Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Interview Questions for your Wedding Florist

Flowers are one of your most important aspects of your wedding day. They set the mood, tone, and atmosphere applying a special kind of beauty that creates an aura of romance and leaves a lasting impression on your wedding guests, an event they will always remember.

Wedding flowers show up in many spots during the ceremony and reception. Flowers are seen in bridal bouquets, on bridesmaids dresses and groomsmen tuxedos, on family member's clothing, on decorative tables, table reception centerpieces, and even on some wedding cakes.

In order to create an awe inspiring floral atmosphere for your wedding decorations, it all comes down to finding the right florist that is an expert artist in their profession and who knows how to create the floral look at your wedding that you want. You need to ask the right interview questions to find the florist that has the eye for beauty that has similar visions that you do. You need a florist that understands flowers and create the beauty that you want using colors, textures, and shapes to create a beautiful sight to behold.

Before setting up an interview with a florist, there are a number of things you should know. You should know your date of the wedding, your budget for your floral needs, about how many wedding guests you should expect, more so the amount of tables you will have at your reception. You should know your Ceremony Site and Reception Facility locations (is there decorations, color schemes, or restrictions that limit what you can do in the form of flowers), is the florist familiar with these places.

Many brides choose a color scheme and then find a floral arrangement that matches up to the color scheme and/or wedding theme. Other brides start with a floral design first and work backwards, find a bouquet they love and then match a color scheme with it. Ideas can be obtained through flower magazines, through the internet, and looking at bouquets at bride magazines or looking at decorative tables on the internet or reception and food magazines or from pictures of a flower garden. Cut out pictures to have ideas and keep in a baggie stapled inside a wedding planner or organizer to bring along with you at your interview with a florist. It's a good idea to meet with 3 or 4 florists before deciding on one to contract with.

It is a good idea to bring along a companion to your interview with your florist. Bring along your maid of honor, a bridesmaid, your best friend, your mother, your sister or brother. Often your meeting with a florist may wind up being a few different appointments. The first appointment is to see what the florist can offer, the second appointment is to formulate ideas from your first appointment with the focus on the bridal bouquet and follow-up appointments are geared to other flower needed such as the flowers for the boutonnieres for the groomsmen, bridesmaid's flowers or bouquets for the bridesmaids, carnations for other bridal party members, and decorations and table centerpieces to decorate the ceremony site and wedding reception facility. Make sure the flowers needs all flow well together, sticking to a color scheme.

What should you expect from your florist? A great florist know the wedding business well, has received a lot of training in floral decorating, has an eye to create lasting beauty, a person that educates brides in the world of flowers, knows the name of all the bridal bouquets (yes they all have names, you should hear names like cascading, crescent, hand tied, nosegay, etc.). They should teach you how wedding bouquets come together, what are boutonnieres, and have some type of binder to share with you all sorts of flower designs.

You should find a florist you are very comfortable working with, someone that can listen to what you want for your wedding and create it. A great florist takes your ideas and recreates the look on a small scale, gains your okay and creates the look on a massive scale. Some brides are particular with the floral look for their wedding. other brides don't really care, just come up with a beautiful floral atmosphere. The thing to note, some florists work well with brides, some florists hears what the bride wants and then creates a masterpiece, the masterpiece may end up being different. Often floral beauty is in the eye of the beholder when it comes to flowers. Some florists create a floral design they thought the bride would like and then the bride finds the product different than they really wanted and becomes an upset bride.

The bottom line, if you have a particular vision for your floral needs, you need to search for a florist that will create the vision you want. If you aren't so particular, the focus is to find a florist that creates flowers in the style that you like and then let the florist use their artistic talents. One other note, flowers have seasons, and if you find local flowers in season there is a lot of less cost involved. Flowers can be ordered all over the world, some flowers only grow in certain climates and must be shipped to the florist. If costs are an issue, you might be best to stick with local flowers.

One last note, many people have the perception that creating flowers for their wedding is easy. Sometimes being a florist is a thankless job, flowers stay fresh only for a shining moment and then they start to wilt. Florists only have a small window to create the floral look for your wedding. Florists sometimes, in order to meet commitments, they sometimes end up working around the clock and weekends to meet a deadline, they can't create a floral arrangement too early or the floral arrangement will lose their luster. If a florist is under the gun creating flowers for multiple weddings, you may not get the time needed to create your floral look. Other matters might take over and many brides end up short-changed in floral arrangements, beware of the florist that takes on too much wedding flower projects.

In on your appointments with your florist you need to review a floral and arrangement checklist. You need to review with the florist the floral needs for your wedding.

Floral and Arrangement Checklist

Bride's Bouquet (    ), Throw-Away Bouquet (    ), Maid of Honor Bouquet (    ), Bridesmaid's Bouquets (    ), Flower Girl Flowers (    ), Groom's Boutonniere (    ),     Best Man Boutonniere (    ), Groomsmen Boutonnieres (    ), Usher's Boutonniere (    ), Ring Bearer's Boutonniere (    ), Bride's Mother/Step Mother Corsage (    ), Groom's Mother/Step Mother Corsage (    ), Bride's Grandmother(s) Corsage (    ), Grooms' Grandmother(s) Corsage (    ), Godmother(s) Corsage (    ), Personal Assistant(s) Corsage (    ), Guest Book Attendant's Corsage (if female) (    ), Candle Lighter's Corsage (if female) (    ), Reader's Corsage (if female) (    ), Soloist's Corsage (if female) (    ). Other Female(s) you wish to Honor Corsage (    ), Bride's Father/Step Father Boutonniere (    ), Groom's Father/Step Father Boutonniere (    ), Bride's Grandfather(s) Boutonniere (    ), Groom's Grandfather Boutonniere (    ), Godfather(s) Boutonniere (    ), Guest Book Attendant's Boutonniere (if male) (    ), Candle Lighter's Boutonniere (if male) (    ), Reader's Boutonniere (if male) (    ), Soloist's Boutonniere (if male) (    ), Other Male's you wish to Honor Boutonniere (if male) (    ), Altar Arrangements (    ), Chuppah (    ), Pew Bows (    ),Main Entrance Arrangements (    ), Other Decorative Arrangements (    ), Centerpiece's Head Table (    ), Centerpiece's Reception Tables (    ),Cake Table (    ),For the Cake Itself (    ),Guestbook Table(    ), Buffet Tables (    ), Gift Table (    ), Restrooms (    ), Place Card Tables (    ),         Other (    )___________________________________________________

Interview Questions for your Wedding Florist
1-Ask for a business card, what is the name, address, phone number, and website address of the florist business?
2-What is the name, phone number, and email address or other contact information of the florist you are interviewing with?
3-Is the florist available for the date of our wedding? (if not, can the florist recommend another florist to service our wedding?, interview over)
4-Can the florist meet our budget and wedding guest headcount?
5-Is the florist a family owned business?
6-What days of the week and hours is the florist business open? is there an emergency contact phone number should an emergency arise?
7-How many years has the florist business been in operation?
8-How many years has the florist been servicing flowers? servicing weddings?
9-How many weddings has the florist serviced in their lifetime? in the past year? in the past month? will service the week of our wedding?
10-How many weddings might you work in a typical week? the day of our wedding?
11-How many florists are employed at your florist business?
12-Can you tell us a little about your floral background? where and what training do you have in the flower business?
13-Who is exactly creating our flower arrangements, will it be you or someone other?
14-Have you worked our wedding ceremony location or wedding reception facility before?
15-What would you say is the style of your floral arrangements? modern? traditional? romantic? ikebana? trendy? European? Oriental?
16-Can you provide a portfolio/photographs of weddings you have worked on before? can we see photos for inspirational ideas?
17-Do you use some type of flower shop computer software?
18-What flower offerings do you provide and what is the typical cost of each one? bridal bouquet? bridesmaid's bouquet? bridesmaid's flowers? throw-away bouquet? wedding carnations? groom's boutonniere? groomsmen boutonniere? floral decorations for the ceremony site? centerpiece head table? centerpiece reception tables? decorative flowers for reception tables? decorative flowers for the wedding cake? flowers for the flower girl's basket? other decorative flowers?
19-What flowers are in season when our wedding takes place?
20-What is the difference in price of in season flowers versus flowers you must order elsewhere?
21-What local growers do you work with?
22-Can you create flower arrangements based on our color scheme?
23-What bridesmaid's bouquets, boutonnieres, carnations, flower petal decorations, reception centerpieces, will coordinate well with the bridal bouquet we have chosen?
24-What are the different kinds of wraps ("collars" in florist speak) are available for our bridal bouquets?
25-Is there a difference in price using one type of flowers versus mixed flowers?
26-Are the arrangement you create more creative or more by the book?
27-What are the chances a bridal floral arrangement will change in the event flowers ordered don't arrive in time?
28-How do you communicate with us when issues come up? how often should we expect to communicate?
29-Who has the final say on floral arrangements?
30-If we show you a picture of a bouquet or flower arrangement, can you recreate it?
31-Can you do sketches or provide pictures of arrangements before we sign a contract?
32-What are the chances bridal floral arrangements will come out differently than what was agreed to? (you should specify that you expect the flowers to come out as specified or are open to any arrangement's the florist comes up with as long as it's beautiful, remember when it comes to flowers, beauty is in the eye's of the beholder, what is beautiful to one person may not be beautiful to another person, most wedding florists create beautiful arrangements for their client but occasionally there are disappointments)
33-How far in advance do you start preparing our wedding flowers? when are the flowers ready for pickup or for shipment? how does the shipping process work?
34-How are wedding flowers stored in your place of business?
35-Do you shop around for the best price for a particular flower or do you work exclusively with specific growers?
36-In order for the flowers to be ready for our wedding date, at what date must we book your services?
37-When would we need to provide a final headcount for bridal party counts and a final count for wedding reception centerpieces?
38-Do you offer specific floral packages or is each order customized?
39-What is the final cost of our wedding day flowers? can we get an itemized list of costs in the contract?
40-Are there any hidden fees we need to be aware of? taxes? gratuities? special orders? count changes? etc.
41-When is a deposit due? how much? when is final payment due? how much?
42-What is your refund/cancellation policy?
43-Who should we contact if you should get sick? What would be a good backup plan if you suddenly left the business?
44-Can you tell us how to preserve the flowers, bouquet?
45-Do you offer any other items that might be of benefit to our wedding? aisle runners? candles?, candle holders? candelabras? pew bows? arches? decorative plants? special centerpieces? votives? vases? decorative bowls? candy buffets? tower vases? water beads? decorative rocks or marbles? floral lytes? mirrors? other?
46-How much are their costs?
47-Who delivers our flowers or must we pick them up ourselves? is the delivery person experienced at handling flowers? how many years of experience?
48-How much is the delivery? is setup included? what time would flowers be delivered? when would florists arrive for setup?
49-Are there any items that we missed that we must take into consideration?
50-Can we take a contract with us to review before signing?
51-Can you provide us with 3 recent brides that you serviced in the past year? (contact at least 2)

Make sure you review the contract thoroughly before signing, no written contract, no deal. It's a good idea to check in with the florist regularly, even stopping in the florist's business to check on things so you are comfortable with the florist's work. Florists often get very busy, work many hours, and get so busy at times some aren't on top of returning phone calls, brides get upset from lack of communication. Check in with them particularly the weeks before the wedding. Make sure you find a florist that you are comfortable with, is knowledgeable in wedding flowers, educates you, you come in agreement in how to communicate, shows you in pictures in what to expect. Interview with a few different florists.

Do yourself a favor, find yourself a great florist! See you on the other side!

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