The Complete Guide to Your Florist Contract, Decoded

There's more to your flower order than just peonies and greenery.
lindsay tigar the knot
Lindsay Tigar
lindsay tigar the knot
Lindsay Tigar
Wedding Planning Contributor
  • Lindsay contributes articles to The Knot Worldwide, with a specialty in honeymoon travel and creating wedding planning.
  • Lindsay owns a content agency, Tigar Types, to help businesses of all sizes grow their digital footprints.
  • Lindsay freelances for a plethora of publications, covering many topics, ranging from wedding advice and planning to travel, health and more.
Updated Dec 18, 2023

For most couples, a centerpiece of their wedding design comes straight from Mother Nature herself: the flowers! While the most exciting part of finding a wedding florist is coming up with the arrangements and bouquets, reading the fine print is equally important. After you search The Knot Vendor Marketplace for a top-rated florist in your zip code and decide to hire them for the big day, read our advice below for what your contract should (and should not) include.

1. Statement of Work

We chatted with Leah Weinberg, a lawyer, co-founder and partner of Oduberg Law, LLP, to provide the best strategies for reading a florist contract before you sign on the dotted line. First and foremost, Weinberg says to know exactly what you're paying for, including every last stem. As she explains, the contract with your florist should either reference or incorporate a detailed proposal from them that sets forth what they provide you and how much everything costs.

Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • Number of bouquets
  • Number of boutonnieres
  • Number of centerpieces
  • Any/all florals for ceremony and reception
  • Cost of materials
  • Design fees
  • Labor costs
  • Taxes

"Of course, the total counts may shift a bit on things, but you should be committing to purchase a certain quantity of flowers and arrangements, and on the flip side, your florist should be committing to provide those same things," she says.

2. Weather Policy

When it comes to flowers, there are so many things entirely out of anyone's control. Sometimes, you have a grand vision for a specific arrangement, and no matter how hard your florist tries, they just can't pull it off. Weinberg says given the unpredictability of flowers themselves; it's vital your florist contract answers questions like

  • What if a particular type of flower that's usually in season suddenly becomes unavailable?
  • What if a specific bloom is in season but when the florist goes to the flower market to purchase them for the wedding, the quality isn't up to par?
  • What if your wedding happens to be on a really hot day, outdoors, and with no tent?

"Your floral contract should outline what happens in these situations when Mother Nature just isn't cooperating," she says. "It's important for the florist to know their obligations in those scenarios and what you can expect in those situations."

3. Delivery Locations

Weinberg says one thing that often gets overlooked in floral agreements is the number of delivery locations. While it's a given that the florist will deliver arrangements to where the ceremony and reception are taking place, what if the marriers need personal flowers (bouquets, boutonnieres) delivered to their getting-ready location? "That could result in an extra charge from the florist," she says. "So, if you don't want to be surprised by additional fees, have the contract with your florist outline how many locations they are agreeing to deliver to at the stated price."

4. Time Requirements

Before you sign the contract, Weinberg says you need to fully understand the set-up requirements for your florist—especially the timing. Some venues are strict with allotted time, and you don't want to run into a hiccup the morning of your big day.

To help everyone prepare, Weinberg says the contract with your florist should be clear on how much time they need to set up before the start of the wedding.

"A sometimes missed detail is finding out by what time dinner tables need to be set up and dressed with linens so that the florist can start working on placing table arrangements and decor," she says. "This timing will also impact your caterer or venue (if it's full-service), so it's important to have this information and ensure everyone is on the same page. Scheduling vendors is like a giant jigsaw puzzle where everything has to work and fit together."

5. Cancellation Clause

If planning weddings during the COVID-19 pandemic taught us anything, it's to prepare for the worst-case scenario. While you hope your wedding will go off exactly as planned if an emergency comes up and you no longer will need the florist, how much money could you potentially lose? Most florists—and any vendor for that matter—will likely require a non-refundable deposit. And for florists specifically, you likely won't be able to get a refund within a week of the wedding, as orders need to be made. Read the fine print and ask questions if you have them.

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