Through the years I have run across several “What to Ask Your Wedding Florist Prior to Hiring Them” checklists on the net and in magazines. I have happily and excitedly answered all of the questions when presented with a list at a consultation. I must admit I ADORE talking about my love of wedding floral design and my wee part in this incredible industry. And to be honest all couples absolutely must be well informed and educated when it comes to vendor selection.
Below is a list of questions you should ask when interviewing wedding/event floral designers and what you should be looking for in the answers they are providing you.
About the Blooms
1. What seasonal flowers are available for the month I am getting married?
Seasonal floral availability is one of the base skills for a floral designer and an experienced designer will answer without hesitation and without the use of Google.
2. What flowers do you recommend with my wedding design, colour choices and budget?
An experienced floral designer will suggest more than roses, hydrangea and seeded eucalyptus. Design is so much more than mounded arrangements with standard flowers that can be found in flower department at your local big box grocery store. An experienced designer will suggest textural greens in gorgeous tones, elegant line flowers to capture this season’s popular foraged look and unusual but easily accessible blooms and plants like King protea, echeveria and xerographica.
3. Is there a difference in price if I use one type of flower as opposed to a mix of flowers for my bouquet and wedding floral?
There absolutely is a difference and an experienced floral designer will suggest that to be more cost effective to add florals with a similar shape and colour tones.
4, Can you provide me with organic, pesticide-free and/or socially responsible flowers?
I include this topic in my introduction to Ooh La La Designs at the beginning of every consultation. A knowledgeable designer/business owner will know where their supplier sources their product. In fact, many of my experienced industry colleagues know everything about the farms where the product is grown, the conditions and amenities made available to workers and the types of pesticides that are being used.
5. What additional rental décor do you offer that best suits my designs?
Good floral design companies will have basic hardware for rent/purchase to display your floral designs perfectly. There is a world of gorgeous unique and stylish containers and vessels available that reflect your personal style…mason jars are not your only option!
6. If I give you a picture or link to a Pinterest board of a bouquet and/or arrangement that I love, will you be able to design something as close as possible?
Your first consultation should include your Pinterest board and the designer easily identifying each and every bloom in the picture of your perfect bouquet and centerpieces. Ensure that the designer is able to provide you with an image of their real wedding work that is similar to the designs you adore.
7. Can you provide a sketch or mockup of the centrepiece you have proposed before I sign the contract? Is there a charge?
Designers will be happy to provide a sketch or mockup (within reason) of most large and detail focused centerpieces. Absolutely be prepared to pay for the sample as well as delivery.
8. Will you provide florals for my cake designer if required?
An experienced floral designer will know the perfect blooms for your cake artist’s masterpiece and will openly and honestly discuss possible CFC transfer.
The Money and Contract Questions
1. Do you charge a delivery fee?
Absolutely. Established and knowledgeable floral design businesses will charge 10% – 15% of the floral designs and rental pieces. Mileage is occasionally added.
2. Do you have an extra charge for the setup and strike down of the pieces?
As with delivery, businesses will charge for setup and strike down especially if there are large installs such as floral walls, hanging arrangements and large late night strike downs.
3. How far in advance of my wedding should I book your services?
Most of my couples book 12 to 18 months in advance to ensure that their date is available. Most floral designers also do not guarantee availability until the retainer and signed contract have been received.
4. What is the amount required to ensure that my date is secure and how many days will you hold my date prior to me paying my retainer?
The retainer amount and process varies slightly from business to business. We have a standard retainer fee required to secure your date and a fee schedule for the remaining balance. Generally most designers will hold your date for 5 days following the initial consultation.
5. Will you provide me with a detailed design description in addition to the pricing breakdown?
Definitely! We absolutely love wowing our clients with the design proposal. Your floral designer should at the very least describe the flowers that will be used, the style of the arrangements and the vessels that they will be designed in. An in depth and highly descriptive proposal that describes how the florals will work holistically with the entire wedding design is what sets some designers apart from the others.
6. When can I expect a contract from you?
An established and reliable design company will have a contract forwarded and ready to sign the same time that the retainer is received. Read your contract thoroughly prior to signing it and understand that your floral designer welcomes questions should you need some clarification.
7, What is your refund policy if for some reason I need to cancel my order?
We have a very strict refund policy. Your floral designer will have a policy outlined in their contract. If they don’t a red flag should immediately be raised!
So that is pretty much a standard florist questionnaire. Now I would really like to add to that list and provide you with questions that you, as a consumer, should not only be asking of your floral designer but of every vendor you hire.
Experience Absolutely Matters
1. What is your past work experience in the field of floral design?
You should absolutely not be hiring a floral designer based on a pretty Instagram page. Your wedding celebration will be one of the most important days of you and your partner’s life journey…please hire vendors based on past work experience. You wouldn’t hire a builder for your home who took a weekend course to build a doll house and has no additional experience would you? The same goes for wedding vendors…experience absolutely matters!
2. What is your formal training background?
An experienced floral designer will be able to provide you the names of the shops/designers that they trained/worked with in the past. Most floral designers also have certification from an Ontario recognized College or through an intensive three week course via the CIFD. This certification requires extensive training and financial investment. Making a centerpiece at a weekend wedding workshop does not a trained and educated floral designer make. Your wedding is absolutely not an avenue for practice!
3. How will you ensure that my floral designs look stunning for the entire day?
There is a science behind floral design. Each bloom must be treated prior to design to ensure a gorgeous full and healthy show on your wedding day and maximum vase life. Your floral designer should be experienced in the appropriate blend and use of preservation mixes and sprays that will have your designs looking gorgeous not only for your wedding day but for the day after brunch and well into the next week.
The Truth About Experience
Design style, budget, personality and compatibility are all very important factors to consider when entering into a 12 – 18 month working relationship with a wedding vendor however experience is the cherry on top of the sundae. Remember, experience ABSOLUTELY matters when hiring wedding professionals. Aspiring designers absolutely must practice with an experienced and established shop or studio for at the very least one full busy event season…not on you and most definitely not on your wedding day.