Hiring your wedding vendors at the right time is paramount to wedding planning. While setting your wedding date and booking a venue are known to happen fairly quickly, figuring out the rest takes a bit more thought. Knowing when to book a florist can be confusing and can turn into a bit of an afterthought. To avoid this, we’re taking an in-depth look at how early you should book a florist for your wedding day.
When wedding planning, certain decisions have to be done in order, as this allows for things to go smoothly and for a smaller possibility of cancelations or rescheduling. Hear us out—while skipping ahead to a detail such as florals sounds harmless, doing so can cause issues both immediately and down the line. With that in mind, here’s what you should have decided before booking a wedding florist.
Plain and simple: Don’t reach out before you have a date. This goes for any vendors that aren’t planners, including wedding florists. The reason being is that a vendor won’t know if they are able to work on your wedding day until they’re sure they’re available. The only way to ensure that they’re available is to have decided on your wedding date. Although you’re probably very excited and want to start talking to vendors immediately, jumping the gun can lead to scheduling conflicts. For example, say you have your heart set on a florist, and you book them without a date (this doesn’t happen often, but hear us out). Then, you book your dream venue on one of their only available dates, but your florist is all booked up that day. This creates an issue where one vendor, likely your florist, needs to be canceled. Cancelations can be a time-consuming and stressful problem, especially when most vendors’ retainers are non-refundable.
Next in order of importance is your budget. Not just your wedding’s bottom line, but your wedding flowers budget specifically. As of 2019, the average amount of money spent on wedding flowers is $2,000. However, if that sounds off to you, it’s safe to start with dedicating eight to 10 percent of your total budget to florals. Having both your total and floral budget decided upon before contacting florists is immensely helpful in narrowing down who you can afford and, thus, book. Moreover, it’s one of the first things that a potential florist will ask you for, and it gives florists an idea of what they can do for you, which, in turn, helps you decide whom to book. For ease, we recommend deciding on these figures (or a range) before starting your vendor search.
For the most part, abiding by a “show, don’t tell” mentality can largely help you in your wedding planning. This, of course, extends to florals. Before contacting florists (let alone booking them), have an idea of the look or feel you’d like your wedding to have. This doesn’t have to be incredibly specific—think colors, formality, venue, and number of guests. If you’re considering a theme, keep that top of mind. Knowing, even loosely, what aesthetic you want will help you seek out florists that fit your vision. More than having keywords, we suggest having an inspiration board or photos that you can provide to potential florists, and other wedding vendors, not of just florals, but of your inspiration as a whole. Knowing what look you’re going for allows florists to make suggestions and even pricing estimates early on. You’ll want to talk both out before deciding on who to book.
As mentioned before, it’s in your best interest to have your venue booked before your wedding florist. After you’ve settled on a date, booking your venue should be done as soon as possible, ideally, nine to 12 months prior to your big day. Venues are typically a top priority for engaged couples, and popular ones can be booked up to two years in advance during wedding season (late spring through early fall). That being said, a venue’s availability can also dictate a couple’s wedding date. To be candid, your date isn’t actually official until you’ve put a deposit down on your ceremony and reception sites—and without a date, you shouldn’t be hiring other vendors.
Having a wedding venue secured is essential for logistical reasons, as your site also factors heavily into the look and feel of your ceremony and reception, which affects what florals and florist you’ll want to have.
Once you’ve accomplished the aforementioned, it’s time to seek out a wedding florist. You can’t, however, take all of the time in the world. In fact, it’s widely recommended that certain parts of wedding planning are done a specific amount of months or weeks prior to your date—securing your florist is no exception. Below we map out a general idea of how far out you should book.
At this point, given that you’ve booked your wedding venue and have a set date, you can start looking for a potential florist. Online platforms such as Zola’s Wedding Vendor Search make it simple and stress-free to browse countless pre-screened florists in your area or the location where you plan on getting married. For personalized recommendations and local vendors, just click ‘Find Vendors in Your Area’ and answer a few prompts about your wedding.
This time isn’t just for looking online, though. Compile a list of florists that you feel could be a fit, then start reaching out. Make sure that you’re prepared for initial conversations by having your wedding date, venue, budget, and inspiration available. It’s also worth brushing up on the questions that you should ask florists, to make sure that you cover all of your bases. When in conversations, ask each florist for an itemized list of arrangements or packages that you’ve discussed, with prices, as this will make comparing as easy as possible.
After initial conversations, narrow down your list to your top one to three florists. Compare availability (will they be working other events that day?), costs, business credibility, and, of course, flower and arrangement styles. Don’t take long after reaching out to do this, since dates get booked up quickly. You don’t want to narrowly miss out on the florist you love, because you took weeks after talking to decide on them.
This is the best time to book your wedding florist. Nine to 10 months is typically far enough out that you can secure them on your wedding date, but not so far that your florist is still focusing on that month of the current year. That being said, take the popularity of your wedding date and location into account when deciding how ahead of time you should book. Months like June tend to be heavily sought after, so it’s possible for florists to be booked throughout the month over a year in advance.
Just like we said before, it’s widely recommended that you complete certain wedding planning tasks a specific amount of time ahead of your wedding. There are various reasons for this, where florals are concerned.
The number one reason to book several months in advance is availability. Couples will book this far out to ensure that a well-matched florist that they love is able to work their wedding. Because this timeline is standard, it’s in your best interest to abide by it too. Putting off booking until later means risking your dream florist being unavailable.
By seeking out florists nine to 10 months before your big day, you’re automatically opening yourself up to more options. Consider the opposite scenario—it’s three months before your wedding, and you haven’t booked a florist yet. In this case, what’s likely to happen is that most florists are completely booked on your date, considerably lessening your options. When you put yourself in this position, you can’t be selective about who’s providing your flowers—and you should be selective. Getting a start on finding and booking your florist around 10 months beforehand means that there’s more of a likelihood that several florists you’re interested in are available, giving you more options.
The earlier you book, the more time you and your florist have to explore your options and get into specifics. Sometimes what you initially discussed doesn’t work out, or you change your mind about what you want. You may find that you need more or fewer flowers to decorate your venue, or that you want to try a different style of bridal bouquet. Booking nine to 10 months before your wedding gives you enough time to go back and forth on a few ideas, plus make solid decisions on what you want.
Now, when the time comes, you’ll be fully prepared to hire your dream florist. If you’re unsure of where to begin, start by browsing through Zola’s online Vendor Search. Scroll through various florists in your area or fast-track your search by answering a few questions about your style, budget, and guest count, and then be amazed by immediate recommendations.