Planning Your Wedding: Flowers
By Kimberly Wallner
It’s the time of year for engagements, and wedding sites are posting their lists of tips, trends, and “things you must do after getting engaged”. There is certainly no shortage of information out there, but I’ve found very little that specifically talks about a major element of most weddings: flowers!
I’ve been in the wedding industry for seven years (as an event planner and then a venue manager), but until I started with Belli Fiori, my flower knowledge was limited, as I’m sure is the case with almost all of our brides. Most have a few favorite flowers and a Pinterest board full of inspiration, but don’t always know what is available for their wedding date or a realistic idea of what wedding flowers cost… so let’s talk flowers and remove some of the mystery of this part of the planning process!
Most of our clients book with us 8 months to one year out from their wedding date. This of course is not a hard and fast rule (we are still getting inquiries for this spring, for example). The most important thing is to have your venue selected and locked in when you begin to talk with florists, since that will determine the overall style of your wedding, your guest count (and therefore number of tables) and the style of centerpieces (tall arrangements work best in venues with high ceilings, low arrangements work well outdoors where wind can be an issue). Since the cost of flowers can change drastically, we try not to book more than a year and a half in advance.
Generally speaking, floral will account for 10% of your overall wedding budget. This is not a hard and fast rule either, but for the average wedding incorporating personal flowers, floral centerpieces and some floral at the ceremony, this is a good place to start. Some things that will increase the amount you will spend on flowers includes a large bridal party, wanting mostly tall centerpieces, and expensive flower choices (orchids and peonies cost more than most roses, for example). It’s important to at least have a rough budget in mind before you start meeting with florists, so they can give you realistic ideas to fit within your price point. Also keep in mind that most florists have a minimum, which may vary depending on the time of year.
Everyday vs. Wedding Florists
Everyday Florists are the shops you see around town where you can pop in and pick up a bouquet of roses or call to have an arrangement sent to your mom for Mother’s Day. Most of these shops are best equipped to handle smaller weddings or bouquet orders, since they generally do not have a large inventory of rental items. Wedding florists (like us) specialize specifically in weddings and special events. We only have flowers in our cooler if we have events taking place and we own an extensive collection of rental items that our couples can select from when designing their weddings.
Making a Selection
Selecting the right florist is a personal thing… You want someone you connect with, someone who is professional and someone who understands what you’re looking for. You need to be able to go in with inspiration photos and trust that you’re getting something similar. Begin your search on sites like The Knot, where you can quickly and easily find several florists in your city. Also talk with friends who have recently been married, as well as vendors you’ve already selected. (Wedding vendors are an amazing resource since we work with other vendors every weekend!) From there, visit florists’ websites to get a better idea of their style. Once you have narrowed your options to three or four, schedule consultations so you can meet, chat and really get a sense of who you’d be working with.
The Floral Proposal
Once you’ve met with each florist, you’ll begin receiving proposals from each one outlining the style, types of flowers and greenery, rental items and labor costs. While there might be some wiggle-room for negotiation, keep in mind that you are contracting a custom service and it takes a team to make it happen. From the floral designers to the setup and breakdown crews, some weddings require a small army to bring the vision to life! Proposals not only include these labor costs and the costs of the flowers, but also rental items, taxes and delivery fees.
The Wedding Day
On the day of your wedding, your floral team is running around behind the scenes delivering bouquets, pinning boutonnieres and setting up the ceremony and reception. If your wedding day includes a room flip, the floral team is waiting in the wings to help transform the space quickly before your guests have finished cocktail hour. If your contract includes breakdown, the team will return to strike the room and take all the rental items at the end of the night.
I hope I’ve shed some light on selecting your wedding florist. Remember that choosing a great team of vendors means you can sit back, relax, and enjoy your wedding day!
Special thanks to the amazing photographers featured in this post, who always capture our clients so beautifully! White-Clump Photography | Mike Cassimatis Photography | Image Clarity | Switzerfilm | Zoe Life Photography