The next installment of 'What to ask?' series puts the focus on the florist. Today florists play such a major role in weddings as they are usually responsible for the centre pieces and or decor. There's no bar to creativity when it comes to flowers and industry leaders like Preston Bailey, Karen Tran and locally Newton and David have demonstrated that. Flowers can transform a space making it romantic, elaborate or even dramatic. Whatever your taste it is important to meet with your florist and ask some key questions. See the questions below and feast your eyes on some stunning pictures for inspiration.
- Can I see pictures of pictures of floral arrangements, bouquet and decor that you have done?
It is very important that you see pictures or real life samples of work the florist has done before hiring them. A reputable professional should have pictures stored as proof of work they've done. However, living in Nigeria some businesses do not document their work so it is possible that they can do a fantastic job but do not have a good picture data base to show you. This may be because they haven't organised the administrative side of their business or because they are a start up company. In the case of a start up company its always good to ask what floral courses/training they have taken and whether a mock up can be done. In the case of a company that simply don't have a data base ask what clients they've worked for and also if they can to a real life sample mock up. The florist store/space should also give an indication of how creative they are.
- Can you work with flowers in magazines that I have seen and liked?
Its good to have picture clippings of the kind of floral arrangements and bouquets that you like as it's easier to convey your preference through visuals. That way the florist will be able to work closely to what you want.
- Can you advise as to what flowers are likely to last best in a hot climate?
This is a good question to ask especially if you live in a hot country or are having an outdoor ceremony or a ceremony in a tent when the generator for cooling comes on just and hour or two before the event rather than in the morning. Theres no use spending money on gorgeous flowers that will wilt before you get to the reception. Your florist should discuss with you whether your ceremony is indoor or outdoor as this may influence the flower selection thats most appropriate for you because of sun exposure. The florist should also discuss with you the gap between your ceremony and reception and if extra time will be spent in-between on a photo session. These factors will help in selecting your flowers as some flowers last longer than others.
- What flowers do you think best fit my wedding colours theme and venue and have you worked at my venue before?
If your florist has worked at your venue before then they will have a good idea of what will compliment it. It's always important to bear in mind the existing decor at your venue so that you don't pick anything that will clash with it. For example, if your venue has a very busy carpet with a lot of different colours, going for a multi coloured centre piece may make it all too much. All white flowers or flowers with not more than a combination of two colours may be advisable in that instance. If your florist hasn't worked at your venue and does not know what it looks like, it's worth showing them pictures before asking them what flowers would be best. If your venue is a blank canvas (like a tent) and you have a vision for it, it's still good to ask your florist for their professional opinion. They will be able to make suggestions that will enhance and make your existing vision even more beautiful.
- What would you consider a suitable substitution if the flowers I want are unavailable?
Make sure you ask this so that you don't arrive at your reception and feel disappointed because you didn't get what you had envisioned. You should get what you asked for. However, if your flowers are being imported which is often the case and through no fault of your florist your selection becomes unavailable it is always good to have a second option that you really like rather than be disappointed. You should agree with your florist on colour harmony, look size and price of your second option. Hopefully this shouldn't be the case but at I Do Weddings we are risk averse. If your first choice are rare or very popular flowers then it's a possibility that they may become unavailable so its always good to have a back up.
- Do you sell artificial flowers and can they be incorporated with fresh flowers?
This question may sound like sacrilege to flower lovers, but to a bride on a budget it may be music to your ears. Discuss the possibility of mixing good quality artificial flowers with fresh flowers as this may bring your budget down. If fresh flowers are not a possibility but you love the look of flowers then you may want to go down the route of high quality artificial flowers.
- Once we've agreed can you show me a mock up/ sample arrangement of what my centre piece/flowers will look like?
It is very important that you see a sample of what you are getting before your wedding so that if need be you can make adjustments. Your florist after you've made a financial commitment should be wiling to do this and if they aren't it should be a red flag. The mock up of the centre piece will give you an indication of the table space that it will take up. Depending on your taste and preference you may decide to make it bigger or smaller or perhaps even add fruit or twigs to compliment it.
- Do you provide candles and other displays that can compliment my centre pieces?
Some times florist are also decorators/ event designers so this may be already be the case. It is sometimes easier to use a florist that doubles as both so you are dealing with one vendor. However you may have a fantastic decorator that you already have in mind and they can provide the accents and compliments for your flowers and work in conjunction with your florist. Just ensure that the two are well acquainted and you carry your decorator along in all your floral related discussions. So issues like set up of flowers etc are also outlined.
- When the arrangements are delivered to my venue can you provide my bouquet, the bridal party's bouquets and boutonnières?
Floral arrangements should not be delivered too early so that they are as fresh as possible and so they last through out the event. Your florist should be able to provide your bouquet, and bridal party's bouquets and boutonnières. These should be delivered either the morning of the wedding or the night before and stored in a box and put in the fridge so that the flowers keep. Stems can be put in small plastic test tubes filled with water so that the flowers are well nourished.
- Can you work with my cake designer if I want flowers incorporated into my cake?
Your florist should be willing to work with your cake designer in providing pesticide free flowers to compliment your cake.