Coast to Coast Flowers: Aggressively Earning the Trust of Consumers Sending Flowers by Wire

By Art Conforti, Coast to Coast Flowers founder

Thirty-three years ago, I started a company called Beneva Flowers and Gifts in Sarasota. After generating $4 million in sales, I put the company up for sale to enjoy an early retirement, but I didn’t feel the job was done.

My passion for this industry never faded and neither did my desire to help local flower shops by giving them the tools and time-honored strategies needed to thrive in today’s crowded marketplace.

One thing I learned from running my own shop (I know because I surveyed them) was that over 40% of my customers that ordered flowers from me locally were also using 1-800-Flowers or FTD.com when they wanted to send flowers out of town. We don’t want to believe that it is true, but it is.

Customers may think of us first for flowers, but many don’t even realize that we can send flowers anywhere in the country as well. That’s a lot of orders (and revenue) that we’re losing out on from our own customers who would happily order with us if they only knew they could.

As an industry, we just aren’t very good about getting that message out there. Companies like FTD and 1-800Flowers.com spend so much money on advertising that most consumers just automatically turn to them if they want to send flowers out of town because they don’t realize there are better options – like their local florists. Ask them yourself, I did:

I hate to see people disappointed when they fall for the “too good to be true” offers that the big box and online floral retailers make, and I really don’t like to see a local florist missing out on an order every time FTD ships someone a box of flowers from their own warehouse instead of letting a local florist fill it.

That’s why Coast to Coast Flowers had taken a different approach to ordering flowers that serves everyone well. Our goal is to create the easiest and best experience possible for people ordering flowers out of town.

Just like Teleflora, Coast to Coast prides itself in ensuring every order is sent to a local florist, whatever the destination may be. What’s more, we also offer local listings at LocalFlowerShop.com. At the end of the day, I truly believe nobody is doing as much for the floral industry.

A note on “order gatherers”

As florists, the only way we can compete with the big box and online flower sellers it by helping each other out. We have such a fear of deceptive order gatherers that many of us get suspicious of any shop who calls up and attempts to send an order.

The term “order gatherers” has taken on such a negative connotation but in reality – we’re all order gatherers. We need to gather orders to make money, so what good does it do to question where the orders come from? Turning down orders from other shops not only hurts that shop but it also hurts your bottom line, so is it really a smart business decision to do so?  It’s a shame we choose to focus on the wrong things. At the end of the day, it should all be about providing a great experience for the customer – if not, we all lose.

Coast to Coast Is Your One-Stop Shop for Corporate Gifts This Holiday Season

Now that the holiday season is upon us, it’s the perfect time to show clients and employees your gratitude and let them know how important they were to your success in 2018. Spread warm holiday wishes and season’s greetings to those individuals who make it all worthwhile with corporate gifts from Coast to Coast Flowers.

The key to successful corporate gift-giving is finding gifts that are thoughtful and personal enough to show you care while avoiding one-size-fits-all ideas like gift cards or promotional items that might only appeal to a select few recipients.

Holiday Bounty Gourmet Basket by Coast to Coast Flowers

Corporate gift giving can quickly turn into a tedious and time-consuming task for larger office settings or business partners you only know on a professional level. Since corporate gifts are appropriate, welcomed, and often expected around the holidays, what you give will send a message to the recipient and may set the tone for your future relationship together.

Coast to Coast Flowers makes corporate gifting simple by offering something for everyone with a wide variety of flowers, plants, and gift baskets. Best of all, there are no lines and no waiting which saves you time and money. One phone call is all it takes to cross every client off your holiday shopping list.

Poinsettia Plant by Coast to Coast Flowers

Our fantastic selection of beautiful poinsettias starts at just $35 delivered and come in a variety of sizes to add a festive holiday touch to any home or office. In addition to poinsettias, we also stock a variety of long-lasting holiday-themed plants, trees, and dish gardens that are easy to care for and will retain their beauty all season long.

Live holiday flowers also make wonderful corporate gifts starting at $49.95 and up and can be personalized for each individual recipient. Best of all, we will hand-deliver them for you directly to the recipient’s home or office.

If you’re looking for something extra special, Coast to Coast Flowers has an incredible selection of gift baskets that can be personalized with nearly anything you can imagine. From fruit or candy baskets to spa kits, gourmet food, and everything in between, our gift baskets start at just $75 delivered and truly offer something for everyone.

If you can’t decide exactly what you want to give your clients or employees this holiday season or would like some more information on corporate gift ideas, our experienced florists are here to help! Call us today at (888) 515-2710. Happy Holidays from your friends at Coast to Coast Flowers.

 

Decorate like a Pro This Holiday Season with Coast to Coast Flowers

Now that we’ve finished off all the turkey, it’s time to start decorating for the holidays. Whether you decorate like Clark Griswold or simply put up a tree and hang some stockings and call it good, a little planning and some careful attention to detail can go a long way in turning your home into a winter wonderland.

Choose with a theme

Spode Holiday Express by Coast to Coast Flowers

Before you begin decorating, the most important decision you’ll need to make is choosing a theme. You don’t have to be overly specific but focusing on one general theme will make your decorating easier and your outcome more cohesive.

When it comes to choosing a theme, it’s important to accentuate your home’s architectural features like fireplaces, windows, and staircases. Some people may choose to go all out and decorate everything in the house, but if you prefer to keep it simple, that’s okay too. Decorating even a few key focal points can make a very bold impression.

After you decide on a theme, the next step will be choosing a color palette. You don’t have to stick with the traditional red or green; you could opt instead for a more rustic look which is primarily white. Or, you could select a pink or blue theme – both of which can be very festive and original if they’re used consistently.

Whatever you choose, it’s wise to limit your base colors to one or two for optimal cohesiveness along with a complementary matching color. Gold, silver, white, and metallics, are all perfect for this task and will add an elegant holiday touch that draws all the elements together.

Start with the tree

When trying to decide where to start decorating once you’ve picked a theme, the best place to start is with the tree. When the professionals decorate trees, they start by taking a step back and looking for holes. It’s possible to manipulate some of the branches to fill in the holes as long as it still looks natural when you’re finished.

Mesh ribbon takes up space and can fill in holes or strategically cover any unsightly areas. When adding ornaments, begin with solid colors and space things evenly before adding specialty ornaments or other decor.

Once the tree is complete it should inspire confidence in the rest of the decor falling into place. If your family tradition is to wait until later in the season to put up the tree, you can always start somewhere else and save the tree for last – just be sure to save enough space for the tree and all the presents that will find their way underneath.

If you do have some special packages that can’t wait for Santa, you can wrap them with paper or other fabrics to match the theme of the tree and the room. Newspaper makes an excellent wrap if you’re going for a more nostalgic or rustic theme. Don’t forget to top them with ribbons or bows to complete the look.

Tend to the table

Decorating your table with a festive holiday tablescape allows your creativity and personality to run wild with unlimited possibilities. Don’t be afraid to use live greenery, lights, and metallic elements according to your theme when decorating your table.

Buffet and side tables are great multifunctional pieces that can be adorned to match your theme. Large glass urns and hurricane vases are excellent all-season focal points that can be filled with different items depending on the holiday. Experiment with fabrics as well – quality textiles can have a dramatic effect and add an elegant look and feel.

Now it’s time to shine

After the tree and table are complete, the next area you’ll want to decorate is your home’s entrance. Welcome guests into your home by transforming it into a warm and inviting space decked with festive decor.

Candy Cane Celebration by Coast to Coast Flowers

Lighted garland is a terrific way to adorn a banister and it also works well in making mantels, cabinets, and shelves pop. For a special touch, you can use natural greenery inside your home. Fresh evergreen smells exactly like the holidays should smell while magnolia leaves and eucalyptus are also good alternatives.

No matter how you decide to approach holiday decorating, remember that the best results will come when you let your personality shine through. Decide what would make you cozy and warm and what feels natural to you, then decorate based on that feeling. Keep it simple by mixing texture and color while keeping in mind that you can always add depth with layers. To add the finishing touch, dim the regular room lighting and let your holiday lighting shine through.

Now comes the best part, making new memories with loved ones this holiday season in your beautiful home surrounded by spectacular holiday décor and feelings of warm tidings and cheer!

Make Coast to Coast your one-stop-shop for the holidays! From flowers to gifts and decor, we have everything you need to make this holiday season one to remember. Be sure to check out our extensive holiday collection here. If you don’t see what you’re looking for or just can’t decide, give us a call at (800) 515-2710 and speak to one of Santa’s helpers who will be happy to assist you! Happy Holidays from Coast to Coast Flowers.

Coast to Coast Flowers Sponsors 2018 Miss Russian United States Pageant

Coast to Coast Flowers played a prominent role in crowning Polina Egorov as 2018 Miss Russiain United States at an event held on November 11 in Manhattan. As a title sponsor of the contest, Coast to Coast worked with some of the area’s finest florists, including Winston’s Flowers and Starbrite Floral, to bring together a beautiful evening that featured 10 models competing for the coveted crown.

The florals were ordered by Art Conforti of Coast to Coast along with our preferred industry processing service, Teleflora. Conforti was on hand himself to coordinate with the local florist and make sure the expectations of the event’s hosts were exceeded.

At Coast to Coast Flowers, we don’t like to think of ourselves as just an online florist. We work hard to get to know our clients’ needs and determine the optimal way to represent their good taste when sending gifts and message of support, sympathy, caring, and celebration.

The Dazzler by Coast to Coast Flowers

In our opinion, flowers are the best ways to recognize anyone, but our specialty is going the extra mile for a gift that truly delivers. For example, our ”Dazzler” is a gorgeous way to acknowledge the receipt of an occasion or sentiment and is lovely on its own, but adding balloons shout to the office what the occasion is all about. Our agents are trained to ask and recognize the intention of the gift – then we add our magic!

That’s why we like to think that we’re the very best Yes We Can florist out there as well as the most trustworthy option for ordering flowers online. Our Yes We Can commitment means that our goal is to set and exceed customer expectations with every order.

Coast supports local florists

Coast to Coast Florist is a family-owned national enterprise focusing on securing floral orders that are sent to select florist across the country to produce. We work directly with some of the most talented designers and some of the most revered flower shops in the country to deliver breathtaking floral gifts – no matter where the recipient is located.

Unlike other online flower sellers that many event companies work with, Coast to Coast ensures that the florist doing the work gets recognized.

Yes You Can call Coast to Coast for fast, easy service and an unconditional guarantee, or if you’d prefer to find your own florist in your area, you can go directly to the local florist using Local Flower Shop directory when needed.

With Local Flower Shop (www.localflowershop.com), consumers can search one directory and find the best local retail florist to serve their needs.

Anyone struggling to find a reputable florist or anyone unfamiliar with florists in the recipient’s area can always call Coast to Coast at (888) 923-7401 and worry no more, we’ll take it from there.

Coast to Coast prefers to focus on partner florists from Local Flower Shop listings to send orders. Conversely, Coast to Coast Flowers secures orders from many local and national corporations, concierge services and special event companies. It’s a terrific partnership that benefits the entire industry.

Why order from Coast to Coast or Local Flower Shop?

It wasn’t long ago that nearly everyone knew a local florist they could count on for exceptional service and outstanding quality. But the industry has changed significantly in the past few decades and that has made ordering flowers for an out-of-town recipient a risky and frustrating endeavor.

The internet is filled with deception and people who claim to be florists that won’t give you their name or answer the phone with a generic phrase like “flower shop” to lure unsuspecting customers into thinking they are dealing with an experienced shop.

In many cases, they simply take a cut of your money and pass the order along for someone else to fill at the price you indicated, minus the money they kept for themselves. In other cases, you don’t really know where your order is going or who has your credit card information – and those people can be hard to reach if a problem should arise.

You won’t have to worry about that happening with orders placed through Coast to Coast or through our partners on Local Flower Shop. We take pride in focusing on the local retail florist while exceeding the expectations of the customer. We work hard to make sure your order is cared for from the time you place it until the time it’s delivered, giving you piece of mind and delivering beautiful results.

Coast to Coast Flowers – making sending flowers and gifts easy is what we’re all about!

Coast to Coast florist and has been headquartered in Sarasota, FL since its inception in 1998 and has supported the retail floral industry for hundreds of thousands of orders to retail florists using processors like Teleflora and FTD. We also support the Society of American Florists and all the great work they’re doing for the industry. Give us a call today at 800-515-2710 or email us here. Art Conforti also consults with dozens of retailers in many industries helping them grow profitable business online. You can reach him anytime by email at arthur@comcast.net.

Why Do We Carve Pumpkins and Dress Up in Costumes at Halloween?

We love to honor tradition by celebrating holidays, especially ones with seemingly absurd origins which bring about colorful characters like the Easter Bunny, Leprechauns, Cupid, and Father Time.

We typically don’t delve too deep into why these particular characters show up, or how they got to be so popular in the first place, because it’s more fun just to go along with it than to question every little detail. But sometimes you just have to wonder why every October we let our kids dress up as pirates and princesses and take to the streets of the neighborhood searching for sugary treasure.

When left to the imagination, there aren’t many holidays that are more fun than Halloween. From carving pumpkins to trick-or-treating and haunted houses, Halloween has become a whimsical celebration of things that most people find scary or downright chilling any other time of the year.

Boo the Friendly Flower Ghost by Coast to Coast Florist

Carving jack-o-lanterns is a tradition that began several hundred years ago in Ireland, but back in those days, they were carved from potatoes and turnips. It wasn’t until years later, after the Irish immigrated to the United States, that they discovered that pumpkins made for a much better medium due to their abundance in the new world, thus a new tradition was born.

Legend has it that the jack-o-lanterns were originally intended to frighten away the wandering soul of Stingy Jack, who was sentenced to roam the earth for eternity after tricking the devil and later finding out he wasn’t allowed into heaven or hell.

This also loosely explains why we dress up in costumes – to disguise ourselves from the souls wandering amongst us – including Stingy Jack!

Or perhaps it doesn’t.

According to Lisa Morton, author of “Trick or Treat: A history of Halloween,” dressing up as a way to scare off evil spirits is a common misconception about the holiday. Morton contends that people didn’t start dressing up until much later – as in the 1800s.

By that time, Halloween was known for pranks which were becoming more and more elaborate and dangerous. So much so that towns and cities were thinking about canceling Halloween because many felt that the pranks were getting out of hand.

That led to a gradual push from families, communities and civic organizations to change the nature of the holidays from pranks to the “trick or treat” traditions we know today.

Sadly, Morton’s version of buying off kids with treats and costumes is probably a bit closer to reality than the warding off evil spirits angle, but as with most holiday traditions, you never really know for sure!

Whatever the reason for dressing up and trick-or-treating, your friends at Coast to Coast Florist are here to get you in the mood for a spectacularly spooky Halloween! Make no bones about it, our ghoulish delights will make the wickedest witches green with envy, so give us a call today – if you dare!

Toast Tremendous Teachers with a Thoughtful Treat

It’s that time of year once again! Back-to-school sales are happening everywhere, and teachers are busy preparing for the start of another school year.

With summer winding down, now is not only the perfect time to show your appreciation to those who have been taking care of your kids during the break, but also a fantastic opportunity to start the school year off right with a gift of flowers for the teachers, facility, coaches, and staff who will be enriching their lives over the next nine months.

To some, it may seem like the summer flew by too fast while others have been counting the days until the new school year begins. Regardless of how you feel about your kids going back to school, we hope your summer was filled with adventure and learning experiences that can’t be taught in schools. If there are any nannies, babysitters, grandparents, aunts, uncles, camp counselors, clergy members or coaches who influenced your summer, flowers are always a perfect way to acknowledge and say thanks for their hard work and dedication.

Most of those people aren’t expecting gifts, so the gesture certainly isn’t necessary, but even a small token of your appreciation is a thoughtful way of showing gratitude that often means more to the recipient than the giver will ever realize.

Forget the apple

It’s 2018 – your teacher doesn’t want an apple unless it’s a phone or computer – so forget the fruit in favor of a beautiful bouquet of brightly-colored flowers instead. Flowers really are the perfect way to set the mood for the start of the school year while brightening up the classroom at the same time.

Happiness by Coast to Coast Florist

Teachers aren’t the only ones who enjoy flowers, however, so don’t forget bus drivers, teacher’s aides, facility members, crossing guards, and everyone else who makes the school a fun and inviting place to learn. Flowers are so wonderful at putting smiles on people’s faces, especially when they’re least expected. At Coast to Coast Flowers, we specialize in helping you choose the perfect gift for everyone on your list – no matter how big or small of an impact they have on your children’s education.

If you have a friend or family member going away to college for the first time this fall, flowers are a fun and festive way to decorate dorm rooms and live plants are perfect picks if you’re looking for a longer-lasting gift. Most of the plants we carry are easy to care for and don’t require a lot of work, which is ideal for busy students who are always on the go.

Regardless of whether you’re sending flowers to thank someone for a job well done, congratulate someone for a notable accomplishment, wish someone good luck, or simply to make someone’s day, Coast to Coast is here to help with all your back-to-school floral needs. If you don’t know exactly what you want to send, never fear – we’re here to help! Give us a call at (941) 308-5171 or order online.

Ready to Pop the Question? Don’t Forget the Flowers!

One of life’s most important decisions is deciding on the right partner and starting a new chapter together as a married couple. But before that can happen, someone has to pop the question!

If this is your situation then hopefully you’ve already identified the lucky person and more importantly – are reasonably sure that they will say “yes.” It also helps immensely to have the ring on hand for this occasion, but that isn’t always a deal-breaker.

Now comes the fun part – formulating a plan that will be both memorable and romantic. Unless your fiancée-to-hopefully-be is a die-hard avid sports fan who loves the spotlight, you can go ahead and cross ‘proposing on the jumbotron of a large sports stadium’ off that list. Not only has that been done to death, but it typically isn’t anywhere near as romantic as both partners are hoping for – you can do better.

The best ideas are the original ones, and it helps if you can incorporate something special that you and your partner enjoy together. Here are five creative ways to help you make the moment special, but don’t be afraid to modify them to suit your style and whatever you do…DON’T forget the flowers, because if you do, we can’t guarantee results!

For the Beach Lover

For this one, you will need an accomplice. Prior to your big question, you will meet up with said accomplice and carve out a shallow heart in the sand, fill it with rose petals and have them stand by the heart to ensure its perfection. Let you partner-in-crime know to step away from the heart when they see you coming, and to be camera ready, that way you can just “happen upon” the heart and get that photo! Once you reach that heart with your fiancée-to-be have them stand inside it as you go down on one knee.

For the Introvert

Leave a single long-stem rose on their pillow with the ring tucked inside the petals or strung on the steam with a love letter as to why you pick them. If your partner is shy or introverted they will likely appreciate the intimacy without the awkwardness of involving other people.

For the Adventurer

Take a dozen roses and attach memories to each one along with a clue as to where to find the next rose. Be waiting at the end with the last rose in hand. When they arrive, simply hand over the rose and propose.

For the Traditionalist

Make reservations at a favorite restaurant or pick out somewhere nice. There are fewer and fewer occasions to get dressed to the 9’s, but this is still one of them. Begin by sending flowers to them at work with a handwritten invitation to dinner. Prior to your arrival at the restaurant make sure the hostess knows that you plan to propose during dessert by having your server bring out champagne with your sweets. When the confusion sets in about why you ordered champagne, you’ll know the time is right.

For the Family

If your fiancée-to-be is extremely close to their family, consider asking them to get involved by being your messengers. Give each one of them a rose with a hand-written love note to present to your sweetheart throughout the day. Then, arrange to meet in a special spot at the end of the day so you can present the last rose and the ultimate reason for your love.

We hope these ideas help make your upcoming proposal amazing! Good luck and make sure to order your flowers early. No matter if you need the rose petals, the single long stems or dozens of flowers in her favorite shade, Coast to Coast Flowers is here to help!

Fantastic Flowers: Gerbera Daisies

Gerbera daisies are bright and cheerful flowers with an irresistible charm. Not only can these daisy-like flowers be found in a variety of sizes that grow up to seven inches wide, they are also available in almost every natural color of the rainbow – except blue.

Symbolic of innocence, purity, and cheerfulness, a handful of Gerbera daisies creates an instant centerpiece or bouquet, but they really shine when paired with other flowers for added texture, fragrance and height – which is why they are the fifth the most popular cut flower behind only roses, carnations, chrysanthemums, and tulips.

Gerber Daisies by Coast to Coast Flowers

But their unmistakable beauty isn’t the only reason for their popularity. Gerbera daisies are also one of the longest lasting cut flowers and their year-round availability and affordable price makes them even more attractive. They also provide added health benefits by discharging oxygen and absorbing carbon dioxide and other airborne toxins at night. In fact, some people place Gerberas next to their beds to enjoy better sleep.

For those of us intimidated by color theory, Gerbera daisies eliminate the guesswork! Their beautiful, large blooms crowd hundreds of petals onto each stem, creating a living color wheel of contrasting shades in unexpected combinations. From the classic mix of chocolate, cream and pink, to the spring freshness of grass, blush and ivory, or the dramatic impact of ebony, saffron and crimson there’s a Gerbera Daisy for everyone.

Originally from South Africa where some native species still grow wild, Gerbera daisies were first discovered in 1880 by a Scotsman named Robert Jameson operating a gold mine in Transvaal.

Also known as African Daisies or Transvaal Daisies, these stunning flowers understandably captured the imagination of plant collectors and breeders who found ways to create the exciting colors and long, sturdy, cut flower stems we know today.

With as many meanings as there are colors, Gerbera daisies have become a way to express a range of emotions:

• Red expresses love
• Pink conveys admiration and gratitude
• Bright orange represents warmth and happiness
• Yellow denotes cheerfulness
• White symbolizes purity and innocence

Care tips

  • When selecting Gerbera daisies, look for round heads and unblemished petals and make sure the stems are long and straight. To keep those stems standing tall, it’s important to keep them away from bright light because, like sunflowers, Gerbera daisies turn their heads towards the source of light.
  • Gerbera daisy stems also have a tendency to get blocked which can cause them to wilt prematurely. To prevent this from happening, be sure to change their water daily, or better yet, re-cut the stems under warm water to help the flower uptake water. They are also sensitive to fluoride so it might be a good idea to use bottled or filtered water if you tap water is fluorinated.

Although it may sound complicated, a little care goes a long way so it isn’t unusual for Gerbera daisies to last up to 14 days in a vase.

Did You Know?

Despite their South African origin, Gerbera daisies were named after German botanist Trauggott Gerber, hence the reason for always capitalizing the name Gerbera – it’s a proper noun!

Coast to Coast Flowers is your source for gorgeous Gerbera daisies! Give us a call or check out some of our fantastic designs featuring the incredible Gerbera daisy. If you don’t see exactly what you’re looking for, we will be happy to design something special just for you.

Why Did Yankee Doodle Call His Hat Macaroni?

Independence Day is one of the most cherished and time-honored holidays in the United States. This federal holiday is an annual celebration of American independence from the British Empire and is commonly associated with parades, picnics, carnivals, and concerts during the day – topped off with majestic fireworks displays after sunset.

The firework shows are traditionally set to patriotic anthems including Yankee Doodle – a well-known American song that predates the American Revolution. We all know the tune, even if we don’t understand the lyrics. Why did Yankee Doodle go to town? Why did he call his hat “macaroni” after sticking a feather in it? And most importantly, how do such seemingly-nonsensical words play such a prominent role in our nation’s history?

“Yankee Doodle went to town
A-riding on pony.
He stuck a feather in his cap
And called it Macaroni.”

Before we find out why Yankee Doodle called his hat “macaroni,” we should probably back up and find out what the term “Yankee Doodle” means.

The term “Yankee” itself has several interrelated meanings depending on the context, however, all of them refer to people from the United States. Outside of the U.S., the term is used to refer to any American – including Southerners. Within the United States, however, the term is a derisive one which refers to all Northerners – especially ones from the Union side of the American Civil War. Some people go a step further and only view New Englanders as true “Yankees.”

The first appearance of the term “doodle” can be traced back to the early 17th century and is thought to be derived from the Low Saxon word “dudel,” which means “playing music badly,” or “Dodel, meaning “simpleton” or “fool.”

What Does That Have to do with Macaroni?

Today when we think of macaroni, we typically start salivating for the nostalgically-delicious childhood meal made of noodles and a cheese-like substance eaten from a box, but the macaroni in this instance refers to a fashionable man from the mid-18th century who spoke and dressed in an outlandish and epicene manner.

Freedom Bouquet by Coast to Coast Florist

But why macaroni? Because young upper-class British men returning from trips to Italy developed a taste for the pasta that was hardly known in England at the time and were said to belong to the Macaroni Club because of their insistence on referring to anything fashionable as “very macaroni.”

It’s all starting to come together now. When British surgeon Dr. Richard Shuckburgh penned the lyrics, he was mocking Yankees by insinuating that they were low-class simpletons who lacked masculinity – as if simply putting a feather in one’s cap would make him sophisticated and noble.

That sure doesn’t sound patriotic, but the Yankees soon turned the tables by embracing the song as an anthem of defiance. Americans subsequently went a step further by adding additional verses mocking the British and shortly thereafter, the song went from being an insult to a source of national pride.

That was more than 200 years ago, and the song still stands as one of our nation’s most beloved and patriotic tunes. In fact, President John F. Kennedy once bought a pony for his daughter Caroline – and called it Macaroni.

If you’re heading out to celebrate Independence Day on July 4, or plan on hosting a celebration of your own – don’t forget the flowers! Coast to Coast Flowers is here to help you celebrate with a bang with a beautiful bouquet of red, white, and blue flowers – perfect for the 4th of July. Give us a call or stop in today to see what’s in store for you. If you find exactly what you’d like, we’ll make it for you! Have a safe and happy 4th from your friends at Coast to Coast.

Short on Time? Here’s How to Handle a Quick Engagement

The decision to get married is one of the most important choices most people make in life. Some couples spend years planning their future together while others see no reason to wait any longer and jump right in with no regrets.

There are no set rules when it comes to the length of the engagement, but it’s important to remember that the bigger and more complex the wedding is, the more time it takes to plan. There are a lot of things that need to be coordinated, so it makes sense to begin booking as early as possible.

According to The Knot, the average engagement period is around 14 months – or a little over a year. Some people take longer, but for couples hoping to tie the knot on a particular date or those who have another reason to expedite the process, the limited time available for planning can be a problem.

If your anticipated wedding date is only a few months away, never fear! It is possible to pull off a dream wedding if you’re short on time. Here are some things to keep in mind as the big day quickly approaches.

#1 – Don’t panic!

If you are planning a short engagement, you need to act fast, but not too fast. Rushed planning often leads to mistakes, so taking the proper steps can help you minimize problems. Nearly everyone encounters some sort of scheduling snags when planning a wedding, so you’ll not only need to act quickly, but you’ll also have less time to make decisions and analyze alternatives.

#2 – Set a realistic budget

One of the biggest mistakes people make when planning weddings is underbudgeting. Since many people only plan one wedding in their lives, it’s easy to underestimate just how much things actually cost, and expenditures add up quick. On top of that, many vendors may charge more if you try to book on short notice – if they’re even still available – because it will require extra work on their part. It’s important to keep that in mind and temper expectations accordingly. This may be the biggest day of your life, but it’s up to you to decide how much of a financial burden you’re willing to take on to make that happen. It’s not hard to rack up some serious debt if you don’t stick to your budget, and that’s not a fun way to begin your new life as a couple.

#3 – Cover the basics

If you don’t already have the date set, now is the time to do that. The more flexibility you have here, the better. If you’re planning a quick engagement, it’s important to keep in mind that the more people you want to invite, the more schedules you’ll potentially have to work around. Flexible dates will also open up more options when it comes to venues and vendors.

In addition to picking a date, it’s now time to ask your attendants, find a venue, and a caterer. If you don’t know who to hire, ask friends or look online to see if there is a wedding network in the area. Another great option is calling your local florist because they often have close relationships with many vendors who will be able to offer suggestions.

Once you have the venue secured you can begin booking vendors such as the florist, officiant and, musicians. The next step is to pick out a dress because they can often take up to three months to arrive. If your engagement is brief, you might have to pick something off the rack and have it altered.

#4 – Choose the right vendors

Make sure to do your homework, ask friends and co-workers for suggestions. Once you have a few possibilities, check out their websites and social media to determine if their vibe and price point would be a good fit for your wedding style and budget.

Call each vendor you would like to potentially work with and find out first and foremost if they are available for your wedding day. If they are, set up a consultation as soon as possible. If they are not available ask them for a reference.

Make sure to review examples of the vendor’s work during your consultation. This will help you have an overall sense of what the vendor’s capabilities are. Be sure to ask, “What will you need from me prior, during, and after my wedding?” Lastly, find out who will be the person providing the service on the day of your wedding.

Now is also a good time to order your invitations, notify any out of town guests of the event, and book the honeymoon.

#5 – Dive into the details

Now that you have a date set in stone and a venue secured – and have also booked caterers, musicians, and officiants – it’s time to pay attention to the small details because they make a big difference when it comes to making your big day exceptional.

Remember that renting equipment doesn’t just include tables and chairs for your reception. You can also rent silk plants, candelabras, and ceremony extras like arches, for example.

Make sure that you choose a reputable company to assist you with equipment rental. Just like the other vendors you are contracting with, it is important to find a company that is known for the quality of their equipment and the reliability of their staff. Ask those closest to you for recommendations in addition to referrals from your florist or local wedding network.

To save time and potential headaches with this step, a good idea is to create a “wish list” of what you would like to reserve. Refer to your other vendor contracts for what they do and don’t provide as a starting place.

You should also be ready to pay a deposit and remember that this is traditionally one-third of the total package price. Also, be prepared to spend a chunk time – because now is the time to really focus on your bridal vision and get creative. Be ready to ask a lot of questions.

At this point you should also begin sending invitations, setting up wedding registries, picking out wedding bands and renting groom and attendants attire. Remember that out-of-town attendants will need to get fitted prior to the ceremony date and have their measurements sent to the shop you will be renting from.

#6 – Choose a photographer

One of the pivotal decisions that must be made by a bride and groom when planning their special day is the photographer. This is a very personal choice, especially when you consider this person will be hanging around you and your guests for a whole day. It’s important to be sure you like their photography style and are comfortable with their packages and pricing. Review full wedding albums and not just their highlight reels and ask a lot of questions if there are things you don’t understand.

Ultimately photographers are vendors you hire, so like the other companies you have contracted with, we suggest getting personal recommendations and check out local vendor sites.

Don’t forget to ask about:

  • Shooting fee
  • What is in each package
  • Additional costs like special effects or an engagement shoot
  • Your rights: In most contracts, photographers own the rights to all photos they take. If you want to order photos from another source you’ll probably have to buy the rights to the images.
  • Post wedding details: How long does it take to get proofs of your images? How many images should you expect? When are the photos retouched? Is that prior to getting your proofs or after selecting your images?

At this point in the planning process, you should also be reserving transportation, picking music, buying your attendant gifts and reserving a suite for your wedding night.

#7 – Piecing it all together

Now you’re in the final stretch, and it’s time to take care of things such as writing vows and determining what readings you will have in your ceremony and who will read them. This is also the time that you should be finalizing your menu, going for your final dress fitting, and attempting a dry-run of makeup and hair.

While you’re at it, get blood tests (if required by state) and a marriage license. It’s also a good time to make a seating chart and book house/pet sitter for the honeymoon.

#8 – The big day!

Even if you have done all the work yourself up until this point, it might be wise to hire a “day-of” wedding coordinator or enlist a trusted family member to handle any last-minute issues that arise because you’ll be too busy with other things to put out fires.

Just remember – there will be fires! In fact, you can almost count on some last-minute issues popping up on your big day – it happens to everyone.

The most important thing you can do is not let those things stress you out or take your focus off one of the most important days of your life. This day is all about you and your loved ones, but now is not the day for you to try to make everyone happy.

Thanks to your careful planning, everything will be fine and people will have fun! The day will be a blur and will be over before you know it, so make sure to take some time to enjoy it while you’re in the moment. Remember, your honeymoon is right around the corner!