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From walls covered in carnations and ornate hydrangea centerpieces to stunning bouquets with trailing ivy and wisteria, wedding floral arrangements come in all shapes, styles, and budgets. Because of all of the options you have at your fingertips, if you’re not prepared your first meeting with a wedding florist can often leave your head spinning.
That’s why we asked five florists from across the United States for their Top 5 tips for brides planning to meet with a wedding florist. Whether trying to figure out your timeline or the look you want, these pro tips will hopefully help you feel calm, prepared, and ready to stop and smell the roses…literally!
1. Nail down the biggest details
While the flowers can be just as important to a bride as where the wedding will be taking place, settling on the backdrop to your flowers before the first meeting with a florist can be extremely helpful. Emily Neubauer, AIFD, the president of Belle Fiori in Milwaukee, WI, emphasized the importance of determining a few of the most significant wedding details before your first visit with a florist.
“We advise our brides to begin the process of booking a wedding florist between nine and six months before the wedding, after the ceremony and reception venue have been confirmed and after the bridesmaid dresses have been ordered,” she said.
A firm commitment to a bridesmaid dress helps determine what colors would best compliment the shade of the dress, and the venue helps a florist better understand the style they are hoping to match, as well as the space they are looking to fill.
“There may be aspects of a venue that would lend itself to better choices,” she explained. “Traditional, classic architecture would indicate something more timeless and romantic, and a more modern venue could work with something more contemporary and asymmetrical.
Neubauer said that a wedding day should be very unified and that as you flow through the day from one venue to the next, your guests should always feel that they are at the same wedding. Making a few of these big decisions before meeting with your wedding florist helps them to serve you best.
2. Decide on your budget
Nothing is more heartbreaking than deciding on your dream flowers, only to find out that the price isn’t right. Brides can save themselves this sadness and discomfort by determining a concrete flower budget and being upfront with the wedding florist about it.
Ashley Hotka, the owner of Good Earth Floral in Overland Park, KS, said that a bride for whom flowers are a moderate priority would likely spend about 10 percent of her wedding budget on flowers, with that percentage increasing as things like flower walls or floral installations are added.
“I find that most brides generally spend about as much on flowers as they do for their photographer,” she said.
Deciding on a budget ahead of time can also help your wedding florist to direct you toward choices that will give you the most bang for your buck!
3. Browse websites like Pinterest for ideas
It’s no secret that the Internet can be a stellar place to look for wedding inspiration, especially in the artistic wonders found on Pinterest. Leslie Britt, owner of LB Floral in Knoxville, TN, said that she finds it very helpful when brides put together a Pinterest board of their wedding flower inspiration before coming in for the first meeting.
“Pictures help us know what style they are looking for, as well as things like colors, styling and level of greenery,” she said. “One photo may show if they want a bouquet to be airy or tight, and another might show what colors they like. If they don’t have three to five top pictures of what they hope their bouquet will look like, it can make it really difficult for us, because the possibilities really are endless.”
Most brides aren’t florist themselves, and because of this, it can be hard to convey what you are really looking for with words. Using pictures to show an aspect of what you are looking for can give the wedding florist a better idea of the direction you would like to see your flowers go.
Now, these pictures can be very helpful for both you and your florist, but…
4. Don’t set your heart on exact replicas of what you see online
Sometimes, brides can get their hearts so set on an image they see online, that it comes as an enormous disappointment to find that an exact replica is not possible. Shannon Pallin, owner of Fiore in Pensacola, FL, said that while she herself uses images from Pinterest to gain an understanding of a bride’s wishes, it is vital to recognize the failings of building a fairytale wedding online.
“Pinterest has no price point or season set to it,” she said. “There are variables in nature at all times which are constantly changing. Not all flowers are available year-round, which can be very upsetting to a bride who might fall in love with peonies, but they aren’t in-season with the date of her wedding.”
Using online images as a guideline, but not as the end all be all, is a perfect middle ground.
5. Be open to suggestions
While it is wonderful and helpful to come in to your first meeting with your wedding florist fully prepared and ready to talk flowers, it is also a great idea to open yourself up to the recommendations of the professionals.
Margaret Toppin, owner of Leaf and Petal NOLA in New Orleans, LA, feels that this approach to wedding florals can make for a beautiful experience between a bride and her florist. While you might be longing for a wedding bouquet filled with lilacs, it may be that lilacs won’t hold up well for a full wedding day, but that similar could be a great alternative.
“Trust that [florists] know what they’re doing, and it’s okay to look beyond whatever picture you have,” she said. “Be open to suggestions and ideas. Due to experience, the florist will probably have some unique and interesting ideas that you might not have thought of.”
By nailing down a few details beforehand, creating a picture of the aesthetic you are looking for and being flexible, you can position yourself for a productive and positive first meeting with the florist who is tasked with making your wedding day a stunner.