wedding florist

How to Hire the Right Wedding Florist

Is it your first time hiring a wedding florist? If so, chances are you don’t know quite where to begin. We chatted to Cherry Blossom Floral Designs, Bewilder Floral, and Sunset Florist for information and tips on how to find the right wedding florist.

The basics

If you were choosing your own wedding florist, what would you look for?

Cherry Blossom Florals: I would look at a florist’s past work to see if the florist’s style is aligned with what I like. For me, colors and textures are very important. I would look at how a wedding florist chooses color combinations and flowers. In addition, I’d look for details, such as the stem wrapping on the finished bouquets and boutonnieres. Additionally, I’d like the flowers to be beautiful and fresh on the day of the the wedding. It’s also important for me to know if the florist used quality flowers, and if the wedding florist calculated flower blooms correctly, so that the flowers are fully open on the day of the wedding.

Bewildered: I think the most important thing is doing research and making sure you actually like what’s in a florist’s portfolio already. We have a wild, loose, and more creative approach. Oftentimes the biggest reason I turn people away is if they want something structured, clean and modern. When you choose a wedding florist, you’ve got to like what they do naturally. If they need to shift their style to accommodate your needs, it won’t look the way you want it to.

Sunset Florist: You have to be comfortable with whoever you pick, so you have to meet with them and not have any second thoughts afterwards. The wedding florist also has to be someone who really knows flowers. They have to know the product, the countries it comes from, and the availability of it; their understanding of flowers will help you feel more comfortable.

What are the different floral design styles?

B: There’s the more traditional, structured, classic western design that incorporates more roses, tulips, hydrangeas. It’s more of an English garden style with nothing sticking out; bouquets are super round. What’s been really popular lately is a loose, organic bohemian style that younger and trendier florists have been going after. There are nuances of course, but that’s the main difference between designs. You have to decide if you like more structure or something looser.

wedding florist
A “wild, loose, and more creative approach” for flowers. Photo: Bewilder Floral

What’s something that a lot of clients overlook?

B: I often have clients who want trendy color palettes. While that’s fine, they need to make sure to pay attention to colors already in their venue. A lot of the time, clients get stuck on palettes that they find online, even if they don’t make much sense in the actual space or in person. I think there’s definitely room to get more creative with color palettes; there’s room to have a conversation with your wedding florist about color choices.

CBF: There are many beautiful pictures all over Pinterest, Facebook, and the internet. Most of the time, these pictures are from a stylized photo-shoot. Some flowers used in bouquets, boutonnieres, and arrangements won’t last the whole wedding day. Before the bride has decided on certain flowers for her bouquet and arrangements, she needs to make sure to discuss her choices with the wedding florist. She has to make sure the flowers she chooses for her wedding day are sturdy and will last. Also, clients should allow the florist to suggest flowers in order to achieve the style they’re looking for.

SF: I walk my clients through the day’s timeline, from starting at home. A lot of clients will forget about reserved seating in their church or forget a throw bouquet. I get to know my venues so well that I know what areas need flowers, like adding greenery to the seating chart or knowing if a trophy case looks a little bare. You start with the bride and bridesmaids, the boutonnieres and corsages, the church, the throw bouquet, the cake; you have to go down the whole list. If you want your home decorated, knowing where to place the flowers will be very helpful. If you need extra petals to stage photos, I’ll drop them off the night before so the photographer can use them immediately after arriving. There are always little details that clients forget unless you walk them through the entire day.

What flowers can be used on wedding cakes?

CBF: We normally use roses, spray roses, freesias, and some greenery. We also use wire and floral tape on the flowers, so the actual stems won’t touch the cake. The sap of euphorbia and several other flowers can cause problems if inserted into the cake.

SF: People should avoid putting stems into a wedding cake. Because every flower that comes into this country is treated with chemicals, doing that will save them from poisoning. I generally place flowers on the cake itself and keep it simple with fresh sage, lavender, herbs, and the like.

B: Many of my flowers are organic and from local farms so I don’t worry about pesticides getting on the cake. If you are worried about that or if something’s poisonous, you can wrap stems in foil or plastic before sticking them in the cake. You can also use greenery instead; cuttings of greenery are really pretty. You want to make sure everything’s clean by washing and drying it thoroughly.

Some tips

What are some budget friendly tips to keep costs down when choosing floral designs?

SF: Decorating the wedding venue is the bulk of the money.  Many venues provide centerpieces for free.  They’re not as fabulous as fresh flowers, but once you walk into the room, you won’t notice silk flower centerpieces.  You can also go the DIY route. For example, clients use wood chargers and candles with greens and orchids so that it’s a nominal cost per table.  Another pointer is not to immediately go with what you see on Pinterest. Sometimes the flowers clients want are in season in May in California, but they’re getting married in November in New Jersey, or the flowers they like won’t last the whole wedding day. As florists we have to be honest with them and provide options.

CBF: Premium flowers such as peonies, garden roses, and orchids, are gorgeous and therefore more expensive. If you would like to keep costs down, include these flowers in only special items such as your bridal bouquet and sweetheart table. A wedding florist can keep costs down by using fewer flowers. For example, submerged centerpieces require fewer flowers and therefore will cost less. Re-purposing ceremony flowers is also great way to keep costs down.

B: Using more greens than actual face flowers can be helpful. Prioritizing which elements are most important is good too. I’ve also seen some really pretty bridesmaid bouquets done with single flowers. If you don’t have the budget to do a full bridal party, that kind of arrangement is simple, nice, and clean. Similarly, you can choose to have a loose vase arrangement if a full one isn’t within your budget. Some spaces are pretty enough on their own, so you can choose flowers for spaces that need decor and leave other places alone. Using seasonal or local flowers can keep costs down too. I tend to stay away from imported flowers; anything imported or out of season will hike your price up.

What’s an alternative to cascading flowers on a wedding cake?

SF: A lot of clients just use toppers, like Mr. and Mrs. signage or crystals for initials. Other alternatives are naked cakes: no icing, just layers. It’s very organic; that’s when you use herbs and a couple of spray roses.

CBF: A naked cake with a few accent flowers, or using berries instead of flowers is a nice alternative. We’ve seen some themed wedding cakes, as well as cupcakes, rice crispy wedding cakes, and many other alternative wedding cake ideas instead of a traditional wedding cake with cascading flowers.

Check out How to Hire a Wedding Caterer!

For brides who want to preserve their bouquets, what are your tips on doing so?

B: Some flowers dry really well and others don’t. If they’re all mixed together tightly, then ones that don’t dry well will get moldy and spread to the rest of them. Unless you’re bringing your bouquet to a professional dryer, I recommend taking it apart and hand-drying all the stems separately. Keep the ones that have dried and toss the ones that won’t dry, otherwise the whole thing will be a big piece of mold.

CBF: You should find a shop that provides bouquet preservation before your wedding day. After that, you should arrange for the bouquet to be delivered to the shop soon as possible after the wedding. If the flowers are fresher, the preservation process will be much easier.

Just for fun…

What are recent floral trends?

CBF: Many of our brides asked us to create a loose and natural look with a lot of greenery this year.

B: These past couple of years, it’s been pretty focused on greenery. In the future, I’m anticipating trends to move away from super lush and full looks to something a little more minimal. We’re seeing things becoming more stark and flat in the general design world.

SF: This year it’s all about blush, but there are only 2 flowers that come in blush: the pink mondial and the blush peony, which is only available in the spring. Cascades are also definitely coming back; it’s the big abstract wild and whimsical look people are going for.  I suggest to my brides to go with a bouquet that complements their dress. It’s your day and your dress’s day, not your flower’s day, so you want your dress to stand out.

Tell us about some of the more elaborate or memorable floral designs you’ve done for a couple.

B: I really love it when a bride’s mom wants to use cuttings from her garden or something like that. One flower was given by the groom to the bride in the past, and it was something they both cherished. The memorable designs are the ones that are more personal. Flowers and weddings can tell a story if the couple does it right and pays attention to subtle things.

SF: I like to think that every wedding is unique and special, and I’m happy to be a part of that day for the couple. I can’t say one really outdoes another. When I get the thank yous and texts afterwards, that’s my reward.

CBF: We always enjoy personalized or themed floral designs. We love incorporating fruits, seashells or starfish in our designs. We’ve also designed desert themes, beach themes, and hot air balloon themes.

Anything else?

B: Back to my first point, if you look at a florist’s portfolio and you love everything you see, you’ll love everything they’ll do for your wedding. If you only love some of their portfolio, they aren’t the best wedding florist for you.

SF: Practicality is the most important. Have a clear budget in your mind. Come in with a color palette in mind and be open to the reality that what you’ve chosen might not be available that time of season. I always tell clients to search “May in New Jersey” and not just “May” when Googling for in-season flowers. Yes, most flowers are available year-round across the country but at a cost.

Photo from Shadowing Lights Photography

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