Floral Tips: How to Prepare for a Floral Meeting?

10 February 2012

A year or so, I wrote an article on what should a bride to do prepare for a floral meeting.  I think that article needs to be revisited because it's still a good read.  So, I've rewritten and updated new information to help all those 2012 brides.  Enjoy the article.


I writing this post on how to prepare for your meeting with your floral designer. I truly hope this is not only helpful for engaged couples but for all event planners, floral designers, wedding enthusiasts...and many more.

Wedding 101: Meeting with a Floral Designer****

****(or Florist....I will be using the term Floral Designer in this post for simplicity. Keep in mind that I am using both these terms to mean someone who will be creating wedding flowers. It's interchangeable!)

What should you prepare for?

1) Flower Knowledge

Do you need to know the names of all the flowers?

My God, I hope not. If all clients knew the name of all cut flowers, then most of the floral designers around might be out of a job. To me, it's like asking if a patient needs to know all the medical terms before they see their doctor. It would be unproductive and a waste of one's time. If gardening is a hobby, I can image that you might want to know more about how flowers are produced, cultivated, and cared for. However, for someone who is planning a wedding, there's more productive things to spend your time on.

Keep in mind, a good, knowledgeable, informed floral designer should have a portfolio with plenty of flowers and finished arrangement for a couple to look through. I keep a "deck" of colorful cards which are coordinated by color and alphabetized so that I can "flip" through it during meetings and show clients what flower I am describing. If you serious want to know more, sure, you can go to Sierra Flower Finders on the Internet. But honesty...

Bottom line: Describe characteristics of what you want the flowers to look like?

And here are so good examples.

"Romantic, fluffy, large head flowers like roses, peonies that evoke a garden feel."

Photo by Elile Grover of our bride, Abby!

"Romantic, interesting, bright, sunny, fun, warm and happy flowers" (description from the bride above)

"Modern, architecturally interesting blooms that have beautiful shapely stems. French Tulips in a single vase is very elegant to me."

"Something unusual with lots of spiky tips, fussy, different. Something that wouldn't be fun to touch but would look very different from the standard fluffy flowers."

"Simple, happy flowers that make me smile like sunflowers, daisies, mums."

"Bold, dramatic flowers that works for a grand ballroom". (see dramatic and bold flowers in this inspiring board)

"Seasonal or what's best.  As long as it is priced well."

2) Create a Check List

It is very helpful to create a check list of things you need. Email a copy to your floral designer ahead of time is wonderful. You can also bring a copy. Whatever you like.

Of course, you may not know all the flower pieces that you might need so here is my check list.

Personal Flowers
Bridal Bouquet
Bridesmaid Bouquets
Groom's Boutonniere
Grooms men's Boutonnieres
Usher(s) Flowers
Mothers and Father's
Sponsors Male and Female
Ring bearer, Coin bearer, little Boys that need flowers
Flower girls, Junior Bridesmaid, little Girls that need flowers

Photo by Ellie Grover.  We have Bride, Junior Bridesmaid, Flower Girls, Ring Bearers

Ceremony Flowers
Altar or Ceremony Large Pieces
Ceremony Containers or Stands
Chair or Pew Decorations
Aisle Decor
Welcome Table
Gift Table
Refreshment Table
Foyer Arrangement
Door or Entry way
Car Decor
Photo by Ellie Grover.  This is a ceremony design.

Reception Flowers
Head table or Sweet Heart Table
Food Stations
Dessert Stations
Cake table
Bride and Groom's Chair
Dance Floor Decor
Cocktail Table
Place Card Table
Door Ways
Lounge Decor
Fireplace Mantels

Photo by Ellie Grover.  The planner used these bright paper flowers as a backdrop for the Lounge.

Bottom Line: Get organized and have a list ready.

3) Style, Color, Concept

Of course many couples go to meetings thinking that they will see something in a floral designers portfolio and instantly love it.

I wish this were the case. But it is so NOT.

I think many couples come for inspiration and that's a good thing.  However, to make wedding flowers truly unique, come with colorful tear-out pages from magazines or tag books.  

Ask yourself, what do you want the wedding to look like?  When you walk into the reception, what do you see?  Having gone to some weddings, what did you like?  What didn't you like?

Collect magazine or books. Going to the book store to purchase wedding books is a great idea. There's a plethora of coffee table books on weddings, event decor, and flowers so for most people you will be able to find lots of ideas. There's also an abundance of magazines that come out bi-annual, quarterly, monthly that contain great images and photos.  There are endless blogs including Snippet and Ink, Style Me Pretty, 100LayerCake, Green Wedding Shoes, Grey Likes, Elizabeth Anne Designs, Wedding Chicks.  I can go on. The ideas are endless.

Feel free to follow me on Pinterest at @Nancy Liu Chin
Many of you know that I am very fond of Smitten Magazine, Brides Magazine, Martha Stewart Weddings, and many others. You can find plenty of real weddings, stylized weddings, and floral concepts in these magazines. Tag them, tear them out, scan them into your computer....Do whatever you want. Many of my clients are creating storyboards or inspiration boards. These are great tools to bring to a meeting.  For story boards, I'm using Pinterest.  It is a great tool if you can't explain your concept in words.  Go to ww.pinterest.com.
(see Above for our Circus Wedding Inspiration Board)

What else can you do?

Bring swatch samples.

If you haven't picked your bridesmaid or bridal gown, that's fine as well. You can go into home depot and pick out some "paint" chips if this helps. Buy a Pantone book if you really want someone to know what you mean by green because I guarantee you, that if a bride walked into my office and told me her wedding color is green I would ask her, "is it moss, forest, sea, celery, pea, chartreuse, apple, lime, sage, vivid, Kate Spade, Kelly, spinach, pepper green?

Bring Invitations, photos of the location. I guess the bottom line is this. Bring all the things that you think is useful for someone who is creating your weddings flowers. And it doesn't have to be a whole novel, a few printouts, consolidated into something concise is perfect.

Bottom line: Go to be informed, be prepare to show and tell.

4) Ask and you shall receive

In advance of your meeting, be sure to have a list of questions that you need answered. During the meeting many will be addressed however if you don't have a prepared list, you might forget a few important questions. Jot down at least a few key questions. I've prepared a short list of what I would ask a floral designer. Hopefully this will help you.

Can you suggest a few cost saving tips? What flowers hold up the best during the month of
my wedding?
(This question will show if the floral designer is truly knowledge about flowers and thinks off the cuff.)

Have you worked at my venue before? If not, would you mind going to do a site visit.
(This question shows that a floral designer is attentive to the details and wants to be prepared. It also reflects their experience level.)

Do you drop off the flowers or does your staff or crew do the complete setup?
(This question will answer what type of day of service you will get. And if the price for such service is warranted.)

What was your favorite wedding? Do you have an example in your portfolio? What made it so special?
(This question will show you what the floral designer deems tasteful, interesting to them. I love this question because only a couple brides have ever asked me this and I think this one is by far the most interesting. It shows me that a couple wants to get to know me as a designer. )

How many events do you do a week? Will my wedding be the only one that day?
(This question might be important to some of you if you feel that you need your vendors to focus on just you for that week.)

Have you ever gotten so ill that you couldn't complete a job? If so, what would happen to my wedding?
(It's important to know if a floral designer has contingency plans. I know that we do so I think others should be prepared as well)

Bottom line: Whatever quality is important to you, make sure you leave that meeting feeling that you get a good sense of a floral designer's values, creativity, knowledge, and depth.post signature


Laurie (Fleurie) said...

Thank you Nancy, a great tool for brides to be, will be sharing on my blog. Thanks for your valuable tips.

interview preparation said...

Decide on how formal your meeting will be. Advance warn attendees about special requirements, for example dress code, to ensure people understand what’s expected and can prepare accordingly.

leagh@bunchesdirect.com said...

Love this post! Very helpful and informative for a bride-to-be! Thank you for sharing!!

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