Choosing the flowers that are right for you depends on a number of factors. Some of the important ideas to consider include the design of your dress, the theme or style of your wedding, the date and location of the ceremony and reception, and even the shape of your body. These are necessary decisions you should have in place before even making an appointment with a florist.
A good florist should be able to help guide you through the multitude of other decisions that you will need to make. She should be able to educate you about the difference between nosegays and pomanders, free-forms and hand-tied. She should be able to recommend flowers that will complement you and the type of wedding you're planning to have, possibly even introducing you to new ideas you hadn't considered before. She may even be able to suggest ways that you could save some money by selecting flowers that will be in-season and could be found locally rather than having to have them shipped from elsewhere. They are the expert in their field. Count on them to guide you along the way and provide you with valuable information and advice.
So how do you prepare for your first meeting with the florist?
First off, I would encourage you to through books and magazines for pictures that appeal to you. These photographs can really help give you a starting point to work from, but remember that they are just a starting point. Encourage the florist to share their ideas with you, allowing them to create something truly unique and personal to you versus a copy of something else that has already been done. The photos allow the florist to see what you like, but add their creativity and expertise and you will find that they can up with something absolutely stunning.
Secondly, have an idea in mind of what you will want to spend. There are countless books and software available with information on wedding budgets. These can help break down your overall dollar figure into how much should be spent on each item. If you use a wedding planner, they should be able to give you a realistic estimate on how much you have to spend on flowers, specific to your area, as well as some possible ideas of who to talk to. Another important piece of information to know is how many items you are looking for. Are you looking for just bouquets and boutonnieres, or will you need centerpieces as well. In many cases, knowing your budget, the florist may be able to suggest substitutions or alternatives to stretch your budget a little further, but maximize your flower potential.
Third, don't be afraid to ask for references, but be sure to follow up with some brides in regards to their satisfaction with the flower arrangements and the service received by the florist. I recently did a wedding where the florist made beautiful centerpieces, but for whatever reason, struggled in getting them to the reception venue on time. Thirty minutes prior to the reception, the incomplete centerpieces were still sitting on the floor of the ballroom waiting for additional elements to be added. They wouldn't have been on the tables ready for the 5:30 PM reception if myself and the other members of the planning team hadn't stepped in to help get them finished. Not an experience I personally wish to repeat!!!
Other items you may want to take into consideration include:
- One of the advantage of fresh flowers is that most do have a scent. Do you want your flowers to have a strong heady perfume, something more citrusy, or maybe a more subtle scent?
- Do you want the groom's boutononniere to match your bouquet? Your florist should have ideas on how to do this. I would also encourage you make the groom's boutonniere a little different than the ones for the other groomsmen.
- Are they able to do your centerpieces as well? Sometimes florists will offer you a better price with larger volume involved. They may also have packages available for you to consider.
- Can they deliver the flowers on your wedding day? Flowers will look fresher if they are made up the day of than the day before.
- When are you taking your wedding pictures? Will you be outside in extreme temperatures (hot or cold) which could give the flowers a wilted look? (One of my bride's getting married in February specifically chose silk flowers for her bouquet for fear of the results in taking photos in -25 degree Celsius weather.)