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A Florist and Selecting Flowers For Your Wedding

If your wedding flower needs are minimal there is no need to start looking far in advance for a wedding florist.   However, if you are in need of a number of wedding bouquets, table centerpieces, and other wedding flowers or decor enhancements - or if your wedding will be held during a high flower demand month - you will want to select a wedding florist well in advance of your wedding.  Keep in mind that depending upon the size of the florist there is a limit to the number of weddings and other special events they can effectively service on a given day.   Also, keep in mind that due to fluctuating flower prices you may be able to save a significant amount of money by selecting your wedding florist and placing your order in advance as well.

Recommendations from friends, relatives and associates are usually a good place to start.  Additional resources can be found in your local yellow pages, in local wedding and special event publications and on the Internet.  You can also ask local wedding ceremony and reception facilities which florists frequently provide service at their location.

First determine what you need relative to approximate sizes and numbers of floral items and their general color and appearance. Clip examples from magazines or other publications to refer to if the design stands out as something that you might like.  Also, carefully consider the colors of your wedding and the dominant colors in the wedding ceremony and reception facility, i.e. carpet color, wall color, etc. where the floral arrangements will be displayed.  It is also advisable to have a pretty good idea of what you want to spend or what you can afford to spend.  Then, make a list of the local wedding florists you want to visit and call them in advance to make an appointment.

Price, quality and service should be the 3 main determining factors when selecting a wedding florist.  Keep this in mind when visiting each florist.  Most florists will have sample books that will help you make your general selection relative to size and color much easier. Some florists have actual photos of their completed work while others will have stock photos provided by associations.  Don't assume that what you see in a stock photo is exactly what you are going to get.  The design style and the level of skill and creativity can vary greatly between floral designers - so it is much better if you can look at actual photos of their work. When speaking to a florist's representative be sure you are speaking to a floral designer rather than a salesperson.  A floral designer can usually give you creative alternatives when it comes to appearance and price while a salesperson may not have the practical experience to be able to help you in those areas.

Be sure to take along a notebook to take notes with, the list of the floral items that you need or want designed for your wedding, photo examples of wedding floral designs that you have seen and liked and samples of wedding color materials, i.e. table cloth, skirting, dress fabric, etc. to help with color decisions.

When visiting the wedding florist, first look at the items in their display cases. If the items in the display cases look fresh and of good quality it is usually a good indication that they take pride in providing a quality product. On the other hand, if the flowers look wilted or damaged it may be a really good indication that you should probably be looking elsewhere.  Also, look at the individual floral arrangements to see if they appear attractive and tasteful.  If the composition of the arrangements does not appeal to you it might be possible that the florist has a style that is not going to fulfill the expectations you have about how your wedding floral arrangements should look.

Ask to see photo examples of their work first so you can get a feel for their design style.   Provided that the examples of their work meets with your expectations, bring out your list of wedding floral items and the wedding color samples and explain what you are looking for. Tell the designer about the style of the wedding, the type of mood you want to set and the colors and other factors that may affect the type of flowers used.  Since flowers are relatively fragile and some will weather much better than others be sure to explain any special temperature conditions that may affect the flower selection.  For example, a wedding held in a tent in potentially hot and humid weather will require a different flower selection than a wedding held in an air conditioned facility.

Following are examples of questions you may want to ask the wedding florist during your visit...

Is the person you are speaking to the floral designer who would be supervising the design of your floral items?  If not, it is advisable to request to speak with that person so you can get a true feel for the experience level of the designer.

How many larger events (like weddings) does the florist do annually?  This will give you an idea of whether they have the experience needed to supply large events.

How many other weddings or special events would they be servicing on that specific day and what are their capabilities?  You do not necessarily want to be 1 of 10 other weddings if they only have 1 delivery van.

Does the florist have any recent client references or letters of recommendation?

If a summer wedding - Do they have refrigerated delivery vehicles?  This can be really important since non refrigerated vans and trucks can reach temperatures that could wilt just about anything.

Does the florist actually place the floral items where they belong when they are delivered to the wedding ceremony or reception location? Some will do the actual placement and "touching up" of flower arrangements while others simply deliver door to door and leave the actual placement up to you.

What costs are involved and what do the costs include?  Are delivery charges included? Is there a gratuity involved?

If you are planning on ordering seasonal or exotic flowers for your wedding - What happens if there is a flower shortage on the specific type of flower you order?  Do they substitute?  If so, what will be substituted and what will the cost be?

If the cost per item is too high - Can they recommend less expensive alternatives?

There should be a written agreement outlining what you ordered, what you are being charged for and how you are being charged.  In addition, the agreement should also indicate the name of the specific floral designer, delivery locations and times, and anything else you discussed with the florist that you want included in the agreement. If you want to get extremely detailed and drive the florist nuts, you can even list the number of each type of flower in each type of arrangement and put that in the contract too. (I would!  Heck, I would even attach photos of the arrangements if picked from a sample book.) Since it is possible that floral designers may change between now and the date of your wedding, the more you have in writing now means the less possibility that something will be misunderstood then.

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