Before you start to look at florists you first need to get some of your ducks in a row. There is nothing wrong with going to the florist with an open mind, however having some idea of the direction you wish the wedding decorations to take may be useful.
Start taking a look at pictures - in magazines, Pinterest, etc - and compile those that catch your eye. A collection of what you like will help the florist get an idea of what you want and create flowers arrangements that are tailored and perfect for you.
Check out our Questions to Ask florists.
Consider the following to help decide what you want:
1. The theme and colours
Keep in mind that the wedding colours will run throughout the entire wedding from the bridesmaid’s dresses to the mother of the bride’s corsage and you will want the flowers to compliment this. So, knowing the theme and colours you want for the wedding will narrow down the type and colour of flowers you have available to choose from.
2. Your budget
You need to be honest about your budget from the start. Most florists will be able to work with a small budget, but you need to be realistic in your expectations and open to new ideas and alternatives - you cannot expect to get extravagant over-the-top flower arrangements on a shoestring budget.
There are also smaller things that can add up and you need to take them into consideration for example: the size of the wedding party (this will effect the amount of bouquets and boutonnières you will need) or the fact that you want organic roses that cost more, but last so much longer.
3. The Venue
Before sitting down with a floral designer, you should already have reserved your ceremony and reception venue. That way you'll be able to discuss how much additional floral décor will be needed to either achieve a specific look at your site or complement an existing garden and/or room aesthetic.
If your ceremony and reception is not in the same location, you can also discuss the logistics (and any extra costs) around setting up in 2 locations or moving the flowers after the ceremony to the reception venue.
Once you have the above sorted and you arrange meetings with potential florists you can look for the following:
If the florist has been in the industry for several years you can be sure they know what they are doing - they will be able to guide you through the process easily and have a wider knowledge of which flowers are in season/grow in the region, which will work best in certain arrangements and a better expertise on how to create less expensive alternatives.
This however does not mean that you should avoid florists with less experience, they may not have all the knowledge and expertise but most likely have the talent to give you what you want and they will probably be cheaper.
To get a good idea of the florists’ style ask to see some photos of arrangements they have made in the past. This will let you know exactly what they're capable of and how it compares with what you want. You can also ask for some references which will give you an idea how the other couples found their service.
A lot of florists offer extra services like event designing or coordinating and some even have extra décor (draping, lanterns, chairs, candelabras, lounge furniture, etc). Dealing with one wedding pro rather than four or five can simplify the process and often times save you money. Other services they may offer include delivery and setup, this may save you time (and some stress) to know that it will be done but.
Most florists will require a deposit when booking them and the full payment on/or the day after the wedding - however they usually assess the cost on the flowers and labour only, but there are often extra costs like delivery, setup or breakage fees. So, it is very important to make sure you are clear on all the costs involved so you do not have any surprises later.
Also make sure what their cancelation/refund policy is in case you need to cancel their services for whatever reason, it is always best to be prepared for the worst.
Lastly, after you've met with each floral designer ask yourself:
The flowers are a fairly important part of the wedding and you need to be comfortable and confident that the florist you choose can offer you what you need.