Written by Suzanne Randell, of Flowers by Suzanne
So you’re engaged... whoop! Congratulations! After the excitement of sharing your news with family and friends, it may suddenly dawn on you both that there is a wedding to plan!
Firstly, the church/place of ceremony and venue, needs to be booked before anything else, so the suppliers you approach can check they’re available. The venue is the backdrop to your wedding day and so it is vital to have this confirmed – it is the starting point of the theme and helps your florist create the floral ideas which is in-keeping with the background of your big day.
Research florists online and ask for recommendations from married friends or colleagues. We recommend you select at least three wedding florists whose work you love - and book a consultation as soon as possible. Our advice is to try to book your florist at least 12-18 months in advance – especially if you are having summer nuptials.
Be open to suggestions, trust your florists experience and talent to bring your ideas to life – they will be as invested as you are to provide the perfect wedding flowers. Also, try to avoid booking your day on Valentines’ Day, Mothers’ Day and Christmas time as the prices of flowers can triple.
Here are 10 Top Tips every engaged couple should know when thinking about wedding flowers – we hope you will find it helpful .. but, most importantly don’t stress! ENJOY planning your wedding flowers with your wedding florist .. the process should be a fun and exciting journey!
1. VIEW THE FLORISTS WORK
Nowadays florists tend to have a lot of images on their Social Media, but it may be only a small selection of their work. Florists will not be offended if you ask to see a wider selection of their previous work – many have a portfolio of work stored on an iPad, and we actively encourage potential clients to take a look. This is a great way for the florist to find out (quickly) what flowers the couple do and don’t like.
2. EYE FOR DETAIL
Give as much information about the style of your wedding you are thinking of, if, for example, you are envisioning a festival-themed wedding – but your florist specialises in glamourous and over the top arrangements – you might need to find a florist which fits more your style!
3. TALK NUMBERS
Couples should definitely ask if there is a minimum price order. It is a good idea to provide a ball-park figure straightaway, so the florist knows what you have to work with. When I have asked couples the question ‘What budget do you have in mind?’ quite a few answer they have no idea how much flowers cost and therefore have no idea of a budget. If you are not sure, then ask your florist for a Guide Price which should give you a good indication if they are affordable for you or not. Once you have an idea on your budget, use it wisely, and think about which areas you want to decorate with your flowers. We always recommend concentrating most on the reception area, as that is where you and your guests will spend most of your time and where the majority of photos will be taken.
4. BE REALISTIC
We recommend that you remain mindful when it comes to your vision. We always recommend working within the season that you have chosen to get married in. For example, don’t opt for peonies for a December wedding – they might be available somewhere in the world but they will cost you the earth! If this is the case, then ask for alternative ideas for flowers which look similar but are in season, seasonal flowers will always be less costly and looking their best.
5. RECYCLED FLOWERS
Try to consider where you can re-use your flowers throughout the day. Ceremony flowers can be re-used for the reception and where possible, large arrangements can also be re-positioned elsewhere, for example, pedestals for the ceremony can be moved to the venue entrance, pew end flowers can be moved onto wood beams or columns. Ask your florist if they can move them, or check with the venue or trusted friends if they can assist in moving them.
6. SNEAK PEEK
Many brides would prefer to see their bouquet made up, either as a reassurance that it will look picture-perfect or perhaps before they make a final decision. It can be worth asking your florist if they will provide a mock up for you – and how much this will cost. Also, many wedding florists are happy to organise a trip to the flower market visit nearer the wedding to look at the blooms, this is a great way to see the flowers in the flesh, and get a flavour of how the arrangements will look.
7. EXTRA COSTS
Ask your florist about delivery costs. We have a delivery, installation and clearance (if applicable) charge, depending on how far we have to travel, this is always discussed in the consultation and added into the quote. Our advice? Ask early if there are any extra costs and don’t be caught out!
8. VENUE PREVIEW
Don’t worry if you florist has never been to your venue before. Many offer a site visit before submitting a proposal, as new ideas can often spring up unexpectedly. A helpful florist - who doesn’t know the venue - will offer to meet clients at their chosen venue or to visit it separately. Choosing a venues recommended supplier is also a good idea as they would have worked on weddings there many times and should have plenty of images to support this.
9. PINTEREST AWARE
Although it is always really helpful to show your florist your flower ideas, don’t let Pinterest take over! It is very easy to get carried away by all the beautiful images, but bear in mind that these images are pinned worldwide, so what may be available in the US won’t necessarily be around for your wedding in the UK, at the same time of year. The colours aren’t always a true representation either, as sometimes the colours are tweaked during editing; what might appear a blue flower in a pinned image, may actually only be available in purple!
10. COMMUNICATION SKILLS
Always keep your florist informed of any changes, especially with regard to guest numbers, as this can affect the final amount of table arrangements needed and you don’t want to be caught short. Similarly, keep them in the loop if the colour of the bridesmaids dresses changes or if the number goes up or down!
AS A BRIEF SUMMARY, HERE ARE A FEW HELPFUL QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER ASKING YOUR WEDDING FLORIST WHEN YOU MEET:
- Where can you see examples of your chosen florists work?
- Are they the recommended florist of any particular wedding venue?
- How many other weddings will the florist be doing on the same day?
- What ideas can they give you for helping you work within your budget?
- Will the florist you’ve consulted with be the person doing your flowers or will it be another member of the team?
- Is there a consultation fee, if so, can this be redeemed against your flower order?
- Will they be prepared to make a mock-up of your bouquet and/or table flowers so you can view them before the day, and is there a charge for this?
- Is there a maximum distance they will travel to decorate your venue, and do they charge for delivery? If so, how much?
- When will you be expected to pay for your flowers, and by what method?
- How far in advance of your wedding day do you need to confirm your order?
- What will be delivered, where and at what time?
- How long do they need to set up? Will they be bringing assistants?
- Do they charge for breakages of any hired vases or containers?
- Will they collect any hired vases after your wedding, or will you need to organise to have them returned?
by Suzanne Randell www.flowers-by-suzanne.co.uk