Thursday, January 13, 2011

Wedding Flowers
Finding the Right Florist to Design Your Wedding Flowers
Wedding flowers are one of the most important elements of your big day. Not only do they provide color and scent, but they symbolize life, growth, and rebirth. Good wedding flowers are also a conversation starter and after the food and dress, one of things guests will remember most. So how do you find the right florist to provide your wedding flowers, what questions should you ask them, and when should you sign a contract with a florist? Here are those answers and more.
Finding a florist for your wedding flowers
If you don't already have a favorite floral designer, talk to your friends and family about who they've used in the past. You can also go to bridal shows, or simply look in the phone book. Make appointments to visit at least three different florists. When you visit the shop, take a look around.

Do you like the arrangements that are in the store's windows?

Are the flowers in the cooler fresh and luscious?

Is the shop clean and organized?
Ask to see photographs of previous work
Ideally, your wedding florist will have vast previous experience as a wedding florist, and will have many photographs of previous wedding flower arrangements and bridal bouquets. Make sure that the pictures are recent, and comprehensive – not just one bouquet, but that they show all the bridal bouquets and centerpieces from a particular wedding.
Talk to them about your ideas for wedding flowers
Bring swatches of bridesmaid dresses, pages from magazines with bouquets and floral arrangements that you like, the type of container you'd like to use, and any ideas you may have. Make sure that the florist is receptive to your ideas, and that they are willing to listen to your vision. You'll want to feel comfortable with this person – make sure that they are the one who will be personally responsible for your arrangements. You'll also want to make sure that they think your budget is realistic for your ideas.
When to book your florist
This depends on how long you have to plan your wedding, but a general guideline is to start talking to your florist about 6 to 8 months before your wedding, and sign a contract with them about 4 to 6 months before the big day.
What you'll need to know before you can book a florist for your wedding flowers
• You'll need to have booked your ceremony site, and know how many arrangements you'll need to decorate it.
• You'll need to have booked your reception site, and know the prominent colors of the venue (so the flowers don't clash)
• If you are doing floral centerpieces, you'll need to know approximately how many wedding guests you are having, and thus how many centerpieces you'll need. (Most round catering tables seat 8, 10 or 12 guests; rectangular tables generally seat 8 people)
• How many bridesmaids you are having, and the color of their dresses
• The number of corsages (for mothers, grandmothers, and sometimes readers or other special guests) and boutonnieres (for the groom, groomsmen, ushers, and sometimes readers or other special guests).
• If you'll need separate arrangements for the rehearsal dinner, post-wedding brunch, entryways, bathrooms, gift or cake tables, or buffet tables

Questions to ask the florist

• What is your design philosophy? Do you prefer modern arrangements or more traditional ones?
• Can I see examples of past work by the same person who will arrange my wedding flowers?
• How many other weddings and events will you do the same weekend as my event? (this gives you an idea of how much time and attention they'll spend on your wedding flowers)
• What flowers will be in season and less expensive for my wedding? How can I maximize my budget?
• What ideas do you have for my wedding? What are the most successful ideas you've had for past weddings?
• Is it possible to see a sample of my centerpiece and/or bouquet?
• Will you deliver and/or set up my flowers? How long do you generally spend at a site setting up? Is there an extra delivery or set up charge?
• Is it possible to reuse the ceremony flowers as reception decorations? Will you transport them, or will we need to? Is there a transport fee?
• Are there any other additional or hidden costs I should know about?
• Do you have rental supplies (such as vases, urns, candelabras and potted plants) or do I need to use a separate rental company?
• If I need to add, subtract, or change arrangements or bridal bouquets, how long to I have to do so?
• Will you write up an itemized quote of what we've discussed?
• How soon do I need to put down a deposit to reserve your services? What is the minimum deposit?

Also, if you are having an outdoor wedding, you'll want to ask what flowers will best stand up under the weather conditions. A bride who is sensitive to scents or allergic to flowers may want to talk to the florist about scented or allergenic flowers so she won't be sneezing down the aisle.

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