When Should You Book Your Wedding Florist......
So you have just got engaged (whoop whoop – how exciting!), your on cloud nine and your brain is working overtime….find a venue, go shopping for your dress, who will be my Bridesmaids, where are we going to sit Great Aunt Alice who has fallen out with 90% of the family over the years…..the list goes on! Often people get so caught up in all the excitement (which is understandable) they forget one of the most important parts of their big day! You guessed it The Flowers! Now, I hear you say, you would be saying that you’re a florist! Well, yes that’s true but let me explain.
How many time have you been to a wedding and said, “OMG do you remember the amazing lamb shanks we had for dinner?” or “weren’t the chairs amazing, so comfy and stylish!” OK, so I am not saying that these things are not important, but I am talking things that make memories! Things that evoke emotion, things that make you gasp when you walk into a room, and believe me its not the meat and two veg sitting on your plate that’s going to get that sort of reaction! So yes, it is important finding a venue that you love, but this is just one of the things that you and your guests will hold onto when you think back to your special day. Flowers have such an amazing effect on people – they bring joy and happiness to people, their scent can stir the most distant of memories (come on how many of you go back to your childhood when you smell a sweet pea flower nodding in the wind and wafting its evocative scent past your nostrils?) and arranged in the right way they can create the wow factor which is why it is so important to allow enough time to book your florist (or any supplier for that matter – photographers get booked up so far in advance but they are so crucial to capturing the day for you…..so go book them – now!) So using this year as an example – bearing in mind it’s only February – we have had a huge amount of enquiries through last month or so, some of which we have booked, some which we didn’t even quote for because the date had already gone and some which just weren’t a good fit for us and therefore not a a good fit for you.
If you know flowers will play an important part in your big day, why leave it and risk loosing out on your number one choice of florist. I have bookings right through until November this year and several enquires for 2020! I have had to turn down so many couples already this year which I hate doing…..so here are my top tips for booking your florist (or any of your wedding suppliers for that matter)
-If you know you want flowers for your big day, research florists and pick two or three you love and get some quotes from them. Choose a florist who’s work you love and trust them to guide you with choosing the right flowers and arrangements. I want people to come to me because they love what I do, not because they want me to copy someone else’s floristry! By all means use images from other peoples work for inspiration but be open to suggestions and use a professionals experience and talent to bring your ideas to life.
-Instagram is a great place to see peoples work. Use hastags to search using key words including your things like local area, flowers, florist, Weddingflorist, weddingflowers, bridalflowers, londonwedding (or wherever it is you are getting hitched) – there are literally hundreds of different hastags – sometimes the ones where the hastag numbers are smaller are best – otherwise you may get overwhelmed by images that are irrelevant to your local area and be finding florist from Texas when you are getting married in Teddington!
-Think out the box – there are loads of great tools out there to help you look for fabulous suppliers. At the bottom of this blog I have listed some of my favourite links to search for suppliers…..
-A good florist should be able to work to your budget but it does mean you need to be realistic with what you want. If you want 10 foot trees and 30 tables centres a metre high, a £500 budget is not going to swing it. Be realistic and don’t get caught up with what everyone else seems to have for their weddings – its your day and the most important thing is you and your partner sharing the day with family and friends, and of course each other.
-Don’t be afraid to tell your florist what your budget is upfront. We are not out to get as much out of you as we can – it really helps us to give you all the possible options for your big day. Quotes should be broken down by item so you get to pick and choose what you have and how much you spend! We can always substitute expensive flowers like garden roses with a lower cost but equally beautiful alternative such as dahlias to help with your budget, or just use less of them to give that feel of luxury while not breaking the bank.
-Once you have found a florist you love book them! Most will ask for a booking fee which is paid to reserve your date with them. Once that has been paid they will not offer you date out to other couples, it’s guaranteed yours. They then continue to work on your quote until you are happy with everything, including the price! As long as their initial quote is in the ball park price range, you know, with some tweaking you will get to where you need to be. I have in the past had Brides who have taken weeks and sometimes months to decide that they are gong to book me, waiting until every detail is correct and by that time someone else has come along and we can no longer do their flowers for them. We only hold the quote for 21 days here at Urban Flower Farmer and then we offer it out to other couples. Don’t dilly dally, if you know you want to work with someone just book them and worry about the detail afterwards.
-Florists work with an incredible amount of talented people – I am always happy for clients to pick my brains and to recommend other suppliers to them. On many occasions I have recommended entire teams of Hair and Makeup people, Dressmakers, Dance Teachers, Photographers amongst many others to my clients. I have a huge network of talents in my little black book and I know all are a trustworthy and talented lot!
-My biggest piece of advice is…if you have chosen well and you love the style of your florists work, then TRUST them….don’t try to tell them what you want EXACTLY but suggest what you like, give them a hint as to who you are and what you love but trust them to come up with your vision on the day. The best weddings are the ones where there is an element of surprise on the day. Working with the very best flowers available at that time (and remember we are working with living, seasonal product here – nothing is guaranteed), work to a colour palette, get an idea of which flowers they will use and the sort of style of arrangements but be flexible and let them be creative. If you feel uncomfortable with this way of working then perhaps you haven’t chosen the right florist to work with. You should feel totally happy to let them create your vision without getting caught up in the tiny details.
-Try to use seasonal flowers! This may sound obvious but today there is a mountain of flowers available all year round that are imported from around the world. More than ever we are aware of the strain out planet is under and more and more of us want to try to lesson the impact on our environment. Buying local helps reduce carbon footprint, a lot of British Growers don’t use pesticides on their flowers, many florist are also moving away from floral foam that is so damaging to our planet (including us …. read more here) so be aware there are choices that can be made if this is something that is important to you.
-Lastly, don’t leave it too long to do your research and make an appointment to see your chosen florists. It’s never too early. There is nothing worse than missing out on the person you really want and I would say to approach your florist at least six months before your date and up to a year if at all possible. If you have left it later than that then don’t panic. Ask anyway as you may be lucky and your florist may have that date free. Some florists take on more than one wedding over a weekend and as long as they have a strong team in place that’s fine and means there is more of a chance you will get them on board.
Finally, enjoy it! Don’t leave it too late so you become stressed – one of my favourite things about getting married was the planning and prep…..leave it too late and it just becomes a hassle and a stress. It’s your big day so make the most of each and every minute of it, including the very best bit of the planning…..the FLOWERS…..
Here are some links to some great planning tools, how to find a florist near you to make your job easier. Starting with Flowers From The Farm which is a nationwide network of British flower grower/florists who can create stunning, seasonal flowers for your big day……
Flowers From The Farm - Find your nearest grower or florist who are passionate about using British flowers
Hitched - online wedding planning tool where you can find suppliers, tips and hints and lots more
Smashing The Glass - A fabulous online blog and so much more if you are having a Jewish (or Jew-ish) Wedding. Find amazing suppliers, ideas and inspiration - even if you aren’t Jewish take a look - it’s amazing
Bridebook - online wedding tool to search for suppliers and get tips and advice
Florismart - nationwide tool for finding florists close to you
The Big Gay Wedding Directory - online resource for finding your perfect supplier, top tips for a fab day and much more