Wedding flowers are a significant and sometimes complicated element of your wedding, so it’s important that you book a florist who understands your wants and circumstances. When deciding how to choose a wedding florist, you must have productive conversations with potential florists. Here, we outline the most important questions to ask in your initial discussions.
Logistics are all about detail and coordination. Before you approach other conversation pieces with a florist, first make sure you cover these pivotal bases.
The first question you should ask any vendor is if they’re available on your wedding date. If they’re fully booked and your date is set in stone, this effectively renders them unavailable. If a florist says they’re available, follow up by asking if they’ll be working or scheduling any other events for the same day. If you need your florist to stay at your wedding venue for a certain amount of time (e.g. moving florals from the ceremony to the reception), this may affect their ability to work your big day.
This is an important—and often not considered—detail that needs ironing out. On the day of your wedding, there may be multiple locations you need your flowers dropped off at. For starters, there’s the ceremony location and reception venue. However, if the wedding party is getting ready at a hotel, you’ll need any bridal bouquets or boutonnieres dropped off there. If you see this, or a similar situation happening, ask your florist if they charge for more than one delivery on the day of your wedding.
Florists, like most vendors, tend to book up months in advance. Sometimes, even a year or more. Inquire about when to book each florist for the wedding in order to get a sense of availability and urgency. However, don’t let a need to book quickly be the only factor you consider when deciding who to use. Rather, keep it top of mind when making considerations and be respectful of each florists’ timeline.
This may be obvious, but both parties (the florist and yourself) should have a copy of your signed contract. Your contract contains incredibly valuable information and should be in your possession in case you need to look over something—terms or budget considerations, for example. Ask when you can expect your contract copy, and don’t forget to follow up if you don’t receive it.
Although the nitty-gritty budget numbers aren’t nearly as fun, it’s one of the most important aspects of wedding planning. Ask the following, so that you and any potential florists are on the same page as far as price and budget go.
From the start, let florists know your floral budget. If you don’t have an exact number yet, know that the average amount of money spent on wedding flowers is around $3,500. Another helpful tip is to allot ten percent of your overall budget to decor. Of course, this will vary from couple to couple, depending on numerous factors.
It’s possible that a florist will also have a minimum budget requirement. That means that they’ll only book clients who spend a minimum amount of money on their service. Whether or not this is the case, make sure your florist can work within any financial parameters you have. Also, be open-minded to any budget-conscious suggestions and alternatives they might have. Vendors want to work with you, so see what they can do to make it work for your budget.
Unless you take notes throughout your entire conversation, chances are you won’t remember every last detail and price point that was discussed. Having a list of desired items and their individual prices (as well as package prices) from each florist will aid you tremendously in narrowing down your search after these initial conversations. With this information, you can easily compare items and costs.
A florist (as well as most other vendors), will require a deposit to secure your booking. This amount will contribute to your bottom line payment, but is due much earlier as a reassurance for both parties. When discussing budget and cost, take note of what the deposit amount for each florist is, as well as when it’s due. Also ask if your deposit is refundable in the event of cancellation or a date change.
While flowers take up a significant portion of your floral costs, they aren’t the only thing involved. Alongside purchasing flowers, when applicable, you’ll also be paying for delivery fees, labor fees, set-up and breakdown, overtime, and time spent working on the day of your wedding. Ask about these potential costs to get a clear picture of your total cost.
While it isn’t ideal, there’s always a possibility that your wedding will have to be canceled or postponed. Because of that, it’s paramount that you know any potential florist’s cancelation policy. The most commonly discussed aspect of cancellation policies is the deposit and whether or not it’ll be kept or refunded by wedding vendors. If your florist has already put significant time into your wedding flowers by the time you cancel, they may charge you for those labor hours. Being clear and comfortable with a vendor’s cancelation policy can save you a lot of stress (and sometimes money) down the road in the case that you need to use it.
Having an idea of your florist’s (or any vendor’s) business background ensures that they’re an experienced professional. Understanding their training and previous work can also help you decide whether they're a good fit for your wedding.
While gorgeous flower arrangements and displays are a testament to a florists’ work, equally important is their knowledge of working in the event decorating field. Having information about their training and experience will give you insight into their specific craftsmanship, scope of work, and professionalism. We recommend asking this rather than, “How long have you been in business?,” because years and actual experience don’t always add up.
The best way to get an accurate idea of their specific style or variety of work is by looking through their portfolio. A florist’s portfolio will include photos (and sometimes information) from previous events they’ve done. In most cases, this will be other weddings and similarly-sized events. More often than not, you can find a digital version of a florist’s portfolio on their website. However, asking to view their work in person provides them with the opportunity to show you things that aren’t online and may be of specific interest to you. When looking through a portfolio, take your time. Pay attention to the details and ask questions regarding the work you’re seeing and how it might translate in your wedding.
Floral design isn’t just deciding on flowers—it also encompasses purchasing options, working within budget restrictions, and other design elements. Discuss the following with any potential florist to get an idea of what’s possible design-wise, plus what’s recommended for you.
Many florists offer a wide range of products and services, from individual arrangements to curated packages. These wedding flower packages come at different price points and, essentially, include a list of pre-selected items. The higher the cost of the package, the more items are typically included. Likewise, most florists have custom options, in which couples can hand-pick every element. Before choosing your florist, know the breadth of their offerings—even if you think you’re set on one thing. Have them walk you through their options and what they believe will best meet your needs.
Don’t enter a conversation with a florist thinking you need to have everything figured out. There’s a reason you’re speaking with an expert. Whether you know exactly the type of flowers you want in your wedding or don’t know where to begin, ask the florist what they recommend, given your budget and style. They have extensive knowledge of flowers, design, color palettes, and venues to give you solid advice and design ideas. The goal for both parties is to work together to make your wedding day beautiful. Don’t be shy in asking for their creative (and budget-friendly) opinion.
Although florists create your arrangements and other floral elements, they don’t always supply the vases. In that case, the couple has to rent them from elsewhere (typically a rental or event company). When discussing your desired items, make sure to ask any potential florists if they provide their own vases. If so, follow up by asking if your cost covers renting them, or if you’ll be able to keep them after your wedding. If not, ask if they have any rental company recommendations.
Likewise, florists often also supply other decorative elements. This could be candles, candle holders, arches and chuppas, mirrors, and the like. Ask if any of these items or similar are available for you to rent or purchase—especially if you’re interested in something like a flower-covered arch at your ceremony or a unique object in your centerpieces.
Now that you know what to ask potential florists, it’s time to find the one. Zola has an online database full of reliable vendors, all in one easy-to-navigate place. Simply sign up on Zola.com, hover over the vendors tab, and click “browse.” From there, type in your location and vendor type (“florist”) in the provided search bars and click “search.” Once you find a few you’re interested in, you can learn more and even contact them—all from the Zola website.