The Florist

Frank Soriano
House of Flowers, Mamaroneck
(914) 698-2522

How does a bride go about finding a good florist?
Nine times out of ten, your venue will give you recommendations. And most brides have a lot of friends who are also getting married and that kind of networking seems to work well, too. Once you have recommendations, check out websites and ask the manager of your country club or maître d’ of your catering facility about their history with any vendor you are considering. Then make appointments to interview at least three in person.

How should you prepare for that interview?
Before meeting with prospective florists, determine your budget, choice of venue, and color scheme. Then go on the Internet and pull off as many pictures of things that you like as you possibly can. Also pull up pictures of things you don’t like because sometimes that’s just as helpful.

What questions should you ask when interviewing a potential florist?
‘Are you going to be personally taking care of my wedding on the day of?’ Here at my store I am the only one who does weddings and I am there for the entire event. Also, ask to see their portfolio of work and for the name and contact information for previous wedding clients that you can talk to.

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How far in advance should you hire a florist?
At least a year out or as soon as you’ve selected a venue. If you are going to want to see a sample of the centerpiece—which you should—then having them made up a year in advance of your date will enable you to see the flowers that are going to be in season on the actual day of your wedding.

What duties can you reasonably expect a floral vendor to perform?
In addition to floral décor, most can provide linens and lighting and now, increasingly, lounge-type furniture.
Any words of advice regarding signing a contract?
You don’t want to put down too much of a down payment because circumstances can change for either of the contracted parties. You want to minimize your losses if you need to walk away or if the florist can no longer provide the services. We require a two-hundred-fifty-dollar deposit in order to put a date on our calendar. Fifty percent of the contracted amount is due thirty days before the wedding, with the remainder to be paid in full ten days before. Those terms are pretty typical for the industry.

What are the typical floral needs provided for a wedding?
Bridal and attendant bouquets, boutonnières for all the men in the wedding party, ceremonial flowers, like altar arrangements, a chuppah or wedding canopy, et cetera, and all the flowers for the reception. The latter includes arrangements for the place card table, cocktails tables, ladies room, and dining-table centerpieces.

What table design looks are popular right now?
The shapes of the tables themselves have changed, with people requesting square or rectangular tables, rather than round, to give additional interest to the room. We’re seeing everything from very sleek or urbane long rectangular tables with cloths to more rustic Tuscan farm tables. And we recently did a beautiful look with rectangular tables whose ‘tablescapes’ featured a series of different flowers in different containers, interspersed with candles that ran down the length of the tables.
What’s the big new trend in bridal bouquet design?
Brides are staying away from typical white bouquets and are using a lot of mangoes and purples. And we’re seeing more mono-botanical bouquets that feature all of the same type of flower, like all mini calla lilies.

What looks are trending up for centerpieces?
The use of more than one vase per table—say, three totally different vases or three different sizes of the same vase. Most containers are glass, with the square shape particularly popular. Other fashionable styles include monochromatic design or using different types of flowers but all in the same color, or mono-botanical, where you use different colors of the same type of flower. Another trend is to have high arrangements on half the tables and low ones on the remainder.

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What looks are popular for the chuppah or Jewish ceremonial wedding canopy?
Organic-looking birch chuppahs are very popular for spring, summer, and fall weddings.

What flowers are in—and out—in today’s weddings?
Anemone, ranunculus, peonies, and cymbidium orchids are very popular now and roses and calla lilies are always in style, but carnations and chrysanthemums are definitely out.

What color schemes are popular for weddings right now?
The hottest is deep eggplant mixed with mango and orange; it’s very popular for fall and summer.

How does the venue influence the selection of a floral style?
Certain types of venues lend themselves to certain kinds of looks, like using blue hydrangeas in spaces featuring a water view. Larger venues lend themselves to more grandiose centerpieces and those with lower ceilings call for lower ones.

How does a growing season affect flower availability and cost?
You do pay more for flowers out of season, but most flowers, like roses, tulips, orchids, lilies, Gerber daisies, and hydrangeas—hydrangeas, in particular, are the foundation of the floral business now, in shades of green from lime to oxidized olive and always the blues—tend to be in season for most of the year now.

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Do wedding arrangements ever incorporate items other than flowers?
In the fall, we also see botanicals like artichokes, pomegranates, and berries, and in winter, using crystals is very popular.

Any suggestions for saving money on wedding flowers?
Save money by trusting the florist to tell you where to spend your money so that it goes the furthest. I like to see the bulk of the money spent on the centerpieces because people are sitting there looking at them for four hours. Cocktail table and ladies room arrangements are the place to save.

What do you charge for the various floral components of a wedding?
Centerpieces cost anywhere from a hundred dollars each and up, and bridal bouquets start at one hundred fifty dollars. Cocktail-table arrangements range from twenty to thirty dollars each, and chuppahs start at five hundred dollars.

budding florists
Local Resources

Arcadia Floral Co.
Mamaroneck • (914) 777-2800

Au Ciel
Irvington • (914) 591-1135

Carolyn Dempsey Design
Port Chester • (914) 937-7504

Country Florists
Yorktown Heights • (914) 962-5741

Daniel Florals & Events, Inc
Port Chester • (914) 481-5528

Diana Gould Ltd.
Elmsford • (914) 347-7408

Engaging floral designs
White Plains • (914) 393-2295

Flowers by Carol Kelly
Tarrytown • (914) 980-4456

Forever in Bloom
Mount Kisco • (914) 241-1963

House of Flowers
Mamaroneck • (914) 698-2322

Grayrock Florist
Valhalla • (914) 592-6172

Monica Chimes
West Harrison • (914) 428-7212

Michael George
Pound Ridge • (914) 764-1154

Ned Kelly & Company
Piermont, NY • (845) 359-4480

Nilsson’s Floral Shop
Pleasantville • (914) 769-1311

Petals by Alice
Pleasantville • (914) 788-1081

Prudence Florists
New York • (212) 691-1356

Topiary, The Flower Shop, Inc
Pound Ridge (914) 764-1154
(914) 232-7117

Tryforos & Pernice Florists
Bronxville • (914) 337-2525

Westchester Floral Decorators
Pelham • (914) 633-1900

Whispering Pines of Chappaqua
Chappaqua • (914) 238-5661

X-Quisite Flowers and Events
New Rochelle • (914) 632-8700

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