Peonies or poppies? Lilies or lilacs? Whatever blossoms suit your style, know what to ask so they’re fresh, fabulous and fit your budget.

Debra McClinton

1. Will you set the flowers up at the site according to my specifications?

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 containers 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.

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

For quality control―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. If you’re having a large wedding, it may be too much work for one florist, so she should be aided by a trusted associate.

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 her plate, make sure she is confident that she 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. You may even want to request a picture of what the florist has in mind before approving.

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

The florist should give you a cell-phone or pager number.

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?

o:p>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.

10. When will the balance be due?

While there’s no hard and fast rule, florists generally request payment about two weeks before the wedding.