To do this you must first choose a florist and/or a wedding coordinator that will help you achieve your goal. In a way, the flowers you choose for your wedding can represent all of your hopes for marriage. Flowers are more than decorations they are symbols of true love, friendship, faithfulness and passion. Your search for a florist should begin as soon as you have determined the date, location, and color scheme of the wedding. A florist can be the local shop that you’ve always turned to on holidays etc., an event planner that will oversee the visual presentation of the event, or someone who specializes in weddings only. I suppose I’m prejudice since I am someone dedicated to designing just weddings. I had been a retail shop owner for many years, and have spent the last 17 years doing just weddings. The service that a weddings only florist can give has no comparison. For example we eat, drink and sleep weddings every week, we are comfortable with handling every little detail. It is routine for us. Customers, funerals or holidays never interrupt us. We know at least six months a head of time what is scheduled for any given day.
Commonly flowers can make up 10 percent of the total wedding budget. It is my belief however that any flowers can be beautiful, if they are well designed. Of course you can’t expect orchids for the price of daisies. Often couples are afraid to discuss price initially with their florist. I think that this can sometimes be a mistake. If I’m given a certain budget, I can then begin to narrow the choices down to those that will accomplish the dream the couple has envisioned. For example a brides bouquet could have almost the same look with bouvardia placed instead of stephanotis, at a much lower cost. An all white overhead arrangement can be designed at varying prices…with some alteration in flower choices. Simple designs with limited variety, such as all roses, can even lower the price. Naturally wedding dates that coincide with holidays will increase the cost of your flowers. If the ceremony is in a Church or Synagogue, try to utilize some of your ceremony flowers for the reception. If your ceremony is at the reception site, try to use your table centerpieces down the aisle.
During your initial meeting with your florist, you should try to look at photos of wedding flowers that the florist has designed personally, not just pictures from a wire service wedding catalog. It is important to find someone that you feel comfortable with and who not only understands your vision for the wedding but can also expand on it. Try to bring a picture of your gown and bridesmaid’s dresses. If the ceremony and reception sites are not local, bring a picture of them as well. We are in the habit of giving our clients a detailed computer proposal listing individual flowers and prices. Make sure you get some details on your proposal, not just a “white bouquet etc.”. Very often florists will not give you the design proposal without a deposit, they fear you can get another florist to copy it at a cheaper price. That is not our policy, I very much encourage brides to go home with our detailed typed proposal and think about what we have discussed and then mail a deposit. We take that risk that they are comfortable with me as their designer. They may get a cheaper price but they won’t have the understanding I’ve established with them. (Well at least most of the time!!)
If you are able to see a florist a whole year before the wedding you will be able to see flowers that are in season. We make it a habit of doing a centerpiece sample for all clients since centerpieces can represent a large portion of the budget. After all, flowers may not be something you can visualize unless you see them. We can make changes to the arrangement with you there and you can come up with centerpieces you love. We always take a photo of your sample arrangement and attach it to your folder since this will assure the result. Although you may request that the florist spell out in detail the names and quantity of each and every flower in each item, sometimes it is to your advantage to be a little flexible. You should be able to trust the designer with your vision. I go to market personally to choose the flowers for my bride’s (it really makes my job much easier). At market, I might spot something that I know they would love if you they were there. Something that I know would pull the whole look together. It happens to me all the time and that’s what choosing seasonal flowers is all about, not just the money aspect of it. It’s all about color, design, and what hits the eye!
Finalize your contract/proposal with your florist one to two weeks prior to the event and carefully go over all details including the number of bridesmaids, number of guest tables requiring centerpieces and delivery instructions to house ceremony, and receptions sites. Once you have gone over all the details it is time to relax and enjoy the day and leave the rest for those who specialize in its preparation.