Wedding Flowers 101

Bride and Groom at Wedding


Congratulations on your engagement and upcoming wedding!

     Planning your wedding is supposed to be a once in a lifetime event and should be a joyous/fun occasion to always remember.  There are many details to consider when beginning to plan a wedding.  Some brides hire wedding planners to help with the scheduling/planning of this special event.  A big part of the wedding planning process is choosing a florist and ordering flowers for the ceremony and reception.  It can be very easy to become overwhelmed in the whole planning process.  To avoid this from happening, it can be extremely helpful to follow a weekly or monthly schedule/timeline for completion of the many details of this day.  It helps to look at your wedding as smaller pieces and complete them in a timely manner and it won't seem so overpowering.  There are many timelines available online and we have attached just a few examples to give you an idea of how they work.

Before contacting a florist to plan flowers for your big day, you should have already:

  • picked a wedding date
  • booked a location for the ceremony & reception
  • picked a color scheme/theme for your wedding
  • decided who will be in your bridal party and purchased the dresses and suits

In preparation for a meeting with a florist, you should gather:

  • pictures of the venue and/or church
  • pictures of flowers or bouquets from magazines or books that you both like and dislike
  • a list of some of your most favorite flowers
  • swatches of materials from the bridesmaids dresses and linens from the reception
  • any other pertinent materials to help for a productive meeting to help express your vision

     Once you have gathered all your materials, then you should contact a florist to make an appointment for a consultation.  Some florists require that you complete and return a pre-consultation questionnaire so that the florist will be better prepared to make suggestions for a more productive meeting with you.  Ask your florist if there is a charge for this meeting, as it varies from florist to florist.

     During your meeting or perhaps on the pre-consultation questionnaire, the florist will ask for a flower budget.  Be honest with your florist about this figure.  By giving your florist a budget, they will be able to give you better suggestions for flowers.  A good way to estimate cost for flowers is to account for at least 10-15% of your total wedding budget.    That means if you are spending $10,000 on your wedding, you should put aside at least $1,000-$1,500 of that towards flowers.  We found this blog post about wedding flower pricing very informative.

     At the meeting, you should look at books and/or pictures of flowers that the florist has created for other weddings.  This will help both you and the florist better judge the type of wedding you are planning and if the two of you are going to be a compatible match for each other.  Walk around their shop to get a feel for their style.  Research reviews of the florist and visit the companies website beforehand.

     Flowers are a creation of mother nature, therefore they can not be guaranteed to be the exact shade or size in every shipment.  The florist desires and wants to create the most beautiful flowers you have ever seen for your wedding, and sometimes a particular flower will arrive in less than quality shape or become unavailable for whatever reason and will need to be substituted with a similar flower of same color and value.  The florist should contact you if this situation happens to arise.  Weather can play an important role in your wedding flowers as a majority of flowers are grown in countries other than the United States.  South America is a location where many flowers are grown.  Weather such as flooding, hurricanes, drought, and other natural disasters can affect flowers and travel.  To avoid being disappointed or surprised, ask your florist if you can see the flowers upon receipt or at least the day before the wedding. 

     Some brides will leave the creation of the bouquets completely up to the florist.  The bride will give the florist a budget, color scheme, quantitites of arrangements needed and ask that custom arrangements be created for the wedding.  The florist works solely with the ideas of color and texture and not specific flowers.  This method can help the floral budget spread further in some cases.

     After the initial meeting, be prepared to leave a deposit to book your wedding flowers with the florist.  Ask about this fee, as it will vary from florist to florist.  Many florists will book up quickly with brides especially during the busy summer months, because they will only accept one wedding a weekend depending on size of the wedding and size of the florist.  If you don't leave a deposit, be prepared that the florist might already be booked when you return to do so.

      When the details of the wedding have been ironed out and you have left a deposit with the florist, they will ask you to sign a binding floral contract.  It is important that you read the contract carefully and sign the contract and retain a copy of it.  The florist should sign and date the contract as well.  This document should state each parties responsibilities and protect them if something was to occur.

     If you have a very strict flower budget and hiring a florist is not possible, consider creating the wedding flowers yourself with help from family and friends.  Some florists will offer the purchase of bulk flowers to be used for the ceremony and reception.  This can be a fun bonding experience between the family and/or the bridal party.

     Another option if you are working with a set amount of money is to ask your florist if they offer wedding packages to suit your budget.  Be aware that you might not have many choices if any with these flower choices as they have been priced to give you the best value for your money and are sold as a unit.

     Planning a wedding should be a happy and fulfilling endeavor.  It should be about celebrating the two of you and your love.  It can become stressful when talking about multiple details, budgets, and the like, but remember that a florist is a business.  Yes, they are there to help and assist you, but don't take advantage of this help.  It is very important that you are serious when contacting a professional vendor for your wedding.  Making changes several times and not keeping the vendor in the loop about details will make for a not very happy vendor and the possibility of cancellation of their services.

      Plan early, stay on track with a planner, stay reasonable for the amout of money you can spend and you will have a wedding to fondly remember.