Florist or Floral Designer? How to Know Who to Engage

The terms, florist and floral designer, are commonly used in the flower industry. What’s the difference? In what instances would you hire a florist or floral designer?

First, let’s take a look at the characteristics of a floral designer vs a florist.

florist or floral designer


Difference between florist and floral designer

Florists offer a range of floral products they re-produce on a regular basis, usually from a ready catalogue such as gift bouquets for special occasions, flower posies in boxes or vases as well as funeral flowers. They usually have a physical storefront although these days more florists are offering their products via online. Additionally they may fulfil orders received through a third-party flower delivery network.

On the other hand, a floral designer is a creative who specialises in designing unique floral creations for weddings or events. He or she usually works from a studio and does not necessarily always have flowers available in their cool room. Their creations are usually personalised or custom to what the client wants. 

In what instances would you engage a florist or floral designer?

Whether you need the services of a florist or floral designer depends on how much personalisation you want for your flower arrangement or how custom you want it to be.

For instance, do you want a flower arrangement which you could easily order from a catalogue? If you are happy with a particular design from a catalogue, then the florist will be able to reproduce the design for you.

However if you are after something which is personalised for you or for an event that involves a consultative process, then you most likely need the services of a floral designer. Nonetheless a florist can also be a floral designer if they design arrangements.


Whether or not a florist can design depends on his or her skill levels to create those floral designs. Do they have any qualifications or training in floristry? Or do they have years of experience that have equipped them with the skills to design? Will they be able to come up with ideas that meet the needs and style of the client? Are they able to fully execute the client’s desired design?

Usually if a florist has qualifications in floristry, they are equipped with the skills to execute a variety of arrangements.

For example, when I studied my Certificate III in Floristry in Sydney, I learned techniques in crafting a range of designs. For example, bouquets and arrangements, including constructing wired bouquets, corsages, flower crowns etc. Plus I took exams where I had to complete those designs within a set time.

So the qualification equips the student with the skills to re-produce designs. For example designs in a flower delivery network catalogue.

Consequently when I progressed onto the Certificate IV of Floristry, the focus was more on designing and the business side of things. Also I learned how to construct more complex designs including floral installations.


What does a floral designer do? What value can a trained floral designer provide to a client?

A floral designer is able to create innovative designs custom to their client’s style and needs. The designer will also be able to design and construct large-scale floral designs such as floral installations with safety considerations in mind. 

Other aspects where the services of a qualified floral designer can add value to a client’s experience include:

  • Providing expert floral advice. For example advising on floral choices, a trained professional will be able to advise on flowers which can last well out of water. This is particularly important for bridal bouquets,  buttonholes, or corsages for instance;
  • Planning and preparing for installation of flowers at the wedding or event venue. Not to mention organising logistics with the venue as well as transportation of flowers to the venue.

My Role As A Floral Designer

As a floral designer, I enjoy creating personalised floral designs for my clients. To me it is absolutely important for my clients to have flowers that are meaningful to them, not just replicating designs to beautify a space, wedding or event.

This could mean incorporating their favourite flowers or designing a concept from something of sentimental value to them.

Designing flowers this way makes the whole floral experience all the more special. Thus creating a lasting memory which embodies my client’s personality and everything that is meaningful to them. It totally makes my day when I see the joy reflected on their faces. Or when they tell me they love and appreciate my work.

Difference between a Florist and Floral Designer

My Design Aesthetics

That’s why the ikebana style of flower arrangement so resonates with me. It expands my creativity and allows me to explore and experiment with different ways to arrange flowers as well as other materials.

It brings into being new dimensions of creative arrangements that my clients can enjoy, particularly if they are looking for something different and unique to them.

According to the founder of Sogetsu School, Sofu Teshigahara, “a flower is an irreplaceable, expressive tool that reveals the soul”.

The approach is far from being traditional. In fact Teshigahara elevated the ikebana floral art from a technical piece to the level of a sculptural artform. His innovative style even led to Time Magazine naming him “Japan’s Picasso of the Flowers”.

If you are interested to see how Sogetsu ikebana floral arrangements can enrich any space, please check out the Sogetsu Japan website.

While I’m partial to floral designs that are inspired by nature and ikebana, I’m more than happy to explore design options that fulfil your floral vision and make an impact on your wedding day or at your event. 

You can also learn more about ikebana in my other posts:

Ikebana-Inspired Floral Style for a Unique Wedding – Is It For You?

Could Ikebana Be Your New Creative Hobby?

Or if you’re not sure whether you should hire a wedding florist or DIY your wedding flowers, this post might help you with your decision.

florist or floral designer
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Difference between a Florist and Floral Designer


nice to meet you!

As a qualified floral designer specialising in Japanese ikebana and modern elegant styles, I offer custom arrangements and classes for individuals looking to decorate their wedding, event and space with flowers.

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