If you’re like most brides, the flowers you’ll have at your nuptials will complete the picture of your fairytale wedding. Without them, something would be missing.
The flowers we choose for our wedding ceremonies are more than just flowers. They bring colour, fragrance, and life to a space. The way they sway, flutter, and dance in the breeze—be it in our altar, our bouquet, or our centrepieces—is an irreplaceable part of the experience.
That is, of course, to say nothing at all of the sentimental value of flowers. Building one’s bouquet to include Mom’s favourite roses, the flower in bloom for Grandma’s birthday, and commemorative blossoms to remember those absent friends can help make the day that much more special.
It’s understandable that choosing a florist can feel like a huge task. From budgets to seasonal availability, from finding a shared aesthetic to forging a reliable relationship—there’s a lot riding on your wedding florals.
But, if you ask the right questions, the results can be spectacular.
What Budgets Do You Typically Work With?
Get the “dirty work” out of the way first. If a florist is outside your budget, there’s no sense getting excited about the services or products they offer.
You should never feel embarrassed or ashamed to ask this question. Wedding florals can be very costly and it’s perfectly reasonable to inquire early about projected costs. After all, florists, too, appreciate knowing the budget they have to work within before they start.
It helps to have settled upon your own floral budget before you begin interviews with florists. Without this fixed number in your head, it can be easy to let the bill creep up—and before you know it, you’re a thousand dollars over budget and have to start making cuts elsewhere.
This question also helps you imagine what this florist will be able to achieve for your budget. If they agree to take you on as a client but typically work with budgets five times larger than yours, you may get a very different final result than the arrangements that you fell in love with in the first place.
Have You Worked With a Venue Like Mine Before?
Venue impacts everything about a wedding, but especially florals. Is the space dim, is it drafty, is it outdoors? What is the steady temperature like? What kind of supports are available for floral installations? Ah, you have vaulted ceilings and want to hang a waterfall of tiny blossoms behind the altar? Naturally.
Floral arrangements are heavily informed by the space in which they are presented. A dense, rich wall arrangement may seem out of place in a cavernous venue rather than an intimate wedding den.
This question is especially important if you’re having an outdoor wedding, as floral arrangements may need to be fortified against wind or weather. Your florist should feel confident mounting whatever kind of floral arrangement you want in precisely your venue.
What Materials Do You Work With?
There are many environmental concerns gripping the floral industry at this moment. The chemicals used in bleaching and dyeing blooms and the microplastic floral foam used to create elaborate arrangements are true scourges upon a vast number of ecosystems.
But many florists are finding other ways. Some will refuse to bleach or dye blooms, others have found alternatives to floral foam that work just as well but don’t harm the environment.
If this is important to you—curbing the wastage and environmental impact created by a given wedding—it’s very important to ask your florist what materials they generally work with. You can inquire specifically about the environmental impact of their work and what they’re doing to protect the environment.
That way, you can feel good knowing your flowers are not only beautiful but that they were processed and arranged responsibly.
Tell Me About Your Suppliers.
Most florists will source flowers from a number of suppliers. Depending on the flower, suppliers may be in operation right nearby—others may be based out of warmer locales like South America. It’s important to remember that flowers are an industry and, just like in fashion, not all suppliers are created equal.
Some products may be shoddily produced; some products may ship unreliably or often show up late; some suppliers may be known to treat their employees and the environment poorly.
Asking your florist about their suppliers enables you to make choices in line with your morals. It enables you to ensure you’re supporting the business of someone whose practices you respect. It also enables you to anticipate any potential problems, such as struggles with a given crop or a tendency to be delayed.
What Are Your Typical Contingency Plans?
This is the biggest question—and perhaps the most difficult to answer. But it must be asked.
In addition to carefully reviewing any contracts you sign to hire your florist, you should always ask about contingency plans. What happens if the roses get held up in transit? If the dahlias arrive damaged? If your darling wildflower bunch, collected from a local farm, has pests?
This question envelopes two facets of contingency planning. The first is what can be done if a problem arises. Can your florist find substitute roses or perhaps another flower in the same colour? In short: is your florist willing and able to react in the event of a reasonably common logistical hiccup?
The second question—and here’s where your contract comes in—concerns who assumes responsibility in various circumstances. Or more specifically, if something goes wrong, who will foot the bill? If a bundle of peonies arrive parched and unusable, for example, will your florist expect you to foot the bill for a substitution?
If your floral arrangements are pushing the limits of your budget, it is especially important to ensure you won’t be hit with surprise costs in the event of a problem.
Asking this question, while a bit tough, will hopefully protect you from both financial repercussions and possible disappointment on the big day if your bouquet must, for one reason or another, incorporate a different purple flower than the one you had selected.
If you take this list of questions to your florist, they should have ready answers for every single one. And no matter how great their work appears on instagram, you owe it to yourself to take their answers seriously and, if they aren’t up to par, search for another florist.
It’s your big day. Only the best will do!