Lessons: Floral 101 revisited

09 December 2013

A few years back I wrote this detailed post about how to prepare for your floral consultations.  Things have changed just a little.

So here is my updated Floral 101 cheat sheet.

When preparing for a floral consultation what should you have ready?

1.  Tell A Story
It's hard to express what your wedding should be about and even for the flowers, it's great to give someone a picture of your story.  It should be specific to you and not to general so that the floral designer can have a feeling of what you want.

If you don't know your wedding style...let me help you narrow your style with these quick questions

Are you classic or more modern? Do you follow traditions or are you more likely to go outside the box?
How avant garde are you?
Is your wedding more formal or informal?
Do you like your flowers more tailored, clean, manicured or do you like free flowing?
Do you prefer neutrals, pastels, brights, high contrasts?
Do you like to use local flowers or do you like seasonal flowers or have you had your heart set on something?
What is the day about for you?

Once you figure out what you are then you can give your floral design some guidance.
You can say this...

I'm more classic than modern but I don't like too traditional and old fashion designs.
Though I would love to be avant garde for my wedding, I want something that works for the decor of the venue that is an outdoor winery that is more European than American.    Contemporary might not work the best.
My fiance and I would like a more informal wedding as we want to get away from the traditions.
We like pastels and soft color hues but am not opposed to have a bit of greens to make it more like our setting.
We don't particular have any floral choices but using local flowers sounds lovely or at least flowers from the season to best enhance the space.
And of course, the wedding really is about good time, dancing and hanging with out of town friends.  We are huge on fun and laughing so we want to feel like we can move. 
There are lots of people coming from our hometowns so it is a bit of a destination wedding so the flowers can't be so elaborate as no one will be taking anything home nor do we want to clean up after a night of socializing.

2. Show Me The Goods
Remember when Cuban Gooding Jr. said to Tom Cruise in Jerry Maguire, "show me the money"? Well that's exactly what you can do to help transform a thought to an executable plan or like I call it, give someone an anchor for which they can grow and expand ideas.

Many people are hesitant to create a pinterest board and I get it.  There are many cons of pinterest.  It homogenizes design and it complete makes people only want what they see inside of allowing a creative person to be creative.  But I find that I am most creative when someone gives me an anchor.  A key word, a feel, a visual cue.  And mostly likely for you, visuals cues can explain what you like more than a word.

Last week, a bride says to me I am simple and like simple things.  

Obviously if I asked 3 different floral designs what that would mean and how they would design a simple wedding I might get 3 different concept especially if that was all the information they had.

You could get any one of these 3 ideas when you say simple

First one is Modern Simple, very clean scripte, contemporary, very devoide of complex patterns.  It's sophisticated but also simple and crisp.  

This is also Formal Simplicity.  Also clean design, devoid of complex patterns but more formal with beautiful luxury simple designs.  Cake with 1 single flowers.  Cool and neutral palette which is very simple.  Devoid of brights or mixed hues.  It's definitely luxurious but also very simple in feel and sophistication.

The final is just Sweet but Simple.   Utilization of one flowers like a peony.  A beautiful space that is more updated but neutral.  The line of the cake is simple without huge details just an emphasis on one giant peony.  The dresses is simple without beading or embellishment.  It's sweet, it's pretty even.  But it's simple in design without much contemporary edge or luxury.  You can image that the color palette is simple and straight forward.

All of these designs are SIMPLE like the bride mentioned but without giving more visual cues of what simple means, it would be hard for any designer to come up with a cohesive and personalized design.

I often find that some brides feel like it's a test to give as little to the floral designer because they want to see how creative a designer can be but I think this only results in more complications.  

If you gave more hints of what you like, any talented designer will run with it but you have to give them some visual cues of your wants.  Let them help you edit down your inspiration.  Let them tell you what is not feasible but give them a visual description of what you mean.  It will lead to less confusion.

3. Be Prepared
Come with answers to the following:

Who is in your bridal party?
Tell your designer
How many boutonnieres you need?
 ---do you have kids in the wedding party?
 --- will you parents need flowers?
 --- if you don't know, let them guide you
How many bouquets you need for yourself and your bridesmaid?

Have a layout of your reception and ceremony.
----Why is this even important?  Well for one, it will help them to visualize what the space will look like.  If they have never worked at the space, once you hire them, you can have them do a site visit but prior to that, a layout would be good.

Have a list of flowers you like.  And also what you dislike.

Come with some logistics
---What time is your ceremony? your reception?
---Who is the venue contact person?
---How long do they have to set up your event?

Let them know.  The more you are prepared the more the floral proposal will be accurate.

4. Request a proposal.

At the end of the meeting, if they have not given you a quote, ask for one if you are interested.  If you are not, they might still present a written copy for you.  Ask also how long it will take for a written proposal.  Be prepared for a few days but some take weeks as it might be high season.
No matter what, send your floral designer an email after your meeting if you are interested.  Why you ask?  Some floral designers are not floral shops.  Some are boutique operation and may only take one wedding per day.  If you don't ask them to hold your date, you might lose out.  

5. Flower Knowledge

I'm always asked if you need to know the names of flowers.  To be honest, I don't think you do.  It's good to know what you like so browse websites.
There are plenty of great sites that gives you both an image and names.  

Here are a few 

Cut Flower Wholesale

Hope this helps you get ready for your floral consultation.  Remember, you don't have to do everything but even one of two of these items will help a lot. 

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