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Wedding Flowers: Shopping Strategies

You’ve booked the church and the reception hall but how will you decorate them? What will you carry down the aisle? Now is the time for Summer – Late Summer brides to meet with their florist and decide on everything from the bouquets to the organist’s corsage.

Sound a little overwhelming? Don’t let it. Thanks to local florists and our friends at Bridal Bargains, here are a few shopping strategies to keep in mind when choosing your florist:

1. Book a florist up to six months in advance of your wedding. Some florists may require more time based on how many weddings they currently have booked. It’s best to call as soon as you have a date set to find out how much lead time you will need.

2. Meet with at least three florists and compare their ability to provide the flowers desired, date availability, customer service, overall impression during your meeting and most importantly their price. Just as with every vendor associated with your wedding, make sure personalities are compatable and that everyone is on the same page. You can find a list of questions in aid in finding the right florist for your wedding in our 48-page wedding planner.

3. Have the time, place and apparel selected BEFORE you meet with the florist. The bridal gown is crucial – everything flows from this design element. The color of the bridesmaids gowns is very critical as well. Bring swatches of the bridesmaids dress and a picture of your gown when you meet. Give these items to the florist so they’ll remember what the dress looks like when they actually make the bouquet. It’s also helpful to bring pictures of any flowers or specific designs that you like. This will help the florist understand your personal style and assist them in desiging the perfect arrangements and bouquets for your wedding.

4. Look through actual photos of their previous work. Don’t rely solely on mass produced design books or floral magazines. Identify flowers and designs that fit your wedding’s style. Where as an unadorned wedding gown can be set-off by a lush bridal bouquet, in the same fashion, a simple bouquet may better compliment an ornate wedding dress. Make sure the florist understands your tastes and desires instead of merely telling you what you should have.

5. Get a written proposal specifying exact flowers and have them break the cost down by bridal bouquet, bridesmaid’s bouquets, corsages, boutonniere’s, reception table arrangements, altar arrangements. ect. Ask if the florist has rental items available to help keep the cost down. Some florists will deliver the flowers and stay to service the wedding, others will not. Make sure you and your florist are on the same page as to what you expect. Then find out if there is an extra charge to service the wedding and what the delivery charges will be. Don’t settle for a total price without seeing what each item costs. Get this information BEFORE you place your deposit.

6. When you decide on the florist who will service your wedding, ask if it’s possible to visit one of their upcoming weddings during set-up. A few things to look for are, 1) are they one time; 2) are they organized; 3) are the flowers fresh; and 4) the overall look of the designs. Keep in mind your taste may be different from the other bride, but overall, are the designs full and pleasing to the eye?
7. Ask the florist if they are familiar with both your ceremony and reception site. If not, ask if they would like to meet there and look over the area you will be using to give them a better understanding of the space they will be working with, the type of pews or chairs, etc.

8. If you are having a large or complex wedding, a pre-wedding floral check-up may be necessary. Meet with the florist about one to two weeks prior to the event to iron out any last minute changes or details.

9. In the quote, make sure your florist includes the following: rental costs for items you have discussed, large urns or vases that may be used, delivery charges, pick up charges, etc. Ask if there are any additional fees up front so you aren’t shocked when you see the final cost.

Once everything has been discussed, changed, and reviewed… you are ready to sign. But, before you sign, make sure the florist has the following information in the contract;

  • The date and time of the event
  • The exact address of the ceremony and reception venues along with a phone number and contact name at the site.
  • Set-up times for ceremony & reception venues and if there are any special instructions for that venue.
  • Specific flowers for each item; roses for bridal bouquet, orchids for Mother’s corsages, etc. Make sure they include colors chosen for each flower element as well – bridal white roses for your bouquet, red gladiolus for bridesmaids, etc.
  • Any special instructions: known allergies to specific flowers, avoid specific colors for ribbons or filler flowers, open roses for bride’s bouquet, altar flowers must be taken to reception hall after ceremony, etc.
  • Emergency contact information; your cell phone or another family member that can make decisions on your behalf. Make sure you have the florist’s cell number as well in case there are any problems the day of the wedding.
  • Specific payment information including deposits, payment schedules as well as refund/cancellation policy.

As you get closer to your wedding, there may be some modifications to your order. Make sure all changes are made in writing and included in your final contract, then sit back and let your florist work their magic. Flowers are the most beautiful accent to any occasion, your florist knows that. He or she will do everything they can to make your event as beautiful as you are.

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One Response

  1. Great site Iím happy I stumbled onto it through my friendís blog. Going to need to add another blog to the morning routine

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