Hiring a professional florist
WORDS BY Shelley Monk + PHOTOGRAPHY BY Amy Galbaith

The mark of people who are good at their jobs is that they make it look easy. As a floral designer, I often encounter brides looking to “do-it-yourself” some part of their wedding flowers. They think it will not only save them tons of money, but it will be a fun, bonding experience to share with their family and friends. Not to mention it’s easy, right? You can decide for yourself about the “easy” part, but here are some things to consider when you are determining whether to DIY your wedding flowers or hire a professional florist.

Working in a flower shop, we often hear people say how fun it must be to play with flowers all day! While this can be true, what people do not realize is that floral designers have a complex and varied profession. We are not only artists but tradespeople who have trained to learn our craft. Much like botanists, we understand the care and handling, lasting ability, and behavior of the flowers with which we work. We are customer service specialists who deal with custom orders and unique clientele on a daily basis. Every time we make an arrangement, we use all of the aforementioned skills in order to create a floral design personalized to fit each customer. Floral design can be quite complicated and very time-consuming; it is the expertise of a professional florist that makes it look easy.

Greater Access
As florists, we have established relationships with reputable growers and suppliers, which means we have greater access to a wider variety of blooms. When a bride has her heart set on a particular blossom that she saw in the latest wedding magazine, as professional florists, we can tell her whether or not it is in season at the time of her wedding. If it is not in season domestically, we will try to source it from another part of the world. If tapping into the international markets is too expensive, we can offer options to maximize her budget while still achieving the style she wants.

Greater Insight
There is a strict timeline when it comes to preparing wedding flowers. As professional florists, we know that not every flower is going to arrive in optimal shape, and we are prepared for that. We have the resources to arrange for quick replacements and last-minute substitutions due to weather issues or crop failures. Most flowers do not arrive “event-ready.” Many blossoms need time to open or need extra care and handling. We know the product, and we know how to arrange the shipments to allow for the time necessary to make each blossom reach its peak.

Photo by Ashley Merritt

Care and Quality
From the time wedding flowers arrive at the flower shop, they receive special treatment. The bundles of flowers are removed from boxes and unwrapped. Each stem is carefully inspected for quality and the lower foliage is stripped off. The next phase may include hydrating solutions, followed by floral preservative solutions, before the flowers make their way to the flower cooler, where they will be stored until it is time to begin designing the wedding flowers. All these steps require tools and supplies: large coolers, buckets, vases, floral food, clippers, strippers, knives, wire, picks, pins, packing materials, etc. As professional florists, we have all these items at our disposal, and we use them every day.

It Takes a Team
Consider this: an average bridal bouquet can take an experienced floral designer anywhere from one to three hours to create. Now, add on the bridesmaid bouquets, boutonnieres and corsages, ceremony arrangements, table centerpieces, and cake flowers, which all need to be made within a small window of time considering we are working with a perishable product. Does the same person create all of these items? Absolutely not. It takes a team of professionals to create an average-size wedding. So remember, when you hire a professional florist to design your wedding flowers, you are not just hiring the person with whom you had your consultation, you are hiring the whole shop—a group of floral experts who efficiently work together on a daily basis.

What’s in the Value?
As a bride, this is YOUR wedding day—the one day you are supposed to be pampered and showered with attention. This is the time when you should be visiting with family and friends whom you have not seen in ages. Not to mention, this is also the day you are supposed to be well-rested and glowing. This is a moment in time that you will never get back, so do you want to spend it working, rushing, stressing, and missing out on seeing everyone? I sympathize with the idea of making the most of your budget but not at the expense of one of the most important days of your life. When you hire a professional florist to take care of your wedding flowers, you are paying for her time, knowledge, access, insight, quality, and team. This is our business, and it is our reputation, so we want to do a great job for you. And while flowers may seem like a small element, they really can be the finishing touch to your grand day. Let a professional florist help you bring your vision to life … it is what we do best.

Florist Consultation Checklist

Photo by Taylor Glenn

What To Bring:
•Pictures of flowers you like (bouquets, boutonnieres, centerpieces, etc.)
•Pinterest link
•Color swatches
•Personal elements you would like to incorporate
•Budget concerns, if you have any

What Your Florist Will Ask:
•Wedding date/time
•Wedding/reception venue
•Color scheme/style
•Dress colors (bride and bridesmaids)
•Number in wedding party
•Reception table count
•Delivery or pick-up needed

What You Should Ask:
•Availability on the date you need
•Portfolio of the florist’s work
•Payment terms
•Delivery charges
•Rental items
•Seasonal availability of flowers

Shelley Monk is a professional florist and manager of the floral department at MD Nursery in Driggs, Idaho. The Flower Market @ MD Nursery is a full-service floral shop servicing the Jackson and Teton Valley areas. The floral shop provides personalized consultation for every event—from complex weddings to simple birthday arrangements. For more information, contact Shelley by calling 208/354-8816, e-mailing her at, visiting, or stopping by The Flower Market @ MD Nursery, located off Highway 33 in Driggs.

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