Flowers are one of the most beautiful parts of a wedding. Fluffy blooms add color, texture, and fragrance, while breathing life into your big day. From ceremony arrangements to reception centerpieces, there are many floral decisions to make. And there’s one person who can help you stay on budget, incorporate your style, and choose blooms to enhance your wedding decor: your florist.
Your head may already be swirling with design ideas, but how do you pick a professional florist who can make your wedding day floral dreams come to life? We’ve got the scoop on everything you need to know about how to choose a wedding florist.
Even if you love DIY projects, you may not be able to handle the whole gamut of your wedding florals. Bouquets and boutonnieres take a fair amount of expertise and a curated eye to construct. If you want complicated arrangements, such as hanging installations and cascading centerpieces, the design skill required increases.
Plus, as your wedding day approaches, there will be a lot on your plate. A qualified florist can help alleviate some of your stress, plus help ensure you don’t go over your wedding budget. They will also help you choose in-season blooms or secure your favorite out-of-season flower. A seasoned wedding florist will also know how to keep arrangements and bouquets fresh, so they last your entire wedding day.
“No matter how you cut it, flowers are expensive, but using price as the determining factor for florist selection isn’t always the way to go,” says Kimberly Sisti, owner and lead designer at Sisti & Co in San Diego, California. Many considerations go beyond cost when you’re choosing a wedding florist.
Some florists have perfected a style they are known for creating. Take the time to peruse their websites, scour their Facebook pages, and view their Instagram posts to get a feel of their design aesthetic. If you see what you envision for your wedding day, they may be the perfect floral designer for you.
“Select a florist that emulates your wedding style. Though many florists can design in a multitude of styles and enjoy the variety of work, we try to showcase our signature look,” says Sisti. “Review our website and Instagram profiles. Notice our use of color and the types of botanicals we use.”
Bron Hansboro, owner of The Flower Guy Bron in Richmond, Virginia, agrees that considering a florist’s design aesthetic is essential. “One of your top priorities should be making a connection with your potential florist’s design, voice, and style,” he says. “Go through their social media and their website to look at their recent work, and consider whether or not it matches up with your overall vision.” Matching styles is beneficial both to the couple and the florist.
“Communication is paramount from the very beginning when seeking out the right florist,” says Cece Todd of CeCe Designs in Birmingham, Alabama. “You must make sure the florist both understands and articulates your vision.” However, for a floral designer to understand, the couple must communicate about their budget and design. “It’s our job as florists to be able to translate that vision into a visual product, and we only have one chance to get it right.”
As with any relationship, communication goes both ways, so be open to what a potential florist is verbalizing. “If they florists aren’t hearing what you are saying, or you aren’t hearing what they are saying, that’s when disaster is imminent,” says Todd. Again, be honest and upfront when interviewing floral designers. Ultimately, it’s your wedding day, and your florist wants you to love every floral piece they provide.
There’s something to be said for relying on your gut instinct. “During the consultation, it’s important that you’re happy with how they make you feel and that you’re confident that they can perform,” says Hansboro. “The type of experience your florist offers should align with your needs and wants for your big day. The journey to the end product is just as important!”
Having a good relationship with your floral designer is also vital. You will be working together for months to create a beautiful wedding, so be sure you gel. “You need to feel that their design voice meshes well with your dream wedding look, but you should also have an effortless work relationship,” says Hansboro. “Even if you hired the top luxury florist in your area, if the personality and comfort aren’t there, then you won’t have the same experience.”
When perusing the social media accounts and websites of potential florists, keep in mind each event has a story. “A picture can mean a thousand different things to a thousand different people,” says Sisti. “It’s important to review a florists’ past work and keep in mind that we are sometimes given parameters to be creative.” Knowing how they handled past client issues will help determine their work process and what you may experience.
“Knowing ahead of time that you’re attracted to certain things can be so beneficial in the end,” says Sisti. Understanding your style can go a long way in realizing what you envision for your big day. Perhaps it’s a specific luxe bloom—if so, your florist can use it sparingly. If a large volume of flowers is what catches your eye, then maybe you can opt for a less expensive flower. Show your florist photos and point out what attracts you to reveal your design aesthetic to them.
If there’s one thing that couples get hung up on when looking for a wedding florist, it’s the cost. Granted, that’s a valid concern. Typically you shouldn’t spend half of your budget on florals unless you have an extremely high-dollar wedding. However, even high-end florists can work within your budget, so don’t rule someone out based solely on price. Here’s what to think about instead.
What you spend ultimately depends on how important flowers are to you as a couple. “If you kind of like flowers, expect it to be 15 percent of your budget, and if you like flowers, it will be 20 percent.”
She also suggests bucking the norms and adjusting your budget according to what you value. If fresh flowers are a top priority, then increase your floral budget by shaving a bit off of other costs. If you have a particular budget, share it with the floral designer—it’s their job to help you maximize it.
For couples who crave an unforgettable wedding day, that may come at a price. When viewing the work of a floral designer, look at the components that make up their pieces. “Is the florist using typical flowers that you see every day or a variety of things you’ve never seen before,” suggests Sisti. “Florists can paint with so many different blooms and plants, so keep in mind that the sheer variety of what they use might be more appealing than the cost.”
“It’s easy to reduce everything down to price, but you’re really missing out if you focus solely on cost,” says Hansboro. Instead, ask about the services your floral designer includes, such as placing centerpieces and cleaning up after the reception. “For example, if your florist simply drops off the flowers and does not take the time to style them, you’ll understand how the process and creative vision are worth the money,” says Hansboro.
You don’t want to be surprised by placing a ceremony backdrop or enlisting groomsmen to hang a floral installation. “Many couples also don’t necessarily consider the smaller details that make their day much more seamless, such as cleaning up at the end of the day and uninstalling the floral structures,” says Hansboro.
Although cost doesn’t always equal experience, it can be a reasonable determination of the type of service you’ll receive. “Cutting corners and selecting a florist based on the lowest price typically means you’re going to get the most inexperienced option. That is, someone who will not be prepared to give you what you want,” warns Todd. “It’s important to remember that skilled, experienced florists charge what they charge because they understand how much work goes into flawlessly executing a client’s vision.”
“Long story short, there’s value in service that a price can’t convey,” says Hansboro. “Many couples see a price tag and assume that they’re only paying for the florals themselves.” However, that simply isn’t the case. See if a prospective florist has a reputation for good service or if they are more hands-off. Find out if the florist offers follow up meetings, and how they want to be contacted with pending questions—and how often. “Talk to your designer and understand the service elements that are involved, that way, you can see how invaluable it is to have everything wrapped up in one package,” states Hansboro.
Even though a floral designer is talented and highly sought-after, they should work within your budget. Here’s advice from the pros on how you can work with a designer florist on a tight budget.
“There are so many ways that clients can work with a higher-end florist,” says Sisti. “Consider selecting smaller bouquets. You can potentially save a lot by just modifying the size.” Even if you want a large bridal bouquet, go small for your wedding attendants. “No one is expecting anything huge and lush. Go simple—it will save you money in the end!”
Although seemingly unconventional, you may be able to use arrangements from another event your florist is designing. Quite often, flowers—centerpieces, large installations, and decor—get tossed after the wedding is over. “I’ve had instances where a venue is hosting two weddings in one weekend, and both couples have requested to share their wedding flowers with one another,” says Hansboro. “There are certainly exceptions that can be made, but it’s crucial that you communicate effectively—and politely!—with your florist.”
“Approach your florist with transparency about your ideal investment and budget,” advises Hansboro. “Let them know what you’re working with, and request some reasonable revisions in terms of floral selections.” Florists can offer alternate flowers if the ones you want are cost-prohibitive or out of season.
Todd believes that trusting your florist—especially when they’re reputable—is of utmost importance. “You fell in love with a particular florist for a reason, so the very best thing you can do is let them do what they do best,” she says. “Be open to what your budget is—and see what they can do.” Carefully consider any recommendations they make for flower selections and alternate floral arrangements to accommodate your budget.
Want a lush floral backdrop for your wedding ceremony? Move it to your reception, so that it does double duty. “Repurposing florals is another huge help to clients,” says Sisti. “If we, as florists, can easily reuse a ceremony piece for a table centerpiece, we are more than happy to do so.” However, be prepared to use those installations as is without tweaks in the new location. “When we need to fix arrangements meant for one area and place them into another, it gets tricky,” says Sisti.
Some folks are afraid to be transparent about their budget for fear of being taken advantage of or spending too much. “You need to look at us more like the doctor—you need to tell us everything so we can help you,” says Todd. Remember that they are on your side and want to develop a feasible plan for your wedding florals.
Choosing a wedding florist is the first step towards having a gorgeous wedding day. However, there are many other things to consider, and that’s where Zola can help. If you’re curious about the most popular wedding flowers or want to avoid making floral mistakes, Zola has all of the advice you need. There’s even specific advice, such as whether or not to toss your actual wedding bouquet at your reception. Trust Zola with all your needs, from the time you get engaged and build a registry to your final exit after your reception. Happy planning!