Wedding Planning From Your Vendors’ Point of View {Miniseries} ~ Your Florist

Happy Saturday!  We finish up our posts this week as we talk about your wedding planning from your florists’ perspective.  If you haven’t already, make sure to read the rest of the posts from this week as there is tons of useful information from Photographers, a Makeup Artist, a Catering Company, a Wedding Planner {yours truly}, and a DJ.

Today’s tips come from Kristi Knight, owner and head designer at Flower Girls Inc. Kristi is a full service, custom order wedding and events Florist with many years of experience.  I had the opportunity to work with Kristi in her studio for the month of October last year, and I learned about her and her talents many times over.

Flower Girls Inc. Richmond, VA, how to choose your wedding florist

Courtesy of Seth Roberts Photography

The following are some questions I asked Kristi, and her responses.

Q: What should a bride look for in a florist when choosing who to use?  How does a bride choose who to use?

Kristi: I think it’s a good idea to meet with a few different people to see whom you connect with best.  Get suggestions from friends or other vendors – we get a lot of referrals from photographers which is great, because that often means the brides have seen our work before they’ve even met us.
Q: What are “the right” questions a bride should ask when choosing a florist?
Kristi:  How long they’ve been in business and to see their portfolios.  They can ask to contact past clients.  What will the designers level of involvement be, from the very beginning to the Big Day and what will she do to make the party unique and special to the bride.  Has the florist seen the venue, or done an event there?  What kinds of ideas does she have based on the brides vision and budget?
Q: What important questions should a bride consider when choosing florists?
Kristi: I think it comes down to the bride feeling that the designer understands her vision well and trusts that the job will be done well.  The basis of this of course is the planning process, from the initial wedding consultation to working through as many ideas and estimates as needed. 
Flower Girls, Inc.  Richmond, VA, how to choose your wedding florist,
Q: How/ what is the best way (in your opinion) a bride should narrow down what she wants her wedding flowers to look like?

Kristi:  Focus simply on the color palette and the general style you are going for, instead of obsessing over the particular flower selection.  I like the process of putting a vision board together with snippets of fabric from the bride’s & bridesmaids dresses and linens, colors swatches, pictures – whatever helps to create the mood and feel she wants.  Once, a bride brought me a colorful handkerchief that belonged to her grandmother which we used as the inspiration for the color palette and the old fashioned theme for the vessels.  Things like that are meaningful and fun, adding a unique quality to the planning process, which makes it all the more memorable.  When thinking about the general style, ask what kind of impact do I want to make with the flowers – glamorous? relaxed but elegant ? modern? classic? 
Flower Girls Inc. Richmond, VA, how to choose your wedding florist
Q: Why do you love what you do?
Kristi: Because I love to help create the scene – the beautiful surrounding that welcomes guests and even tells a story, sometimes.  It is so much fun to be setting up a wedding, placing the flowers as the band is practicing, the waitstaff is doing their thing and you can just imagine what’s to come – it’s exciting!  There is a lot of hard work leading up to that point – working with our vendors, selecting the flowers, budgeting for everything – so it is very rewarding to see it all come together and even more so to see the expression on the bride’s face when I hand her her bouquet.  But I think it really comes down to me enjoying creating the scene – I get to do that everyday, months out from when the event takes place.  I get wrapped up in it.

Q: How does a bride see that you love doing what you’re doing?
Kristi: I think she sees me getting excited about all the possibilities.  Also, many of our brides really love our studio space – it is a hub of creativity, a feast for the senses!  We have a roster of talented free-lance designers and I am always singing their praises as I am showing brides our portfolios.  It’s always a group effort, and it is always going to boil down to the people involved for me as i am a people person!
Q: Are there any other important tips you can give?
Kristi: One tip is to go and check out your venue on a day that another wedding is being set up to see how the event took shape, the lighting, the flowers and everything.  Another important tip is to think about the vessel for your flowers as it will dictate the style of the arrangement and the look of the table.
Q: Can you share a great story from a wedding you were part of?
Kristi: I loved being a part of a wedding we did recently at Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens.  It was a July wedding and the brides mother and future mother-in-law brought me buckets of the most beautiful electric blue hydrangea that they’d cut that morning at the bride’s grandmother’s river house.  There was a lot of love in those hydrangea and they were a dream to “work” with (both the family and the blossoms) as we incorporated them into the arrangements! 
Honey’s Two Cents: From a planner’s point of view, I have the following advice for you to consider {*none of the following points reflect or are meant to reflect upon Flower Girls Inc., these are general points to consider}.  Since Kristi gave a lot of great information about most of the process, I’m going to focus more on the creative aspects:
  • Think about creative containers for your arrangements.  Are you having a wedding that uses a lot of antique items?  I saw a bride use antique silver pitchers as her containers once.  Use old coffee tins for a vintage wedding, or ModPodge aged book pages to a simple cylinder vase for a Library themed wedding
  • Make sure to be very clear to your florist if you MUST have a certain flower in an arrangement.  Many florists have clauses in their contracts stating that they have the right to substitute another flower if they feel the quality is not up to par, or the flowers were un-deliverable for some reason.  Keep in mind that the florists have to order these flowers from distributors, and things happen.  Be equally clear if you dislike a variety as well.
  • A good florist will warn you against using certain flowers during a specific time of year.  Some flowers are much less hardy than others, but are becoming more and more popular, making silk options the go-to if a bride lists it as a must-have.
  • If you are budget conscious, make sure to ask if certain flowers will cost more if they must be imported.  In-season flowers will ultimately cost less {generally speaking}.
  • Please PLEASE think long and hard if you are planning on doing your friends’ wedding flowers or yours!  Besides being time consuming, there are too many horror stories about DIY flowers that could have been avoided.  Between design, flower sourcing, creation and transportation, there is a lot that can happen if you are not well educated about the process.  If it is a matter of cost, think about just getting 1 bouquet and bouttonniere made for you and your fiancee, and have the bridal party carry single stems, or a non-flower bouquet.  Remember, your wedding pictures will be with you forever!
  • If you don’t have specific varieties that you must have in your flowers, find pictures of shapes and textures that you like, and don’t like.  If you like tight, mounded bouquets with little texture variation, bring images of those, if you like full, branchy or wispy arrangements and bouquets, make sure to find images like this as well.

I hope you have gathered some useful information from this weeks’ miniseries!  If you have any questions, please leave them below and we will make sure to get back to you with the answers!

If you end up needing assistance with any detail of your wedding, please contact us to talk about how we can help

Happy Planning!