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You know the mood you want for your wedding, but how do you find the right floral designer to pull it off and avoid any pitfalls? We asked New York City florist Emily Thompson to share her no-fail tips for hiring the greenest thumb for your party, plus guidelines below to avoid the most common floral faux pas, and ways to make the most of your beautiful blooms. Because there's more to great flowers than just looking amazing!
Mistake 1: Not Doing Your Research
What's more fun than looking at gorgeous flowers? Not much. And that's exactly what you should be doing if you're in the market for a florist. "Really spend time seeking out a designer whose work resonates with you," says Emily Thompson, a New York City sculptor–turned–floral designer known for graceful arrangements using unconventional materials (among her noteworthy clients: the White House). After perusing enough magazines and blogs, and creating a Pinterest board, you'll see a pattern emerge of what you like: Maybe tightly clustered bouquets catch your eye. Or, perhaps more organic, wild-looking centerpieces are your jam. Nail down your preferences, then check out the websites of florists in your area to see whose work syncs with your style.
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Mistake 2: Not Communicating
Call your top candidates at least six months, but ideally a year, before the big day. "A quick chat is the easiest way to determine if you're on the same page," says Thompson. See if they're available on your date and can work within your financial limits (most couples spend about 10 percent of their budget on blooms). Then schedule face-to-face meetings with those who seem like a good fit. Bring along photos, fabric swatches, and anything else that communicates the look you're after. Discuss everything the florist will provide, from bridesmaids' bouquets all the way down to the garland decorating your getaway car. Finally, ask if she'll do a walk-through of the venue with you to create a floral map of the space after she's hired. If not, keep looking.
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Mistake 3: Ignoring Your Gut
Each designer will likely work up a proposal that outlines her interpretation of your vision (but doesn't get into the nitty-gritty of pricing and delivery, which will be in the contract). Pick the person who feels right, and pop the question. Carefully read any document before signing and forking over a deposit (usually 50 percent). After that comes the fun part: smelling the roses—or peonies or sweet peas.
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Mistake 4: Holding Your Bouquet Too High
How you position your posy is as important as what's in it. If you clutch your flowers too high or in front of your chest, they will cover the details of your dress's bodice and look awkward in photos. Hold your bouquet down by your hips, and the more relaxed you'll look (and the more of your gown everyone will see!).
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Mistake 5: Choosing Super-Fragrant Centerpieces
Super-fragrant flowers, like gardenias, hyacinths, lilies, and lilacs, are lovely in theory. But at dinner, their powerful aromas can compete with the food being served. Take a cue from Thompson, who likes to set tables with "appetizing" arrangements full of fruits and vegetables.
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Mistake 6: Picking Flimsy Flowers
Clematis, dahlias, hydrangeas, and peonies can't handle long periods out of water, so they're not ideal in bouquets at outdoor weddings. When in doubt, go for tropical flowers or anything that grows from a bulb; they tend to be the hardiest.
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