Written by Lei Lydle, Editor AtlantaBridal.com, and reprinted with permission
How Do I Find A Florist?
Get Recommendations From Everyone
You can find lists of local florists through this Web site and many others on the Internet. You can also look in local wedding magazines for recommendations. In addition to checking these options, ask for recommendations from your married friends and other wedding professionals such as your reception hall.
How Many Florists Should I Meet With?
As Many As It Takes…
First, choose the two or three florists that have been given the highest praise from your friends, other brides and wedding pros. Call each florist to find out if they are available for the time and date of your wedding.
If the florist is available, schedule an appointment – and don’t forget to ask if they charge a consulting fee before you hang up the phone. Plan to meet with the florist for at least an hour – you want to be sure to allow enough time to ask a lot of questions, look through portfolios and see as many samples as possible. If you don’t like (or can’t afford) any of the first three florists that you meet, go to your list of recommendations and start over with the next most highly recommended florists.
Questions To Ask Potential Florists
- Do you require a deposit to hold my wedding date? If so, what is your deposit refund policy?
Obviously, you don’t want to be surprised about any deposits that you may have to pay. If the florist does require a deposit, find out if it is non-refundable or not. Most florists will require a deposit that is refundable up to a particular date – after which the deposit is non-refundable.
- Do you charge a delivery or set-up fee?
Florists may include the delivery fee in the price of the flowers. In general though, the florist should come to your ceremony and reception site in person to make sure that the flowers are arranged properly.
- How many weddings do you schedule for one day?
It is not uncommon for florists to handle several weddings in one day. If at all possible, choose a florist that will be dedicating her day (or one of her staff members) to your wedding only – this will eliminate the possibility of confusion on the florists part. If your florist will be handling more than one wedding on your special day, make sure that it will be logistically possible for your florist to make it to your ceremony and reception locations in plenty of time to set up properly.
- Have you ever done a wedding at my ceremony site? At my reception site?
It is a good idea to choose a florist that is familiar with your ceremony and reception sites. If your favorite florist is not familiar with your sites, schedule several meetings at the actual site so that you can describe your wishes in great detail.
- Do you offer any silk or dried flower arrangements? Are they available for rent?
You may want to rent silk flower arrangements for ceremony and reception decorations.
- What rental items do you provide and at what price?
You may need rental items such as tables, chairs, trees, ferns, arches, tents, etc. Find out if your florist provides these types of rentals. If not, you may need to seek out the help of a separate rental company for these items.
- Would you mind if I attend one of your weddings during the set-up?
Attending a wedding set-up can be a good indicator of how organized and dependable a florist is. While observing a set up take a few notes — Did the florist arrive on time? Who actually set up the flowers? Were all of the flowers and decorations completed in plenty of the time before the beginning of the wedding? How did the flowers look? Did the bride and her mother and/or bridesmaids seem happy about the flowers?
- How far in advance do you generally arrive at the ceremony and reception sites to set up?
Setting up the decorations and preparing the flowers can take a while – especially if the ceremony and reception are being held in different locations. In general, the florist should arrive at the ceremony site first — at least 3.5 hours before the wedding — to set up for pictures. Appropriate accommodations for keeping the bouquets moist should be considered. When the florist has finished decorating the church or ceremony site, he or she should move on to the reception site which will probably take a little longer to decorate. If your ceremony site has booked back to back weddings, your florist will need to know this up front so that she can have a representative at both sites simultaneously. Please keep in mind that elaborate decorations will take longer.
- Would you be staying at my wedding throughout the ceremony or simply dropping the flowers off?
Florists have a lot of weddings, so don’t be offended if the florist does not attend your wedding and reception. Your florist should be responsible for making provisions for delivering, setting up and picking up your floral arrangements and rentals.
- Can I have a written proposal that specifies the exact flowers and costs that you would use for my wedding?
The florist may or may not be able to give you this information at this meeting. But, you should get a written proposal or estimate before you make your final decision on a florist. When you do get the proposal, be sure that each item that you need is priced individually.
I’ve Met With The Florists, Now What?
Pick your favorite florist from those that you met with and ask to visit one of their weddings during set-up. If you like the work that the florist did at this other wedding, set up an on-site meeting at your ceremony and reception site to finalize the details.
Get a written contract that lists the date, time, place, specific flowers and designs. All prices and details need to be spelled out very clearly. Meet with the florist a couple of weeks before the wedding to go over any last minute details.