Flowers bring life, color and beauty to your big day. Whether you like traditional wedding flowers or more loose and romantic styles, flowers add a special touch to your event. But what do you need to know when choosing your floral arrangements? How much should you expect to spend? In the days of Pinterest, a lot of brides have unrealistic expectations of what can be affordable and doable, says Maggie Bailey, owner of Houston floral design studio Bramble & Bee.

We asked her to share her best tips for brides shopping for wedding flowers.

Have a realistic budget

“Flowers are expensive,” says Bailey. “They’re expensive for me to buy so it’s not like it’s one of these businesses where the product is cheap and it’s just being marked up exorbitantly because it’s for weddings.” As a rule of thumb, couples should expect to spend eight percent of their wedding budget on flowers. Of course that can change a lot depending on what you want, but expect to invest some money in florals.

Book early

As with most elements of your wedding, timing is important when it comes to florals. Generally speaking, flowers should be booked right after you book your venue, says Bailey, and as early as possible if you’re getting married in a busy wedding month.

Give your florist as many details as possible

When you first meet your florist, try to go in having estimates of how many bridesmaids, groomsmen and reception tables you’ll have. At first these details are more important than color palette or style, which your florist can help you choose, and they give your florist a starting point to build your quote.

Ask about seasonality

Classic wedding flowers like hydrangeas and roses are easily available year round, but other flowers aren’t. Ask your florist what’s in season and what’s available, and be understanding if you can’t have peonies in October or anemones in July, says Bailey.

Remember that a quote is flexible

You’ve taken your ideas to your florist complete with Pinterest photos for inspiration. Then your proposal arrives and it’s frightening. It’s common for brides to get sticker shock when they get their proposal, but don’t let it scare you. “There is so much flexibility with floral design that we can adjust and we can make it happen,” says Bailey. “You need not be afraid to ask.”

Prioritize personal flowers

Bouquets and boutonnieres are going to be the most photographed flowers at your wedding, so if you need to save money, make sure it’s not on those items, says Bailey. “Fifteen years down the road, you’re going to have a picture of you standing with your groom holding your bridal bouquet. You’re not going to have any idea what was on your reception tables,” she said.

Trust your florist

Some brides trust Bailey to choose their flowers. She usually sends them a list of what she hopes to use so they have an idea of what will go into their arrangements. But even if you can’t let go of that much control, trust your florist to guide your choices. “We know what’s available and we know what’s going to be worthwhile because it may be that I can get peonies in October, but they’ll be the size of a quarter and cost you $15 a stem, so trusting me to substitute it with something that will be gorgeous is a great trait,” she says.