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How to choose the perfect wedding flowers and florist

We round up the questions to ask your wedding florist to get the best out of your big day flowers

Flowers make up such a huge part of your wedding day, so as much thought needs to go into choosing your florist as goes into picking a caterer or selecting your venue.

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When you’re looking for “the one”, think back to weddings you’ve attended and whether you loved their floral displays – if yes, ask for the name of the florist.

Check out the real weddings section on YYW too; you’ll see some incredible wedding flowers and be able to read which florist created them. 

Once you’ve found your wedding florist, here are the questions you need to ask them.

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1. When do I need to choose my wedding florist?

Meet your florist after you’ve found the dress and venue. These will dictate the theme and feel for your flowers.

The colours and textures of your dress will determine what core colour is chosen for your ‘floral story’ and will run throughout the ceremony and the reception.

Where possible, meet with your florist at the venue and take a tour of the various spaces where flowers will be showcase. The colours within the interiors may influence the flowers, ensuring they complement the interior and often the exterior too.

2. Source a pricelist before your meeting

Check how much your chosen florist charges before meeting them. This will ensure your budget is in line with the chosen florist and your desired flowers; prices vary depending on what they offer and what sort of style they work to. 

3. Take along an inspirational moodboard

When you go to meet you florist for the first time be sure to show her your wedding flowers Pinterest board to give your florist an idea of your vision. From here your florist will build upon your ideas to create the final look.

4. When are my chosen flowers in bloom?

A key question to ask your florist is whether your flowers will be in full bloom on your day and always ensure you choose flowers that are seasonal.

Out of season flowers are very expensive and normally small headed where they are grown unnaturally in greenhouses.

Choosing flowers that are in season is a clever way to save money on your wedding.

5. Always ask where you can cut costs

For example, often the reception flowers are used to decorate the ceremony room by placing the table centres on plinths in and around the aisle; after the ceremony they are moved back to where the reception will be before lighting the candles for the evening.

For Jewish weddings, it’s possible to re-use all the chuppah flowers to create a spectacular piece of floral art running along the top table; a great way to save hundreds of pounds on a full top table display.

6. Be original with your wedding flowers

Where budget allows, work with your florist to create something different that your guests may not have seen before –suspended floral displays make a beautiful visual backdrop for photography, while gorgeous hat box displays on the table centres are the perfect thank you gift for special guests.

We love floral arches too. In addition, don’t feel like you have to stick with white wedding flowers, colourful bouquets look incredible in wedding photos. 

7. Check out your florist’s background

It always good to find out if your florist has worked at your venue before.

Ask to see images of weddings they have previously worked on at the venue for inspiration and rest assured that they are familiar with the venue for loading and delivery purposes.

8. Follow your florist on social media

Being able to see the work of your suppliers on a daily and weekly basis is a great way to stay in the loop of what they are doing, venues they work at and other suppliers they work with too.

READ MORE: How many flowers do I need for my wedding?

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When should I start shopping for flowers and what’s the latest point I can request changes to my choices before the wedding?

Preparation time depends on the size of your wedding, the size of the flower shop and whether your celebration is happening nearby – but as a rule of thumb, six months before the big day should do the trick.

Beware Saturday brides; if you will get married on the busiest day of the year (typically the last Saturday in June and the first in September), then you’ll need to book 12 months in advance. As for making changes, allow three weeks in advance for small tweaks.

How much of my budget should I allocate for flowers?

Estimates vary, but expect to spend about 5 – 10% of your total budget on bouquets for you and your maids, corsages, buttonholes, ceremony arrangements and table centres.

“It’s important to have a rough budget in mind so that we can get your expectations in line with what you can afford,” says Claire Garabedian of In Water Flowers. “When couples don’t have an inkling of what they want to spend, it’s very hard to start creating an idea”.

When I’m comparing prices, what sort of additional fees should I think about?

Extras like VAT, delivery, clean-up and prop hire can add up fast, so be sure to have these factored into your quotes.

“If your wedding is quite a distance away, the cost of an overnight B&B stay might have to be included,” adds Hannah Martin, events manager at McQueens, so keep this in mind too.

I suffer from hay fever – which flowers would you suggest?

”Steer clear of scented flowers and you should be fine,” says Hannah Martin. “Roses, tulips, ranunculus hydrangea and irises are included in the safe list, however lilies, hyacinths and narcissi are definitely a no!”

Check out our gallery of non-floral bouquets for unique inspiration. 

If you have your heart set on heavenly scents, keep them out of your bouquet and table centre and be sure to keep them in well-ventilated areas.

READ MORE: How to cope with hay fever on your wedding day

How do I look at a venue and decide how to decorate it with flowers?

”Ask yourself: ‘Where are my guests going to be; what’s the schedule for the day; where are we going to start off; and how long are we going to stay in each place?’” says Claire Moore of OliveBlossom Flowers by Claire Moore.

“That will help when deciding where the flowers should go”. Utilise special features at the venue – think vintage fireplaces and lovely corners – and decorate them first.

How can I find a bouquet shape to compliment my dress?

A good florist will take into account your height and body shape as well as dress shape when crafting the perfect bouquet, so be sure to bring photos of your gown and accessories to your consultation.

“We also consider the amount of detailing on the dress and its style, whether it’s modern or vintage,” says Melissa Riva). A dress with simple, straight lines will look better with a dramatic, cascading bouquet, while a heavily detailed gown looks great with a simple bunch of roses.

Are some flowers more practical than others for outdoor weddings?

”It’s not so much the flower, it’s how the arrangements are structured,” says Claire Garabedian. “It’s also quite nice to have them lit, either from below or spotlighted, to make them really stand out”. To help create a natural, organic feel use herbs, topiary trees and foliage such as pittosporum, camellia leaves and alchemilla.

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READ MORE: How many flowers do I need for a wedding?