Sunday, April 3, 2011

Step 36 - Interview and Book your Wedding Florist

(9 Months to 24 Months before the Wedding)
A beautiful wedding filled with the fragrance and beauty of gorgeous flowers fulfills all the romantic expectations for the perfect wedding. Flowers or herbs have been a part of the wedding process since the beginning of recorded time and has been a way of showing love and well wishes to everyone involved with the wedding. Flowers even enhance the color scheme helping to decor the bridal party and reception hall with natural beauty with a special meaning symbolizing life, growth, and rebirth.

Flowers are part of the wedding tradition in America, many florists are heavily involved in the wedding process. Florists help create and decorate beautiful floral arrangements for the bride by creating bridal bouquets, boutonnieres, corsages, altar flowers, and reception table centerpieces. They add that finishing touch of elegance and fragrance, providing a sense of beauty, glamor and romance in the air.

As you begin searching for a florist, notice both a florist and floral decorations you like. Find a few different florists in your area to investigate. Look in wedding related websites, bridal, flower, and floral magazines and look in your local yellow pages. You can also do a Google search and plug in your city and the word "flowers" or the word "florist" or the word "bridal bouquet" or the word "floral centerpiece wedding". Some florists are listed elsewhere in these blogs too. You can ask family and friends to see if they can recommend any good florists.

In your search for floral websites, remember you want to focus on the floral arrangements in line with your color scheme. You also want to check with your wedding venues to see what their policies are in regard to floral arrangements. Some venues have restrictions in floral usage at their location and some require you to use their own decorator and some allow only a preferred list of floral decorators. Some national companies in which you can gain ideas from are and another company is .

You want to continually be taking notes and cutting out pictures of floral arrangement and put the notes in a baggy into your wedding organizer. When you meet up and interview your florist, let them know the wedding date and locations of your wedding ceremony and reception facility. Let the florist know of your color scheme and theme of your wedding. Bring your wedding pictures of website locations or cutouts of flower decorations that have peaked your interest.

The good florist will get an idea of what flowers you like and work with you to pick out what is called an "anchor flower". The anchor flower has a strong structure with bolder blossoms, and is the primary flower for which the bouquet will be built around and once that is decided the florist will add some softer "compliant flowers" that will be more of a supporting role in building the bouquet. The good florist will educate you about the world of flowers.

The good florist will make recommendations of what flowers integrate well together and what flowers don't mix well based on color and shape. The florist should work with you to build a bouquet and other floral arrangements, making them into a thing of beauty. A few florist's, sometimes their flower arrangements end up looking more busy than beautiful. After the initial discussion, florists generally have brochures to share. You want to find floral arrangements that the florist created themselves. Ask for pictures of their own bouquets and of floral table centerpieces they have made themselves. Analyze the arrangements yourself and determine if the work the florist has put together, is it more of beauty or of busy.

There are thousands of varieties of flowers in the world. The most common flowers used for weddings are roses, lilies, daisies, carnations, tulips, and irises. Many flowers are found locally, many flowers are available only in season, and many flowers have to be found somewhere else around the world. Many florists work their business differently. Some will try to pull together the flower arrangements the first time you meet and others will say, let me proceed to check into flower arrangement possibilities and get back with you and you end up agreeing to meet and making decisions on a second appointment. The thing to note, flowers have very varied costs and there are less costs if the flowers are in season and are local. If they are shipped from the west coast or another country, the costs will be higher. Most florists have a hoard of contacts getting flowers from certain locations specific times of the year.

Once you have conjured up a primary floral piece with an anchor flower and it's compliant flowers, the focus shifts to the wedding, First up is the bridal bouquet. Some bridal bouquets are much more expensive than other bridal bouquets. You are wise to educate yourself on what different bridal bouquets look like. Some bouquets to look up and educate yourself are "posy bouquet", "nosegay bouquet", "the tussy-mussy bouquet", "the biedermeier bouquet", "arm sheaf or presentation", "composite-flower bouquet", "the fan bouquet", "the crescent bouquet", "the muff bouquet", the prayerbook banquet or bible spray", "shower or kissing ball bouquet", "the wreath or flower hoop bouquet", "the wrist bouquet or flower bracelet", "the ballerina bouquet", "the basket" (for flower girls), "the scepter bouquet" and the cone bouquet" (for the bridesmaids and flower girls).

Most florists are good people, but there are a few shady florists out there and you need to be mindful of that and you need your interview to help identify whether you have got a good one or not. It is helpful if you act like you have know your flowers a little bit, talk to a few different florists and then pick the right one for your wedding. If you educate yourself a little, you are less likely to get a florist that will overcharge you, pretend the flowers are hard to find and are shipped long distances when in fact they are local. Find a florist you are comfortable to work with.

After you have your bridal bouquet, attention shifts to the bridal party. At some weddings there is a bridal hierarchy. The bride has a large bouquet and is all dolled up. The maid-of-honor has a slightly smaller bouquet and is dolled up but not as glamorous, and the remaining bridesmaids look beautiful but are not as glamorous as the bride or maid-of-honor. The bouquets are suppose to set up in the same hierarchy. The bouquets are all color schemed and the bride's is the biggest, the maid-of-honor smaller and the bridesmaid bouquets are smaller yet or maybe the bridesmaids hold just a flower. The florist works with you on all the bridesmaids bouquets.

Next the attention shifts to the groomsmen, should they all have a boutonniere? Do you want a boutonniere for the groom, his dad, the bride's dad, and the best man and all the groomsmen, and if there are ushers, for the ushers too?  A boutonniere is about a 3 inch stem flower that pins on the left side of a groomsman's tuxedo or suit jacket. Also, you need to decide do you want a corsage on the bride's mom and groom's mom?

If there is a flower girl don't forget she need a flower basket and she will need to fill it with lots and lots of flower petals. Try to have the flowers color schemed and find a type of flower that doesn't stain her dress. A side note, if you can get a good deal with your florist, great, but if not you can pick up flowers from many supermarkets and save yourself a little bit of money. Talk to the manager of the flower section and check if they would have the flowers you want in the store during the time of your wedding.

The florist can also create floral arrangements for your ceremony site and floral creations for your wedding reception. Check with the church first and see what the church allows before meeting with the florist. The church or ceremony site coordinator will let you know what decorations the venue provides and available for use. They may have arches, gazebos, candelabras, candles. Be sure to share photos of the venues at your wedding location or better yet, try to meet with the florist at the locations so they can understand the decoration situation, such as what color are the walls and floors and their impact on floral arrangements.

The wedding coordinator can help sometimes at ceremony locations, if there are a number of weddings occurring on the same day, the ceremony flowers can be shared amongst the wedding party and the costs shared, saving each wedding floral costs. If there is not a floral arrangement, sometimes the ceremony flowers can be used for both the ceremony and used again on the head dais bridal table for decorations. The bridal bouquets can possibly be used at the wedding reception too and one each placed on each wedding reception table. If the bridesmaid really wants to keep the bouquet she can pick hers up after the reception.

Also talk to the florist about table centerpieces, the florist probably has tons and tons of photographs of ideas for the reception tables. Try to keep your decorations geared to the color scheme. The dais (wedding party table), is usually decorated similar to the reception table except designed with a little more grandeur. Sometimes the dais is situated on a raised platform so that the bride and groom can be seen by everyone at the wedding during the reception.

Some florists work on flowers and also do wedding decorations, many just work on flowers and will create the floral products but will deliver the flowers to the church and reception and bouquets to the home, you will have to find someone to meet the delivery person and place the florals where they are suppose to go. Every florist works differently and you need to be sure of what services and services are not covered. Some florists require you to pick up all the floral products.

If the budget is an issue, there are some things you can do to cut down on costs. Maybe you or a family member would love to learn about the world of flowers. You or you and your friends together can attend a class to learn the basics of creating wedding flowers and make your own bouquets and table centerpieces. You can order or grow your own flowers. Don't forget to take pictures of your work and of your own flower garden and keep them for the back of your wedding album. Use your teacher for some guidance when your wedding gets close.

In the end, you want to decide on a florist who is knowledgeable, thought provoking, and accommodating. One who is more helpful than dictatorial. Often what happens with florists, you think you have an agreement on a floral arrangement and when it comes time for the wedding, either at the pickup or delivery, the floral arrangement comes out differently than what was originally agreed to. Sometimes flowers that were ordered didn't arrive on time and the plan was switched to plan B, the floral arrangement that was wanted, the florist ran out of time to create it and had to create a quicker arrangement, or the florist had an inspirational bright idea and changed the arrangement. Sometimes the finished product ends up being a major disappointment and sometimes the finished product ends up being more beautiful than the original. You need to be mindful that things happen with florists and if you want protection put specifics into the contract.

Some other factors to consider. Many florists will try to use sales pitches to get you to upgrade to the more expensive bouquets and floral arrangements. Let the florists give their spiel, but in the end, only get the flowers you really want and forget about the extras and special discounts. Also, consider the florist that covers two weddings a day over the florists that cover ten weddings a day. If the florist is busy, that means there is less staff available to cover your floral needs.

Delivering may become an issue too, find out who is delivering the flowers, is this person experienced in transporting flowers, will they set up the flowers, also when will the flowers arrive, the day before the wedding or the day of the wedding, and who us the contact person and phone number and who will they deal at the reception sites.

The florist may be a resource for other wedding needs. They might have aisle runners, candles, candlestick holders. trellises, arches, potted plants or other garden supplies. If you have a separate decorator, you might want to put the florist and decorator in contact and coordinate with each other. Maybe invite the decorator along with your meetings with the florist.

Make sure everything is agreed to and is spelled out in the contract. If the expenses are not to go over a certain amount specify that fact. Make sure all dates are laid out and when all payments are due. Understand all charges, how the flowers are to be delivered and by whom and what the delivery fees will be, you want absolutely no hidden or surprise charges.

That's it, the story of interviewing and booking your florist. See you on the other side.

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