Peonies or poppies? Lilies or lilacs? Whatever blooms best suit the style of your wedding day, know what to ask your florist so each arrangement arrives fresh, fabulous, and fit to your budget.

By Rachel Sylvester
Updated April 15, 2019
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1. Will you set the flowers up at the site according to my specifications?

"It's always good to know if set up is included in your contract," says Lillian Wright of Mimosa Floral Design. If not, you may need to hire a wedding coordinator. If the florist will be setting up, make sure you both go over a diagram of where everything will be.

2. Will you take away the arrangements at the end?

This could incur an extra fee, but it might be worth the price if it allows you and your wedding party to depart without a backward glance. If you are renting vases or other decorative items, don’t assume the florist will retrieve them. Check the contract to make sure who’s responsible, and be sure you know the venue's policies about cleanup. "Full-service floral designers like to see things through to the end," says Katie Wachowiak, a Michigan-based floral designer. "That means everything from delivering personal flowers, setting up your ceremony and cleaning up at the conclusion of the event. If you're unsure of who will be taking care of table décor, just ask your florist, or check your contract and proposal for clues."

3. Who will be in charge of my wedding flowers?

According to Wachowiak, most florists keep assistants and trusted freelancers by their side to ensure timely completion of flower arrangements for large-scale events. For quality control purposes―and to make sure all your conversations haven’t gone to waste―get confirmation that the floral designer you’ve been dealing with will do the arranging.

4. Do you typically limit the number of weddings you have slated on a weekend?

Ideally, the answer to this is yes―the florist should have one or two, max. However, this may depend on the size of your wedding and the size of the florist. If the florist seems to have an astronomical amount of weddings on their plate, make sure they can devote ample time to your event.

5. What would you consider suitable substitutions for the flowers we have discussed if these are unavailable?

Hammer this out now so you aren’t surprised minutes before you hit the aisle. The florist should guarantee color harmony, size, look, and price. And of course, always request a photo of what the florist has in mind before approving. "Communicate flowers you simply don't like as well," Wachowiak says. "Even if you don't know flower names, provide photos of both blooms and foliage that you would not like to be a part of your arrangements."

6. How will I reach you on the wedding day?

The florist should give you their cell phone number as well as the contact information of their assistant or another member on the floral team. Wachowiak also suggests sharing a list of all your wedding vendors with coordinators or trusted friends who can answer questions on your behalf should they arise.

7. When will the flowers arrive, how will they be transported, and how will they be packaged when they arrive?

Flowers should be delivered at the last possible moment, even if the building is air-conditioned, to prevent wilting. Bouquets should be delivered about half an hour before photography is scheduled to begin. Your florist will determine the delivery time, taking into account the time of year, the temperature, and the sun’s brightness. Florists use climate-controlled vehicles (some have refrigeration), so the blooms arrive fresh.

8. Can you advise me on which flowers would be best for my wedding?

You and your florist should discuss whether it’s an indoor or outdoor event (with sun exposure a factor), the length of the photo session, the gap between ceremony and reception, and so on. These factors will help determine if the flowers you select will be hardy enough.

9. Are there any taxes, overtime charges, gratuities, or fees that aren’t included in the contract?

You don’t want hidden fees to pop up after the wedding (there will be enough last-minute expenses as it is). Make sure the cancellation policy and associated fees are also in the contract. "Fees should be listed in your invoice or contract ahead of time," says Lillian Wright of Mimosa Floral Design. "Sometimes there can be fees for damaged rental items, or if your party is extended, you may incur a late fee for the breakdown staff."

10. When will the balance be due?

While there’s no hard and fast rule, many florists generally request payment 30 days prior to your wedding day.