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Choosing your wedding florist

Your relationship with your florist will go a long way towards creating the right feel for your wedding.

Brides bouquet of white roses
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Flowers play an essential part of any wedding and the key to the best wedding flowers is finding the right florist. You are looking for someone you will listen to your ideas and work with your budget to deliver your dream. Start your search six to nine months before the wedding and expect to finalise all the details about three weeks before the big day.

It's a good idea to take a clippings book of flowers you like - and those you don't - to give any potential florist an idea of the style you are looking for. Don't worry if you don't know what everything is called or even whether it's available at your time of year, it will be invaluable in giving the florist an indication of your style. At your first meeting it's also a good idea to take along a picture of your dress, details of the venues and swatches of fabric for colour matching.

Most florists will have a portfolio of previous work to give you an idea of their type of work. Describe the look you want and be honest about what you want to spend. There's no point the florist coming up with masses of lovely ideas, only for you both to realise at a later date that they are out of your price range. A good florist should be able to come up with plenty of suggestions that work within your budget and suit your favoured colour scheme. Once you have booked someone, they should be happy to mock-up the bridal bouquet and at least one of the centrepieces so you can see exactly what they are proposing.

When looking for a florist, ask other suppliers like your venue for recommendations of who has impressed them in the past. If your florist hasn't worked at your venue before, be sure they can visit them before the wedding to check out the size of rooms, the lighting and any areas that could become a focal point.

Once you like someone's ideas and the price, get confirmation of all the details in writing. Expect to have specific flowers named on the contract and what alternatives may be used in the event something not being available. Most florists will expect a 20% deposit at the time of accepting the quotation with the balance payable two or three weeks before the wedding. Double check the small print about the cancellation policy.

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