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We also have a personal blog where you can follow our activities on a daily basis.  http://gillieastwood.wordpress.com/

Happy New Year!

Happy new year to all our customers! 

2016 was a difficult year for me.  Mum was seriously ill and it meant many hospital and doctors appointments which I attended with her.  In September my Mother in Law died after a long illness.  My daughter moved to London to go to University.  Then I got an serious eye infection.  In October my Mum had several chest infections one after another and we lost her on 30th October.  3 days before my annual holiday, which I did take, but it wasn't the relaxing experience it should have been as I was organising her funeral whilst travelling around Morocco! 

I don't regret putting Mum first last year at all, but it was very difficult fitting everything in and I closed far more often than I wanted to so that I could go to appointments with her.  Orders were still made fresh and delivered, but the opening hours were eratic sometimes which I can only apologise for.  

This year I'm taking a short holiday from 22nd January - 6th February.  I wouldn't normally have chosen to do this especially as last year was so disruptive, but the flights were a prize and an opportunity not to be missed.  I'll be back at the shop from 7th of February and from then on things should settle back into a routine of being open Tuesday to Saturday.  Whilst I'm away I'll still be able to answer questions by email and any orders placed through the website for 7th February onwards will be confirmed and guaranteed.  The phone won't be answered, but please feel free to leave a message and I'll call you back. 

New for this year we are now on instagram sharing photos of our work at http://www.instagram.com/gillianatbeinspired/ and I've also started a personal blog which covers my work as a florist and photographer, my efforts to get fit and healthy and life in general  https://gillieastwood.wordpress.com/ 

There are other exciting projects coming up too....  Watch this space for more details throughout the year!

Your Wedding - Your Choice

Your wedding is YOUR special day.  You should have exactly what you want to make your day perfect....

So how do you organise your perfect wedding flowers?

Look in magazines and on the internet and see what styles appeal to you.  Cut out any favourites.  Choose your colour scheme.  Do you want fresh or silk? Choose two or three favourite flowers AND think about any flowers you would hate.  Contact the florists you are interested in.  If you are told we can't possibly do your flowers for under £xxxx and it doesn't suit you don't go back to them.  Check that they have the skills and staff needed to do your flowers.  If it's someone working from home, make sure they carry insurance and make sure that they have something in place should they be sick so that you can still have your flowers.  That might all sound obvious, but it's detail that is often overlooked.

Then when you have your ideas and you've found a florist that you like talk to them in detail and in person.  Most offer free consultations and will meet you on an appointment basis to suit you.  Please don't turn up to expect to talk wedding flowers without an appointment.  How would you like it if your florist had to stop making your bouquets and arrangements to talk about another wedding?  A florist needs to have time to talk to you properly. 

Make sure you get your ideas across.  Ask to see photos of their work.  A florist only offering you books or magazines to select from isn't showcasing their work so how can you trust them?  Don't accept something you didn't want just because it's what they can offer you, but you do have to be realistic about your budget verses the real cost.  Go along with your budget in mind and see what the florist can suggest for your budget they may have ideas that you hadn't considered.  We do bouquets from about £25 at Be Inspired, but for £25 you are not going to get a bouquet of orchids and roses.  A mixed bouquet at Be Inspired could cost between £25 and £150 depending on the flower choice and date of the wedding.   It's not just about the cost of the flowers.  It's the florist's skill in ordering the right flowers, in the right quantities and then the putting them together beautifully at the right time to present them to you to make your day perfect.  Then there is travel and setting up of venue flowers.  Florists don't just deliver your flowers to the reception at the venue, they have to lug every arrangement from their van to your tables.  10 tables is 10 trips often down long corridors whilst making sure your flowers don't get damaged and every arrangement gets heavier and heavier....  It's not a 5 minute job.  Your florist may be delighted if you can offer to have a couple of friends meet them at the venue to help with this and may even offer you a discount on your arrangements if you do.  It's worth asking them if there is anything you can do to help make their life easier and to cut your cost.  If after your consultation you are happy with your quotation then book the florist of your choice.  Leave it a month or two and they may be fully booked on your date then you have to start looking again.

One extra thought...  If you've chosen to get married on Mother's Day or Valentine's Day or Christmas then you may struggle to find a florist who will do your flowers and your prices will also be much higher, silk flowers may be the best option in this case.  Likewise, don't arrive to talk about your wedding flowers on Valentine's Day.  It would be impossible for any florist to make you welcome they're so busy.

Be Inspired for your Perfect Wedding Day....

At Be Inspired we have arranged flowers for over 10 years so have experience in small weddings, big weddings, registry offices, castles, themes.... So just about the full range possible.  We also have a policy of being adaptable.  We have had so many brides come to us in the past saying I've been quoted £xxxxx for my flowers but I only want a bouquet, a few button holes and simple table arrangements.  That's absolutely fine with us.  We've even done a wedding bouquet for someone while they waited on the way to the wedding!  We don't have a minimum price for wedding bouquets, we don't have a minimum price for weddings.  We also don't mind travelling - within reason.  

So collect your ideas together, pick up the phone and book your consultation.  We have a huge portfolio of flowers we have arranged for weddings in the past that you can use to give you more inspiration.  Then come and see us to discuss your perfect flowers.  Gillian is a skilled, qualified florist and she has had bridal work published in the past.  We'll do our best to help you have the most perfect day any bride could possibly have! 

Florists inflate their prices for peak periods and for weddings....

This is something I hear periodically and it's definitely something I read about on various wedding pages when brides are discussing wedding flower prices.  The simple answer is no we don't, or more importantly we don't at Be Inspired.

You can see the prices of our bouquets and arrangements and they are the same price all year.  Should there be a genuine reason to increase the prices then we evaluate the whole product range, but generally what you see is what you get.  You won't get a smaller bouquet because it's Christmas or Mothers Day  and the roses won't cost you three times more because it's Valentines day.   At Be Inspired you will always get the bouquet or arrangement of your choice made to the full order value, using  the best flowers possible and it will last a sensible amount of time providing you look after it after we deliver.  That's our guarantee to all our customers. 

I've recently read of a florist who was asked the price of a mixed flower bouquet, which was about £25.  She was asked if the customer could have it for her wedding and was told no, her wedding bouquets start at £xx.  Personally I think this is poor practice.  I'd love every wedding include a bridal bouquet of £100, but in reality not every bride can afford it.  At Be Inspired we will work to your budget to create beautiful wedding bouquets, buttonholes, corsages, table arrangements, church flowers and anything else you need to make your day perfect.  Our buttonholes start at just £2.50, our bouquets start at £25 and our table centres from £10.  We can hire vases to save you buying them or you can source your own vases or candelabra and we'll do the arrangements in your own containers.  Of course if you want luxury with a WOW, you can have that too!  Complete flexibility!

So order your flowers from us for any occasion and you will get value for money all of the time.   

KEEP CALM - I'M A REAL FLORIST

KEEP CALM I'M A REAL FLORIST....... Why would I say that? Well when you do a search on Google for "Florist Lichfield" you get a list of companies some of which aren't actually local florists.... Some are run by national companies implying they are local florists, they even use local phone numbers! Even worse some may not even be in the UK.  If you order through these companies your order gets passed on to an unknown shop or gets made up in a central warehouse. You aren't using a local business that you thought you were when you started looking for a local florist. So how do you check?

Is there a map on the search page? Is the florist you want to use shown on the map? If not then they are a national company.

Does it say "AD" at the side of the Google entry. If it does they are almost certainly a national company.

Do they have a rating? Only local companies have ratings with Google.

Next go to the website of the company you have chosen to use. Go to the bottom of the front page. There should be an address and some information about who created the website.... THIS IS IMPORTANT...... If the address isn't for the town/city/village you expected it's a national company. Many of these websites also have the words "photos provided by....." and you'll find that suddenly you aren't dealing with an independent local shop as you thought, but you are about to send your flowers by a relay company that you were trying to avoid.....

Shop local even on the Internet!  You've made a really great start if you've found my website because I'm a "REAL FLORIST" wink

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Be Inspired Florist - 16 Main Street, Shenstone, Lichfield, Staffordshire, WS14 0NB - Tel: 01543 480017