Ready for a wedding day flower horror story? Okay, I’m exaggerating a lot, but feeling disappointed on your wedding day is pretty horrific. I don’t want anyone to make the mistakes I did.
When I got married, I was determined not to spend a lot of money on my flowers. Luckily, my soon to be mother-in-law had a neighbor who often volunteered her time to help friends and family arrange flowers for big events. She graciously agreed to work with us to create the centerpieces for the dinner and some room décor for the reception. With those off my plate, I just needed personal pieces.
I set up a consultation with a florist in the area who was recommended to me because of her low prices. She had many years of experience under her belt. For my bouquet, I only had a couple of requests. I did not want roses, as I felt it was overdone at the time, and I also wanted a looser bouquet than what was popular then, inching closer to the hand-gathered, draping style that is so big now. The florist did not understand what I was trying to describe. This was a pre-Pinterest world, so I couldn’t pull up a mass of photos to help.
We were not on the same page. We did not click at all. She expressed a lot of skepticism about not using roses. Even more problematic, she spent way too much time assuring us how cheaply she could do everything, even as we were sitting across the table telling her we had the budget to spend a little more than she was quoting to make sure we got what we wanted. She didn’t explain the planning process going forward, took our deposit, and said they’d be ready to pick up on the big day.
On the day of the wedding we had a few problems with the flowers my mother-in-law’s neighbor helped with—mostly with getting the irises to open, which is a story for another day—but in the end the neighbor did a great job and everything pulled together. As for the personal pieces, I’m sure you can guess how that turned out. We picked them up, and they were absolutely everything we didn’t want.
They worked, but they were nowhere near the style we envisioned. I knew things didn’t always go to plan on wedding days, and all I could do was tell myself that this was the thing that went wrong. We carried on. It was still a huge disappointment. Flowers are some of the most photographed things you choose for your wedding, and every time I look at my photos, I wish I would have chosen a better florist.
In retrospect there were many red flags during our consultation. So that you won’t have wedding flower regrets, here are my top five tips for when you’re picking a florist.
When you first sit down together, you should click. Do you want it to be a fun exchange? Really creative? What are you looking for? Whatever you want, make sure that it’s there from the get go. I like to make my consultations fun because that’s my personality. I want people to know up front what they’re getting. If someone wants a more serious florist, they can tell from the consultation that I’m going to be more lighthearted than they’re comfortable with, and we can know that we’re not a good fit.
2. Design Style
How does the florist usually design? Look through their past work on Instagram or their portfolio on their website. Get a good idea of what their style is. Is it close enough to your vision that a few things can be tweaked and it’ll work for you? Or do they seem more flexible with their range so that you have confidence that they can nail what you want? Just because they tell you they can do a style, doesn’t mean they’ve actually had success with it before. Find the evidence in at least a couple of their past pieces, even if it’s not the majority of their style.
3. Price Point
You don’t want a florist that is out of your budget, but you also don’t want someone who is too cheap, as I learned. Make sure that when you’re talking about prices, that their estimates are close to what you’re wanting to pay. If flowers are the absolute lowest priority in your planning, then make them the lowest in your budget. The reverse is just as true. If flowers are important to you, it needs to be reflected in your budget.
Sometimes you want a lot of experience and the confidence that comes with that. You also don’t need to find the most experienced person depending on what you’re looking for. A greener florist can have a very fresh and creative energy. Their attitude when designing can often contain a lot of enthusiasm and open-mindedness. You can find this in more experienced designers, but do be mindful that some florists who have been in the business for awhile can be uncomfortable stepping outside of what they usually do. If you’re happy with their typical work, no problem. Just don’t make the mistake I did and expect something different from someone just because they’ve been in the industry for a long time. The florist I chose had clearly done things a certain way for a long time and wasn’t about to change or incorporate any new ideas.
5. Planning Process
Different planners are going to offer different amounts of interaction with you after the first consultation. How much interaction do you need? Are you the kind of person who wants an email exchange every week about adjustments and such? Or are you comfortable waiting several months before hearing from each other? Some planners are very low contact and will charge for addition consultations. Some are totally willing to email back and forth as often as you need. Ask what their typical process is. For example, I always have the final consultation five weeks before the wedding day. We regroup and review any changes that need to be made. Whatever their process, make sure it works for you.
So there are the top five things that will guide you in picking a floral designer for your wedding that is perfectly suited to your needs, so that on your wedding day you will have no regrets and absolutely love your flowers.
Now that you've read about choosing a great florist, check out my
Wedding Flowers Checklist to determine exactly which floral pieces you'll need for your wedding!