1. Meet with the floral designer face to face, if at all possible. Yes, business can usually be conducted over the phone and with email, but she will get a better feel for your style and personality, and you will get a better sense of her skill and competency if you meet in person.
2. Know what you want (for the most part) BEFORE you sign a contract. Some vendors (like me) are somewhat flexible after a contract is signed with additions or substitutions, but ultimately a contract locks you in to the agreement. If you're not fairly certain what you want, you aren't ready to book yet.
3. Once the contract is ready, read it through completely- know what you're agreeing, too. The contract is there to protect both the customer and the business owner.
4. PLAN AHEAD. Even for funerals, you generally know at least a few days in advance when and where the services are going to be held. Whether you call a floral designer or a florist shop, if you don't call until the day of or late the night before, it is likely that the floral designer won't be able to complete your flowers in the time you need.
5. On a similar note for brides; It is extremely time consuming and inefficient (and messy) for a floral designer to arrange centerpieces on site. Generally, venues have a limited set up time allowed. We know it can save you money to borrow vases from the caterer or venue, but if you can't get them by the day before, you should reconsider. As wedding professionals, we like to stay behind the scenes- we want to be out of sight by the time your guests arrive, but if the venue only give us 1 hour to decorate an arbor and arrange 15 centerpieces in the vases you borrowed, we aren't going to have time to finish. Most vases are cheap- you can find great deals on Amazon if you want to buy your own, or collect a bunch of coupons and shop at the retail craft stores.... or just let us provide the vases as part of your order. The small savings on vases is not worth the stress.
6. Finally, be FLEXIBLE. Keep in mind that fresh flowers come from living plants, and as such, there are sometimes unexpected events that may make it difficult to get exactly what you're picturing. Flowers come in many shades, but they may not exactly match the swatch of fabric you got from the bridal store. If the flower farms get too much or too little rain/snow/sun/heat/cold that can change what is available at any given time. Your floral designer will do her best to match your vision and will find the best possible replacement if the blossom you wanted isn't available. If you are flexible, I'm confident you'll be happy with the outcome.
Follow these tips and you'll have smooth sailing with your floral vendor.