It’s Wednesday, so you know what that means: Engagement 101! So far, we’ve covered wedding planners and photographers, but today we’re moving on to our first decor vendor: the florist! Danny of The Savage Garden filled me in on the vital information you need on how and when to choose your wedding day florist.

Gone are the days of weddings full of white roses. Florists are increasingly creative with their use of color, unusual blooms, and interesting vessels. With arrangements hanging from the ceiling and lots of found objects, the sky is the limit with floral design.

So when do you need to hire a florist for your wedding?

From Danny: “You should book your florist as far out as one year. Popular dates book quickly, and there is real competition for the better floral designers. I like to have my final walk-through at the venue one month before the actual wedding. That way guest counts are pretty final, and we have time to capture any last minute design changes.”

What are your favorite floral options for casual and formal weddings?

From Danny: “I like the backyard wedding format for a casual wedding. They tend to be more intimate and the decor as more of a collected look — think Anthropologie! I think candelabra floral arrangements are a must for formal weddings. They always lend an air of sophistication.”

What’s your favorite floral trend for 2011 weddings?

From Danny: “Love next year’s color trend of muted, soft tones…blush, parchment, coral, peach, and butter yellow.”

Any final words of floral advice?

From Danny: “First, try to find a floral designer that specializes in weddings and events. Because they specialize in only events, they have the expertise to help you take your concept to the next level. Next, ask for referrals. Finally, don’t shop price alone. All floral designers buy their flowers from the same places, so if a price seems too good to be true, you’ll probably get exactly what you pay for in skimpy arrangements and grocery store flower varieties.”

In short: ask for referrals, look for a florist who specializes in events, and get creative! Let your flowers showcase your personality, and don’t be afraid to break the mold when it comes to floral design.