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  • If you have your heart set on a particular flower, it's best to plan your wedding for when it is in season.  While it's possible, for example, to ship tulips from Holland in the fall, they will be neither as strong nor as bright as fresh spring tulips.  Plus, ordering flowers out of their season can double or triple their cost.
  • Make sure no one in your wedding party is allergic to a certain type of flower.
  • Before contacting your florist, select the date, time and place for your wedding and reception, and know your colors and styles of gowns.
  • You should visit florists at least six months before the wedding, especially if you're planning an elaborate wedding
  • Arrange a preliminary meeting.  Go prepared.   Take fabric swatches and descriptions (pictures are even better) of your selected wedding apparel.  Also have examples of the colors and styles of the mothers' gowns and the attire of the groom and his attendants.  With this information in hand, your florist will be able to suggest floral combinations and artistic treatments to create beautiful floral complements for your wedding.  Discuss your general design ideas and begin to develop a budget that will meet your needs.
  • If possible, try to interview several florists and compare their ideas and estimated costs before making your final decision.  The volume of flowers, not the variety (unless you're requesting something exotic), determines the price.  And remember, you're paying for the labor as well as the flowers
  • When you visit the florists in person, check for sloppy workmanship. Two bad signs:  visible floral foam at the bottom of an arrangement and designs that appear skimpy or sparse.
  • Ask to see photographs of florist’s work, sketches, or sample wedding albums.
  • When deciding on a florist, determine which one was the most helpful and informative, had the prettiest arrangements, and the accompanying costs.   Then select your florist.  Remember, request that your florist give you an itemized bill in advance.  Get a written contract outlining all the details.
  • Keep the bridal bouquet as simple as possible. Besides hiding your wedding gown, an enormous bouquet will draw attention away from where it should be—on you!  A bridal bouquet should complement your frame, size, and your dress.
  • If you prefer not to throw your actual bouquet during the bridal toss, talk with your florist about arranging an extra bouquet  for the toss, a smaller simpler version of yours.  That way you can keep the one you carried in the ceremony. 
  • If you want to have your bouquet professionally preserved, check out the list of Bouquet Preservation Professionals in the San Diego Area and Bouquet/Flower Preservation on our Links page.
  • The groom's boutonniere, worn on his left lapel, is usually a spray of the same type of blossoms used in your bouquet.  The ushers and groomsmen wear boutonnieres different from the groom's and your attendants' flowers are different, of course, from your bridal bouquet.  Corsages for the mothers/grandmothers and boutonnieres for the fathers/grandfathers are coordinated in color and style within the general floral theme.
  • You'll need other floral pieces for your wedding.  Ask your florist for guidance.  Also check out the items listed on our Wedding Flower Checklist/Worksheet.
  • Consult selection guides for ideas.  Your florist has bridal books to offer guidelines for colors, flowers, styles, designs and flower varieties.
  • If you intend to use fresh flowers for your cake, try to provide your florist with a picture or sketch with dimensions of your cake.  This will help them estimate the quantity for your cake.  Also, accenting the cake with similar flowers or petals on the cake table makes an elegant presentation.
  • Consider using the same flower decorations for the ceremony and reception.  Have someone transport the flowers from the ceremony location to the reception.  There is no reason to buy double the flowers.
  • When selecting flowers for the head table or the cake table at the reception, consider using the wedding party's bouquets placed along the front.   This adds more to the table and saves on additional flowers.
  • Ask your florist to make a preliminary list of their recommendation of what they’ll think you’ll need in numbers of bouquets, arrangements, boutonnieres, and so on.
  • If you have any unusual or personal requests, don’t hesitate to ask!  Sketch ideas, cut out pictures or take photographs of flowers and share them with your florist.  By communicating with your florist, you can be confident that your wedding flowers will be just what you hoped for.
  • Your may wish to select certain flowers for personal reasons.  Others may be chosen because they have traditional meanings.  (For a list of flowers and their meaning, see The Meaning of Most Flowers from 1-800-FLORALS.)
  • For an interesting article on Wedding Floral Trends from the Society of American Florists, click here.
  • As you get closer to the date, meet again with the florist you’ve chosen to complete the details
  • You wouldn't dream of wearing a gown you have never laid eyes on, and the same should be true for buying flowers. Request to see a sample centerpiece a few weeks before the wedding—when your flowers are in season—to ensure that there are no surprises on the big day.
  • If the florist has never worked at your ceremony or reception site, make sure she or he visits the location.
  • Make arrangements for when the flowers will be delivered and who is to receive them.  Ask if there is a delivery fee and/or set-up fee.
  • Make sure that you supply the florist with the names, addresses and times for delivery of your bouquet, boutonnieres, corsages and floral arrangements.
  • Find out what the payment and cancellation policy is.
  • Ask what the guarantees are regarding freshness, availability and substitutions.
Go to: (related tips) Wedding Flower Checklist/Worksheet
Return to: Wedding Tips Directory