When to Meet: Most florists can service multiple weddings in a single day. Unless your wedding is exceedingly complex and over-the-top, you will rarely find that a florist is fully booked if you are searching in advance. Beginning to consult with florists somewhere around 6 months is a good plan if you mainly need the basics (personal flowers and ceremony décor pieces, and reception centerpieces and accents).
What to Bring: Have all of your important details on hand, including the event dates, times and locations. A copy of your venue contract may help you answer questions about delivery times and restrictions. It is also very helpful to have a written list of every person for whom you will need personal flowers such as bouquets, boutonnieres, corsages, baskets and nosegays.
If you have inspiration photos, feel free to bring them (printed or electronically). They don’t have to be from other weddings! Look to interior design and home décor catalogs for contemporary design ideas. Swatches of fabric from wedding gowns and bridal party attire can help when putting together ideas for your “look”.
What to Expect: During your consultation, expect to meet with a manager or designer who will ask you dozens of questions to learn about your specific needs as well as your personal style. You will probably get to see photos of décor from previous weddings and may be able to see samples of flowers and containers if they are in-house and on-hand. Each florist has booking policies and should explain what the next steps are if you wish to reserve services for your wedding day.
Many will provide itemized quotes for you to review. Find out how long you can expect to wait before receiving the quote and how you should expect to receive it (Via mail? Email?).
Future Meetings: Once you select your florist, reserve services with a deposit. Make an appointment to review your quote and make any adjustments you would like allowing enough time to make any additional appointments to refine again if needed. Close to your wedding, you might request a sample bouquet or centerpiece – just understand that the materials and labor represent a real cost to your florist and you should expect to pay for any product you receive (even a sample product).
Take a look at other recommendations in this series of “Preparing for Your Vendor Interviews and Consultations,” including Venues.