Choosing flowers is one of the most exciting parts of wedding planning. Most brides love flowers but have little idea which blooms they truly want, nor do they have any idea what to expect to pay or what they can afford. For most couples, their wedding is the first time they engage the services of a floral designer, so how does one go about choosing and hiring a florist?
We asked Lisa Gifford of Lisa’s Flower Shoppe for advice.

Q.    How did you start in the floral business?
A.    I fell into the floral industry purely by accident, and have been here for more years than I can remember! God gave me this gift, and I don’t see me doing anything else.

Q.    Where should a bride begin when deciding on her wedding flowers?
A.    Start by identifying your style. Create an inspiration board of the styles of bouquets and arrangements you like. Clip magazine photos. Collect fabric swatches, and maybe even take pics of your dress and bridesmaids’ dresses. These can all help give your florist a sense of what you’re looking for, so do your research!
Be ready to discuss your overall vision, your theme and colors and any preferred or favorite flowers, as well as the arrangements and decor you are wanting. If you are organized, the interview will go smoother and quicker, and the florist should be able to answer everything in one visit.

Q.    What types of questions should a bride ask a florist to help determine who to hire?
A.    She should ask how many years of experience they have, especially experience with weddings. She should also find out what’s included in the cost – delivery, set up, vases? Be sure to look at examples of their work. Ask about payments and contracts. Most florists will provide a written contract, so you can both be sure you’re getting what’s expected. Payments are generally expected to be made in advance.

Something many people don’t realize is that not every color exists in flowers in nature. For example, if your wedding colors include blues or teals, and you want that in your floral arrangements, we’ll have to work with silks or dying the flowers or accenting with ribbon.

Q.    How far in advance should couples plan their florals?
A.    Six to eight months before the wedding would be nice so that everything can be coordinated. If you aren’t looking for unusual or out-of-season flowers, one to two months before might be adequate. But be aware that good florists book up fast during the busy season, so the sooner you secure a florist, the better.

Q.    What is your best advice?
A.    Ask questions. Don’t hold back, don’t be afraid to ask anything, because pretty much anything can be done! Your florist wants your vision to come true. And especially, talk openly and honestly about your budget from the very beginning. Most florists can work with you no matter how much you have to spend, but it’s important to start the conversation early, and be open to ideas and alternatives they may suggest.

Lisa’s Flower Shoppe is located at
120 Clarksville Street in Paris, Texas.