Most of us have a horror story of trying to order flowers online. Whether the arrangement gets there late or arrives completely wilted, it’s can be a bit of a crap shoot trying to order flowers online.
When it comes to your wedding flowers, unless you want to DIY them using a local grocery store (something we ‘re fans of. I mean, have you seen the flower selection at Trader Joe’s?!), your only other options are ordering online or searching for a local wedding florist. But how do know which pick is right for you? No matter if you’re planning a micro wedding or larger event, the key is to know your options. Read on to find out more!
The Problem With Buying Flowers Online
In the past two years, I’ve personally had issues ordering online flowers from two VERY POPULAR sites. On several different occasions, gifts from these sites arrived either completely wilted, broken, or dead (pictures below). While one company was super nice when I told them what happened and issued me a replacement, even that arrived dead! It wasn’t a big deal because the recipient understood, but what if your wedding flowers arrived that way?
The truth is these companies have very little control over how your flowers arrive, and how they will be treated along the way. If a delivery truck is too hot, your flowers will have a hard time surviving in those conditions. Even if it’s next day delivery.
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“Flowers need to be kept refrigerated to extend their life, but once they’re shipped off in a box, there is no control to ensure they are kept out of the sun or are properly handled,” says BloomNation’s Head of Customer Service, Heather Hansen. BloomNation is the world’s largest marketplace to shop directly with top local flower shops and independent designers from across the country.
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This is not to say that you should never order flowers online. More times than not I’ve had a stellar experience. And many of these companies will even let you know how to care for your dehydrated flowers. For example, trim the stems and place them in cool water for an hour, and watch the water levels over the next 24 hours. Or in the case of discolored petals [sometimes referred to as “guard petals”] simply remove them. Sometimes they will even include a few extra flower stems in case you can’t save one.). But again, it comes down to control. So what should you do instead?
When it Comes to Wedding Flowers, Go Local
Do I think you should never order flowers online if they have to be shipped? No, not all. But I do think it’s really hard to beat the flowers you’ll get from a local florist. Especially because what you order online isn’t always what you get.
“Ordering flowers online from a wire service means that you’re very likely shopping off of stock images,” says Hansen, adding that many times when customers send flowers, there’s a recurring issue that what you saw online isn’t what you’ll actually get. “You have no idea as to the actual quality of the product you’ll be receiving, which can be nerve-wracking – especially when it’s for an important occasion.”
BloomNation, for instance, allows for florists to send customers a “BloomSnap” of the completed arrangement. “This helps ease the anxiety of ‘What will my flowers look like once they’re received?,’ says Hansen. It also lets the customer have a dialogue with the florist before delivery if changes need to be made.
So, where’s the best place to find local wedding florists? Obviously Yelp and other directories (including our wedding vendor directory!) are a great start. But there are also some great companies making it easy to shop local, with real photos, pricing, and even a photo of the arrangement before you receive it. More on that below!
Consider an Online Floral Marketplace
An online floral marketplace connects you with local florists. This is similar to Etsy but with a focus on vendors in your zip code, and allows for same-day delivery. There are several options out there, though not all are focused on weddings.
One company that we really like is BloomNation, mentioned above. They have an extensive network of florists across the U.S., so you can immediately zero in on florists who offer the exact types of arrangements you’re looking for. You can filter down to the color and type of flowers in the arrangement, and they also have a specific wedding section.
Another option is Teleflora, which is an OG flower company that has been around since 1934 and sends your order to local florists.
The main difference between them and companies like BloomNation is they don’t put the local florists front and center. You won’t always know WHICH florist you’re buying from unless you check the “choose my own Teleflora florist” box during checkout. Also, the arrangement you see online isn’t always unique to the florist who created it, so there might be some variation.
In our research of online floral marketplaces, we also found Floom, which allows you to search local florists for occasions like a wedding. However, even though there were options in the Los Angeles zip code we entered, there weren’t any a Miami zip code we tried out. That might change in the future as the UK based company expands, but right now the options are much more limited than BloomNation in the states.
No matter which company you decide to go with, always pick one that has trusted reviews and photos of the ACTUAL bouquet you’re going to receive. There’s nothing like an unwanted surprise on your wedding day, especially when it comes to something as front and center as your wedding flowers.