Wedding flowers are one of the most important elements of your big day. Not only do they provide color and decoration, but they symbolize life, growth, and rebirth. Good wedding flowers are also a conversation starter and after the food and dress, one of the things guests will remember most. The right wedding florist can help make wedding planning a breeze, while a difficult florist can make designing your wedding a total nightmare.
Here's how to pick the right florist for your event.
Finding a Florist
Many wedding websites have vendor listings that include photos, reviews, and general pricing information. Or browse pictures from real weddings held in the same town as your event--typically the florist information will be listed alongside the images. Make appointments to visit at least three different florists. When you visit the shop, take a look around: Do you like the arrangements that are in the store's windows? Are the flowers in the cooler fresh and bright? Is the shop clean and organized?
Ideally, your florist will have vast previous experience as a wedding florist and will have many photographs of previous wedding flower arrangements and bridal bouquets. Make sure that the pictures are recent, and comprehensive – not just one bouquet, but that they show all the bridal bouquets and centerpieces from a particular wedding.
Share Your Ideas
Bring swatches of the bridesmaid dress fabric, pages from magazines with bouquets and floral arrangements that you like, the type of container you'd like to use, and any ideas you may have. Create a Pinterest board of your favorite wedding flower ideas and share the URL with the vendor in advance of your meeting.
Make sure that the florist is receptive to your ideas, and that they are willing to listen to your vision. If you find the florist is pushing you in another direction or criticizes your choices you'll want to go with another vendor. You should feel very comfortable with this person. You'll also want to make sure that they think your budget is realistic for your ideas.
When to Book Your Wedding Florist
This depends on how long you have to plan your wedding, but a general guideline is to start talking to your florist about 6 to 8 months before your wedding and sign a contract with them about 4 to 6 months before the big day.
Here are some details you'll need to have finalized before your florist can draw up a complete contract:
Ceremony Site: You'll need to have booked this, and know how many arrangements you'll need to decorate it. Do you need a chuppah or garland? Are you planning on aisle decorations?
Reception Site: This should be booked, and you should be aware of the prominent colors of the venue (so the flowers don't clash), and what spaces you intend on decorating in additional to the guest tables (coat check, restrooms, entryway, etc).
Guest List: You'll need to know approximately how many wedding guests you are having, which dictates how many centerpieces you'll need. (Most round catering tables seat 8, 10 or 12 guests; rectangular tables generally seat 8 people).
The Wedding Party: How many bridesmaids you are having, and the color of their dresses; the number of corsages (for mothers, grandmothers, and sometimes readers or other special guests) and boutonnieres (for the groom, groomsmen, ushers, and sometimes readers or other special guests).
Other Parties: Do you require flowers for the rehearsal dinner, post-wedding brunch, or any other events?
Questions to Ask Your Wedding Florist
After you've met your florist and flipped through some of their recent work, you'll want to ask a few questions to ensure your styles mesh. Here are some popular options:
What is your design philosophy? Do you prefer modern arrangements or more traditional ones?
Will you be the person arranging my flowers?
How many other weddings and events will you do the same weekend as my event?
What flowers will be in season and less expensive for my wedding? How can I maximize my budget?
What ideas do you have for my wedding? What are the most successful ideas you've had for past weddings?
Is it possible to see a sample of my centerpiece and/or bouquet?
Will you deliver and/or set up my flowers? How long do you generally spend at a site setting up? Is there an extra delivery or set up charge?
Is it possible to reuse the ceremony flowers as reception decorations? Will you transport them, or will we need to? Is there a transport fee?
Are there any other additional or hidden costs I should know about?
Do you have rental supplies (such as vases, urns, candelabras and potted plants) or do I need to use a separate rental company?
If I need to add, subtract, or change arrangements or bridal bouquets, how long to I have to do so?
Will you write up an itemized quote of what we've discussed?
How soon do I need to put down a deposit to reserve your services? What is the minimum deposit?