How to Woo Luxury Brides in 2016

If you’ve turned on your television at all in the last six weeks, you’ve surely see the barrage of advertisements from Kay, Zales and Jared.

Tis the season to pop the question. According to Wedding Wire, a whopping 40 percent of engagements occur between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve, which means there should be a lot of prospective bridal clients come January 1.

In hot pursuit for many wedding vendors: the luxury bride with a budget in the five- to six-figure range. We reached out to Nicole Kaney, owner of NK Productions, in Sarasota, Florida, who works with high-end brides throughout the state. She offered a few insights for florists to capture more business from clients who spend $10,000 or more on wedding flowers alone.

F20: What do you see as the upcoming trends for 2016?

NK: It’ll come as no surprise to florists that peonies, garden roses and hydrangeas are dominating. They’re pretty standard in the wedding industry. But as for specific trends of the year, like Pantone’s colors, these aren’t big with luxury brides. They want something classic, timeless. They want photos that will look just as beautiful in 2050 as they do in 2016.

Nicole Kaney's high-end clients gravitate to gilded flatware and glasses.
Nicole Kaney’s high-end clients gravitate to gilded flatware and glasses.

F20: How would you describe high-end style?

NK: Luxury brides are all about details. I’ve had a lot of requests for upscale linens, gold rimmed glasses, gold flatware, special lighting. I’m always encouraging them to embrace flowers and put them everywhere: the bathrooms, the sign in table, the gift table, the bar. They like lots of little pieces that create an overall look.

F20: What should florists do to attract these brides?

NK: Downplay photos of rustic/shabby chic weddings. I’ve never had a bride ask for Mason jars. The same goes for really trendy designs. Show that you aren’t cookie cutter. I’ve had a lot of brides say, “I don’t want a ball of flowers in a vase” because that’s what they’ve seen over and over again. They like cascading bouquets, asymmetrical arrangements, flowers that drape over a candelabra, for instance. High-end brides like very customized weddings, so they’ll appreciate florists who can demonstrate their range of skills.

F20: Any other ways to stand out from the competition?

NK: Offer a higher level of service. I insist on doing a “show table” for the bride, which is essentially a trial run of what her reception will look like. This way we are 100 percent certain she’s happy with the linens, flatware, flowers, etc. before the big day. She might think she wants white flowers, but when she sees them against the tablecloth, she decides she wants blush. If you don’t nail this down in advance, you have a potential disaster on your hands. I know some florists balk at this because it takes time and money to make the designs, but really, when these clients are shelling out $10,000 or more on flowers, they deserve this level of service. Besides, it’s a fantastic opportunity to upsell. This is where we say, “Now picture more flowers over here, at the bar or sign in table…” So many times, they end up deciding they want more flowers, so it’s definitely worth the effort.