Friday after work I headed to Towson to meet our florist for the first time. She was recommended to me from a handful of girls at work so I had full confidence that I didn't need to look into other florists.
I'm one who loves to be prepared. I printed out photos of what I envisioned my bouquet as, my bridesmaids, the boutonnieres, the tall centerpieces, the short centerpieces... you get the idea. I had already filled out a form telling her more about our wedding - the location, the wedding party, the colors... but I had no idea what to ask her!
I quickly did a Google search and tweeted asking for brides advice! I quickly gathered all the questions thanks to Real Simple, Lindsay, and Heather.
I want to share with you the questions I found, because it came in handy to have during our appointment so I didn't forget anything! The answers in pink are from my florist, so you get an idea of what yours may say.
1. Will you set the flowers up at the site according to my specifications? If not, you may need to hire a wedding coordinator. If the florist will be setting up, make sure you both go over a diagram of where everything will be.
Yes. I am giving my florist a copy of our finalized room layout and ceremony layout so she knows exactly where to put everything. It is the florist's job to set up - and since you are busy getting ready for your big day you shouldn't have to worry. I'm also giving a copy to our wedding coordinator and my bridesmaids/mom so they can go down and check.
2. Will you take away the arrangements at the end? This could incur an extra fee, but it might be worth the price if it allows you and your wedding party to depart without a backward glance. If you are renting containers or other decorative items, don’t assume the florist will retrieve them. Check the contract to make sure who’s responsible. And be sure you know the venue’s policies about cleanup.
Our florist does come to pick up the materials she has rented to us that night. Make sure you tell her the time the wedding ends and that your guests take home the flowers they want before she cleans up. This does include an extra fee, but our florist requires it so she doesn't lose any of her belongings. You may also want to bring extra vases so your guests have something to take the arrangements home in.
3. Who will be in charge of my wedding flowers? For quality control―and to make sure all your conversations haven’t gone to waste―get confirmation that the floral designer you’ve been dealing with will do the arranging. If you’re having a large wedding, it may be too much work for one florist, so she should be aided by a trusted associate.
4. Do you typically limit the number of weddings you have slated on a weekend? Ideally, the answer to this is yes―the florist should have one or two, max. However, this may depend on the size of your wedding and the size of the florist. If the florist seems to have an astronomical amount of weddings on her plate, make sure she is confident that she can devote ample time to your event.
She limits herself to one wedding a week! This is great for us because I know our flowers will have the time needed to make sure they are perfect.
5. What would you consider suitable substitutions for the flowers we have discussed if these are unavailable? Hammer this out now so you aren’t surprised minutes before you hit the aisle. The florist should guarantee color harmony, size, look, and price. You may even want to request a picture of what the florist has in mind before approving.
6. How will I reach you on the wedding day? The florist should give you a cell-phone or pager number.
I have her cell programmed in my phone. Make sure you give her number to your family and bridesmaids as well just in case!
7. When will the flowers arrive, how will they be transported, and how will they be packaged when they arrive? Flowers should be delivered at the last possible moment, even if the building is air-conditioned, to prevent wilting. Bouquets should be delivered about half an hour before photography is scheduled to begin. Your florist will determine the delivery time, taking into account the time of year, the temperature, and the sun’s brightness. Florists use climate-controlled vehicles (some have refrigeration), so the blooms arrive fresh.
My bouquet and our bridal party's flowers will be delivered at the time the photographer arrives. This ensures we have them for the photos.
8. Can you advise me on which flowers would be best for my wedding? What is in season and what we could do to limit the price (i.e., substitutions that are cheaper)? You and your florist should discuss whether it’s an indoor or outdoor event (with sun exposure a factor), the length of the photo session, the gap between ceremony and reception, and so on. These factors will help determine if the flowers you select will be hardy enough.
Our florist recommended not using hydrangeas in our personal flowers because they wilt quickly.
9. Are there any taxes, overtime charges, gratuities, or fees that aren’t included in the contract? You don’t want hidden fees to pop up after the wedding (there will be enough last-minute expenses as it is). Make sure the cancellation policy and associated fees are also in the contract.
10. When will the balance be due? While there’s no hard and fast rule, florists generally request payment about two weeks before the wedding.
Two weeks before the wedding the full payment is due. A deposit is required to hold our weekend and due at the signing of our contract.
11. Do you supply vases/votives or do we?
Our florist can supply both. The vases/votives pricing depends on the size.
12. Have you worked at the our venue before?
She has several times. I was thankful she actually knew the room names at our venue before we even told her. This put me at ease because knowing the venue helps her to design and envision our wedding.
13. Do you create sample centerpieces and bouquets for us to approve/review?
At a price. This is something Lindsay suggested to me and thank goodness she did! I have heard of many brides being unhappy with their flowers. We are ordering a sample tall centerpiece and my bouquet a month prior so we are using the same flowers that will be in season. Thank you Mom!
I hope these questions and answers help you during your wedding planning! It really helped me know the right questions to ask and to make sure our wedding day is nothing short of perfect!