Choosing a florist

Florists are more than just a spot to pick up a bouquet.
Most florists are able to design an entire look for a wedding or event, organize and send gift baskets and balloons and even serve as a social adviser when you're not sure what your occasion calls for.

To find a florist who is right for your needs, browse our listings on Kudzu.com for florists in your area. Also, take a look at their individual websites, where you can view their work and get an idea for the types of events with which they are most familiar.

Some florists are "Jacks of all trades" and can carry off a wedding and a corporate event with equal panache, while others specialize in one type of service.

For funerals, check with your funeral home (Find a funeral service on Kudzu.com). In many instances, the funeral home will provide all floral arrangements as a package. And if you're a well-wisher who wants to send floral arrangements, see if the family or the deceased has expressed a preference for donations to a charity or had requested no flowers.

Also, be aware that funeral protocol may differ, depending on religious observances. Jewish funerals, for example, don't usually have flowers at all, and Mormons do not prefer flower arrangements in the shape of a cross.

Once you choose a florist, meet with him or her in person for a consultation. At the meeting, follow these guidelines:
  • Ask about extras

    Most florists will often provide extras, such as lighting, arches, trellises, tulle, candles and table linens as part of the floral design package. Find out what they handle and for which services you will need to contact a separate rental company. A good florist will listen as you describe the event space, design, colors and overall mood desired for the event.

  • Help your florist match the style of your event.

    If possible, bring photos of dresses, venues, flowers, arrangements and styles you like. Also, if you're supplying the containers for flowers, bring those, too.

  • Get an accounting of everything you need.

    Make a list of the basic flower arrangements you need along with their locations within the event space: the buffet table, restrooms, table centerpieces, entryway, etc. If you're planning a wedding, also include a list of people and the flowers they need, such as the bride's bouquet, best man's boutonniere, etc. Try to be specific in your desires, incorporating language the florist knows, such as wreathes, table toppers, topiaries.

  • What is the florist's shop like?

    Note the size of the shop and decide whether you feel comfortable with the number of people the business is assigning to your event.

  • Do they preserve flowers?

    Find out if the florist will preserve the flowers for you after your event.

  • Be prepared with your questions.

    What are their fees for transporting, setting up and breaking down? Are the flowers you like in season? What are affordable alternatives if those flowers are out of season? What is the cutoff date for changing your order and changing your mind about your ideas? Will the florist make up a sample of some of your items, such as your centerpiece? Has the florist ever worked at the facility where your event is taking place?

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