Petal to the Metal: Choosing A Florist
For some people, the flowers are there just as an accent to the day. For some people, it is ALL about the flowers. Either way, you need to book a florist a good bit in advance to make sure you have someone to fulfill your vision. As always, summer weddings are more popular, so choosing someone around the 8 month out mark is generally a good idea. For winter weddings you can wait til the 6 month mark, but there’s nothing wrong with being a little more proactive! I highly recommend starting to look at florists a year out (even if you don’t book them for a while), because going then will show you exactly which types of flowers will be available for your own wedding.
Choosing a florist is a lot like choosing a baker in that you don’t have to have a set idea of what you want, but you need to have a general idea to the point that you can get relatively accurate quotes and a good feel for how working with the florist will go. Reviews are INCREDIBLY important here. You’ll want to look for notes on state of the flowers (bright vs dull, strong vs wilted, etc), accuracy of delivery (you would not BELIEVE how many stories are floating around out there of florists who actually forgot to make a bouquet, or sometimes even two), accuracy of content (if you request a certain flower, gosh darn it you better get that flower!), timeliness, and ability to stick with a budget. Depending on how involved you want to get, flowers can be very expensive, so it’s important you get your moneys worth out of them.
Meet with a couple different florists to discuss your ideas for your flowers. Do you want specific types of blooms? What color or color family are you going for? How many bouquets/boutonnieres/corsages/centerpieces/etc do you need? How large/small do you want the previously mentioned items? Bring in pictures that represent things you like. Like dress pictures, this doesn’t have to be exactly what you want, but have qualities you like about it. I brought in some pictures that would be an ideal case scenario for a bouquet, and others I liked the overall shape of. If you have a specific budget in mind, now is the time to bring it up.
After the florist gets a good handle on what it is you’re looking for, they will start discussing with you what flowers are (and aren’t, if you mentioned specific types) available for your time of year and will probably ask you a couple questions to get a more solid idea of what it is you’re looking for. If you mentioned a particular budget (I had already decided my limits for the bouquets would be $150 for mine and $50 for the girls’, but lower would obviously be better), they will also discuss with you what is doable within that budget and what substitutions can be made to bring the price down. By the end of the appointment, you should have a pretty solid idea of what your vision will cost you. When you’re making a decision on which florist you want to book for the day (and keep in mind when you book them you don’t have to define exactly what you want; you can change your mind from what was discussed up until a few weeks before the wedding so that they have enough time to order the right flowers), weigh the projected cost and how well you think the florist really understood what you wanted. We talked to two different florists, and while they were quoting about the same price (only a $40 difference), one seemed to have a better handle on what it was I wanted things to look like than the other, so we chose them.
We’re not doing much for flowers. We’ll have bouquets for myself and the bridesmaids, boutonnieres for the guys and dads, and wrist corsages for the moms. We’re not sure yet if we’re going to do real or silk flowers for our centerpieces, but those would just be a single bloom per table (but a big one, like a hydrangea). As for the ceremony, we may have some pieces flanking the altar, but our florist has large pieces of really nice silk flowers that you can rent for about $50, so if we do anything we’ll use those.
If you’re an ambitious DIY-er, you can also do your own flowers. This requires some careful planning and is usually more labor intensive than you expect. In a later post I will talk about what you need and need to know about doing your own floral pieces. I’ll also use a post to talk about common types of flowers found in bouquets.