Black bouquet

Do you like Roses? Peonies? Calla lilies? How about Queen Anne’s Lace or Gladiolas?

Most of us don’t know much about flowers except for the fact that they’re the prettiest part of any wedding.

Your florist is the artist who will bring your vision to life – and we have the inside scoop on how to make this relationship a beautiful one.

And if you are planning a destination wedding, make sure you have a phone conversation with your potential florist (especially with options being more limited) before signing any contracts. Read their reviews, ask for references and do your homework before booking.

  • Book your venue first. Your floral designer needs a backdrop to work off of.
  • Preparation tips. The florist’s job is to interpret what you think you will like so that your personality will come out. So before your first meeting, research what colors, styles and flowers you like. Don’t like roses or peonies? Then Google the name of ones that you do like. Bring a swatch of your bridesmaids dress. Bring pictures that appeal to you. After all, “whimsical” can mean a lot of things to different people. A color wheel will help give you a better idea of what colors go well together and is a great resource to have as you develop your wedding aesthetic.
  • Be honest. Don’t meet with a florist and immediately ask for ideas with the intent of replicating them on your own.
  • Be ready to talk money. Depending on the season and the flower, you can spend as little or as much as you want on florals. So you really do need a baseline to work off of. The more details you have, the better.
  • Know that there are options. The beautiful thing about flowers is that there are infinite ways to be creative, especially when on a limited budget, without compromising the look and feel of your wedding. A good florist should be able to provide you with many ideas on how you can use different flowers, accessories and techniques that will save on cost.
  • Think of the whole picture. We tend to think of our centerpieces and bouquets as individual pieces of the pie, when in reality they need to form a cohesive look. Everything from the linens to the ties to the bouquet ribbon needs to blend together in an aesthetically pleasing ways.
  • Be careful of “adding”. Maybe you added a bridesmaid or a table. Maybe you decided you want florals on your wedding cake. Maybe your florist has some unique ideas to add that bit of pop to the wedding look and feel. Never assume that the cost will not change. These things add up so remember that every tweak will have an impact on cost – be sure to communicate this with your florist.
  • Trust your florist. Yes, brides can and should have a vision, opinions – strong ones even, but micromanaging your floral designer only inhibits his/her creativity. After all, they are artists. There has to be some sense of trust that they will bring your vision to life and make it beautiful. That’s why you hired them right?

A note on DIY – unless you are a professional, (or are best friends with one) or have tons of time and help, don’t DIY. Yes, you can buy flowers wholesale, but you will also need to buy or rent vases, ribbons and other materials, store everything, transport it, and arrange not only the bouquets, but the centerpieces, boutonnieres and other decorative pieces. Not to mention you’ll be spending the evening before and morning of your wedding flower arranging. And if you still really want to DIY, make sure you have the time to invest, the motivation to do a beautiful job, and practice practice practice so know what you are doing!

Questions to ask when interviewing potential florists

  • How long have you been doing weddings?
  • Can I see a portfolio of a variety of different styles and budgets?
  • What is your particular style?
  • Are my favorite flowers in season? If not, what do you recommend?
  • Will I be the only wedding you work on that day or weekend?
  • Do you work alone or do you have a team?
  • Are you familiar with my ceremony and reception site?
  • What recommendations can you give me to maximize my budget?
  • Will you be able to make samples for me and if so, is there an additional cost or minimum that I must meet?
  • Do you provide advice on linens, chairs and tableware?
  • Will you be doing an onsite setup and take down?
  • Do you have liability insurance?

Contract tips

  • Services: Arrival and departure time (for both ceremony and reception), as well as arrival and transportation of the floral bouquets and buttonieres
  • Fees: Potential additional cost for breakdown, mocks, overtime and taxes
  • Details on each bouquet, centerpiece, garland etc. How large will the bouquet be? What kind of flowers? Get specific.


Photo Credit: Nancy Rothstein

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