Tips for choosing a florist to provide all your wedding needs can help you eliminate those who can't. All things being equal with flower availability and budget, determining which florist to hire should hinge on their ability to design bouquets and arrangements the way you want.
Tips for Choosing a Wedding Florist
Do some wedding planning before choosing a florist. You should already know the type of wedding and reception you have planned, and their locations should already be booked. Any wedding themes should also be figured out. For instance, if you are having a beach wedding, you will want a simple bouquet to go with an informal beach wedding dress.
Know what color table linens will be used at the reception and what color dresses the bridal party will be wearing. This information is important when comparison shopping, since you want to choose flowers to match the wedding color scheme and décor.
It's probably a good idea to first check with your banquet manager to see if reception arrangements are included in your catering package. If they are, and this is acceptable to you, you'll only need to discuss ceremonial flowers and bouquets with a florist.
Hopefully your ceremony and reception location aren't far apart from each other. This will come in handy when choosing a florist. Your best bet is to go with one that is local to the wedding and reception areas to cut down on costly delivery fees. The quicker your flowers reach their destination, the fresher they will be.
Considerations for Selecting a Florist
As you determine the type of flowers you want and hunt for appropriate florists, consider the following:
- Budget: Does the florist meet your budget? Determine how much you are willing to spend on flowers before you get price quotes from florists. This will give you an idea of vendors that are within your price range.
- Flower types: Does the shop have the types of flowers you want? Are there certain types of flowers you absolutely must have for your wedding? Many florists can get any flower that is in season. However, some florists have more resources and available flower varieties than others to get you exactly what you want. There are also speciality shops that have more unique varieties of flowers.
- Flower design ability: How skilled is the florist? Are they experienced? Most florists have designers on staff who can create lovely arrangements but some shops are more skilled at design than others. If you admired the floral arrangements at other weddings, ask the couple who did their flowers. Before you commit to a florist, visit at least four shops to see live samples in the showroom or their portfolio to get an idea of their design ability. Ask for one or two references, if available, to vouch for their work.
- Design style: Will the florist's design style fit your wedding? Now that you found a skilled florist, does their design style fit your wedding theme? For example, if the florist creates stunning modern arrangements but your wedding theme is Victorian, it may not be the best fit.
- AIFD certified florist: Is the florist certified? Find a florist certified by the American Institute of Floral Designers (AIFD) to increase your chances of working with a floral designer who is experienced in designing a large selection of arrangements using different flower varieties.
Common Wedding Flower Packages
Being familiar with common wedding flower packages can help you shop for a florist. The sizes and shapes will vary, but you will want to find packages that include the following basics:
- Bride's bouquet
- Bridesmaid's bouquets
- Corsages for moms, grandmothers and other special women
- Boutonnieres for the groom, groomsmen and fathers of the bride and groom
- Floral arrangements for the church or ceremony location
- Centerpieces for the reception
A more elaborate wedding will call for more elaborate flowers. For instance, will you need a flower girl basket? Will a small bridal bouquet for "tossing" be required? If you're getting married under a gazebo, trellis or canopy, will these be adorned with flowers? Extras such as these are sure to add to the cost.
Compare Area Florists
Like all other aspects of your wedding, you'll want to comparison shop to get the best value for your flower money. Visit with different wedding florists and describe what you'd like for your wedding. He'll probably have several sample books for you to look through to choose the flowers and centerpieces that complement your wedding and reception.
In your quest for the perfect flowers for your wedding, don't discount the neighborhood florist. He might not advertise as a wedding florist, but he probably knows what he's doing. Even better, he probably charges less than many popular upscale shops that specialize in weddings. The service is sure to be more personalized and he'll have more time to sit with you and find flowers to suit your needs.
The Right Florist for You
Once you've visited several shops, browsed their books and received their quotes, it's time for you to begin choosing a wedding florist. Do you want to go with the wedding florist who charges the lowest fee or the florist with the prettiest floral arrangements? Do you want personalized service, or a limited package provided by the wedding super center or catering hall? Don't forget to ask about flower preservation to have a memento of your special day. Whatever you do, don't settle for the cheapest price if the package doesn't feel right to you. It is, after all, the most important day of your life.