You are about to have one of the most fabulous days of your life! To have the wedding day of your dreams it helps to surround yourself with experts in all fields – and the flowers are no exception. Whether you are a total flowers lover, a keen gardener or someone who wouldn’t know a rose from a ranunculus, it is vital to enlist the help of a good florist. Louise from the renowned Cracked Pot Flower Boutique in London tells us exactly what you need to do on everything from the first meeting to discussing the budget.
There are hundreds of florist out there all wanting your business and most of them are fabulous, but which one is right for you?
There are several great places to find your florist:
- If you’re really lucky you may be getting married in a venue near where you live and you may have a gorgeous flower shop locally that you know and trust, or have been secretly waiting to use for years.
- If not then word of mouth can be a great way to find a reliable florist. If the florist’s service and work comes highly recommended by someone you know and trust, then chances are they will do a fabulous job for you.
- If you don’t have that recommendation then you will need to investigate a little further. You next option is to check with your venue, they often have a list of recommended florists that have worked with the venue before and have proven themselves.
- All of your other suppliers can also offer help in this area as they may have worked with florists on many occasions or heard feedback from previous brides.
- Check our local wedding fairs, where you can actually meet the florists right away and see real examples of their work, not just pictures.
Before you meet your chosen florist
It’s a good idea to do a little research before you visit a florist. Try visiting a bridal show, visit as many florist websites and blogs as you can. Also flick through some wedding magazines, there are even ones specifically for flowers these days. Make appointments to visit at least 3 different florists if you can, and bring a notebook to make notes. Search on Google for the florists you have chosen, to see whether they are mentioned on any other websites or forums, and what the comments are like.
On your first visit
When you visit each florist, make sure you ask to see a portfolio of their previous wedding work. This should be up to date and in good condition. This is a vital tool if the florist is freelance and does not have a shop. Have a look around the shop. Is it attractive? Well laid out? Full of flowers and lovely designs? Remember that the shop is a reflection of the style and creativity of the person that will be adding the final touches to your big day. As well as their own portfolio they should have a variety of magazines or books for you to look through. But most importantly, how comfortable do you feel? Make sure you feel confident in the florist and that you’ve been listened to and that they have a good feel for what you want, not just what they want to sell you.
When to book your florist
It’s a good idea to start looking at florists as soon as you’ve decided on your venue – preferably 6-12 months before your wedding as the good ones do tend to get booked up quickly. You need to have your reception and ceremony sites picked out before you can hire a florist, as you’ll need to have an idea of how many arrangements you need, and the colours and styles that will compliment your venue. It’s also a big help to have a good idea of the style and colour of your wedding dress and the bridesmaids’ dresses – this will help you both to choose a style, shape and the types of flowers that will look perfect with your dresses and add to the look of your day.
What to bring to your appointment
It’s generally a good idea to bring along pictures of flowers and arrangements that you like, even if it’s just a colour, a flower or a shape that you like – these can be in the way of magazine clippings, swatches, photos or website links.
A picture of your wedding gown and swatches of material from your bridesmaids gowns or something in a similar colour – if available, a picture of your ceremony and reception room.
Try to put together a list of all the flowers you’d like at the ceremony and reception venues. Numbers of bridesmaids, and number of buttonholes and corsages you’d like. Don’t worry if you don’t know exactly who’s having what, it can all be discussed at the appointment and your florist can let you know who should have what.
You may have quotes from other florists, but it’s always a good idea to keep these to yourself until you’ve had all the quotes in. It may seem like a good idea to show quotes to your florist to get a better deal, but anyone can undercut a quote! What you really need is to see and hear each of their ideas, creativity, passion and expertise, then once you have all the quotes in and have decided on the one you like, you can use your other quotes to try and negotiate. But try to think of your florist not as a just a business arrangement, but as a friendly professional who is going to add the final touches and bring your big day alive with colour! It’s not all about the money, if you do have a tight budget then do let your florist know up front, this way they can help you to get the most out of your flowers.
There are plenty of tricks of the trade to keep costs down whilst still allowing for fabulous wedding flowers. A lot of couples don’t really have an idea of how much flowers are going to cost, but it’s always a good idea to have a budget in mind. This helps the florist to choose designs and flowers that suit it and they can better advise what is available. There is no point your florist quoting for a £2000 wedding when you have just £600 to spend. There are always great designs to suit all budgets. A good florist will help you obtain your dream flowers, as long as you remember to also be realistic.
Essential questions to ask your florist
- Is the florist familiar with your reception and ceremony location?
- Have they worked there before?
- Do they have pictures of the work they did, or testimonials from past brides?
- Are the flowers shown in their photos arranged by the same person who will be doing your flower arrangements?
- What happens if the florist is sick on the day?
- Do they have insurance? A lot of venues ask for it these days.
- Is there a delivery charge?
- Is there a setup fee?
- Can you make changes your order if you have another idea?
- What’s the cut-off date for changes?
- Will the florist be willing to transport ceremony arrangements to the reception location? Is there a fee?
- Can they make a mock-up of your bouquet and centrepieces? Most florists will, but they may charge.
- Will they give you an itemised quote? Some won’t in fear that you may take it to other florists for a better deal.
- Is VAT added?
- How much is the deposit? When is the due date for the remaining balance to be paid?
- Do they have a refund/exchange/cancellation policy?
- Can the florist arrange your table decorations in a particular kind of vases, such as watering cans, to suit your reception decor?
- When would I be required to give the final number of tables for the flower arrangements?
Armed with this information, you should be able to find the best florist for your wedding day!
Here to add the final touches to your big day, the Cracked Pot Flower Boutique is a beautiful vintage flower shop located in West London, offering stellar service based on 15 years of experience. Whether you know exactly what you want, or in need of inspiration, you are in safe hands. Full service from design to delivery in the South, and they welcome all inquiries! For further details, including contact information, please see The Cracked Pot Flower Boutique Confetti page.
Photos 3, 4, 5 & 6 courtesy of LevelEleven.co.uk
There is lots of great advice about wedding flowers on Confetti!