Adding Floral Design to an Event Planning Business
It’s interesting to look back at our lives and see how we arrived in an opportunity, isn’t it? Truthfully, I was never the girl who dreamt about her big day, but I created Ashton Events, my event planning business, because I wanted to storytell and encourage people to take the time to celebrate well.
After I graduated from college, I began planning events for an insurance company. It took about six months for me to realize that I wanted to do something more creative. I started Ashton Events another six months later and balanced a full-time job and my little startup. Initially, I offered a full range of planning services—full service, partial, and day-of planning. Over the course of about two years, I slowly started shifting from my full-time job into more planning, and I eventually ended up making the jump and doing wedding planning full time. In that first year, I had over 20 clients. I reached a point where I was utterly exhausted and burnt out. I didn’t know my clients, and the checklists were always daunting and draining, albeit necessary.
I could hear Ross from the TV show Friends screaming “PIVOT!” in my head.
I knew something needed to change for me to really succeed (survive?) in this industry. While I had loosely started offering design services, I was spending more of my time in logistics, which was more taxing and truthfully less enjoyable to me. I’m more of an introvert naturally, and I was overwhelmed with all of the people that I desperately wanted to serve well. My mentor at the time challenged me to start writing the story of our client’s design and see if that could shift the impact of my services. To this day, we still create design narratives for each client. We walk through the entire event, giving our clients tangible insight into their day. It helps us establish trust, but it also maintains an efficient and intentional process. At that point, I began being able to offer only full-service planning and design to fewer clients.
All of that sounds awesome, right? Except even though I was offering planning and design, I still was overwhelmed by the number of clients we had. I began looking at other planners and designers in the industry to see how they generated more revenue. We’re located in a small town, so I had to be strategic with that decision. I started tinkering with the idea of incorporating florals into my business—after all, I was studying and writing about them in the narratives. I was incredibly lucky to have a local florist who was open to my curiosity. Although Shawna from 2 Sisters Events & Design (she’s a gem!) was a technically a competitor, she always kept an open door. After dabbling with blooms for a few months, I signed up for a workshop with Rhiannon Bosse to learn more about how she balanced offering planning, design, and florals.
That’s when I knew I wanted to incorporate florals into our business. I gained so much life and joy from the creative outlet, and I was then able to hire an assistant to manage all of the logistics for our brides. Over the past four years, our business has grown significantly. We now have a staff of five, who all have very different gifts and skillsets. If I could offer any advice when you’re evaluating your business, look at what brings you the most life and begin delegating even the tiniest of tasks. Over time, you’ll naturally start to create a work environment that both challenges and invigorates you!
Now we work with 10–12 clients a year, allowing us to truly get to know them and their passions. Designing floral arrangements is one of my favorite parts of the job. Creating the bouquet for a bride who I have spent several months with feels even more special and suits my personality well. I also love that every client has a different and specific style, so we get to use our design skills to cater to their aesthetic and create something meaningful. As I mentioned before, it all comes back full circle to being intentional—both for the bride and for me. I am my best self (and same for our staff) with this change. It’s truly a gift we love to give!
Tips for Adding Floral Design to your Event Planning Business
Take a step back and look at your business. Is event planning leaving you burnt out? Are you enjoying your work?
Start with what you can do. Don’t overbook yourself for a new service you offer.
Find a mentor or trusted close friend and talk through your options.
Be intentional and listen to your heart.