How to Hire a Wedding Florist


In case you wanted to pay someone else to #putafloweronit

by Alyssa Griffith, Contributor

How to Hire a Wedding Florist

When it comes to planning a party, specifically a wedding, the flowers are one of my most favorite parts. But then again, I’m a wedding planner. It’s part of the job description. As with all things wedding-related, there are many options for how to handle your wedding flowers (including not having any at all): You can DIY, you can partially DIY, you can skip flowers all together, or even use some live plants and fill your garden up after the wedding. And if it works for you and your budget, you can also hire a florist. (Not sure which route is best for you and your wedding? You might want to start with APW’s page on wedding flowers. And if you decide to DIY, APW has some great #lazygirl floral tutorials too.)

If you’ve already got your heart set on hiring a florist for your wedding, then you’ve probably realized that the Internet is flush with options. And because there are a million different floral services for just about every situation you could imagine, Google isn’t always helpful for figuring out which one is right for you and your wedding. So today we’re breaking down the basics of how to hire a florist, from a planner’s perspective:

Types of Florists

First of all, it’s important to note that there are different types of florists and services available out there:

Retail Florist: These are the street shops you see where you can stop for a bouquet of roses. They are wonderful resources for small orders and items but are not always equipped for or accustomed to servicing full events. Sometimes these shops will do funeral display pieces, but more often than not they are not who you want to use for your wedding.

Floral Designer: This is your standard wedding florist. The one who specializes in creatively combining beautiful flowers into bouquets, boutonnieres, centerpieces, and decor items for your event. They are generally creative/artistic people who are able to customize their style to the event they are working on (or at least, they should be, but more on that in a minute). When you work with a floral designer you are paying for their flowers, their services, and their creative artistry.

Full-Service Event/Floral Designer: There can be some crossover between this and the option above. When you work with a full-service designer like this, you are looking at the option to get not only your flowers, but candles, table numbers, paper goods, and any other decor pieces you might want. These super talented artists are usually most helpful if you have design ideas about your event, but need help executing, and would rather work with one person on all of it.

Before you start looking for a florist

Before you start contacting local florists and trying to find the one who will help you with your wedding, there are some important things to think about and know:

  • Figure out if flowers are a priority: Depending on the length of your engagement, when you’re getting married, and how important flowers are to you, you may want to start looking at florists pretty early in the process. Many florists are one-man/woman shops who are only able to do one wedding per day or weekend, and they can book up quickly (especially if you’re getting married during high wedding season).
  • Ballpark your budget: As hard as it may be at this stage in planning, it’s also helpful to have some general idea of the budget you are working with for floral design. (Have no idea what that might be? Check out my article here on wedding budgets.) If you start reaching out to florists without a budget in mind, you could end up with quotes that range from $1,500–$15,000 (which is not so helpful).
  • Identify your style: Before you get in touch with anyone, it’s helpful if you have an idea about the types of flowers and floral design you like. Look around Pinterest and real weddings to start getting a feel for the styles and types of flowers you prefer, but don’t overthink this part too much. A lot of what you’ll end up with will depend on what’s in season and what your budget can accommodate (because it’s totally possible that the bouquet that looks like you could make it yourself actually cost $400).

Figuring out your floral style

Once you’ve figured out what kinds of flowers you prefer, it’s helpful to have some words to put with your ideas so you know what you’re asking when talking to potential florists. Here are some of the most common floral styles you’ll see:

How to Hire a Wedding Florist

Classic: Classic floral design is usually round and crisp, and often features roses. (Bouquet by Doll’s Blumen, image by Claire Morgan via Martha Stewart Weddings. Centerpiece by Jackson Durham, image by Melissa Schollaert Photography via Style Me Pretty.) 

How to Hire a Wedding Florist

Romantic: Romantic designs feature looser, fluffier flowers, and often utilize neutrals in the pink family (think white, beige, and blush). (Bouquet by The Ivy Cottage Flowers and Gifts, image by Ashley Seawell Photography via Mod Wedding. Centerpiece by Sisters Floral Design Studio, image by Clairy Pfeiffer via Elizabeth Anne Designs.)

How to Hire a Wedding Florist

Natural: These flowers are inspired by (you guessed it) nature, and feature more greenery, and loose, organic designs. (Bouquet by Blush and Bloom, image by 3Photography via Ruffled. Centerpiece by Verbena Floral Design, image by Loft Photographie via Style Me Pretty.)

How to Hire a Wedding Florist

Bold: Want something a little outside the box with bright flowers and major color? Bold is what you’re looking for. (Bouquet by Belle Flower, image by Allison Andres Photography via A Practical Wedding. Centerpiece by The Southern Table, image by Charla Storey Photography via Style Me Pretty.)

How to Hire a Wedding Florist

Modern: A more minimal design, usually featuring clean lines and modern shapes. (Bouquet by Designs by Ahn, image by Belatheé Photography via Erganic Events. Centerpiece by Justine Rose, image by Photography by Caspix via Ruffled.)

How to Hire a Wedding Florist

Wild: Wild floral design is having a moment right now. This style is typically characterized by lots of different colors and textures, and a looser more free-flowing design. (Bouquet by Helene Gutjahr, image by Kibogo Photography via Style Me Pretty. Centerpiece by Michelle Edgemont, image by City Love Photography via A Practical Wedding.)

In reality, most of these styles have a lot of overlap (maybe you want a wild bouquet with romantic colors, or a classic bouquet with a natural vibe), so don’t worry about figuring out the exact term for what you want. Instead, use these ideas as a guide when doing your research and communicating with your florist.

Ready to Research

Now that you have a style in mind and a budget in hand, you’re ready to start researching florists. Here are the steps I recommend following while you’re on the hunt.

1. While Google is good for many wedding-related things, flowers are generally not one of them. Google is programmed to give you the most popular search results, which in the floral industry usually means national chains and their affiliates. So if you want a local florist, the best place to start is by asking friends and family who may have gotten married recently (especially if you were at their wedding and loved their flowers).

2. Use wedding websites to help you hunt for vendors that are trusted and reviewed. The APW Vendor Guide, Here Comes the Guide, and Wedding Wire are good places to start. Pro tip: If you find flowers on Pinterest that you really love, click through to the original post where they were published. Wedding blogs usually include vendor information at the bottom of all real weddings and styled shoots, and usually list the name of the city in the post, so it’s not hard to figure out if the vendors are local to you. Then, if possible, cross-check against the review sites to see feedback from actual customers.

3. Once you’ve narrowed it down, take a look at the websites and portfolios of the florists you find. You should be able to tell pretty quickly if they have work you like. Keep in mind: While most reputable florists should be able to accommodate a variety of styles, some designers specialize in just one. So keep an eye out for variety. For example, if you’re looking for more modern flowers and notice that one of the florists you’re considering has a portfolio full of loose, whimsical, natural-looking arrangements, and nothing else, you might want to consider looking elsewhere.

4. Check for pricing. Many florists work on such a customized basis that they don’t have pricing listed on their site. Some, however, will list a minimum that can help you determine right away if they can work with your budget. Worth noting: Those minimums are usually for full wedding flowers (bouquets, centerpieces, other arrangements, etc). So if you’re just looking to get what I call “personals” (aka bouquets and/or boutonnieres), then the minimum may not apply. In that case, it’s best to reach out and ask.

5. Once you’ve narrowed down your potential florists, reach out for quotes (and be honest about your budget. It will save everyone time). Depending on how many make the final cut, I recommend meeting with or having a call with anyone you’re seriously considering. Even though you won’t be working with them extensively on the day of, you’ll want to make sure you get along and understand each other. This is your moment to pick their brain about their style, vision for your wedding, and ideas they may have. If you’re not sure what to talk about in the meeting, here are some questions that can help you figure out a potential florist’s working style:

  • What’s their design process? Will you do a joint Pinterest board? A design brief? Do you just tell them what you like and let them do their thing?
  • If you’re doing centerpieces, do they have containers you can rent? Will you need to provide your own?
  • Do they help with setup, or will you need to arrange pickup from a studio? Is there a delivery fee?
  • If they provide containers for your flowers, will they come pick them up after the wedding or will you need to return them yourself?
  • What do they do if they can’t provide something you’ve agreed upon (e.g., if there’s a ranunculus shortage the week of your wedding, what’s the protocol?)?
  • Do they recommend doing a trial? Will it cost extra?

The proposal:

Once you’ve found a florist you like and you’ve agreed on a budget and design style, you’ll get a proposal (which, when signed, becomes your contract). This is important, because there are a lot of extra variables that can factor into the final product you receive on your wedding day. So pay extra attention to the provisions at the bottom of the proposal before you sign, and make sure you’re OK with how the florist will handle things like the ranunculus shortage mentioned above. (And if you’ve got a lawyer friend or just… a lawyer, it never hurts to ask them to go over your wedding contracts before you sign. Don’t be afraid to negotiate or ask for changes if you’re uncomfortable with something listed in the provisions.) Here’s a sample proposal from an actual wedding I worked this year (keep in mind these are Bay Area prices, and actual floral prices will vary based on where your wedding takes place):

Sample Floral Contract

Once you sign on the dotted line, then you and your florist get to move on to the fun part: bringing your proposal to life. But you don’t need my help with that (that’s what you hired the pro for.)

Have other questions about hiring a florist? Leave them in the comments!

Alyssa Griffith

Alyssa is the owner and lead event planner for Rose Gold Events in the San Francisco Bay Area. She’s been rocking the wedding industry for the last four years after becoming a Certified Wedding Planner in 2011. In her free time, you’ll find her traveling, reading, and training CrossFit. Alyssa loves love, macaroons, logistics, and a good party dress. And she still cries at every wedding.

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[Read comment policy before commenting]

  • Wedding fairs sometimes get a bad rap, but I found our floral designer there and they were fantastic – Twin Cities brides, we used Festivities in Medina. I’m a really visual person, and I was able to see details in person that were incorporated into our floral arrangements.

  • Nell

    We actually got a great deal through our wedding planner. She had an assistant who wanted to get into floral design, and so she did flowers for us at a discount. Were they blog-worthy in their epic-ness? No, absolutely not. Were they beautiful and made the tables not look empty? YUP! Best decision ever.

  • Emily

    I had no idea there were flower styles… I think mine were naturally wild and bold. :)

    • Maddie Eisenhart

      In fairness, I think a lot of it comes down to what kinds of flowers you’re working with. But the style is very much influence by how a florist approaches their arrangements. You can make roses look really classic, really modern or really wild, depending on what you pair them with and how you arrange them.

      • jubeee

        Yes, we are doing wild but roses are a part of it, its really about the design and arrangement.

  • eating words

    Also, grocery store florists. Friends of ours were really happy with their Stop & Shop flowers, and we’re considering going the same route.

    • Kara

      If you aren’t doing much in the way of flowers, this is definitely a great option. We used Market Street (DFW) for bridal bouquet, 5 maid’s bouquets, 10 boutonnieres, and 2 corsages (all about $200). The only other floral components in our wedding were rose petals on each table (purchased bags of them from 50flowers or something like that).

      Added bonus: the rose petals were picked up by the guests to throw at us during our send off (we had the DJ ask/announce this right before we left–he literally said “Guests: As Kara and Earl prepare to leave for the evening, please grab a handful or two of the rose petals on the tables to toss at them during their send off.” It may not be considered “classy”, but yay for double duty.)

      • Alex Miller

        We are thinking about going with Market Street in McKinney, TX for our flowers and I would love to see photos of how yours turned out! :)

  • Lisa

    Alternatively, for the insane, like me, you can choose your florist way before you ever get engaged, stalk her all through the Internet, and then fly her across the country to do nothing but a bouquet, when the time comes;).

    • Meg Keene

      THAT BOUQUET THO.

      • Lisa

        Sigh. I kind of wish I’d had it sent into space to last forever. The wilting leaf still slays me, as does the tiny black cosmos.

    • RoseTyler

      This begs an uploaded pic!

      • Lisa

        Ah, yes, my pleasure.

        • RoseTyler

          Yay! Stunning!

          • Lisa

            <3

        • jubeee

          gorgeous

          • Lisa

            Thank you, and thank Saipua:).

  • Susan

    Our florist also did event design and planning/coordination. We hired her to do the flowers and coordination for both days of our wedding weekend and she was great and super affordable for the Bay Area. One cost saving tip we came up with was for the bridesmaids bouquets to double as centerpieces (we had pretty tall, no frills glass vases) so that saved a few hundred dollars. I figured that after carrying them for the pictures and ceremony, my bridesmaids didn’t really have anything else they needed to do with them so they might as well perform double duty.

    • Maddie Eisenhart

      SMART

    • Leigh

      who???

      • Susan

        Her name is Andrea Frenkel and her company is called Lily and Mint (http://www.lilyandmint.com/) — she’s now moved a little north into wine country I think so that she can work in both the Bay Area and Mendocino. She did two full days of coordination including all set up and clean up (with a second person on the day of) for $1700 and did our flowers (5 bouquets, a dozen bouts, 8 corsages, ~6 centerpieces and other accent florals like rustic chandeliers and leaf garlands) for about $1800. She was super flexible with my budget and really open to all of my crazy ideas. Also, I didn’t end up using this, but I remember her hourly rate for other planning/pre-wedding help was pretty reasonable as well.

        • Leigh

          awesome, thanks! i’m a little too far- getting married next year close to Santa Cruz.

          • Susan

            That’s where we got married (Ben Lomond) and she traveled down for that.

    • Heather Muto

      We do the same thing in Los Angeles ;)

      It’s so ideal to have a planner/designer/florist wrapped in to one team :)

      ~ Rise to the Occasions Events

  • Mandi P

    I would like to add a florist type: the local flower farm! We got bouquets and boutonnière from this farm, which was close to our ceremony site: http://www.zephyrosfarmandgarden.com/
    Excellent customer service, beautiful flowers, and local!

    • jspe

      +1 to local floral farm. I think we spent…$300? on flowers total.

  • Pingback: How to Hire a Wedding Florist | weddingcarshiregeelong()

  • jubeee

    The retail shops seem to do design in this area. I got a few quotes from the shops in my area and they are all pretty much the same, which makes my decision more difficult….

    • Leigh

      From that point- I try and pick people that make me feel happy/excited and treat me with respect. A few weeks ago, I traveled a long way to speak to one of the potential florists (after arranging a meeting via email) and the first thing she said to me was, “i’m really busy, i can’t help you today.” It was really disappointing. It’s not that hard to email or call someone when circumstances change.

  • anonyfloris

    This post is great! I definitely second looking on wedding blogs for weddings in your city (especially if you live in a more metro area) — that’s how I found my wedding florist. Also, although florists can be expensive, you’ll never know if someone will work with you unless you ask. I ended up working with a one-woman shop who was amazeballs and was interested in working with me despite my small budget — for $500 we did a bridal bouquet, boutenniere for groom, 3 corsages, 10-12 small tabletop bouquets (included rented vintage glass bottles that she obtained and returned). My advice would be to come with lots of photos of what types of flowers you like — I know what I like, but don’t always know the names, so the photos helped.

  • JMarie

    This post has come just in the nick of time for me. My wedding is in April and I’ve contacted two floral designers who are already booked :( My wedding is going to be super small so I only need a bouquet, a few boutonnieres, corsages, and petals for the flower girls. Both of the businesses that I contacted said that my budget was right for what I need ($800). They both have 2000 minimums for that time of year. I have Saipua dreams (http://www.saipua.com/) but a modest budget. The flowers will be one of my splurges. Does anyone have a recommendation for Austin Texas businesses. Help

    • Unfortunately I don’t have recs for Austin – but I DO recommend reaching out to more, and specifically telling them you just want personal flowers and are willing to pick up (or send someone to pick up!).
      I hope you find someone.

    • Tanya

      I’m a florist who recently attended a Saipua workshop and met a new Austin-based floral designer there. You might want to check out her site and see if she’s available: http://taylorcumbie.com/florals/

      • JMarie

        Hey Tanya,

        Thank you so much for the recommendation! I met with Taylor last week. Her work is really beautiful and I’m looking forward to working with her :)

  • howardbprevatte

    5/3+3/3 < I'm money over $8k a month working part time. I kept hearing other people telling me how much earning they can Get online so I decided to look in-to it. welldone' it was a all true and has completely changed my life.How This work

  • Linda Hudson

    Wedding florist must keep in mind that the wedding flowers must only be fresh & long lasting. However you can also get beautiful fresh flower from many wholesale shops. But once I visited this flower shop – Danisa Flowers Shop – http://www.danisaflowers.com/. There wide variety of bulk flowers includes wedding roses, wholesale dahlias, red carnations etc. for DIY Weddings & other special events.

  • Bangalore Florist

    Great photos of some lovely flowers!
    Birthday Gifts Chandigarh

  • Flora Jiang

    I am a florist. I can provide you the cheapest wedding flowers and wedding related products.