I’ve read a lot of boilerplate articles about the questions to ask your wedding florist.
They all seem to reword the same “questions to ask your wedding florist”. As a professional florist, I can tell you that most of those questions are irrelevant. For example, almost every list tells you it’s important to know how many other events your florist will have the same weekend as your wedding. If this is important, you also need to know how many staff members will be working, what tasks they will each be performing, and be able to evaluate whether this is sufficient. I’m sure there are some inexperienced florists that may try to take on more than they can handle. However, professional wedding vendors know how long it takes for production, delivery and set up. They also have a list of experienced people they can call on to get the job done.
Another boilerplate question to ask your wedding florist is how long they have been in business. When I started Flor Amor in 2015, I was getting back into the industry after closing my full service flower shop a few years before. I was working as a bookkeeper at a large wedding and event production company and was shocked at the type of floral design that was considered high end. As a Master Florist, I knew I needed to get back to my roots, using my skills, talent and experience to make wedding magic happen.
You can see that if I say I’ve been in business since 2015 it sounds as if I’m still pretty new. You would get a better sense of my experience by asking how long I’ve been in the floral industry, which is off and on since 1988. I usually just say I’ve been a Master Florist since 1996. I’ve also noticed that my “friendor” wedding florists who have years of experience in an actual flower shop tend to have a greater skill set, but that’s just my observation and may be a topic for a different article.
We should be asking you some of these boilerplate questions before meeting with you.
We, like most wedding florists, have a pre-consultation questionnaire to get information about you and your wedding. If you walk in to a consultation and don’t know if that florist is available on your wedding date, you’re wasting your time and theirs. This is a basic question wedding florists should ask before scheduling a time to meet with you, not that you should have to ask when you’re sitting across the table at the consultation. You can throw questions about seasonal and specific types of flowers into this category, too. Unless you can already identify a lot a different types of flowers, asking a wedding florist to name them for you really isn’t helping. Knowing what questions to ask you wedding florist, from an actual wedding florist, should give you a better sense of what to look for when selecting your wedding vendors.
So, what are the questions to ask your wedding florist candidates?
1. How many weddings have you done as a wedding florist? Why this phrasing? Because everyone thinks they can be a wedding planner, photographer, or florist and your wedding is too important to be the place they learn how hard it actually is. My assistant works for me full time doing most of my administrative tasks and also works with a wedding planner when she’s available. If she decided to become a wedding florist tomorrow and you asked how many weddings she has done, she could tell you that she has done around 35 weddings, with a straight face and not even lying. The problem is she has no experience as a floral designer, but she has indeed done 35 weddings as a coordinator’s assistant.
2. What rental items do you have that I can use to upscale my wedding design? You may be surprised to learn just how much expensive vases can enhance the overall look of your wedding. Chances are, you aren’t planning to spend $50-100 on each of the vases for your centerpieces. But you can rent them! For a fraction of the cost you can rent the exact same vases without having to worry about what to do with them after the wedding. We have many styles and colors of vases you can choose from to take your floral arrangements to the next level. Because these items will be returned, you get to use them without having to buy them outright.
3. What is included in the delivery charge? In the same way you expect to be paid for your work, your wedding florist and staff expect to be paid to set up and break down your wedding. Sort of how you subconsciously know that “free shipping” deal means every item you’re buying is a little more expensive, any wedding vendor offering free delivery and set up has that cost baked into the price of their goods and service. I’m not saying this is a good or bad thing. Just that no one works for free and it isn’t reasonable to expect wedding vendors to work for free at your wedding unless they’re your family and friends.
Delivery and set up is exactly that and does not normally include a strike (break down) unless specified in your contract. We list it as a separate line item so there’s no confusion. If you opt out of the strike and have rental items, you will be responsible to returning them and paying for any damaged or destroyed items.
4. What are the payment terms and how much, if anything, is refundable if the wedding is canceled? This one is important because, most of the time, your initial payment is viewed as a retainer and is non-refundable. For example, once you book Flor Amor as your wedding florist, we will adjust our availability accordingly. If the scope of work for your wedding is all we can handle for that weekend, we will tell every other bride that wants to hire us we’re unavailable. Other variables come into play, however, such as whether we believe we can still fill that date with another wedding. Since most brides hire their florist 3-6 months in advance, if you want to cancel 2 months out it is unlikely we’ll be able to work that weekend. Your cancellation would adversely affect our business since we’ve already referred brides that wanted to work with us to our competitors.
We schedule your final floral consultation about a month before the wedding. This is when your floral balance is due. We try to order flowers a full month before your wedding, but not until we’ve received your balance.
5. How will your wedding florist handle last minute changes? I think you’ll find that most of your wedding vendors are used to making changes on the fly. I can’t tell you what will go wrong at your wedding, just that something, or many things, will. Good wedding vendors will seamlessly make adjustments so you don’t even realize there was ever a problem. Most of these problems will happen on the day of the wedding, but some you’ll know in advance.
The final floral consultation is where adjustments can be made to the table count and generally make sure you’re not ordering things you won’t need. For example, if Aunt Mary and Uncle Hank and all their kids sent an RSVP, but now they’re snowed in and can’t make it to beautiful, sunny Austin, Texas for your wedding, you’re going to have an extra centerpiece. If you find out the week of the wedding, as long as you communicate with us, we can allocate the stems from that centerpiece into your bouquet or throughout the other designs. Conversely, if they said they couldn’t make it, but now they can you’ll need an additional centerpiece for their table. Just let us know so we can make sure we’ve got enough flowers.
Now you know the right questions to ask your wedding florist.
There may be more questions to ask your wedding florist than you will think of during your initial consultation. Don’t get discouraged! You don’t know what you don’t know, and that’s okay! Working with professionals will make the difference here. Find someone you trust to do the job right and keep communication open. Your wedding florist wants you happy too. It is our hope that you have a little more confidence in knowing the right questions to ask your wedding florist to make your big day a success.
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