Designing With Flowers: When Your Biggest Budget Is Over Budget Before It Begins



Dear Preston:

Two months ago, I was hired for a wedding by a client who told me they had a budget of $50,000 the first time we met.  I was beyond excited as this was one of the biggest budgets I had ever been given to work with.  I said, “Great! No problem” and looked forward to our working together.

That’s when they told me they wanted the following: A tent with flooring, a seated dinner for 500 guests, flowers, decor and lighting.

As I worked through the pricing, it became clear that there was no way I could give them everything they wanted for less than $100,000.  I explained this to them and they became very angry with me stating they were upfront with their budget and expect me to provide them with everything they want.  The only way for me to do this job in their budget is for me to put in some of my own money.  What do you suggest I do?

Over Budget

Dear Over:

Imagine I walked into a Mercedes- Benz dealership and explained that I had $10,000 to give them, but I expected them to provide the best car on the lot.  Where do you think the dealer would tell me to put my money?  There is one valuable lesson I have learned from my clients; most of them have no clue as to what things actually cost.  Clearly, $50,000 is a lot of money for anyone, but not when they are asking for the moon.

Over budget, you might want to make some suggestions, such as forgoing the tent for a ballroom as (no tent and floor rentals nor table and chair rentals) or having a buffet instead of a sit down dinner.  If they do not meet you halfway, please take my advice; return their money and run.  My only other advice for you is to get the full story before agreeing to do a job in the future.  You need to understand the full scope of what is needed and expected.  Don’t worry, no matter what happens in this scenario, you will work with other clients who understand that you need to make a living and not pay for their event.

Readers:  Do you think I am wrong in this situation? If so, please tell me. Would you be able to give these clients everything they are asking for within their $50,000 budget?  What do you advise?