Besides the food and The Dress, the most common thing your guests will talk about (and remember) about your wedding is the flowers. Just as any bride, you want to make sure that your flowers represent the day in the best possible way. Over the years I've learned that there are some common questions and concerns at the forefront of many bride's minds about flowers. But there are a few things many people don't know to ask their florists in their initial meetings. Here's some things you should ask when getting started and/or know before signing a contract to make sure the flowers are what you envision. I'll post all of my answers to these questions as well.
Do you have a minimum?
Some florists require that you spend a certain amount in order to work with them. I don't.
What kind of packages do you offer?
This is a tricky questions for florists as some do, some don't. I personally don't offer any pre-set packages; everything I do is custom. I am a little weary of florists that offer packages - no two weddings are alike. It's a little presumptuous (and cookie-cutter) to imagine that I could offer something that would apply to multiple people just the same.
How many events do you take on per date?
This is an important one that many don't know to ask, as many florists don't have a limit. I take only one per date. I would be so nervous if I knew my florist had another person's wedding in the back of their mind and weren't able to devote all of their attention to the details of my day.
How do you charge?
My estimates are priced out a la carte. In other words, each piece is itemized, so you can see exactly what you're spending on each centerpiece, aisle bouquet, and boutonniere. Your florist should be very open with you about pricing - its your money and weddings aren't exactly low-cost. I find that this way my bride's can allocate their budget wherever they'd like to see the most "wow". When you get an estimate from another florist (as I imagine many brides get multiple bids), if they're just giving you the bottom line, I'd run.
Will you help us make sure the decor fits with the flowers?
This is kind of an obvious one. But, don't be afraid to ask if your florist will meet with you additional times (and if they charge for that) to help you make sure everything fits, for example, meeting with you at your venue once you've chosen linens.
What kind of a deposit do you require?
Just like your other vendors, your florist will likely as for a deposit to hold the date. I ask for a third once we've worked out most of the details (I say most, because some things can change, i.e. number of centerpieces) and you've received a formal estimate and copy of my contract.
I hope that helps a little bit.
Photo credit: The Legacy Boutique