Flowers are an important part of most weddings and represent a significant expense. As a general rule, one should allocate roughly 10 percent of the wedding budget to the floral arrangements. For things to run smoothly at a ceremony and reception, an engaged couple should come to an understanding with their florist on certain issues and include those specific agreements in the signed contract.
To the surprise of may engaged couples, wedding venues tend to have a length list of items that are prohibited from being used during the wedding proceedings. These restrictions can extend to floral decorations. Certain venues ban flowers outright. Others simply restrict their placement to certain areas.
Why do such restrictions exist? A traditional wedding in a religious facility such as a church or synagogue may run into protocol restrictions. For secular weddings, the issue is typically liability based as the facility owner or, better yet, their lawyer may view a large gathering of flowers as a potential fire hazard.
Once a florist is selected, it is important to establish and confirm who is responsible for obtaining the list of venue restrictions and reviewing them. Planning a wedding can be stressful, so it often makes sense to ask the florist to handle the issue. Either the bride or groom should schedule a call to the florist a few weeks before the wedding to make sure the issue has been handled.
Wedding floral arrangements can be complex. While this doesn’t impact the wedding couple since the florist will handle the work, it can cause timing issues. For larger floral displays, the florist can often need to set up the day before the actual wedding. The day after the wedding may also be needed to remove all the flowers and supporting items.
Ultimately, this can extend your reservation time of the wedding facilities from one day to three. It is important to learn exactly how much time the florist will need and then check this against the venue reservation contract. If you are not careful, you can end up paying for an extra day or two for the facilities as well as paying a penalty for overstaying your allotted time. This will do horrible things to a wedding budget.
Odds and Ends
Ask any potential florists what their deposit policy is for reserving their services. You should expect to pay 50 percent or less. Anything above this is questionable and may be a sign the particular florist is not the best choice.
Two additional topics to cover are the refund and change order policies of the florist. The florist should have clear policies and you need to be comfortable with those policies. Again, shop around if you have doubts.
Florists are incredibly busy during the wedding season for very obvious reasons. They will often work more than one wedding on a weekend. Given this, the florist you plan the wedding with may not actually be at your wedding. If this concerns you, ask for clarification and to meet anyone who will actually be handing the ceremony and reception.
Get everything in writing. Verbal promises do not mean much of anything under the law. All key aspects of the agreement with the florist should be included in the contract without exception.
The Good News
It is important to understand no wedding comes off perfectly. The ring bearer boy may play in the dirt just prior to the ceremony. Uncle Lee may end up having a tad too much to drink. If you are having an outdoor ceremony, it might be windy or rain. The list of potential issues goes on and on.
The good news is the wedding floral display is rarely a problem. Florists generally do a very nice job if you stay on top of the situation. Follow the tips and guidelines in this article and the flower arrangements at your wedding and ceremony should be stunning.
Riki Bynes is a wedding blogger with Top Weddings supplying wedding advice and accessories to engaged couples.