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Written by Louise Holt Last updated: September 7, 2006
I contacted a number of florists, but some of them told me that unless I had a swatch of my dress and the bridesmaid’s dresses to bring with me, I would be unable to book them or even come for a chat about flowers. They were really snooty too! I don’t know if I was just unlucky, or whether this is the norm, but I wasn’t prepared to wait to get the bridesmaids dresses to choose a florist, as in the same breath these florists had told me how booked up they get! In the end, we went to see a florist that had been recommended to us. It was no problem that I didn’t have the exact shade, number of arrangements, or even a decision on the types of flowers. As she quite rightly pointed out, she wouldn’t be ordering the flowers until much closer to the wedding, so not knowing all the details wasn’t a problem.
Mum and I went to see the florist and she explained that once we had booked her for the day, she wouldn’t take on any other weddings, meaning she could concentrate on mine, which was good news. So far, when we’ve chosen our other suppliers, we have seen and spoken to loads, gone away, thought about it and then got back to them. So, following this pattern, Mum and I went to leave the florists, saying we would be in touch soon. We hadn’t even got to the front of the shop before we turned to each other and agreed that we really liked her, so what were we waiting for? To the florist’s surprise, we turned back and told her that we would like to book her. It felt good to make a decision so quickly as I’m not exactly renowned for my decision‐making! We had just got so used to taking so much time over each decision, but in this case, we went with our gut feelings.
The florist suggested that we arrange a meeting at the church in April (we get married in July) and we can make some decisions then. She suggested that if I see flowers or arrangements that I like in magazines, to cut them out and bring these pictures to show her, rather than just trying to describe what I want.
So that’s the decorations and flowers sorted, next on my list are the cars. To be honest, my car knowledge is very limited ‐ think red
Next on our agenda was organising decorations for the reception venue and a florist for the bouquets, buttonholes and church flowers. I must admit, my knowledge of all things floral is pretty limited, but as with most things that we’ve organised so far, I have found it easier to say what I don’t like and work from there.
The temptation to decorate the venue myself was pretty great, if for no other reason than to save money. But when I sat down and worked out the details, it didn’t seem like a great idea anymore. The main thing that put me off ‐ apart from the added stress ‐ was the time involved. Most venues allow you to get in the day before to decorate, but unless you pay the venue to book this day, it can’t be guaranteed, so I was facing the possibility of having to decorate the venue on the morning of the wedding ‐ not a prospect I fancied! So we decided to hire professional venue decorators instead.
Ask your venue if they can recommend any decorators. It’s so much easier to talk to a decorator who knows your venue. That way, they know exactly what everything’s like, rather than you trying to describe it and probably getting it wrong!
To enable the decorators to give us a quote, we made an appointment at their offices to discuss what we wanted, what would work and to look at pictures of their previous weddings. The decorator we saw really knew what she was talking about and was very honest. One thing to bear in mind when considering how to decorate you venue is whether there are any restrictions set by the venue on what you are allowed to use. Some places don’t allow candles, while others won’t allow you to use adhesives on certain surfaces. Our decorator is really familiar with our venue, so she knows exactly what works where, making life easier for us.
Most decorators can provide flowers for the wedding, but all of the decorators that I spoke to contract a florist to do the work. In some situations I’m sure this works really well, but we wanted to speak to the florist directly to ensure we were getting exactly what we wanted. Bear in mind that if the decorator is contracting a florist, then the cost will probably be higher than if you went directly to a florist.
Read Gill’s diary next month to see how her wedding planning is going and to pick up some handy tips along the way.