How to Pick the Right Florist for Your Wedding

Choosing your florist is one of the biggest decisions you’ll need to make for your wedding. Flowers set the mood and tone for the day and will be live forever in wedding photographs, so this isn’t a decision to take lightly.

After you pick a date, set a budget, and secure venues for the ceremony and reception, you’ll need to start finding vendors for nearly every aspect of the big day. For now, though, we’ll focus on finding a florist.

Most planners suggest booking a florist at least 6-7 months in advance of the ceremony, but that is only a guideline and can vary depending on the florist and the time of year. It doesn’t pay to wait, though, because the longer you do, the greater the chances that someone else will book your date. In fact, you may want to start looking for florists fairly early in the process; just be sure you’ve already booked your venues and decided on your colors.

Do Your Homework

Before you begin searching for your florist, you need to two things, one is a ballpark budget, and the other is the floral style you want for your big day.

Since it is early in the process, you may not have an exact budget allotted for flowers, but at this point, you should have a general idea. It is very important for the florist to have both of these bits of information so they can plan accordingly and make sure expectations are met.

When searching for a florist for your big day, it’s always a good idea to ask friends and co-workers for suggestions, especially ones that were recently married. Wedding websites are also a good reference since many of them let you search vendors by city or zip code. Once you have a few possibilities, check out the florists’ websites and social media to determine if their style and price point is a good fit for your vision and budget.

After you’ve narrowed down a few florists, call each one you would like to potentially work with, and find out first and foremost if they are available for your wedding day. If they are, set up a consultation as soon as possible. If they are not available, ask them for a reference. Be honest about your budget when soliciting quotes because that may eliminate some options right away. It’s better to know right off the bat if a florist is not a good fit than to waste your time and theirs.

It’s a good idea to meet with or have a call with anyone you’re strongly considering so you are able to see how well their style and vision for your wedding matches up with your own.

During your consultation, be prepared to spend a chunk time and ask a lot of questions. This is the time to really focus on your bridal vision and get creative. It’s also a time to make some important decisions if your vision doesn’t align with your budget.

I found the perfect florist! Now what?

As soon as you find a florist you like and agree on a budget and style, the florist should present you with a proposal. This document should spell everything out in writing and will likely include some provisions you’ll want to be aware of. Now is the time to negotiate or ask for changes if you are uncomfortable with something listed. Once you sign the proposal, it becomes your contract, so it may be a good idea to have a lawyer look it over before you agree to everything.

Once you sign on the dotted line and pay your deposit, which almost every florist will require – congratulations – you’ve hired your florist and can cross one big item off your checklist! Be sure to notify your florist if any sudden changes happen prior to your wedding day and be available if they need to contact you with questions or concerns.

If you’re recently engaged and are starting to plan your wedding, Congratulations! We want to be your florist! We specialize in weddings and would love to make your special day as beautiful as you imagine it to be. Give our wedding specialist a call at (800) 556-6610 to set up an appointment. We’ll be happy to walk you through the process and answer any questions you may have.
Coming in May – Now that you know how to find the perfect florist for your wedding day, you’ll want to read some tips on what NOT to do when working with your florist.

The Easter Lily Capital of the World

It’s likely you’ve never heard of Smith River, California, but odds are that’s where your Easter Lily was grown. This fertile land – located in the far northwest corner of California – is home to less than 900 residents, but produces about 95% of the world’s Easter lily bulbs – making it the Easter Lily Capital of the World.

With towering redwood trees to the east and the sparkling Pacific Ocean to the west, this gorgeous river valley – comprised of about 600 acres – is considered the most ideal spot on Earth for growing Easter lily bulbs due to its nearly perfect growing climate and soil condition.

In fact, only five Easter Lily bulb farms – owned by four families – produce up to 14 million bulbs each year. So how did this small strip of coastal land become such a dominant force in the production of Easter Lilies?

It all began in 1919 when a man named Louis Houghton introduced some hybrid lily bulbs to the south coast of Oregon and planted the seeds – so to speak – of what would become the Easter Lily Capital of the World. Prior to 1941, nearly all of the Easter lilies plants in North America were imported from Japan, but WWII changed that when Americans found themselves cut off from their beloved white lilies.

By 1945, Houghton’s crop had taken off and there were around 1,200 growers producing bulbs all along the Pacific Coast. That number would steadily drop as growers found the bulbs difficult to grow commercially.

Easter Egg Hunt by Toppers European Floral Design

It takes at least three years to grow the bulb to commercial size, and each year the bulbs must be dug up and sorted by hand – then either shipped to the greenhouse or replanted for another year.

Unlike other crops that are planted, left to grow, and harvested later, Easter Lily bulbs must be planted, harvested and shipped within a span of three months. That means in order to force the bulbs to bloom in time for Easter, they require 40 days of a forced artificial winter by refrigeration followed by a brief growing period in a high-temperature greenhouse.

The growing schedule is crucial since the value of the bulbs drops considerably even one day past Easter. To complicate matters, Easter doesn’t fall on the same day every year and can vary by as much as five weeks, so timing is everything.

With Easter only days away, this magnificent plant is available now. Give us a call or stop by and pick one out for your Easter celebration or check out our selection of Easter flowers.

Are you considering an Easter lily this year? Here are some tips to help you make the most out of your beautiful new plant.

  • If your Easter lily came with a decorative plastic, foil or paper wrapper, remove that as soon as possible in order to prevent the lily from becoming waterlogged.
  • When choosing a “home” for your lily makes sure to choose a location away from drafts and drying heat sources.
  • Water your plant if the surface feels dry, but be careful not to over-water. Easter lilies require a medium moisture level and should never stand in water for any length of time.
  • Potted Easter lilies kept indoors need bright, indirect natural light but, too much exposure to sunlight can cause burning issues.
  • Remove the yellow anthers from the center of each flower to prolong the life of the blossoms.
  • Easter lilies can be planted outside in a sunny location after the flowers have withered away.
  • If you plant your Easter lily outside, cover the roots with mulch to help keep them shaded.
  • Once planted outside, the lily should be watered freely during the active growth period and be kept moist during the winter.

Remember: Easter lily plants are highly toxic to cats.

A Painless Guide to Prom Flowers

Prom season is upon us, and for many high school students across the country, prom may very well be their first experience buying flowers from a professional florist. That can be a daunting task for teenagers who may not know a lilac from a lily, but fortunately, we’re here to help!

Prom flowers typically consist of a corsage for the ladies and a boutonniere for the gentlemen. Traditionally, the colors and flowers used in the corsage and boutonniere were matched to the color of the prom dress; but like most rules, this one was made to be broken.

Modern corsages and boutonnieres are limited only by the imagination, and the flowers available to the florist. However, it’s important to keep in mind that prom night is centered about dancing, so the flowers should not only be beautiful but functional enough to withstand an entire evening of festivities.

How do I know what to choose?

Ideally, the corsage and boutonniere should be purchased together to ensure the colors and styles match, but this isn’t a necessity as long as the florist has enough information from one of the parties. Some prom-goers even bring their dress or a swatch of fabric with them to help the florist get a better idea of what to design.

The first decision when choosing a corsage is: what kind? You may think that all corsages are the same, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. It used to be tradition for the gentleman to pin the corsage to his date’s dress prior to departing for the evening. But prom dresses have evolved to feature spaghetti straps or even no straps, making the ceremonial pinning no longer practical. Instead, many ladies opt for the wrist corsage that can be worn like a piece of jewelry.

Options aren’t limited to the wrist, however, as modern corsages can be worn in other places, such as around the waist or in the hair. It behooves the gentleman to find out which style his date prefers since she will be the one wearing it all evening.

The ladies have it easier when choosing a boutonniere because there are fewer decisions to make. Since boutonnieres are traditionally pinned to the lapel of the tuxedo or suit jacket, the main decision is the color and types of flowers. Since those two elements are usually dependent upon the style of the corsage, it’s usually just a matter of trusting the florist to know what works best.

What kinds of flowers do I want?

There are many different options when it comes to choosing the flowers for your corsage. Roses and spray roses are always a popular choice and can usually be matched well to the dress. Many people opt for carnations which are available in nearly every color imaginable, and some people prefer more bold options like orchids, lilies, succulents, and even birds of paradise.

While some people know exactly what they want, there are plenty of others who don’t even know where to begin when it comes to choosing flowers – that’s where we’re happy to help. In fact, most customers find they end up with the best result by simply giving us their dress color and letting our designers do their thing. We have years of experience with prom flowers and stay on top of the latest styles and trends. Depending on the budget, we can add special features such as jeweled beads, feathers, and lace to truly make each corsage one-of-a-kind.

Prom night is often one of the most important and memorable nights of a young person’s life and the memories from that special night can last a lifetime. We like to think of prom flowers as the icing on the cake, and we’re excited to help create that perfect look to fit every style.

 

It’s Time to Think Spring!

Belle by Topper's European Floral Design

Belle by Topper’s European Floral Design

March is here at last, which can only mean that it’s time to think spring! While most of the country enjoyed a relatively mild winter, it’s always nice to know warmer days are ahead and summer is just around the corner (and don’t forget to set your clocks forward next weekend – March 12).

But before we start thinking about summer, it’s time to celebrate spring and all of the wonderful imagery and rejuvenating energy it provides. In fact, one reason we love spring so much is that it’s nearly impossible to think about spring without thinking about flowers! From tulips to daffodils, and everything in between.

We may be a few weeks away from the “official” start of spring, but by this point, many of us are enjoying the blooming of the deciduous magnolias, cherries, and quince. Spring is a time for growth, new beginnings, and for many, a welcome reward for several months of being cooped up indoors.

Summer will be here before you know it, but don’t go digging out the flip-flops just yet. Right now it’s time to enjoy this sensational season – and all it has to offer.

St. Patrick’s Day

One sure sign that spring has sprung is the arrival of St. Patrick’s Day. No matter who you are, or where you’re from, we’re all a little green on March 17. This particular holiday holds different meanings for everyone, but many use it as an opportunity to get out and have some fun! Of course, one of our favorite things about St. Patrick’s Day is that it features the iconic shamrock!

Shamrocks are a symbol of Ireland and were said to have been used by St. Patrick, Ireland’s patron saint, as a metaphor for the Christian Holy Trinity. Interestingly, there is not a consensus over the exact botanical species of clover that is the “true” shamrock, but instead, the name is sort of a catch-all for a number of three-leaved clovers.

Sunshine by Topper's European Floral Design

Sunshine by Topper’s European Floral Design

Easter

Easter takes place this year on April 16, and what better way to mark the occasion than with an Easter lily? This hearty plant bears a number of fragrant white trumpet-shaped flowers and is symbolic of the resurrection of Christ that is celebrated during Easter. If traditional flowers are more your style, pastel-colored floral designs are also very popular during the Easter season.

May Day

One holiday that often gets overlooked is May Day. Celebrated each year on the first day of May, this holiday originates from an ancient northern hemisphere spring festival and evolved into a secular celebration. Although fading in popularity, it used to be tradition to make “May baskets” full of flowers and sweets and leave them anonymously on neighbors’ doorsteps.

That’s not all…

There are so many more reasons to love spring and so many more reasons to shop for flowers – as if you needed a reason! Spring also ushers in prom season for many high school students as well as the start of wedding season and graduations. As the school year draws to a close, this is also the perfect time of year to thank teachers, coaches, school administrators and facility for all their hard work during the school year. Of course, flowers are an excellent way to do just that. Whatever the reason or occasion, Topper’s European Floral Design is here to help you find the perfect gift. Don’t forget to pick some out for yourself as well! Give us a call, or stop in today – we’re always happy to help.

International Women’s Day 2017 – Be Bold for Change

iwd-logo-portaitjpgInternational Women’s Day is a global celebration of social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women that takes place on March 8. First observed in the early 1900’s, International Women’s Day is also a call to action for accelerating gender equality.

International Women’s Day is an important opportunity to not only celebrate the achievements of women but also a chance to take action as an individual or organization to help raise visibility and awareness in order to help drive positive change for women and accelerate gender parity across the world.

Every person – women, men and non-binary people – can do their part in helping drive better outcomes for women by becoming responsive and responsible leaders in creating a more gender-inclusive world. The World Economic Forum predicts that the gender gap won’t close entirely until 2186, so International Women’s Day provides an opportunity for ground-breaking action that can drive greater change for women.

What Can I Do?

  1. Running your own #BeBoldForChange International Women’s Day campaign is one of the most powerful ways you can influence how quickly gender parity is achieved. Decide which bold action you’d like to take – you can challenge bias and inequality, campaign against violence, forge women’s advancement, celebrate women’s achievement, champion women’s education, or choose your own bold action. Ask your friends, coworkers, and colleagues to declare their bold action on the IWD website and use #BeBoldForChange selfies cards for social media amplification. You can also embed the #BeBoldForChange widget on your own website and call for others to declare their bold action.
  2. Host a #BeBoldForChange IWD event. Invite speakers to articulate and explain that exact moment when they themselves took bold action to help improve or develop an aspect of their own livelihood, career or business – or that of another woman’s or women’s status overall. You can also host a proactive discussion, build a “Bold Actions” wall and ask your audience to declare bold action via their phones.
  3. Share your support through social media by downloading and printing the #BeBoldForChange selfie card. Co-branding is encouraged and you can promote your support for bold action on any social media channels including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Youtube.

“The story of women’s struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organization but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights,” says world-renowned feminist, journalist and social and political activist Gloria Steinem. Thus International Women’s Day is all about unity, celebration, reflection, advocacy, and action – whatever that looks like globally at a local level. But one thing is for sure, International Women’s Day has been occurring for well over a century – and continues to grow from strength to strength. Do you part this year to make a difference; think globally and act locally!

Did You Forget Valentine’s Day?

Oh no – Valentine’s Day is on Tuesday! As the last few hours before Valentine’s Day quickly tick off the clock, now is the time when even the most hard-core procrastinators start to panic. If you still haven’t found that perfect gift, or if you simply forgot (it happens), no worries! You still have some outstanding options left, as long as you know where to look.

Valentines Magic by Topper's European Floral Design

Valentines Magic by Topper’s European Floral Design

Ordering a gift online and having it shipped is just too risky of an option this late in the game. Even with costly expedited shipping fees, there is still some lingering doubt that the correct item will be sent to the correct place at the right time. With so little time left and so little room for error, this option will probably end up being even more stressful than figuring out what to get in the first place.

Your best option now is to find someone who can help – and find them fast! Time may no longer be on your side, but luckily you have friends in the business who are happy to assist you with finding the perfect gifts – and they’re only a phone call away. Want something more than just flowers? Topper’s European Floral Design has you covered with balloons, teddy bears, chocolates, wine, champagne, and so much more!

Cupid's Arrow by Topper's European Floral Design

Cupid’s Arrow by Topper’s European Floral Design

Best of all, after you make that phone call you can rest assured, knowing that the perfect gift is already on its way to being carefully created, packaged and hand-delivered to your valentine in time for Valentine’s Day.

Our customer service representatives here at Topper’s European Floral Design are experts on last-minute gift ideas. Their “Yes We Can” commitment not only makes for a stress-free Valentine’s Day shopping experience but also makes you look like a hero in the eyes of your valentine for being so thoughtful and creative. It will be our little secret that you waited until the last minute!

Pictured here are a few of our most popular choices.

Do Roses Cost More on Valentine’s Day?

Is it true that roses cost more in early February than they do the rest of the year? The short answer is yes, but not just for consumers. Many people are led to believe that flower retailers artificially raise prices to stick it to desperate consumers, when if fact, that couldn’t be further from the truth.

toppersYes, roses cost more this time of year, but they also cost more for the florist, and the wholesaler, all the way down to the grower. The main reason is that the incredible demand for long-stem red roses on a single day puts a tremendous strain on the entire industry, and that affects everyone involved in the complex process of bringing fresh flowers to your door on Valentine’s Day.

In order for growers to meet the annual demand for red roses, they must time the growth of their flowers. This is accomplished by altering the rose plants’ growth cycle to optimize the harvest for February 14. By doing so, the growers must interrupt everyday production for several weeks in order to produce a bumper crop at precisely the right time. Unfortunately, the cost of stopping everyday production comes at a price, and that gets passed on down the line.

Is that the only reason?

That’s one reason for the price increase, but many additional factors come into play before the flowers reach the consumers. For starters, the unusually large harvest of roses can swell up to three times the normal volume that is typical for other times of the year. Since roses are processed manually, this necessitates hiring temporary laborers to help harvest and package the roses. Once the roses are ready to be shipped, importers are not only forced to pay more for the extra needed cargo space, but also for the extra trucks and drivers necessary to handle the extra volume.

Valentine’s Day is one of the busiest days of the years for florists, but our preparation for this holiday begins weeks – if not months – in advance. In order to meet demand, we must hire additional help, work longer hours, and rent additional delivery vans in order to make sure all the orders are delivered on or before the 14th.

Nobody likes to see the annual price spike for roses, but unfortunately, it’s an unavoidable result of supply and demand. With an increasingly crowded marketplace dominated by online-only flower shippers, the profit margins for local florists are razor thin compared to many other times of the year.

So, what’s the good news?

The good news is that we work very hard at Topper’s European Floral Design to keep costs low and prices competitive while never sacrificing quality or service for our customers. We understand the importance of this holiday to our customers and their loved ones and always do our best to exceed their expectations.

Whether it’s a dozen red roses or something else you had in mind for your sweetheart, we’re here to help you find the perfect gift. Remember, the earlier you order, the better! Do yourself a favor by not waiting until the last minute when items are picked over and delivery times are full. Make this Valentine’s Day one they’ll never forget, with the help of your friends at Topper’s European Floral Design.