Secrets to a Successful Florist Consultation

BronteApr 18, 202410 min read

Prepping for a consultation can be confusing and exciting. You’ve never done this before! You don’t even know where to start when it comes to flowers, how much they cost, and what you need. OR you have a specific vision in mind for how you want your big day to feel and want to ensure your vision is in good hands.

how to prepare for a wedding floral consultation

Where do you even get started with planning flowers?

This is the fun part. For once, it is a productive thing to get lost in Pinterest, Instagram, blogs, magazines, and google images. Go search-crazy and save pictures that make you happy or draw your eye. Then narrow down which ones you want to incorporate into your wedding by creating a mood board. You can create one via websites like Canva, Pinterest, or even a google doc or excel spreadsheet.

Here is a link for how to design a mood board with Canva. Here is some advice for creating your Pinterest board.

Think about the season. Do you want your flowers to go with the season your wedding is in? Soft colors with the new buds of spring, bright, fun summer pops of color for summer, bold and vibrant colors with the changing leaves of autumn, or a moody winter palette. OR do you have your mind set on a particular style and color palette and don’t care whether it goes with the season? You do you.

Check out this article for suggested color palettes by the season/month.

Do you have a wedding planner? I suggest inviting them in on the consultation as they have lots of good insights through their experience and can help make suggestions or give imaginative ideas. You may even meet with them about flowers before your official floral consultation.

Be open-minded. You are hiring a professional and an artist. They may have ideas you haven’t thought of or know some reality you don’t know behind flowers. Be prepared to listen to what will work, or let them take your vision and run with it.

Ask questions. It’s okay if you’re nervous and want to ensure everything runs smoothly. Ask them what works, what arrangements are typically ordered, their experience level, if they have a team, if they will take care of cleanup afterward, etc.

The purpose of a consultation with a wedding florist is to:

-Make sure they are a good fit for your wedding

-Go over your needs and get an idea or quote on what pricing would be

-Let them know all the necessary information about your wedding for a seamless experience

-Ask any questions you have

-Make sure you are on the same page about your vision for florals

Before you go through the consultation process, be sure this is a florist you would want to book if their pricing fits. Do you like their style? Have you looked through some of their photos on Instagram and their website to ensure you’re confident they look like a good match for your vision? If so, reach out for pricing estimates. Many florists have a PDF of general price ranges or a pricing calculator on their website. Once you know what things cost with this florist and think they are in your budget range, it’s time to set up a consultation.

Information you need to know before your wedding floral consultation

Before going to a consultation with a wedding florist, there are a few things you need to know to ensure they will be able to get you an accurate proposal.

1. Date.

Your florist needs to be able to check their calendar to make sure your date is available. Ideally, you should mention your date before booking the consultation when you first reach out, so you don’t waste your time if it is unavailable.

2. Timeline.

This includes:

  • What time are vendors allowed into the building?

  • What time are pictures going to be taken if before the ceremony

  • What time will guests be arriving?

  • If there’s any point at which the floral team needs to transition flowers to a different space, what time will that occur?

  • Start time for the ceremony, cocktail hour, dinner, reception, and any other events florals will be at?

  • What time is the sendoff, and when everything needs to be cleaned up and out of the venue?

This will help them figure out how big of a team they need for setup and takedown. If setup time is limited, they will need to bring in a bigger team which could result in a higher price.

3. Venue/Location.

This will help your florist determine delivery, and takedown costs, as those are often calculated by the mileage it takes to get there. It will also help them discuss venue-specific items and know what rules they are working with for specific designs. For example, some venues may not allow command hooks on walls or open flames on candles; a particular location might not have water on-sight; a venue may provide certain rental or decor items; it might be common to decorate certain areas of the venue, such as a grand staircase or mantle; that venue might have a specific size chandelier whose measurements need to be taken into account.

Your venue can be a major source of inspiration for your florist. For example, the types of centerpieces that look great in a grand ballroom might be completely different than those for a beach venue or warehouse. If your florist has never worked at your venue before, he or she may want to tour the venue or at least get a floor plan in advance.

4. Size.

To get an accurate idea of what you’re looking at price-wise, your florist needs to know numbers for a few things.

  • Bridal Party: how many bridesmaids, groomsmen, mothers, fathers, grandpas, grandmas, ringbearers, and flower girls do you need flowers for? Don’t worry about someone dropping out last minute; you can change the numbers a bit when it comes time for your final check-in a month before the date.

  • Tables: we know people are terrible at sending RSVPs, so you might only know your table count closer to the wedding, but getting a good estimate will help your florist provide an accurate quote. Centerpieces can add up fast, so there’s a big difference between 5 tables and 20. How to estimate how many tables you will have? First, count how many people you invited- don’t forget to count spouses! Then consider how many of them are in town vs. out of town. Ask your venue how many guests they seat per table. After you’ve done that, use this calculation to determine how many tables you will need. (Out-of-town guests invited x 0.55) + (Local guests invited x 0.85) = Estimate of guest count --> Divide by guests seated per table = Tables needed.

For example, if you invited 100 local and 50 out-of-town guests and your venue seats eight people per round table, you would need 14 tables.

For the more open house, flowing receptions, you can let your venue know how many people you expect to come (using the above calculation) and see how many tables they would recommend having.

  • Aisle: One thing people often need to remember to discuss with their venue is the aisle/row count. Let your venue know how many people you’re planning on for your ceremony and see how they typically set up their aisle. How many chairs line the aisle on each side, or about how long is it? This will make a difference for people who choose to line the aisle with flowers- whether you’re planning on a small floral tie-on on all or half of the chairs, greenery, and candles along the ground, or ground floral pops, it’s helpful to get an idea of how big your aisle will be.

5. Pictures!

You’ve done your research to determine if this florist is a good fit for you; pictures help them see your vision and determine if your style is a good fit for them. Occasionally a florist may turn down a wedding that doesn’t seem like a good fit with their brand. If they are a high-end florist, but you’re dreaming of simple mason jar arrangements, they might feel they are not the best fit to create your vision. Seeing a mood board or Pinterest board of your vision can also help your florist understand what is in your mind regarding flowers. When you say you want a ‘simple centerpiece,’ they don’t know what that means to you, but showing them a picture makes things a lot clearer. Try to have inspirational pictures of bouquets, backdrops, centerpieces, and other details that are important to you. Or if you’re happy to let them create art using their design eye, other vibe photos can be helpful. You can use pictures of fabrics, fruits, weather, places... really anything, to capture how you want your wedding to feel.

6. Must have flowers.

If you cannot imagine your wedding without a specific type of flower, or if there is one you detest, please let your florist know. They most likely base their pricing on a set of flowers that are either in season or that they know to perform well and create a luxurious look without breaking the bank. Certain flowers cost more, and if you are set on having them, this is helpful to know, so the quote includes their cost. Some common flowers that are more expensive that you should let your florist know if you expect to have them are peonies, orchids, gardenias, hydrangeas, lily of the valley, stephanotis, and protea. However, whatever flower you have set in your mind, you should let your florist know so they can make a note to order that flower if it is available, though most flowers cannot be 100% guaranteed.

7. Priorities.

If you think you may be dreaming of more than you can afford (most of us are), let your florist know which items are most important to you and which you would be willing to cut should you need to.

8. Budget.

Are you on a strict budget? Let your florist know this at the beginning of the consultation so they can help direct you to options that will work in that price range. It helps to see the amount you’re comfortable spending and the amount you’re willing to go up to to make things happen if needed. This will help guide the discussion of options that will work for you. For example, if you only can spend $3000 on flowers, they can first discuss your priorities with you and then see how much is left in the budget for other items. Or if they know that you only want to spend $3000 but would go up to $4500 if you had to to get your dream arch, they know not to write it off as unattainable but to focus on getting things as close to your budget as they can without sacrificing the dream items.

9. Intentions/expectations.

Are you simply price shopping and want to get a quick quote? Or are you set on this florist and would like a more tailored consultation experience? Often for quick quotes, a florist may do an over-the-phone free consultation. Still, those who want to receive a detailed proposal can pay a consultation fee for their time and have a more in-depth experience. Let them know before the consultation! If you let them know your expectations, they can cater more to your experience. Note that many florists only take the time to provide an in-depth proposal, including photos of flowers to be ordered after booking has occurred.

10. Other decor.

Do you have candles and picture frames already going on the tables? Dishes and food plates? Let them know so they can adjust the size of the centerpieces to fit with those. Do you have drapes going on the arch that they need to either put up for you or coordinate with a draping person on timing? Is your grandma making your bridal bouquet, but you want the florist to do the rest of the flowers? Many florists have an exclusivity clause in their contracts. They may not allow flowers from any other source or person. Hence, if you are planning on having flowers from someone other than the florist, it’s best to be upfront about this to avoid fines for breaking contracts.

In addition to wedding flowers, some florists also provide other decorative items for the wedding day, such as vases, table runners, backdrops, mirrors, lanterns and candleholders. It's often easier to have the florist take care of all those additional items. If they do have them, ask what they cost. If they don't offer them as part of their service, they might be able to recommend someone who does.

Things you do NOT need to know before the consultation:

You do not need to know an exact RSVP count. Florists understand that numbers fluctuate. That is why there will usually be a finalization email or call about a month prior to the wedding to go over the final numbers, and remaining balance due, and give you a sneak peek of what they are planning on ordering.

You don’t actually need to know your colors right away. If you’re still deciding on flower colors, that’s okay! Unless the florist is also the farmer growing your varieties, most don’t actually order your flowers until 1-2 months prior to your wedding, so it’s okay if you need a minute to finalize your color scheme; just let them know you’re still deciding.

Flower types. You actually don’t ever need to know flower types or counts for your wedding if you’re hiring a professional. You can show them pictures of what you like the look of (arrangements) and let them find the varieties that will go best with your palette and budget.

Vases: you don’t need to provide your own vases; most florists will rent vases for the designs and include that in pricing. However, if you want to take vases home at the end of the night, be sure to let them know. Or, if you have vases you’ve been collecting that you want to use, get some pictures and measurements to show them during the consultation. Other than that, let them know what accent colors you like (gold, wood, silver, glass) and leave sourcing the vases to them.

Don't leave your special day to chance.

Let us guide you to a flawless celebration adorned with captivating flowers. Book your free consultation today and step into a world where your wedding dreams bloom into reality.

Bronte

Bronte

Bronte is a seasoned floral designer with over 13 years of experience and a degree in horticulture and floral design. She has been featured in prestigious bridal magazines and has worked with hundreds of couples. Bronte is dedicated to simplifying the wedding process for her clients and promoting the use of locally sourced flowers, combining her passion for blooms with sustainability efforts in the industry.

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