So you've spent some time researching floral designers and you've narrowed down the search to a handful of favorites. And, hallelujah! They're available on your wedding date. Before making any final commitments though, be sure to get all the answers you need to make confident decisions. Go into your meetings with the following questions, ready to come out with the bouquet of your dreams!
What should I bring to our initial consultation?
Most floral designers will walk you through all of the many details they'll need to know so they can craft a preliminary quote. But, make the most of your initial consultation by arriving prepared with any questions you may have, a good idea of your floral needs, and at least a general idea of the design direction you're headed in.
Your floral designer will ask about your location, your color palette, overall wedding style and theme, along with any floral preferences you may have. Feel free to bring tear sheets, photos, and fabric swatches to share, as any examples like these will help them understand your vision.
What is your planning and design process?
Each floral designer has their own unique way of managing their design process. Generally, however, once you have an initial consultation, your floral designer should be able to provide a preliminary proposal. If you decide to move forward from there, they'll issue a contract and request a deposit. Once a deposit has been made, your floral designer will work with you to fine tune the details as needed. They'll help you finalize your order and quantities as your wedding date nears. It's good to know what to expect throughout the planning process.
Have you worked my venue?
While any talented designer can work their magic in just about any environment, they may be able to recommend colors and designs that compliment your wedding venue. If they aren't familiar with your venue, reviewing venue photos together is also a great way to discuss options.
Do you have average or starting prices?
Most designers can provide you an idea of average pricing, and many will have price lists that include starting prices. While actual pricing is always dependent on the specifics of your requests, having a general idea of average starting prices for all the things you'll need for the wedding day will help you determine whether or not a designer will fit within your budget.
Do you have minimums?
Some floral designers might have minimums set for certain days of the week (or popular wedding dates), while others may set minimums based on your location or travel distance to your event. In any case, it's always good to be aware of any minimums florals designers may have in advance to be sure they align with your budget plan.
Do you offer vase or vessel rental?
Requesting rental vases, if your designer offers this, may help to trim back unnecessary costs. If you do decide to go this route, ask your designer to design centerpieces in a way that you can easily gift the flower arrangements to guests, even without the vase, and be sure to ask your designer whether they'll return for the vases or if you'll be responsible for returning them after the event.
Do you offer sketches or sample mock-ups?
There's no better way to work out your preferences for design then requesting a mock up of your actual design. A great sample centerpiece will not only allow you to adjust anything you don't like and calm your fears, but it can also aid in the selection of everything from table cloth style to napkin color—even place settings—to help you tie together the look of your tabletop.
While some floral designers may offer to design samples once you've placed your deposit, many may not and pricing will vary depending on your unique situation. Even if there is a cost associated with having a sample centerpiece done, if you're overly particular about how your flowers will turn out, a sample is worth every penny.
What other services or products do you provide?
Some floral designers may offer additional design services beyond just florals, including decor rentals, linen service, and lighting design. Being familiar with their full range of services may open the door for possibilities and unique options for your big day!
Photo Courtesy Alexandria Monette (left), Lauren Fair Photography (right), Florals Bright Floral & Forage Ojai (left), Gavita Flora (right)
Do you offer delivery and set up?
While most floral designers offer set up, knowing what to expect will help you avoid any mix up when it comes to set up on the wedding day. You may be able to save a few dollars on set up if your venue or coordinator offers set up services at no additional charge and can take care of setting up centerpieces once they've been delivered.
Will you deliver bouquets and other personal flowers to different locations?
Be sure to let your florist know if certain flowers, such as your bouquet and hair flowers, need to be delivered to a different location earlier in the day for photos or other reasons.
What are your deposit and balance payment requirements?
Details like this are important to help you track payments and manage cash flow. As soon as you confirm your floral designer (or any vendor, for that matter!) plug important dates like these into your calendar and be sure to set alerts with enough time in advance to prepare the necessary funds for payment.
What's your cancellation or postponement policy?
While this shouldn't be an issue (knock on wood) it's always good to know the cancellation, date change, and refund policy for any of your vendors, just in case!
What is the latest date that I can make any changes to my order?
Most floral designers will need your final centerpiece counts along with any other last adjustments about four weeks before your wedding day to give them enough time to order flowers and supplies. While most designers will follow up with you when the date arrives, be sure to add this to your calendar and set up an alert to give you enough time to finalize details before this deadline has come and gone.
What about last-minute changes?
While your balance payment will most likely be non-refundable after this point and you won't be able to remove anything from your list, some floral designers will be able to accommodate minor additions and last minute revisions. Even if a designer has a no change policy once a final order has been made, don't hesitate to ask, they may be able to help you with a creative solution for your needs.