When it comes to choosing your wedding flowers, the world is your oyster, limited only by your imagination. When it comes to choosing your florist however, it's crucial to find someone who really understands your vision, and who has a design style that's right for the look you want to create. In this month’s blog I’m setting out the questions you need to be asking your wedding florist, together with my advice and suggestions.
Check The Date
Before you do anything else, ask a potential florist if they’re available on the date of your wedding. DON’T start by sending them a long list of requests and images without telling them when you’re getting married. It may sound very basic, but I’ve lost count of the times I’ve had a wedding enquiry but no date!
Ask if they do more than one wedding on the same day. I only ever do one, but some florists, depending on how big a team they have may do two or more.
It’s always reassuring to know if a florist is familiar with your ceremony or reception venue. If your potential floral designer is recommended by your venue, then they’ll be able to advise you on both the best way to enhance its features, and warn you of any restrictions it may have.
Will you make a site visit to do a venue walk-through before the wedding date? If it’s logistically possible, visiting the venue with your clients is a great way to instil confidence in your service. It’s also a good way to make creative suggestions that you might miss in an email or ‘phone call.
Will you be making the floral arrangements yourself or will it be another florist? Whilst I would love to be able to do it all, it just isn’t physically possible! I’m very fortunate to have a wonderful team of very talented florists to assist me.
Do you have a minimum spend for wedding flowers? As well as telling a florist what your budget is, it’s important to find out their starting price. If you’re both upfront about money from the beginning, it will save a lot of time and potential embarrassment further down the line.
I’m often asked asked about ways to make effective use of the flower budget. This can be anything from repositioning ceremony arrangements for the reception, or using locally grown seasonal blooms instead of imported exotics. I’m always happy to advise my couples on the best way to focus their budget.
Do you offer packages for wedding flowers, or is everything bespoke? Everything I do is unique to my couples. I work with them to reflect their vision and personalities.
How long have you been in business? I’ve been a florist for 29 years and in business for 14 years.
Do you have a portfolio that I can see? I have a very comprehensive portfolio of work, together with an ongoing portfolio on Instagram. Many of my couples find it reassuring to see what I’m up to between the time they book me and their wedding!
Do you have business insurance? I have £5,000,000 public liability insurance.
How would you describe your style of floristry? As an experienced florist I’ve always believed I should be able to work in whatever style the client wants; from wild and wooly to sleek and modern! Having said that, I love a very relaxed herbaceous garden style.
Which flowers would you recommend based on the time of year and budget? I always suggest using the best of whatever’s in season. Peonies in December or Lily of the Valley in August will cost a fortune and be imported from the other side of the world, so don’t be too rigid in your floral choices.
If the flowers I want aren’t available, can you suggest good alternatives? To avoid disappointment I have a disclaimer in my terms and conditions that says I will always substitute any unavailable flowers with suitable alternatives.
If I send you a picture of a bouquet that I love, can you recreate it? Whilst I’m happy to use an image as inspiration, I ask my brides to trust my experience and creativity.
Can you create a mock up of an arrangement before I book you? If so, is there an additional cost for this? Once a deposit has been paid I’m happy to create a mock up, which I don’t change for. There would however be a charge before a booking is confirmed.
Deposits and Balances
Will you provide me with a detailed proposal with a breakdown of costings? Will this include delivery and set up? Are there any additional fees that have not already been taken into account?
All my proposals include a full breakdown of costings, including delivery, installation and clearance and VAT. I believe in being as open and honest with my pricing as possible.
How far in advance do I need to book your services? Some couples book me 18 months in advance, whilst others leave it right to the last minute. I would however generally advise booking 6 to 9 months ahead. I’m a great believer that if you find a florist you really want, book them asap, because if you don’t someone else will!
How much deposit should I expect to pay? Deposit payments vary considerably, and I know a lot of florists take deposits as low as £100. Without telling my competitors how to run their businesses, I don’t think this instils a sense of confidence or commitment with the client. I take a 50% deposit for weddings up to 12 months in advance. For weddings more than a year ahead I take 25%.
When is the final balance due? The balance is due 2 weeks before the wedding, and then it’s all systems go for the big day!