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Perfect Planning for Weddings & Events

There is an old Karen proverb……(!)

Planning is crucial to a successful outcome”

My Top Six Pieces of Advice:

  1. Always have a structured plan and think of ‘what if’ scenarios.

  2. Have digital copies and paper copies.

  3. Think clearly when planning and take time to do this.

  4. Think profit; you need to make a healthy profit margin.

  5. Think of future business; recommendations, repeat business, reviews.

  6. Look after your team.

I can’t stress enough, how much each of the above pieces of advice are crucial when planning for a wedding or event. Planning includes buying, logistics, operations and making a profit.


  • After your wedding consultations, you will have created your proposal. Within that you will have worked out what you should include within each design, estimated a rough cost and calculated the skill/labour costs.

  • Always allow a 10% contingency within the estimate, this will allow for ad hoc discrepancies.

  • Be clear if you are adding delivery fees, skill/labour fees, any taxes and expenses to the estimate, or be clear you have included these elements within the estimate.


  • Work out stem counts and sundries required for each piece of work, each design.

  • Calculate what you require, based on discussions with clients, for each element of the event. These are recipes.

  • From these recipes, create a master spreadsheet that includes all your stems and sundries, adding extra stems/branches etc to allow for discrepancies.

  • Speak with your suppliers and ask for estimates/discounts for volume prior to ordering.

  • If variety choices can be flexible, as long as the colour palette is not compromised, brief your supplier by colour and stem type not variety; this will more often than not, give you lower costs.

  • Once you have prices back from your suppliers, the final team costs and the overall expenses cost, you can calculate your total costs against the estimate you have sent to your client.

  • Your profit margin should be healthy if you have done your calculations correctly and negotiated well with your suppliers.

Example of Costs that Should be Covered:

  • Flowers

  • Foliage/branches/moss

  • Sundries/hardware

  • Hire /rental

  • Staff/team/freelancers

  • On site time; ‘set up’

  • Travel

  • Van Hire

  • Visas

  • Accommodation

  • Uniform

  • Sustenance

  • Misc.

Agreement/Deposit/ Final Payment

Ensure you have a signed agreement with your client. This will cover you for any discrepancies that may occur. Include:

  • Name and contact information of the client and your company.

  • Date, time, and location of the wedding event and reception.

  • Arrival time for the setup of the ceremony (if this information is not available, mention a guarantee that the flowers will be set up before the guests arrive).

  • When and where should the bouquets, buttonholes etc. be delivered.

  • List all bouquets/designs/arrangements, including the flower types, colour and prices.

  • Hire items that you will supply.

  • Set up on site details for the wedding ceremony and the reception.

  • The total cost of the event and payment schedule (including due dates for deposit and the balance).

  • Cancellation and refund policies.

  • VAT, delivery fees and setup fees.

  • Signatures from the client and yourself/your business representative.

A deposit to secure ‘the date’ is always advisable, with a full balance settlement made 60 days before the event (note: that some clients will negotiate on this, for some clients it may not be necessary to ask this but in the main, always insist on a deposit).

Dependent on the client and the scale of the event, you may decide to offer payment terms. These should be clearly explained within the payment terms.

Team Requirements

  • Ensure your team is reliable, trustworthy, enthusiastic about the event and available for the days/nights required.

  • If the event is overseas, check passports and if any visas are required.

  • If freelancers are used, agree dates, fees and expenses in writing.

  • If your own staff are used, confirm overtime and any expenses in writing.

  • If you are responsible for accommodation and travel for your team, book in advance and confirm to all team members as soon as you can in writing.

  • If the event company or wedding planner is responsible for your team’s accommodation, travel and meals, ask for firm confirmation asap from them.

  • Ensure all the team have branded, clean uniform available.

Team Work Plan

Always plan in advance; who, when and where, will each element of the work be done.

Who: this depends on:

o Level of design skill required.

o Level of organisational skills required.

o Experience.

o Budget.

When: this depends on:

o Flower deliveries.

o Event venue.

o Team availability.

o Budget.

o Delivery schedule.

o Work space/area.

Where: this depends on:

o Event venue.

o Work space/area.

Dependent on the scale of the event, break your teams into smaller teams, giving each team a leader and a clear brief of what’s expected and when. Bring teams together that will take responsibility, direction and accountability. Bring teams together based on your knowledge and experience of working with them and their background experience.

Ensure that all team leaders have a check list and a plan of what needs to be completed by end of day(s). YOU then ensure that all is completed, according to your plan.

Logistics & Operational

  • Based on the scale of work how many team members do you require: designers, assistants, drivers and general helpers?

  • Do you need to hire freelancers, drivers, general help?

  • Do you need to hire extra vans?

  • Speak with your flower/foliage/plant suppliers. You must allow them as much notice as possible, if large volumes are required of any particular stem type or variety.

  • Arrange when your fresh delivery can be delivered.

  • Do you need to consider open blooms? If so, when and how can you get them at the correct stage of opening for the event?

  • Regular communication is vital; speak to your supplier!

  • Can you arrange that they are on water and pre-conditioned?

Overseas Challenges

  • If overseas, how can you source your fresh order and from where?

  • Do you require an agent to obtain the order from customs?

  • If the fresh order is dry packed, where can you obtain buckets and flower food?

  • If in a hot climate, is there air conditioning available for your team to work in and/or a chiller for the flower storage?

  • How will your team get from the hotel accommodation to the venue? Do you need to arrange this?

For more in-depth tips and advice about overseas weddings, check out this article I wrote all about how I plan and execute Destination Weddings.

“Planning takes time and knowledge; to make a profit, requires skill and expertise”

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With over 35 years’ experience, Karen Barnes is one of the UK’s leading consultants to the floral industry and an expert in product development, future trends & colours, and floral photography design & planning. She’s an interior floral designer, high profile wedding and event floral planner, and prominent international competition judge.

From teaching on a one-to-one basis to coaching small, intimate classes and larger teams, Karen can encourage, motivate and mentor your next step in the florist industry. Sharing her vast experience, Karen can help you expand your knowledge and creativity.


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