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The RMW Guide To Choosing A Florist

For most Brides, flowers are a huge part of w-day. It’s probably the one day of your life where you get to carry around a beautiful bouquet, have flowers in your hair and adorn practically every area around you with beautiful blooms…so why not make the most of it?

But when it actually comes down to choosing a florist – where on earth do you start? The vast majority of people, myself included, love fresh flowers, but have little idea of names and varieties, or what is in season and when.

Given that the starting price for flowers for your wedding day is around £1500, you need to think carefully about choosing your florist.

A month ago, I had the pleasure of attending a Tallulah Rose Flower School event in London. It completely changed my idea of what being a florist entails and made me realise exactly why flowers make up such a big part of the wedding day budget.

Why Use A Florist?

We see lots of Brides opting to do their own flowers. While this is (possibly) a cheaper option, it is by no means an easy undertaking. Your florist will source, buy and collect the flowers you want – often this means ridiculously early trips to flower markets, negotiating with sellers and having to make last minute decisions on changing the blooms because certain flower heads haven’t opened.

You want your flowers to look as fresh as possible and to last as long as possible. Your florist will know the optimum time to put together your bouquet, buttonholes and arrangements so that they look perfect for you. This often means working late into the night for a few days before the wedding.

Creating beautiful floral arrangements take a LOT of time. I really mean it – the work is time consuming and fiddly. Cutting stems to size, wiring flowers, putting them into the display…whether it’s a floral crown for a Bridesmaid or a centrepiece for the top table – it takes much longer than you think.

Flowers are quite a bulky and delicate thing to transport. Your florist will deliver the bouquets and buttonholes to you on the morning of your wedding and will deliver the arrangements to your venue – usually in a specially fitted van – where the flowers stay fresh and safe. Not crumpled in a heap in the back of Auntie Lynda’s car.

Florists also know where certain arrangements look best and they know not to place a display full of fragile petals next to a heater. They will also be able to help with any emergencies such as squashed button holes and often have reserve stems on board in case anything truly awful happens.

How To Choose Your Florist

One of the most striking things I noticed on the Tallulah Rose Floristry course was how different everyone’s creations were. We were set the task of making a floral crown in the morning and a hand tied bouquet in the afternoon. Given that everyone had the same choice of flowers – the results were so different!

Look at as many florists as you can – follow them on Instagram – this often gives you a great insight into how they work too. Don’t despair that all of the best florists are in London, or in the bigger cities – have a look at the Love Lust List to find great florists all across the country.

Create a shortlist of florists and meet with them all. Show them your Pinterest boards, your dress, your venue…share your vision with them. See how they respond, see what ideas they come up with and see whether you can work with them. Don’t feel obligated to book them if it doesn’t feel right.

Once you’ve made you choice – make sure you look at lots of your florists work, not just one wedding, to get an idea of their style. While they will be working to your brief, a florist is a creative person and will produce their best work when they are working within their style. Top florist Philippa Craddock has a very clear style and while this might mean that some people would chose a florist who favours more structured work over her – that’s fine, because she’s working with people who share her vision.

How To Save Money On Your Flowers

– Make sure you know how much you’ve budgeted for blooms and let your florist know that they MUST stick to it.

– Try looking for aspiring florists. Often younger people working for high street florists are looking to expand their portfolio and will do freelance work. Try looking at local floristry courses and flower schools too.

– Use seasonal blooms. It really does make a difference. And obviously, it creates a more natural, seasonal look. Your florist will be able to advise on this and if you’ve got your heart set on a certain flower but it’s just not practical for the time of year, they will be able to suggest something else.

– Use a florist for the bouquets and anything that you want to look particularly spectacular and do the rest yourself. Florists won’t be offended by this at all and will probably be there at the end of the phone if you need any advice. Female family members LOVE being involved with the flowers – single stems in vases always look beautiful and are so easy to put together.

– Use herbs in table displays, use fewer flowers and more foliage. Look at different options for decorating the tables – candles, ribbons, vintage jars and bottle, books. There is an endless supply of ideas from Brides in the archives of RMW.

Just so you know, the images created in the slider above are a mixture of work from florists, soon-to-be florists and Brides or their Mums!

And finally, people generally book their florist about six months before the big day. But if you’ve got your heart set on someone in particular, I’d book them as soon as you can.

Have you found your florist yet? Are any of you putting your flowers together yourself? If so, would you like a more in-depth guide to creating arrangements? Do you have any burning questions about choosing a florist that you would like answered?

Just let us know!

Author: Fern Godfrey
Fern spends most of her time dreaming about weddings and trying to convince her long-suffering boyfriend to propose. Lucky enough to live in sunny Cornwall, if you need her – you’ll find her at beach.

17 thoughts on “The RMW Guide To Choosing A Florist

  1. Hello as a florist (trained by rachel at tallulah rose) i wanted to say thank you for writing a post which highlights all the work which florists put in when working on weddings. Most florists provide a bespoke, personalised service, putting a lot of passion into what they do and work hard for their bride’s big day and i sometimes think this is overlooked on some blogs and in magazines who can sometimes pitch DIY flowers as the cheap and easy option-as if floristry is low skilled and low effort. Hope you enjoyed the course in London and thanks again for highlighting the good work of us florists! 🙂

    1. Hi Linzi,

      Thank you for your comment.

      Rachel & Saffy at Tallulah Rose are lovely – I’m sure they trained you well!!

      The day really did open my eyes as to how much work goes into creating the flowers for a wedding day. And you’re right – it’s such hard, skilled work that you have to be so passionate about it, that the florists who manage to set up their own businesses and build up a portfolio of weddings are wonderful 🙂

      I forgot to mention that often they’ll help out with styling the tables and venue too…

      Fern x

      1. Yes venue styling can be a big part of it too..putting florals in place so it looks just right..if i could change one thing it would be to stop caterers and venue staff from putting the salt and pepper shakers right infront of my table flowers-think about the photos people!!! Haha.
        One thing i would say to potential brides is instead of asking florists to use more foliage to save money (trust your florist to find the right foliage/flower balance) then think about using the same budget but having fewer arrangements-for example doing without pew ends or having empty vases on some reception tables that the bridesmaid bouquets can be later placed in-this is going to look way better than putting in more foliage than is needed which can look cheap. 🙂

  2. I’ve already picked my amazing florist (one of the first things I did, because I love flowers so, and want them to be my main source of ‘decor’ on the day) but this post was so helpful and really reiterates why I made the choices I did.

    Also, if I could come back in another life as a florist, I definitely would! The Flower School sounds amazing!

    1. Hi Danielle,

      It was your post that made me think about following suppliers on Instagram actually!! Such a great way for Brides to see potential suppliers work 🙂

      I know, I thought that too – but actually changed my mind after attending the day. It was awesome, but made me realise how much work floristry entails – it’s not enough to just love flowers, you need to be OBSESSED with them.

      And I’m definitely having one for my big day!! I loved the bouquet and flower crown I created, but compared to the others, it was pretty haphazard.

      Fern x

  3. I completely agree, and really like that you’ve highlighted the ‘mix and match’ approach to flowers too. For our wedding next June, we are using a combination of professional florist and family efforts, as a very dear family friend is a wonderful amateur florist!

    She and her team (together with the mums!) will be doing flowers for the church and reception in all the vases, milk churns and other receptacles we’re collecting, and we are planning to work with our professional florist on bouquets, button holes and other slightly more unusual arrangements (any other brides battling with an uncooperative church porch, but refusing to give up the dream of the floral arch?!)

    xxx

    1. Hi Pippa,

      That sounds like the perfect combination. Often churches have flower society ladies who love to get involved too!

      Never give up on the floral arch dream – they are my idea of flower perfection!! What’s the issue with your particular porch?

      Fern x

      1. Ah the church flower arranging committee! I can see my mum trying to pull a few strings in that department!

        Our church has a lovely porch, but around the door it’s very plain with no stonework or detail to help with supporting lovely blooms! There is however a lantern, and I hear all sorts of amazing things can be done with wires – I’m in the hunt for a tip-top florist (armed with RMW tips!) and keeping my fingers crossed! Xxx

        1. Hey maybe your florist could set up a free standing arch at the doorway if there is space? If not i’m sure they’d have an alternative idea after seeing the church

        2. Hi Pipa,
          Don’t give up on the idea of decorating the arch, a florist will most likely be able to decorate around the lantern and use that as a starting point! I’ve decorated a few and there are a couple of pics on my instagram page that may help!

  4. Great post Fern. I’ll be sending this to all my clients. I was following the latest Tallulah Rose school on Instgram and loved the wildflower crates you all created.
    I’m a florist and did my own wedding flowers last year. l had help but it was bloody stressful and not something I’d recommend to other florists let alone untrained flower fingers 😉
    So speaking from experience, I advise careful consideration to brides who want to DIY because as you’ve highlighted, there’s so many elements involved in wedding floristry and much of it takes place at the last minute, when you want to be relaxing with a glass of champers, not battling rose thorns and ruining your freshly manicured nails!
    Flowers are such a major part of wedding style and I love that you’ve dedicated a post to finding the right creative for the job.
    Hannah x

    1. Exactly Hannah! You do end up very green and sticky at the end of it…

      Thanks for your advice. I bet your flowers were out of this world!!

      Fern x

  5. Great post Fern,
    Glad you enjoyed the course.
    You’re right though, you have to be obsessed with flowers, as it’s hard work and lots of early starts and late nights. But I love it and am most definitely obsessed, just ask my husband!! 🙂

  6. Thankyou for this really helpful post! We are planning to only have a few flowers – most likely just bouquets for myself and the bridesmaids but have no idea where to start! As our wedding is March 2017 I’m planning on using March this year to find out more about seasonal flowers and then start contacting potential florists to discuss ideas.

  7. My mother is throwing an event for a friend, and wants to have really nice flowers there to help celebrate the occasion. You wrote that when choosing your florist, you should make sure to visit with them beforehand, and make sure that they can accomplish the goal you have envisioned. I know that my mother has a fairly specific design she wants, so I’ll be sure that she visits with the florist beforehand and determine if they can meet her needs.

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