Rittners School Of Floral Design
In Boston Advice to Brides

Part 2: The Wedding Consultation

After you have decided what florist you think you would like to do your wedding, it is generally a good idea to sit down with him/her and go over the details. In the trade we call this a bridal or wedding consultation. In this section of our web site we'd like to offer some suggestions that may help you in this meeting.

  1. Don't try to call florists to get every detail concerning prices and creative ideas on the phone. Planning floral decorations for a wedding requires time and effort. The floral designer can't really do his/her best for you on the phone, and will resent it if you try to get the whole function planned on the phone. Plan to go in to see the florist.

  2. Don't just barge in on a florist in the middle of a day and expect him/her to do a consult with you. It's not unusual for a bridal consultation to last at least one hour, often longer. Set up an appointment at a mutually convenient time.

  3. Similarly never, ever, ever, try to get a florist to do a consult in the middle of a flower holiday (eg. Valentines' Day, Mothers' Day, etc.) when a flower shop is wild. Florists get a bit upset with this (especially if your wedding is two years from now!!)

  4. Some florists charge extra for the consultation. Others will tell you that the cost of the consultation will be deducted from the cost of the wedding, should s/he get the order. Some may not charge anything for the consult. There is no one set practice in the floral field. The florist is going to be spending time with you, and you will be asking his/her expertise. Just as other professionals charge for their time, so too can the florist.

  5. Treat the florist with respect. Be honest. If you are only pricing, say so. Don't give the impression that you are booking an order especially if you are simply comparing the price with the one you got from the florist to whom you already gave the order!!

  6. If you set up an appointment to discuss the flowers for your wedding, plan on showing up. If you have an unavoidable reason for cancelling, give the florist the courtesy of calling and re-scheduling.

  7. There is a tendency to be a little nervous when planning the flowers for one's wedding, so often brides will bring along their mother, sister, friends, The Boston Celtics, etc. for moral support and advice. Try not to bring too many people with you. Bring your mom or a friend, or possibly the groom, but not half of your metropolitan area!

  8. Your little kids from a past marriage may be cute, and it is true you may have had a hard time finding a sitter, but believe me, they will be bored with your consultation. Many florists do complain about this one!! Always bring along coloring books, etc. or better yet, if possible, leave the youngster home with a sitter or at daycare.

  9. Before you go in to see the florist, have a general idea of how much you want to spend. Weddings can be very modest or very ornate. Sometimes brides feel that because the flowers are transient in lasting quality, they can really cut corners in this area. While you can have a very modest wedding that is still pretty, listen carefully to your florist's suggestions. Wedding photos are often sad testimonies to weddings that had too many corners cut as far as flowers are concerned. And remember that the brides had to look at those photos with regrret for years afterwards.

  10. Oh, yes...Please try not to argue or fight with your mother or the groom during the consultation. Suggestions that are offered by the florist are just that...suggestions.

  11. If you have a parent who is especially difficult, and you know it, think of bringing along a favorite aunt etc. instead. Try to avoid conflicts.

  12. If A florist is good enough to help you work out your order, you should be upfront with any price concerns, & first try to work with that florist to try to deal with them. Running around comparing prices never guarantees better prices or better quality.

  13. Try to go in with some sort of an idea of what you like. Surely there must have been a friend's wedding that you attended or a movie that you viewed with ideas that you liked. If not, perhaps you like a certain look or style, or prefer certain flowers. At the very least you must certainly prefer certain colors. Express these things. You'd be amazed at what a florist can do with some basic ideas along these lines.

  14. Perhaps you have a few pictures from a magazine or book. These are all good starting points for planning a wedding that is right for you. These are good ways for you to communicate to your florist the general style, look or approach. Try not to get caught in the trap of insisting on exact duplicates of what you see in print. Allow yourself and your florist some creative room.

  15. Remember that if you are concerned about budget, flexibility is the key. The florist is dealing with perishable merchandise that may be brought in from all over the world. If you simply must have flowers that are out of season, you will have to pay more for them. The more freedom you allow your florist to work within seasonal choices, the more likely you can save money.

  16. Similarly, keep in mind that it may seem romantic & wonderful to have a Christmas Wedding, or a Valentine's Day Wedding, but any time you pick a holiday period for your wedding you are running the risk that many florists won't want to do your flowers (because they are so busy), or if they are willing to take on your wedding the cost of the materials will reflect the higher holiday prices.

  17. Always have alternative flower choices in mind, or allow your florist to consider alternatives. If you have a second choice, make sure that it is something that you like as much (or almost as much) as the first choice, so that you won't be disappointed if it must be used.

  18. Bring as much information along with you as you can. Swatches of material used for gowns is helpful, but bring along a piece of material that is large enough to see (not a thread or two!!) Swatches are also helpful in determining colors. Telling your florist that a "dusty rose" color will be used is essentially meaningless. Manufacturers come up with thousands upon thousands of trade names to describe colors. Also give the florist some room to manipulate. If you insist on exact matches of colors it will be harder (sometimes impossible) to achieve and often more costly. Let your florist work within ranges of colors or combine different colors together to come up with interesting looks.

    The more that you know in terms of numbers of guests, tables, settings, and whether there are other weddings scheduled the same day at that location (gives the florist an idea as to how long s/he has to set up) are all helpful to facilitating the consultation.

  19. Oh, one last thought. Try to keep the personal flowers (eg. corsages) for the two mothers the same (or as close as possible). Yes, I know you might be thinking, "Orchids for my Mom, and poison ivy for his Mother." but it really doesn't accomplish anything. Try to keep their flowers as similar as possible, so that you won't hear about possible hard feelings twenty years after the wedding has been held.

Please, above all. Relax!!!

Remember, your florist has done this many times before, and s/he is there to help you. If you follow these hints, you will find that the process will be a little easier.

And have a very happy wedding!!!!

  • Wedding Consultation Tips-Part I the first section of our wedding consultations suggestions, gives practical tips for choosing your florist.
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  • The Rittner Floral School Home Page --returns to our home page.

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