Blissfully Engaged: The Florist

Happy Wednesday Brides to Be!

If you haven't been following along each week, I'm in the middle of sharing some of my tips and tricks for hiring your Wedding Day Dream Team.  You can scroll through the last few weeks to find some of my favorite questions to ask your wedding planner, venue, and photographer.  This week we're talking about your florist! 

It's no secret that I'm a big fan of big blooms and overflowing bouquets and my brides feel the same way.  Flowers make a big impact on your overall design plan, so usually they're ranked pretty high on the list of importance for my brides.  Depending upon the look that you want, you can consider a florist or a floral designer.  The biggest difference: a floral designer usually focuses on one event per weekend and uses a lot of specialty flowers to create very unique bouquets.  A florist usually has a bigger team, may work multiple events at one time, and usually works with more basic bouquets.  There are some florists that lean more towards falling in the category of a floral designer, so just make sure you talk through your ideas when you're hiring your florist or designer. (I'll start using the term florist as a general term below and it will apply to either your florist or florist designer) 

Here are some questions that I suggest my couples to ask their potential florists:

How do you present your floral design plan?
Florists all have different methods of running their business.  Putting together a design plan is a very large part of their business and is very time consuming. Some florists put together an basic overview for your proposal and once you officially book them, they'll put together a full proposal with more details and pricing.  Some florists offer a design plan fee that they will charge for their time and will deduct that cost from their final fee if you do book with them.  It depends upon what works best for their business.  

Can I see your portfolio? What shapes of bouquets are your comfortable working with?
It's so important to see your florist's work. If you're looking for garden style arrangements and their portfolio is full of round, traditional bouquets, they're not going to be your dream vendor.  Most florist have a pretty large range and can switch back and forth from garden style to traditional. If you have your heart set on a draping bouquet, make sure you ask to see some examples of that style.

Do you offer vase options for centerpieces? Are these to rent or to buy?
If you're hoping for flowers to be displayed at all, make sure you're aware of the florist's vase policy.  Ask if they have rentals available, what the costs are, and what options they have.  Ask if you can provide your own vases and what the stipulations would be for that option.  Make sure you think about vases for your bouquets after the ceremony!

I really like _________ flowers.  Will these be available during my event?
Your florist should be able to tell you pretty quickly if your dream flower is available on your date.  Do you LOVE Peonies but you're getting married in October?  They should be able to suggest a strong substitute for that flower.  They'll also be able to give you an idea if your dream flower fits in your budget.  

How many events will you be working on my wedding day?
As mentioned above, some florists work multiple events every day.  And that's totally fine! If they take on multiple events, they are probably pros and have a big team behind them.  Make sure you are comfortable with that, but if they're confident, you shouldn't be worried.  

What setup or teardown do you do for my event?
This a really important question.  If your florist creates centerpieces, arbors, or any other arrangement that needs to be set up, you want to know if your florist sets it up or if you're in charge of setting everything up.  If you have a wedding planner, they may be able to step in for the set up, but if you didn't hire a planner, that's another step you have to think about.  You'll also want to find out what steps you need to take to return any rented vases.  If the florist picks them up on the night after the event is over, make sure you're prepared with containers to keep all the flowers, otherwise you might be able to return the vases later in the week-it just depends upon when the florist needs them again.  

Make sure your florist offers the items and services that you're hoping for.  Also, make sure that they have experience working with the style that you're hoping for.  Florists have different styles and coming from my experience, hiring a florist with a different style than what you're hoping for doesn't usually work out. Be honest about your budget upfront with your florist because they'll be able to tell you very quickly if what you want matches your budget or if a type of flower is the right choice for you.  Flowers are expensive, especially if a bride is hoping for garden roses or peonies (depending upon the season).  But, a good florist should be able to give you an idea of approximate costs of ideas and then suggest different flowers to sub into that arrangement to lessen the cost.  Flowers are a big part of your budget and creating your atmosphere, so make sure you find the right designer for the job!