When purchasing the flowers for your wedding it is wise to select your florist 6-12 months before the wedding. Call any florists you might be interested in and find out a little about their style and how they work (this varies). Meet a few that you like, preferably one that has a business around the area you live, and ask to see their books and references. When calculating your flower budget, remember to go to at least three florists. These should include style concepts for the spaces (church, cocktail area, tables, and so on) and bouquets, with estimates for each.
The florist should also specify the delivery and setup fees and a list of exactly what you will get—some just do flowers; others handle all aesthetics down to the party favors. Find out what props or linens the florist provides, in order to avoid duplication with the caterer. Keep in mind you will need flowers for you and your bridal party, the ceremony and the reception. The second thing you need to think about is the color scheme, style of your wedding, personal tastes and time of year — flowers that are out of season are more expensive. You will probably find you can save considerably on cost — especially if you make it clear with your florist that cutting cost is a high priority.
Availability and price vary from city to city, and region to region, but you will probably find that Gerbera daisies, traditional daisies, carnations, chrysanthemums, statice, Queen Anne’s lace, freesia, baby’s breath and gladiolus are your best-priced flowers. Irises are an economical choice for spring, which is also the best season for violets, daffodils and tulips. Various kinds of lilies are most plentiful (and best priced) in the summer months, sunflowers and orange blossoms are most abundant in the fall. Avoid roses and orchids — they are widely available but pricey. Stay away from white blossoms. They bruise easily, so florists must go through larger quantities to find good ones and to match the shade, thus the cost is higher.
Check with your ceremony and reception sites for limitations before ordering any arrangements. Getting recommendations from friends, family, other brides and other service providers is a great way to find a good florist. You will want to interview a few florists. Before you make any appointments ask them if they do weddings and if there is a consulting fee. Make sure to bring a swatch of fabric from your bridesmaids’ dresses and you may want to bring pictures from magazines of arrangements you like. Once you arrive at the appointment, take note of how the shop is decorated with their flowers. Do the flowers look fresh? Do they have a wide and interesting variety? What are their floral arrangements like — creative and interesting? Ask to see a portfolio of their other work and get references from clients. Remember, that you can buy flowers from many different places. The florist’s creativity and style will make your bridal floral arrangements and bouquets a beautiful part of your wedding.
It is important to ask some questions when interviewing florist:
1. How many weddings do they do each year? Do they book multiple weddings for the same day?
2. Who is the designer who will be responsible for your wedding?
3. Will they distribute bouquets and boutonnieres the day of the wedding and help with final details?
4. Can they supply you with any other decorations that you may need? At what cost?
5. Are they familiar with your ceremony and reception sites? If not, would they be willing to visit the site with you?
6. What is the cost of each bouquet, arrangement or centerpiece?
7. What are their delivery and set-up times? Remember that flowers may wilt on hot days and not last through the celebration.
8. What services are included in the total cost?
9. Do they guarantee the freshness of their flowers?
10. What are their payment and cancellation policies?
A good florist will offer creative ideas and suggestions as well as listen to any ideas that you have. Be open-minded. They are experts at this and may have some good ideas that you would not have thought of. Do not forget to get everything in writing to avoid any confusion. If you are planning a bouquet toss but would like to preserve you bridal bouquet, ask you florist to make you a smaller throwing bouquet.