How to Nail Down Your Clients' Style

Pop quiz: what does “rustic” mean?

Ok, now “retro”?

And “glam?”

Most importantly – if we surveyed 100 brides and 100 likely do you think it is that we’d get 100 of the same answer for each of the most common wedding styles*?

Probably pretty low. After all, the science of categorization is finicky at best and there’s a good chance that you and your bride might have vastly different ideas as to how to define “boho.” 

If you’re at this point of clarification, here’s the recap of your past steps: you’ve done a consultation with your clients and know the basics - what floral pieces they need, what their colors are and that they want a “rustic” wedding. They have signed the event contract and paid their non-refundable retainer. Now, it’s time to get aligned on style preferences. But don’t worry – we have an easy system on how to make sure you and your bride get on the same page!

Hint - it starts with an inspiration photo and ends with questions. Lots and lots of questions!

Step 1: Review THEIR Inspiration Photos

Before you and your clients signed the contract, you likely received a few inspiration photos so you had a general idea of the scope to determine pricing. Now that you are ready to order supplies and create their wedding florals, it is time to pull those out and look at them more closely. Are the images very similar? Are they wildly different? Is there one particular flower or greenery style that threads all of the pictures together? 

Step 2: Gather YOUR Inspiration Photos

Once I have taken a closer look at the photos and have an idea of what they want, I will often send them a photo that is different from their inspiration (one that I have found in the depths of Pinterest or Google images) to get the clients’ thoughts on it. It’s an opportunity to see what is truly important to them. It is also an opportunity to see if you already have a good grasp of their particular style. 

Something to note - you should not promise to make their bouquet/centerpiece/arch swag the exact same as the inspiration photo you sent to them (or from any of their inspiration photos). 1. Their photo might be of fresh flowers and greenery but most importantly, 2. The photo is for inspiration only. You and the person who created that particular piece are individual artists. 

If you’re lucky, your bride will say “retro” and all of her photos will perfectly match your vision of retro. But many times, what they say they want, and what they show you they want, will be two pretty different things.

Your job here is to basically show them what you’re hearing. Look at the inspiration photos they’ve given you. Cross reference that with how they’ve been talking about their wedding. Based on this, that should give you an actual feel for their wedding vibe. This step is CRUCIAL because you’ll want to make sure the bride is aligned with your understanding of the direction of the wedding before you move forward.

Step 3: Ask The Basic Questions

If you’re comfortable with the general aesthetic of the wedding, now you’ll need to start filling in the gaps with some basic questions. Non-exhaustive list of questions I like to ask is as follows:

  • What are your favorite flowers?
  • Can you order the dress color swatches for your bridesmaids (for paint matching)?
  • Is your overall wedding color story in warm or cool tones? This will help you to determine whether you will need to lean towards blue toned or yellow toned greenery.
  • What shapes are you thinking for bouquets, arch swags, and centerpieces?
  • What’s the height of everyone in the wedding party? This one may seem silly, but a 7-foot groom probably needs a larger boutonniere to remain proportional. A 4’10” bride may need a more size-appropriate bouquet. Matching sizes is key!
Step 4: Ask The Additional Questions

Now that basic questions are out of the way, you’ll want to ensure you’ve got a good idea of the fine details of your bride’s big day. Consider inquiring about:

  • What are the venue aesthetics? “Glam” can work in a barn just as well as “boho” can be stunning in an industrial space. That said, you may have to amp up the florals to help carry the style.
  • What other pieces are you working into the wedding decor? Knowing what other elements will be included (candelabras, bird cages, lace table runners) can also influence the style and steer some of the smaller details in the florals. Eg. - a lace bouquet handle would be a good fit with lace runners even if that is not traditionally a “modern” wedding element.

And now for the final step – process photos!

Step 5: Reviewing Process Photos

At this point, both you and your client have shared inspiration photos, you’ve gotten key information on shapes, colors, the venue, and even the heights of bridal party attendees. You’re officially ready to get started on creating.

We highly recommend taking process photos/work-in-progress photos. This takes extra time in the beginning, but it will save a TON of time on the back end. For instance: imagine the specific paint color you’ve chosen isn’t to the liking of your client. You definitely want to find that out after having painted 5 flowers as opposed to 100 flowers.

Just keep sharing photos and continuing your relationship with the client and you’ll have created their perfect wedding in no time!

Putting It All Together

What may have started out as a client wanting a “classic” wedding can turn into what you would label as a “garden” wedding after sharing inspiration photos, asking plenty of questions to narrow down their options and sending process photos. And that’s ok! A rose by any other name is just as sweet, and a wedding by any other title is still one of the greatest days of your clients’ life. And by taking extra careful steps, you’ll have done your part to guarantee that their vision, no matter what arbitrary style it is labeled, comes to life.

*Here are two great articles on some of the top wedding styles you may encounter. This one is from The Knot and this one is from Elegant Weddings.

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