I remember the day that my now wife Gemma and I first walked into our florist to talk about our wedding flowers. We had an idea of what we wanted; big, bold and not your typically cute and girly summery floral displays. Of course they are flowers, so there is only so far away you can get from the feminine appeal, but still...
What we didn't really have any idea of at the time was whether or not we had the right budget in mind. I think we decided on £700, not knowing if this would be laughable or not. Being no stranger to the costs involved in planning a wedding, I can always understand and justify why vendors charge what they do. You aren't just paying for some flowers. They are a business and need to grow, pay overheads, taxes, insurance, utilities, AND make a wage as well as planning for their future retirement. I digress. We ended up spending about £1,200 on flowers in the end. Of course, you don't HAVE to spend this amount, but we knew what we wanted and decided that it was worth paying for. So here are some tips and advice based on what we learnt when doing business with our florist.
Tip #1 – Do some research.
Don't just jump in and choose the first florist you see in your local area. Gemma and I got married in Monmouth and decided upon a florist in that town. This not only helps their local economy, but it makes the logistics more manageable (and reduces the risk) when delivering the flowers to your chosen venue. The company looked and sounded professional, and they had very high ratings for both customer service and overall presentation.
Tip #2 – Decide on a budget.
I don't mean to sound hypocritical here, but please at least think about what you are willing to spend before you go and see your florist. As an example, you may have a budget of £400 which is totally acceptable. But you shouldn't walk in expecting to get 6 elegant bouquets for you and your bridesmaids, a floral crown, 10 table centrepieces, floral arches, Groomsmen's boutonnieres, aisle decorations, candlesticks, pew ends and a partridge in a pear tree! Be realistic here. There is nothing wrong with keeping to a low wedding budget, but you have to be willing to make compromises along the way.
Tip #3 – Meet your florist!
This may sound obvious, but I've heard so many stories from vendors who have had to arrange everything over the telephone and via e-mail. It's so impersonal, and as a wedding photographer, it seems kind of ridiculous to me that I wouldn't meet the bride and groom before the big day itself. Building relationships with your vendors is an important part of the planning process. It inspires trust and ensures that everyone is on the same page when it comes to meeting (and managing) expectations. Gemma and I visited our florist 3 times during the planning process. On the very first visit, we discussed out “budget”, our requirements, and the style that we wanted to achieve on the day. I became surprisingly enthusiastic, fell in love with floral decorations and found a brand new respect for this beautiful and delicate craft (oooohh matron). We used Pinterest for inspiration and created mood boards which we could share with our florist along the way. Meeting your florist also tells you a lot about their knowledge and experience. We gave them an idea, they rolled with it and we were working on the same wavelength from the get-go. Of course, we had to allow organic creative freedom as we didn't know the names of flowers, or the kinds that weren't available to view that day.
Tip #4 – Be open to suggestions.
Following on from tip #3, you may know exactly what you want. That doesn't mean that what you want is exactly what you know...ahhhh wordplay.
A well respected and experienced florist will be able to advise you regarding your requirements and will work with you to produce spectacular displays. What will be in season, what colours work well together, what other elements can the arrangements hold to fill them out? We opted for the suggested “Electric blue bullion wire” which really made the arrangements stand out from the crowd. You need to communicate well and trust each other. You often won't see the finished products until the big day itself, so everyone needs to be confident that everything will turn out as expected.
Tip #5 – Stand back and appreciate your flowers!
Unlike your photographs, your flowers won't last a lifetime, unfortunately. To make the most of your creations you should re-use them throughout the different parts of the day. If the size works, move table centres to flank your cake during the evening. Place bridesmaids bouquets around your guestbook and card table. Your florist should be able to give suggestions on where arrangements can be reused properly. Don't forget that not only should you re-use them, you should also give them away! Some arrangements make perfect gifts for the mothers of the Bride and Groom. That way they can be taken home, placed in a vase and given an extended life.
(Click To Enlarge) Taken at The Bloom Room in Monmouth
Our venue catered for weekend stays so I was up and outside when the delivery van turned up. I was utterly blown away when the doors opened and I saw our finished displays for the first time. I've not been to a wedding before, or since, where so many people have commented on how beautiful the flowers were. They brought so much energy and colour into the venue, and I can't imagine the place having looked any better than it did. Gemma and I made all of the wedding invites, bunting, table pieces, seating chart and other decorations ourselves, with a very strict colour palette. The flowers ultimately tied in perfectly to create the vibrant, happy and colourful feeling we had been aiming for the whole time.
I hope this short guide helps to inspire you when choosing the right florist for your wedding day. In the end, it really is worth taking the time to get it right. If you have any tips or suggestions, please leave them in the comments below, I'd love to hear from you.
VISIT: The Bloom Room
Facebook : @BloomRoomMon