12 Jun Choosing Your Wedding Florist and Finding the Perfect Style
You’ve found your wedding venue and the date has been reserved, the all-important dress, cake and photographer are finalised but the floral arrangements are proving slightly more complex.
How do I choose what style of flowers I should have at my wedding? Where can I gain inspiration and how can I ensure I stay within my allocated budget?
Planning a wedding can be an overwhelming process especially if you are juggling a family, career and everyday life. For many brides, their wedding day will be the first time they are organising a large-scale event. A lot lies on selecting the right suppliers, gaining their trust and following their natural instincts. This blog post is in collaboration with Harrow’s accredited florist Fran and The Flower and touches on how to go about choosing your wedding florist and how they can assist in turning your floral fantasies into a reality.
An Introduction to Francesca Howe
I come from a fashion background. I’ve worked in retail, PR, marketing and then for the last twenty years as a fashion stylist working commercially and for TV, live events and editorial.
The love of flowers has always been there. Any opportunity to get to the flower market as part of a brief for a fashion job was always super exciting!!
I have always felt pretty confident with design and I guess my fashion background has given me an eye for colour and what works, but I felt to have complete confidence in taking on a wedding or event I would need to learn the technical side of floristry and understand more about the mechanics.
Finally the opportunity came to do a very basic 12 week evening class and even on that very first evening I knew that it was time to follow my heart and take floristry as a possible career more seriously. Fran and the Flower was born. A chance social media connection meant that I was contacted by Lauren and her lovely team at Harrow when they were looking for a florist to run Christmas Wreath workshops in December 2018.
Those workshops were lots of fun and then during the Summer of 2019 I was lucky enough to do the flowers for five beautiful weddings at the school, some private parties and more gorgeous festive workshops in December 2019.
Which Harrow School Venue is your favourite?
I think my favourite spaces at the school are the Old Harrovian Room and Speech Room. I’m yet to work in the Chapel at the school but there are plans afoot for a wedding in the Summer of 2021 as well as a beautiful marquee reception on the Chapel Terrace with its incredible views across to London.
Can you advise future brides how to go about choosing their wedding florist, the importance of bonding with your suppliers and to understand their style?
When choosing your florist I would say that the most important thing to consider first is to have a little understanding of the style of flowers you might like. You may want something quite structured and neat, more traditional or something a little wilder and boho or something in between.
Take recommendations from your venue. They will have a trusted list of suppliers who they know work well in their spaces. Think about other weddings you have been to as a guest and if you loved the flowers don’t be afraid to ask for the florist’s details.
Search hashtags on Instagram for example: weddinginspo, weddingflowers, watfordweddingflorist, hertfordshireweddingflorist, londonwedding etc and florists that work in areas near your venue.
Once you have a shortlist and you have looked at websites, then get in touch with maybe two or three. Chat via email or on the phone you will soon get a feeling as to whether you have a connection. It’s a bit like dating!!
Pinterest Boards and Social Media Social media is a great place to start for inspiration. Pinterest and Instagram are free social channels and a great way to begin pinning down your ideas. Many suppliers, venues and industry professionals will have their own social media pages, showcasing previous designs, recommending accredited suppliers or posting top tips for selecting an event florist. Both Instagram and Pinterest are visual platforms and work by searching for focused content. Try using the hashtag tool on Instagram, searching ‘Wedding Bouquets’ or ‘Wedding Floristry’ will produce millions of results. Saving pictures to a board is simple!
Can collating similar photos and colour schemes can be more helpful to a florist?
I would say it’s always helpful if you have some idea of a colour scheme but equally I would always be happy to suggest depending on the time of year. Pinterest is a great resource for ideas. If you feel confident using it, it takes a little getting used to, you can put together a board of you ideas or two or three different boards of separate elements of the wedding for example “Bridal Party” “ Church” “ Reception. If you have a strong feeling about colours you don’t like this is always helpful to know too. If you have a particular dislike of say, gerberas, don’t be afraid to say!! I’m with you. “Coffee and a Catch Up?” When selecting a florist, meeting in person will provide the opportunity for wider conversation and a greater insight into their personal style, level of expertise and price point. It will also help you determine their personality, see if you bond easily by trialing your working relationship. It is important to find someone who ticks all of your required boxes. Arrange an informal meeting to discuss your florist’s availability, minimum spends and their suggestions based on your brief. Fran’s Thoughts… I like to meet my brides pretty early on in the process, usually informally in a cafe/ coffee shop environment. It’s good from my side to see the bride, get a feel for them, see if we will get on and then practically see their height and colouring. I would also then go separately to a venue if it’s one I’m not familiar with so that measurements and costings can be pretty accurate from the off.
Make a list of questions before you meet your florist as there will always be something you wish you’d asked once you get home such as:
- Do you have a minimum spend?
- By when would you require a deposit?
- When would you need full payment?
- Can I have a copy of your Ts & Cs?
Harrow School works with a select list of recommended suppliers. This can be particularly useful to brides as it helps them to recognise an individual or company that has worked at our venue before. Being a 400-year-old, historic building has its challenges therefore, having worked in the spaces before, the venues accredited suppliers will be familiar with any restrictions, access times and room layouts. We highly recommend speaking to your friends and family. Have you attended a wedding recently where you were in total awe of the bride’s bouquet, centre pieces, or the bridesmaid’s flower crowns? Friends and family will be honest and can reflect on any valuable lessons learned. They can point you in the right direction of a supplier they loved and enjoyed working with or help you to steer clear from any disappointing services.
Are you happy for brides to ask for photos from previous weddings and events?
I have no problem with this at all. It will often spark ideas and help to kickstart the process of deciding what you may or may not want.
Why do you think working with an accredited florist may be more beneficial?
The florist will be used to working at the venue and be aware of any restrictions or requirements. They will have earned their accreditation through positive feedback from previous weddings.
Explain the importance of choosing flowers that are in season?
This is important if you want a wide choice of flowers and will also help to keep costs manageable. Most flowers can be sourced but not always cheaply.
Considering the shift towards sustainability and being ‘green’?
I’m very aware of making the floristry I do kinder to the environment. There is a big shift towards trying to use much less floral foam and so I’m always busy trying to find alternatives.
Any tips on sticking to a budget?
It is supremely helpful if you can share a budget you may have in mind early on with your florist. When considering the elements you want costed be realistic. If you budget is in the upper range then big hanging structures and archways are achievable for example but if your budget is more modest then manage your expectations, flowers can be surprisingly expensive but a good florist will be able to offer you more economical alternatives to expensive blooms.
How far in advance should a bride be working with a florist?
Start researching your florist as soon as you have your date and secured your venue. Initial conversations will give you a good idea of cost so that you can go on to plan all the other parts of the wedding. Once you are happy with that then there may be a time when you don’t chat much until closer to the big day but that is perfectly normal. Most importantly enjoy choosing your florist. Flowers are one of the most beautiful and creative parts of your big day!!