Thursday, January 10, 2019

Real Brides Figuring out Wedding Flowers

If you would have asked me six months ago what a clooney ranunculus, anemone, or dusty miller was, I couldn’t have told you. The most I knew about flowers was that I liked getting roses on Valentine’s Day! While my fiancé Kirk tackled booking a DJ, I started the process of finding our florist. Floral was probably at the middle of our priority list—OK, my priority list. Kirk still wasn’t sold on how much a florist cost.
We know we aren't having a long ceremony, so I don't want to sink a bunch of money into flowers that can't be repurposed for our reception. Also, our bridal party is above average in size—six bridesmaids, six groomsmen, four ushers, plus an officiant. So flowers for everyone will add up. When it comes to flower types, I want a bouquet with blush peonies, which can be iffy (or expensive) in April, depending on weather.
I once again began by searching Wedding Wire and The Knot, noting not only the florists’ photos, websites, Facebooks, and Instagrams, but also their reviews. Then, I set up appointments with eight—yes, EIGHT—florists. Was this overkill? Probably. Have I learned how particular I can be? Definitely!
Just as I did with previous vendors, I learned as I went along. When discussing our wedding colors (navy and blush pink) with one florist, I said, “Too bad there are no navy flowers.” She quickly pointed out anemones, which have a navy center. Meeting with another, I had sticker shock when I saw what it would cost to have large floral arrangements on every table. She suggested doing one-third of our tables with flowers in small bud vases, one-third with “low and lush” arrangements, and one-third with larger arrangements elevated in tall vases.
All eight of the florists I met with were wonderful, but once I started to compare quotes, I noticed they varied when it came to the inclusion of non-floral décor and setup/teardown fees. Some florists included things like votives, vases, and pedestals at no charge; others offered them but charged a rental fee; and a few didn’t offer non-floral décor at all—you’d buy these items on your own and supply them.
Also, some quotes did not mention setup or teardown fees. Kirk and I decided we didn’t want to deal with cleaning up any décor at the end of the night, so knowing what it would cost a florist to return at 1 a.m. was important. I would highly recommend asking a potential florist if non-floral décor is included, as well as what they charge for service fees. This is not always obvious, and both things add up!
In the end, I chose to work with Nathalie at Chez Bloom in the Kingfield neighborhood. When I went to meet with her, she really stood out with a bubbly personality and creative eye for design. Even more impressive, since she knew my wedding colors ahead of our meeting, Nathalie had saved some bouquets and flowers from a blush-themed wedding the weekend before. She even let me take one of the bouquets home!
Kirk and I also loved that Chez Bloom included things like votives, vases, and pedestals at no extra charge, and that Nathalie had an affordable after-hours teardown fee. We signed on the dotted line, and are so excited to have her blooms be part of our big day!
Follow Jenna’s adventures in wedding planning on Instagram or Twitter @jennasbennett.