After you have done your homework, schedule initial meetings with several florists. Solicit recommendations from recently married friends, relatives, and co-workers; scan newspaper wedding supplements; and get referrals from the manager of your reception site (he will probably have a list of floral designers he prefers working with).
Next, set up appointments with two or three florists. Choose ones who have lots of experience doing flowers for weddings; florists who just run flower shops may not be familiar with the logistics of styling a large event. Ask to meet the florists when they have examples of their wedding arrangements on the premises so you can see their work firsthand. And try to avoid Saturday appointments, when wedding florists may be too rushed to spend adequate time with you.
Also request to see pictures from recent weddings the designer has worked on to ascertain whether his style fits with yours. If every photo is overflowing with wildflowers and you're envisioning a tailored look, he may not be the best florist for you.
Bring your scrapbook, along with a picture of your dress and swatches of fabric from bridesmaid gowns or photos taken during fittings. If you've already chosen the linens to be used on dinner tables, bring a sample of those.
Don't hesitate to ask questions. For example, inquire whether the florist is familiar with your venue. If not, see if he'll be willing to visit it in person to get a sense of the advantages and challenges of the location. See if the person you are speaking with is the one who will make the actual pieces (especially the bridal bouquet), and whether he will check the flowers before the ceremony and reception to make sure they have been arranged properly. If another person will handle these tasks, find out who. (You may want to have a friend oversee the delivery of flowers.) Will the florist label all corsages, boutonnieres, and bouquets to avoid confusion? Also discuss other decorations: Today's florists often provide lighting, rental tables and chairs, custom fabrics for tablecloths and chair coverings, candles, aisle runners, and other needs.
The things that matter most are that you feel comfortable with the florist's approach and style, and that you share a nice rapport. "It's imperative that there's good communication," says Perez. "Those initial meetings are like first dates. There should be chemistry between you and your florist." If you're not feeling that kind of connection, he's not a candidate you should consider further.
Return to Working with a Florist