Before you visit with a florist it’s important to get a sense for your own “floral aesthetic.” Browse the web, blogs, pinterest, and magazines with an open mind and see what you are most drawn to in terms of palette—do you like the more muted soft peachy-pinks, or are you finding yourself more drawn to a vibrant mix of pink and orange and coral–and design, do you keep going back to the loose and organic designs that look like a Dutch painting, or is something lush and mounded more to your liking. Browse, clip, pin, gather and once you review your clippings you will find that you have started to identify a certain look and feel that has begun to feel personal.
Now it’s time to look for the florist. A referral is always going to be your best tool when it comes to finding a florist, so start asking around. While you want to find a florist who is a good match to your “style,” it’s just as important to find a florist who has made a lot of brides before you very happy. A good florist will have a signature style, but will also be versatile and able to blend his or her own designs with your unique vision.
Make your appointment and expect to spend an hour or so in a consultation. Before you meet with the florist you’ll want to check out their website, facebook page, and blog. Sites like Wedding Wire and Yelp really aren’t reliable and tend to be filled with 5-star reviews that all begin to sound alike. So check with friends, ask around, find out who is the designer behind the pieces you saw at that wedding last week that you loved so much. And while you will want to see photos of work the florist has done in the past, you also want to be certain that you’re being heard and that the designer is looking at the clippings you’ve brought with you.
Have a sense for your budget and don’t play games with it. Don’t tell the florist the budget is smaller than it really is because buying floral designs is not like getting a bid on a case of widgets. The designer will do his or her best to design something beautiful within your budget, but perhaps those stunning coral charm peonies would have been a part of your design had the designer known you actually had another $500 in the budget. Likewise, don’t claim to have an unlimited budget and ask for a proposal that is certainly going to leave you broken hearted if you really can’t afford it. Your florist should also be able to offer a few cost-saving suggestions as well. Your flower choices will impact the bottom line, but not as much as you might think. Delivery and set-up can be very costly and your florist should be able to strategize some ideas with you that will help control these costs.
If there is a flower, a foliage, or a design element you do NOT want in your flowers, be sure to tell the florist and see that it is noted! If you really can’t stand lilies and your wedding is eight months away, there’s a very good chance this detail can be forgotten over the course of time if it’s not noted.
Ask questions and get answers concerning timing, delivery locations, and clean up. Make certain that dates, times, contact information including cell numbers is accurate and kept up to date right up until the day of the wedding. Be sure it is noted in the contract and that everyone is in agreement concerning the counts for corsages, bouts, number of tables, and so on. Your florist should be staying in touch with you for these details so be sure to ask what the plan is for making sure nothing is overlooked or forgotten.
Finally, choosing a florist requires a leap of faith on some levels. You are not buying a screwdriver, a washing machine, or a car. You are buying something a little less tangible and little less precise. When you sign your contract with your florist—and ALWAYS have a contract and READ IT—you are entering into a partnership with the hopes that your vision and that of your florist will meld to create beautiful floral designs for your wedding day. If, during your meeting with a florist, you feel excited, creative, and like someone “gets it,” and if you feel like there might just be a friendship of sorts blossoming, you’ve probably found the right florist!