Wedding flowers are one of the most important elements of your gay wedding. They provide color, serve as the backdrop for all your decorations and help establish the overall theme of your wedding. They are a part of every aspect of your wedding, from what you wear to the wedding ceremony to the wedding reception. Your guests might even take home some of your wedding flowers as a keepsake or to show others.
The ideal wedding florist can translate your ideas into flower arrangements and assume the responsibility for planning this part of your wedding. A bad wedding florist can make your wedding planning a nightmare. Here are some tips and advice to help you choose the right florist for your gay or lesbian wedding.
When to Start Looking for a Gay Wedding Florist
Begin your search about six to eight months before your wedding to give you ample time to shop around. You should probably sign a contract about four to six months before the wedding date.
How to Identify Florists to Interview
Ask for recommendations from friends and family. You can ask only your closest friends and family who know your tastes for their recommendations or you might create a post on Facebook and ask all your Facebook friends for their suggestions. A strong recommendation from a friend who knows you and your tastes definitely deserves some attention.
You can also browse wedding websites and magazines to look at advertisements and see what kinds of examples capture your attention. If you’re attending a wedding, pay close attention to the flowers and get the name of the florist if you’re thrilled with the floral arrangements.
It’s a good idea to make appointments with about three different florists to get their ideas and determine if what they provide fits with your budget.
Preparing to Interview Florists
You don’t have to know exactly what you want the floral arrangements to be before you talk to a florist because you want to hear their ideas and suggestions. But you should have a general idea and some examples of what you like to provide general guidance and direction.
Before you visit with a florist, assemble swatches or examples of colors, flowers and arrangements you like. Create a Pinterest board with your favorite wedding flower pictures that are similar to what you might want at your wedding. Have a ballpark figure in mind for your floral budget so you can check to make sure it’s realistic.
While it shouldn’t be difficult to find a gay florist or gay-friendly florist, there have been high-profile examples of florists who have refused to provide their services to gay couples because of religious or other reasons.
When you make an appointment to interview a florist, tell the florist that this is for a gay or lesbian wedding. It’s less uncomfortable for both of you if you give a potential florist the ability to to decline over the phone than in person. If the florist doesn’t want to provide your flowers, there are many more who do. It’s not worth your time to argue, but you should let everyone know about your experience with the florist. Write a post on Facebook and mention the florist by name.
Questions to Ask the Florist
Here are some questions you might want to consider asking a potential florist during your discussion.
- Now that you understand my theme and ideas, what ideas do you have?
- Do you have examples from other similar weddings you have decorated?
- Do you provide the vases, urns and other decorations for the flowers or do I need to rent them from somebody else?
- Should I consider alternatives because of the flowers that will be in season when I get married?
- Are you the owner? If not, what’s the likelihood that you will still be employed with this florist when I get married?
- Are you the one who will arrange my flowers or will that get delegated to someone else?
- Do you deliver and set up the flowers for the ceremony and reception and is there a charge for that? How long does the setup usually take?
- Do you have any other weddings scheduled the same day?
- Are there any other fees or expenses I need to know about?
- Is what I’ve described realistic for my budget?
- Have I given you enough information to provide a detailed quote?
- How far in advance of the wedding do I need to reserve your floral services?
- What kind of deposit do you require?
- Can you provide references I can call and ask about your services?
- What’s the last day I could make changes to the floral arrangements?
Asking for a Quote and References
If you’re seriously considering using a florist, ask then to give you a detailed quote based on what you discussed and ask for a few references you can call. If you already know you don’t want to use a particular florist, don’t make them waste their time preparing a quote for you. Tell them you will get back to them after you’ve spoken to other florists and have gotten their ideas.
Most florists can create a quote for you even though all the details haven’t been finalized. You will need to have your details set by the time you sign a contract with the florist you choose.
If you ask for references, call them. You’re probably not going to get a bad reference, but here are a few questions you might want to ask:
- Were you happy with the overall arrangements for the flowers?
- Were there any last-minute substitutions the florist had to make and why did they happen?
- Were there any floral-related events that were unusual or unexpected and how did the florist react?
- Did the final cost for the flowers match the quote? If not, why were they different and when did you find out about it?
- Do you have any advice for me if I choose to work with this florist?
Selecting the Florist
When you select a florist, you want to consider a few criteria:
- How well the floral described in the proposal matches what you want at your wedding.
- The cost versus your budget.
- Your “gut feeling”.
It’s often a “feeling” or a “gut reaction” that leads you to choose one florist over another. These feelings usually represent intangibles such as:
- How much confidence you have that the florist will remember what you discussed and create what you want, not what the florist wants.
- How much the florist could show you versus tell you.
- The confidence you have that the florist will deliver on time without conflicts or problems.
- The rapport you have with the florist and whether you enjoy the time spent with the florist.
- Your comfort with the decisions that the florist will make and the decisions the florist will let you make.
- The confidence you have that the florist will be flexible and able to adapt to a last-minute change or crisis.
You and your partner are the only two people who can decide what’s most important. You might decide to choose a florist that’s just starting out and is willing to give you a reduced price to feature your wedding in advertisements. Or, you might choose a well-established florist that’s more expensive, but that you know will take care of everything so you don’t have to worry about it.
Signing a Contract With the Florist
Once you’ve selected the florist you want to work with, notify them and ask for a contract. The contract is a commitment on both your parts for the florist to provide what’s described at your wedding. Be prepared to give your deposit when you sign the contract.
If your proposal included estimates based on the number of guests or optional items you weren’t sure that you needed, you will probably need to make those decisions and provide the florist with exact numbers for the contract. Be prepared to provide information such as:
- Date, time and location of the ceremony.
- Date, time and location of the wedding reception.
- The number of guests and guest tables.
- What other spaces need to be decorated, such as the entryway or restrooms.
- Which other events need flowers, such as a rehearsal dinner or brunch.
- How many people in your wedding parties, their genders (if important) and colors of their outfits.
- How many special corsages, boutonnieres or decorative flowers you want to have?
Notifying the Florists
It’s important for you to get back to every florist who took the time to provide you with a detailed quote, including the florists you did not select. However, you might want to wait until you’ve signed a contract with the florist you selected before you notify those you didn’t select in case something goes wrong during the contract phase.
When you notify the other florists that you selected someone else, be sure to thank them for the time they took to meet with you and to prepare a quote. Tell them who you selected and why.
If a florist asks for more detail about why they weren’t selected, be honest about the criteria you considered. Providing honest feedback might help the florist change how they approach other potential customers or how they price their wedding services. The discussion doesn’t need to be uncomfortable or confrontational, although many people don’t react well to constructive criticism.
Once you’ve signed the floral contract, put a big checkmark next to that on your list!