Once a wedding date is set and a venue is selected, one of the next steps is to find a reputable florist to create your magical day. Flowers are a much-needed element at any event, but especially at a wedding. Mother Nature’s beauties can create a romantic, elegant, or dramatic effect in any space which ties an entire look and vision together.
Typically, floral décor can account for at least 10% -15% (and sometimes more depending on a client’s wants) of a budget, but they are a crucial component to designing just the perfect setting. So, it is important to find a highly recommended and trusted florist. An experienced and seasoned professional will guide you in the right direction and take your budget into account to produce a design that makes the most sense.
Unless you have a wedding planner who can direct you, choosing the right florist, much like finding other vendors, is best by word-of-mouth or a great online referral source with many reviews.
Know the Difference
Full-Service Florist – Do not be deceived by the name. A full-service florist is typically a retail shop that can provide bouquets, boutonnieres, some ceremonial arrangements, and perhaps some centerpieces. These types are perfect if you want to create your own designs, order arrangements for special occasions such as holidays and birthdays or send get well wishes.
Floral Designer – This kind of florist offers a wider range of services and may or may not have a retail shop. They have a larger space for constructing custom items such as arches and chuppahs. They may also create multiple centerpieces and have a larger supply of vases, candelabras, and other vessels.
Floral and Event Decorator – This type of florist has the capability and staff to assist in the overall concept and design of a wedding or any other event. Besides having access to an abundance of flowers, they offer lighting, draping, furnishings, and other props needed while being able to design and construct custom pieces. They are known for transforming an entire space and traditionally having more buying power, therefore giving their clients the most value.
Before you schedule a visit, first be sure they have your date available. Know the size of your wedding party and guest count. Gather photos of flowers, color swatches, and other décor items and ideas you like. A great resource are bridal magazines and Pinterest. Be ready to present your vision and convey your sense of style.
Review Their Portfolio
A company with a long-time history will have thousands of photos to showcase their work. This will enable clients to see the endless options available. It is also a great time to get new ideas you may have not thought of. Be sure to point out items you like as well as items you do not like. This will only help your designer get to know you and create exactly what you want.
Tour Their Facility
A reputable company will be proud to show you their floral coolers, production area, and warehouse. Their refrigeration capacity should be large enough to keep your florals looking their best while their talented team of designers are busy at work creating magnificent arrangements. An inventory of items offered should be visible and a fleet of dedicated lettered vehicles should be on-site to make you feel confident that they can deliver everything they promise.
As with any vendor you visit, it is important that you feel comfortable and have a rapport since this will be a valuable relationship you will be developing during the planning process. Get answers to such questions as…
Have they worked at your venue before?
This is helpful because if they have, they would have most likely developed a good-standing relationship and be familiar with all the ins and outs. They will also know what is permitted and what is not. They may also have photos in their portfolio to share which will help you see how the space looks with décor. If they have not worked at the venue, they should schedule a visit to familiarize themselves with the space and the staff.
What flowers are “in season” for your celebration?
Procuring fresh products when flowers are “out of season” will often lead to the client paying more money for a lesser quality item. Your florist should tell you what will be “in season” during your date to help you save money and get the most “bang for your buck”.
Your designer should welcome all your questions and be flexible to accept change and listen to your opinion. However, it is best to be open and establish a concept together. If you do not like something, it is okay to let them know. They want your day to be everything you envisioned and more, so do not be afraid to speak up.
See a Sample
Many florists will create a sample centerpiece prior to your event to give you a “sneak-peek” of what your florals will look like the day of your affair. It is a great visual opportunity to be able to make changes and/or any alternative decisions.
Dollars and Sense
A highly demanded florist will need a signed contract and a deposit to secure the date on their calendar. Policies vary from florist to florist, so find out when all monies are due as well as other items such as cancellation, changes, setup, breakdown, and delivery fees.