Flowers for your party or event are one of the final decorative touches that pulls everything else together. For this reason alone they should be chosen with great care as they are not only a visual expression of the occasion but also of your personality and taste.

Choose a florist preferably from personal recommendation or if necessary from the internet or yellow pages. Arrange a meeting first of all to make sure that you gel with the person who is going to have a prominent role in your party plans.

Remember a talented florist should listen, advise and at times even sympathise. He or she should be well-qualified and have good quality and reliable suppliers at their fingertips.

If they can’t answer straightforward questions easily and guarantee absolutely that you will get the flowers you have ordered for your party on time, leave them alone.

Set a firm budget for your flowers and stick to it, it pays to know that while some florists appear cheaper they often use less reliable wholesalers who may substitute flowers at the last moment. Also although some florists will do special packages, at a set price, you find you are restricted on what you can order.

If you have a definite colour scheme in mind for your party flowers it is a good idea to take design sketches and fabric samples along to your chosen florist.

Check with your florist which are the best flowers to use if you are planning a party during a hot period of the year – you don’t want them wilting before the party has even begun! Sadly wild flowers are not practical as they have a tendency to wilt.

Don’t keep changing your mind once you have made a decision on your flowers – you must have a cut-off point and settle once and for all on what is right for your day. Florists are busy people who can get understandably irritated by ditherers.

Ideas may be sought from designer magazines, floral design books and florists’ catalogues. Seasonal flowers, while rather restrictive in their choice, particularly in winter, are much cheaper for those on a budget.

A beautiful idea in long rooms is to hang the walls with floral garlands, while bare pillars in can be hung with displays of trailing foliage, roses and autumn berries etc.

Flower arrangements for the venue will depend on the size of the rooms and available space but a rough guide to positioning flower arrangements would be as follows: main entrance, any window sills, staircases, on the bar, on the top table (small), individual tables, a series of arrangements on a buffet table and pedestals in corners or central points.

Fresh or freeze-dried rose petals look wonderful scattered on tables.

Seashells mixed with blue and white flowers look lovely for summer parties.

Always check with your florist exactly when the flowers will be delivered and whether there is a delivery charge.

Find out where your florist intends to arrange the flowers and whether he or she needs space to work in at the party venue. Also whether your florist will manage all arrangements concerning the flowers, including transportation of flowers.

You may in the end decide to do all the flowers yourself but, be warned, this is a huge undertaking that is time consuming and possibly exhausting if you are planning a large event. If you do take the bull by the horns remember that to keep flowers fresh they should be sprayed with cool water and stored in a cool dark place until they are needed.