Flowers are a central component of the wedding. Flowers add natural beauty and often become a focal point in the venue. They symbolize life, growth, and rebirth. Good wedding flowers are also a conversation starter and after the food and dress, the thing guests will remember most.  The best way to achieve the atmosphere and style that your clients will want is to hire a reputable and creative florist to do the bouquets and flowers. Choosing a florist is an important decision. When it comes to selecting flowers for the wedding, a rose is not always just a simple rose.

1. Which flowers will suit the style of my big day?
Whether you’re going for a modern or a traditional look, your choice of flowers should suit the style of your wedding. The expertise of your florist is vital here, so make sure he or she understands the atmosphere you want to create, so they can suggest flowers to match your vision. At your first consultation with your florist, take along any ideas you have and pictures of your dress and the bridesmaid dresses, so they can build up a detailed picture of your day.

2. Have you worked at my wedding venue before?
If your florist is familiar with your venue, they’ll know which arrangements work best. If they’ve never worked at the location, ask if they’d be prepared to take a tour with you so they can get a feel for the place. Bear in mind that some venues will only allow you to use their own florist, so check before you set your heart on going with a particular person. 

3. Can I see examples of your work?
Looking through a florist’s portfolio is a good way to get an idea of the style of work they produce. However, it’s even better to see real samples of their work. Watch out for their attention to detail – are the flowers totally fresh and is the ribbon binding the bouquet stems tight enough? This level of care is vital and will make all the difference to the flowers on your big day.

4. Can you advise me about which colour scheme to choose?
This largely comes down to personal preference, but your flowers should also co-ordinate with your venue. For example, if your venue has a distinctive red carpet you’ll probably want to shy away from choosing bright pink flowers. If you’re undecided, white is a safe bet as you’ll have a huge range of flowers to choose from, and it’s a classic choice.

5. Which flowers will be in season on my wedding date?
Locally grown, seasonal flowers are always better value and of a higher quality than those shipped in from abroad. The time of year you’re getting married will therefore determine the flowers that will be available. For example, if you’ve got your heart set on lily of the valley, don’t get married in September as this delicate flower is only available for a few weeks in May and June. If the flowers you want aren’t available, your florist should be able to suggest similar alternatives.

6. Which flowers and arrangements are popular at the moment?
If it’s important that your flowers are the height of fashion, check that your florist is hot on the latest trends. If they have the latest issue of our sister magazine Wedding Flowers to hand, you can rest assured your florist is as style-savvy as you are.

7. What bouquet shape would you suggest to suit my dress?
A good florist will have images of the most popular bouquet styles, from trailing shapes to neat hand-tied posies. The one you choose should complement your figure and the shape of your dress. If you’re unsure of the best style for you, ask your florist’s advice and try holding a few samples to see which feels the most comfortable.

8. Can you transport my ceremony flowers to the reception venue?
Altar displays, pew-ends and other ceremony displays can often be re-used very effectively at the reception, and doubling up like this is a great way to save money. Ask if this will work with your wedding flowers and, if so, make sure there’s a firm plan in place for transporting them.

9. Will you be designing your flowers or will it be one of your team?
If you’ve built up a rapport with a particular florist during the consultation and are confident you’re on the same 
wavelength, you’ll want to ensure they actually design the flowers and deliver them on your big day. If they can’t guarantee this, ask to meet with the rest of the team.

10. Will you do a mock-up of my chosen arrangements?
Your florist may provide this service at no extra cost, but be prepared to be charged a fee. You should do this close enough to the date of your wedding so you can try the bouquet with your dress, while leaving enough time to make any necessary changes.

11. Can I pop along to see you set up at your next wedding?
Without doubt, the best way to judge a florist’s work is to see it in real life, so ask your florist if you can have a sneaky peek at the finished ceremony or reception venue before the wedding party arrives. Seeing their designs in situ and getting a glimpse of how a florist works under pressure will be the perfect way to make your final decision.

12. Are you doing flowers for another wedding on the same date?
If your florist has a big team, then working on another wedding shouldn’t be a problem. But if you’d prefer one-to-one attention, it’s definitely worth checking.

13. Can you suggest ways for me to stick to my budget?
A good florist should know how to produce designs you can afford, rather than insisting you spend more. Ask them to give you a detailed quotation at an early stage so you can negotiate where necessary.  

14. Are there any hidden costs?
When asking for your quotation, make sure your florist includes any extras such as travel expenses, vase rental, ribbons, VAT and so on. Also ask if you will be charged for any breakages.

15. When will the flowers be delivered? 
It’s important to talk about timings and addresses of where you want your flowers delivered. Is there a maximum distance they will travel? If you want your bouquet and buttonholes delivered to different locations, make this clear.

16. How long do you need to decorate the venue?
Your florist may need access to your ceremony and reception venues much earlier than anyone else. If they plan to assemble large arrangements at the venue, it’s also a good idea to ask if they’d like an allocated room or space of their own, well away from where your other suppliers might be setting up.

17. Will you collect any vases or equipment after the wedding?
Not many florists will want to hang around until midnight to dismantle your arrangements and cart their vases off, so make sure you confirm collection times. There is a possibility you will have to arrange to return any vases or equipment yourself.

18. When should I sign off my final flower order?
Most florists will want the order confirmed six weeks before the big day.

19. How close to the wedding can I change my order?
If you have a sudden change of heart after confirming your order, you need to know whether your florist is prepared to amend the designs and how much it will cost. Imported blooms will be more difficult to cancel at short notice.   

20. When and how do I pay? 
Payment methods vary, so discuss details with your florist. Most require a deposit, with the remainder due a week before the big day.