finally, the professional pics from your mock up are an awesome way to share your work on social media, share the love with vendors, and add to your portfolio.
If you’re a wedding vendor, I’d love to hear more about your thoughts on mock ups!
Also, a huge thank you to Sam of Bradley James Photography for coming to the studio to snap these photos for me! While Sam isn’t the one photographing the real wedding in July, having these photos was very helpful for me and my bride to see and make final decisions on things like the chargers, linens, napkin color, and centerpiece quantity per table! Plus, the photos (and that color palette!) are so pretty right?
Happy Monday, friends! Xoxo