Selecting a florist: Most florists have a portfolio of their work. Choose a florist who will spend time with you. If the florist has not been to your ceremony or reception site, you may want to arrange a visit to view the decor. This ensures that the arrangements are designed to match the surroundings, and can be very helpful when you are discussing your ideas and needs. Ask for references to see how customers compare what was promised and what was actually delivered. Your florist can also inform you about what flowers will be in season, and show styles that will appropriately fit your theme and budget. You should expect flowers to be somewhat less expensive during their seasons.
Develop a plan: Think about your floral design and decorations, and write your ideas down. Determine what you will need for the various people involved, arrangements for the church, and decorations for the reception. And have a budget in mind. Ask several florists for formal bids, based on your outline. Then determine with which florist and budget you feel most comfortable.
Meeting with the florist: You should meet with your florist as soon as possible. A florist can only commit to a limited number of weddings or events, especially during the busy summer and holiday months. Be sure to bring color swatches of the exact colors you've selected. Also discuss the length of your ceremony and reception, to ensure that you select flowers that will remain beautiful throughout the day.
Preparing for your florist: It is best to bring suggestions when you first meet with your florist. Although the florist may have photos of arrangements and bouquets, it's important to provide a sense of your own ideal. Take advantage of the florist's expertise. Be sure to tell the florist or designer what flower types you absolutely do not like (i.e. carnations or baby's breath); also let them know what you love!
Flower colors and shades: Selecting the colors and shades of flowers can be a challenge. If you select burgundy roses - beware, your "burgundy" may be the grower's "deep red." Always use a fabric swatch or ribbon sample to show your florist the exact color you have in mind. The florist will help to blend the entire theme and mood of your wedding with the floral decorations and bouquets.
Throw-away bouquet: Consider ordering a throw-away bouquet. When it comes time to throw the bouquet, many brides wish for an alternative so that their own bridal bouquets can be preserved.
Corsages: Mothers and grandmothers of the bride and groom should always be given a corsage, but many couples also choose to give them to other special guests. Wrist and purse corsages eliminate pin marks in a beautiful silk or chiffon dress. A shoulder corsage tends to pull down on lightweight fabric, giving a beautiful dress an awkward look in photographs. Be sure to ask your florist to bring extra pins for corsages and boutonnieres.
Delivery and setup of flowers: It is very important that your flowers be delivered at the right time. They shouldn't arrive earlier than necessary, since some facilities lack air conditioning and certain flowers deteriorate rapidly. Corsages and boutonnieres will remain fresh and be easily distributed if you ask your florist to package them individually. If your flowers must be in place at a certain time, tell your florist what time they'll be needed. Consider designating a florist's assistant, especially if you have many corsages. Always put the location and date on your contract, as well as the desired time of delivery so there are no questions or last-minute problems. If the bid doesn't include setup and delivery, allow extra in your budget.
If you are planning to take your flowers to the reception or home, arrange for help in advance. Don't use people from your wedding party. They should not be detained at the church, but rather go straight to the reception to participate in your reception line or introductions. Ask a family friend to handle the moving of flowers.
10 Crucial Questions to ask your florist:
- How many weddings have you provided flowers for and do you have references?
- Can you provide samples or drawings of your designs?
- Do you have a portfolio?
- Can you give me advice on how to save money with in-season flowers?
- Are you familiar with my site or will you visit it before the wedding?
- When and where will be flowers be delivered?
- Will you be available on-site the day of the wedding to adjust flowers and place arrangements?
- Do you have an assistant?
- Do you handle rental items?
- What are your guarantees for your flowers and will they be fresh?