You’ve set the special day, and there is so much to do to get ready. The excitement is consuming you to the point that you just want to burst, and there are so many preparations that you barely know where to start! So just relax for a minute, take a deep breath, and read this quick and easy guide to help reduce stress and help ensure a picture-perfect day with these easy tips from design professionals.

First Things First
One of the first things you need to do in planning your wedding is to select the dresses. You can call your florist up to a year in advance, but you usually won’t need to meet with him or her until you know what you and your bridesmaids will be wearing. The bride and bridesmaids gowns will be the key to the wedding, and everything will need to revolve around them.

Once you’ve selected the gowns, get a few pictures to bring in. Next, pick up two or three of the top bridal magazines, and look through them. Clip pictures of any floral presentations that particularly appeal to you. These will help your floral consultant understand the styles, colors, and flower types you like best and design something that will fit your tastes.

Choosing a Wedding Florist
Before calling florists, ask friends and relatives if they have any recommendations. The best wedding florists typically do lots of weddings. So, it’s likely you know people who have used their services or seen their work. Then, call or visit a few of the best florists. Confirm that they serve the locations where your ceremony and reception will be held, and inquire about setting up a consultation.

You may also want to ask if they have pictures of their work. Quality wedding florists are seasoned professionals who will guide you through the process and help you select what’s right for you. The important thing is to get to know your floral designer, discuss options, look at specific flowers and colors together, and make sure you’re comfortable. This is your special day, so you need to make sure you have someone experienced, reliable, and creative to help you plan your special day.

If possible, you should have the dresses picked out and a meeting scheduled with your florist about six months prior to the wedding. Remember, you don’t want another bridal party or parties to beat you to your florist of choice for a particular date, so earlier is better. If you have an indecisive personality or just want moral support, bring a mother or bridesmaid along for input. Two heads are sometimes better than one, but avoid having too many cooks spoil the soup.

Meeting with Your Florist
Wedding flowers can be anywhere from a few hundred dollars for an intimate nuptial to tens of thousands of dollars for an impressive ceremony and reception. A lot depends on the location, number of guests, and how you want your wedding to be remembered. Be upfront with your florist about your wishes and your approximate budget.

Show the designer your pictures of the dresses or fabric swatches and any magazine photos that you like. Ask about color variations, as well as which flowers will be in season and consequently the best value. You should also consider the vitality of the flowers, so that you will have great looking pieces that won’t fade over the course of the day. Listen to your florist’s suggestions. If you did your research and picked a good one, he or she will know from experience how to bring your desires to reality.

Enhancing Your Special Day
When considering wedding flowers the key elements are the bridal bouquet, selections for the bridal party and parents, decorations for the church or ceremony, and centerpieces for the reception. Consider table coverings woven completely of flowers for the guest card table, and discuss ways you might use some pieces at both the ceremony and reception. Many florists will even provide the transportation services.

To make the celebration extra special, you may want to consider small accent pieces for doorways, pews, cake, alter, and even the car. Single flowers placed at each table setting are an exquisite touch, and encouraging guests to take home the centerpieces will make your wedding especially memorable. Many florists can also provide plants, votive candles, candelabra, linens, and other decorations, often on a rental basis to save you money.

Anything Is Possible
No matter what you see in magazines or at other ceremonies, remember that almost anything is possible when it comes to wedding flowers. The two wedding flower designers interviewed for this article are both good examples. One is an expert on Hindu weddings, creating gorgeous canopies of flowers under which the couple is married, and the other has incorporated feathers, twigs, candles, and even street signs into his designs.

But more importantly, both have mastered the art of working with each bride to create something special just for her. So, whether you’re looking for traditional or contemporary, lavish or understated, your qualified, professional florist is there to make that day go perfect. After all, you only get married once.