Having a Relationship With Your Florist – Step 1: Choosing A Florist

kristibee tulips and hydrangeas and cherry blossom branches

Most people never set foot in a florist shop. Online FTD websites and 1-800-flowers are about all they know about ordering flowers – and it’s usually done for spur-of-the-moment occasions: a birth, a death, Valentine’s Day… Flowers are kind of a personal gift, given at times of intense personal experiences, knowing who your florist is, and what services they offer is a great way to get the most out of your gift of flowers.

Step one: choose a florist. How to choose? Here are a few considerations:

  • Convenience, something close enough to your office or house that you could swing by to pick up last minute orders (and save on delivery fees).
  • Pick one or two and stop by to get a feel for them: what is the shop like?  What type of flowers are in the cooler? What else do they sell in the shop? Gifts? Plants?
  • Is the florist located in or near a shop that also carries gifts?
  • What’s their style? Are their arrangements open and airy? tight and close? modern? Check out arrangements they have already made or ask to see photos of what they can do. Do you like their style? If not, check out another florist.
  • Now order some flowers. Talk with the florist about what you want. Are they helpful? Do they make suggestions? Can they work within your budget?

Once you’ve settled on a florist, use them! The more you use your florist, the more you’ll get to know each other. Just like any relationship the more you interact the more you’ll know about each other. You’ll learn the types of flowers you like to give, the types of flowers your florist keeps in stock and the types of flowers you can request that they special order. They’ll in turn be able to suggest ideas that will make your gifts of flowers much more personal and meaningful.

So, how ’bout we forgo the impersonal websites and convenience of ordering a “Spring Mix” and make a visit to your local florist?

Boutonnieres: To match or not to match?

On a recent Wednesday we had a young man walk into the shop wanting to order two boutonnieres for his wedding – it was going to be a quick informal wedding at the courthouse on Friday night with a bigger party celebration planned for later in the year. Oh fun! We love these impromptu (small) weddings!

Poor guy, we inundated him with a lot of questions trying to figure out what kind of boutonnieres to make for him. He probably thought it was going to be a quick and easy decision, instead, he left without deciding so he could talk to his partner about all the questions we raised.

Why did we ask so many questions? We didn’t mean to confound him, and I don’t think we did, but arranging flowers is selling both a product and a service. When you make flowers to order there are infinite possibilities, and many things to consider on both the part of the florist and customer. Flowers you wear or carry can say as much about your personality as your attire, in fact, they make the best accessories! He and his partner had a few things to consider:

What are you going to wear? What colors? White is a typical color for weddings, and is very elegant, but if you are both wearing dark colors, white flowers may stand out too much. Consider flower colors that will complement what you are wearing. Pick an accent color from your tie or shirt and match the flowers to it. Have these colors in mind when you are speaking with your florist.

Do you want matching flowers? Consider the same flower, but in different colors. Many flowers available to florists come in multiple colors. Perhaps you are both wearing different outfits, then having the same flower in your boutonniere can unify the look.

What’s your favorite flower? This is a fun option to consider! If your favorite flower is the sunflower, it can be a bit big as a boutonniere, but consider using a yellow daisy-like flower called the Viking Pom, which looks like a miniature sunflower.

Visit your florist instead of calling to see what they have on hand. It’s fun to browse the flowers and you might see a flower you’ve never seen before that makes a great option for your order. Your florist can make suggestions, too, and show you some examples of flowers that would make good boutonnieres.

What did this gentleman decide? Ultimately he let us decide! He told us they were both wearing light blue shirts with dark jackets and jeans, with plaid bow ties. We chose flowers that we had on hand (it was Friday, the day of his wedding that he called back with his order.) We chose blue Sea Holly – a thistle-like flower that is a grey-blue color; some green Hypericum berries as an accent; and used a couple of Bay Leaves. The Sea Holly made a great boutonniere – it’s masculine, and its outer petals have a snowflake-like shape, which was perfect for this winter wedding.

Flower note: If you order your flowers the week of, know that you are limited to the flowers your florist has in stock. You may have to make an exception. If you want more options, go to your florist at least two weeks in advance and ask about what kinds of flowers they can order if you don’t see what you like in the cooler. Know that your florist must order their flowers in bunches even though they are only using one or two blooms for your boutonnieres. They may be able to use the extra flowers for other arrangements, but if they can’t, they may have to pass the expense on to you. It is also wise to take the season into account. Flowers that are not in season in your region will most likely be expensive and may not be at their best.

Ettiquette note: boutonnieres are made to be pinned to a lapel – if you are not wearing a jacket you should not wear a boutonniere, and suspenders don’t count as a lapel!

For this article, I am discussing ordering flowers just for the wedding party – this means flowers for the grooms only, maybe one or two more for an official or a family member. This kind of flower order can be made the week of the event unless you want a specific flower, then you should call your florist at least two weeks in advance. Some considerations change for larger wedding/reception events, such as contracting with your florist months in advance so they can plan!