Philadelphia Tattooed Wedding Allebach Photographer
Home »
Choosing Florists

How to pick a Floral and Event Designer by Tanti of Papertini

(This is Tanti of Papertini our recommended floral and event designer. She is awesome)

Congratulations, you got engaged and are now planning a wedding! It is, I kid you not, one overwhelming shabongle indeed (shabongle is my term of endearment for "stuff", like "smurf" for nouns. Kekekekekeke).

I would like to begin my post by telling you what I did for my own wedding. I spent a total of $ 300. My husband wore his bathroom, my dress was a $ 19.99 black prom gown from Kohl's and my shoes were $ 25 from Steve Madden. Our ceremony took place in our second living room in our Stevens Point, WI rental house and dinner took place in the kitchen. Our roommate got ordained online and he married us in his long leather jacket. Our total guests were 3, who happened to be all my bestfriends/witnesses. After we said "I do!", I changed my outfit, went to the kitchen and cooked dinner for everybody. Ah, yes, flowers. I didn't even think about them until about 3 hours before the ceremony, at work (yes, I worked full day that day) and I saw flower bunches being sold at the farmer's market. Didn't have cash, so I had to borrow $10 from my co-worker (bless her heart, my dear Nicole) to buy that bunch of wild flowers.

You all probably think ... "What the hell are you doing owning and running a wedding floral and event design company?!?!" Well, plain and simple: I am a creative soul and flowers so happen become my art tool of choice! I love designing and making those designs come true for my clients. This is such a gratifying work emotionally and artistically. I simply love it!

For the longest time, I did keep that story to myself and didn't bother telling my clients fearing that it will drive them away. But now, I tell that story with no hesitation. Do you know why? Because it helps explain a couple of things:

1. Priority

I gave my husband HIS DREAM WEDDING. The man hates weddings, hates receptions and parties and he would rather die than throwing a wedding. I need a goddamn Green Card (HAHAHAHA), we both didn't have money and so guess what? GC trumped weddings anyday!

2. Beggars cannot be choosers

I ain't Oprah, but I didn't want a City Hall wedding either. Stevens Point City Hall is NOT as sexy as Philadelphia's. So yeah, I settled with the option that I AND my husband were willing to settle AND BE HAPPY with. Armed with my own cheapo-gallore experience, I always emphasize to any of my potential and current clients this point: don't get in debt throwing your wedding. So be budget conscious and most importantly, be REALISTIC. In your search for a floral and decor "soulmate", here are the list of preliminary work that will ease your search process:

  • Determine your VENUE and Color Scheme first. - Without the venue, we don't have a canvas to paint on. Floor plan and table shapes are important information as well. For example, long garlands and table runners look way better on rectangular tables vs round tables, farm tables do not need linens, balancing the placement of tall and short arrangements, etc. - The importance of having color scheme is pretty straight forward because floral selection is impacted by it (i.e. there are limited types of flowers that come in deep purple colors)
  • Select 2-3 floral design companies who you want to talk to. Where to begin?? I would start from word of mouth first: either ask your friends/family or ask your venue or photographer for recommendations (this is mostly how our clients found out about us). If none of those recommendations fit your taste, move on to Wedding Wire, Yelp, the Knot or Instagram by searching with proper hashtags (i.e for Philadelphia: #philadelphiaweddings, #philadelphia #wedding) Don't judge the book by its cover, in that, if their website is outdated BUT they have amazing CURRENT reviews (say, check their Wedding Wire or Yelp reviews), give them a chance. Do you know why? Updating website is a pain in the wolla wolla because we most likely spend our time working on orders vs updating websites (but most will update their social media more often).
  • Got your list of florists to meet? Good! Now, coming into the meeting, set a Pinterest board or at least email some pictures of things that you like for the wedding (bouquet, boutonniere, ceremony decor, centerpieces, etc.). NOW, please keep in mind that MOST floral designers do not like to copy other people's work. We do use Pinterest board as a GUIDING TOOL to better understand your overall vision and your stylistic personality. Please don't come in and demand "that EXACT thing." We cannot recreate the EXACT thing because we will not use THAT SAME ingredients. Nothing in nature is exactly the same, the universe makes everything unique even within the same species. Also, why in the world do you want to copy other's people's wedding when you can totally have a uniquely yours?

3. Next, have a ROUGH estimate of your budget. Set aside a 8-10% of your OVERALL wedding budget as use that as a baseline for your floral budget. You can go more or less. 4. When you go and meet with the floral designer, let them know what your overall vision is first and then ask for what their opinion whether that vision can work for your venue and your budget. For example, mason jars are probably not going to work well being setup in Ritz Carlton or black sexy modern tall rectangular vases are not going to work well at the Olde Homestead barn setting. Come with an OPEN MIND and be FLEXIBLE, particularly if you have a strict budget. Great designers will give you WHAT YOU NEED in the most beautiful, aesthetic way WITHIN your budget. It may not be what you want, but believe me, when you find that floral soulmate, they will melt your heart when you walk into that room even at the end of the day it no longer looks anything like what your Pinterest/inspiration board starts out as.

5. Try to book your floral designers no later than 3 months out. This allows us to source out for your wedding in a timely manner AND also give enough room to make big changes.

6. On the day of, please make sure to give your floral desginer a contact number OTHER THAN yours. If you don't have a planner, maybe provide your maid of honor/bridesmaid's phone number. We need to be able to contact you without bugging you!!

7. HAVE FUN!!! That is why it is important to surround yourself with capable, competent and reliable vendors. It is your big day and the last thing you need is going crayballz! So the goal should be to walk down the aisle, marry the love of your life and have fun! Wow! That was one long post! Congratulations for you have survived the reading activity! Hehehehe... I hope you find it helpful and it is my sincere hope that you'll get to enjoy your walk on the flowery path! Long live and prosper!


Tanti of Papertini

Owner/Principal Designer, is a self-taught floral designer who learned the trade through years of hard work and experimentation. Fascinated by modern abstract sculptures, but also inspired by Disney's old school cartoons and Japanese animations, she finds the creative process therapeutic and a great way to let her imagination run wild. When she's not in the design studio, she can be found reading mangas, watching Korean soap operas, or whipping up a feast for friends.

(Papertini is Allebach Photography's Recommended Floral Designer for Philadelphia)