Bridal Industry Q&A’s with…
With nearly 30 years experience in floristry, Christine was the obvious choice to answer my long list of floral questions. This blog is a must read for any bride to be, and definitely a one to sit down with a hot cup of something and take notes. We’ve delved into quite some detail, from inspiration to design, service to preservation. I’m confident this will answer all of your floral questions!
Who’s behind the business? And how did you get into the bridal industry?
My name is Christine I have been a florist for about 30 years. I started out by going to a flower arranging class with my mum, the lady who taught us was a florist she said I should get into floristry, it wasn’t something I had ever really considered. I thought about it took her advice and headed off to college where I studied for 3 years and got the basics. As a florist/floral designer you never stop learning which makes everything endlessly exciting. I then progressed to selling flowers from my husbands’ greengrocery shop and gradually built up my reputation doing gifts, funeral work and smaller weddings. Arranging flowers for weddings started to overcome everything else and became very quickly a huge part of my flower world. I love the excitement of the whole wedding process and being part of the buzz. It is such an honour and a privilege when a couple choose me to arrange the flowers for their wedding. I closed my shop three years ago and now I specialise in wedding flowers only.
How would you recommend a bride find her perfect florist?
Recommendation from friends and family is always good, looking at images from a florists work and reviews from past clients. It is important you choose someone you can relate too, this is the person who is going to help bring your vision to life, you have to trust their judgement and expertise. The experienced florist has a wealth of knowledge. I never recommend that a bride takes on her own flowers however enticing or cost cutting you think it may be. In the lead up to and on the day you want to enjoy the experience not be running around like a mad person. Hair and make up, Photographer, venue and florist; we are your on the day ‘A Team’.
How far in advance would a bride need to start thinking about booking their florist?
A florist should be booked and a deposit paid to retain their services as soon as a date is set and the venue is chosen. A good florist is booked many months in advance especially for peak Saturdays. I sometimes have bookings up to two years ahead.
Once a bride has secured her date with her florist, how often would the bride expect to be in contact with her florist?
Everyone works differently. Some couples know what they want right from the start of their planning journey, for you we can make a start on the planning straight away. Generally once the dresses have been chosen and the colour scheme has been put together we can make a start. Some couples only need one appointment some need two or three. We are here to do whatever is necessary to make the planning enjoyable. Flowers can be quite a challenge for some couples, there is so much to choose which is why choosing an experienced florist is essential.
When in the countdown to the wedding day would a consultation take place? And how many consultations would a bride typically attend?
As soon as the venue is booked secure the florist services. Final numbers for table centres, button holes, bridesmaids flowers should all be with the florist by about a month before. This may be face to face or just by e.mail or telephone depending upon the bride. Other communication at any point between that if necessary. Even the smallest concern to the florist can be a huge concern to the bride we are here to answer all of those questions.
Are there any suggestions you can make that would help the bride be fully prepared for her consultation?
Bring a swatch of your bridesmaids colour with you. A picture of your dress would be amazing and helps with the choice of fresh flower material and style of your bouquet. If you have any pictures, of things you have seen that you like, this will help us to see the vision you have in your head and we can make suggestions to fit.
Whilst the brides’ style and the theme of the wedding will influence the florals, would you also advise considering the venue when choosing the floral arrangements?
Yes always. It is important to look at the style of your venue and be sympathetic towards it. A woodland theme does not always fit in with the style of a grand ballroom. We can always make adaptions to the theming to try and work with it within reason.
We have arranged flowers for weddings with two different themes for the wedding party and the wedding breakfast. One in particular had pretty vintage florals for the ceremony then surprised their guests with a bright tropical theme for the reception.
Are the bridesmaid’s bouquets and gents’ buttonholes just smaller versions of the brides bouquet? Or do they have a different selection of florals?
Generally the groom could have a selection of flowers from the brides bouquet and the groomsmen could follow the theme of the bridesmaids.
Sometimes if the bridesmaids are wearing lots of colour therefor they could have a bouquet with less colour and maybe the bride could have a little more colour.
Generally we would use either the same flowers for the bridesmaids or a more simple selection from the brides bouquet.
Certain seasons seem to favour certain florals, can you give us a couple of beautiful florals for each season?
Spring– Tulips are a must, lily of the valley, Anemone, Ranunculus
Summer- English Peony, Delphinium, Garden Roses and Sweet Pea
Autumn– Berries, Dahlia, Skimmia, Sunflowers
Winter– lush winter foliage, Helibour, Hyacinth, Euphorbia, Chrysanthemum bloom
Whilst creating the brand we identified six bridal styles, the accessories differ considerably between them. Would you say the florals do too? Would you be able to give a brief description of a typical bouquet for each style?
Romantic- Soft delicate flowers, highly scented such as Freesia, garden Rose and Peony
Elegant– Simple style using only a couple of flower choices. Clean lines and unfussy.
Classic– Simple long shower bouquet neat and structured in appearance with little foliage.
Bohemian– A bouquet with larger blooms, big and bold colouring and a flower crown.
Vintage– soft pastel colouring, garden style flowers and herbs
Modern– a little different in style maybe using tropical blooms, larger leaves and arranged in a structured style. Or minimal flower such as Calla Lily and large leaf collar
Typically, are the florals delivered to the venue on the morning of the wedding?
Yes I always deliver on the day especially bouquets, button holes and table centres. Depending upon the venue and what is required sometimes larger installations such as hanging florals may have to be started the day before and finished off on the day. Larger marquee weddings may have to be worked on through the night.
Do you have any tips of how to care for the florals throughout the wedding day in order for them to still look amazing by the evening?
Your flowers will all have been made and handled with care in the run up to your day. If your bouquet is a hand tied design it will be delivered in water and should stay in water until needed, placed in a cool dark area of the venue if possible. I always recommend button holes are put on as late as possible and to avoid seatbelts. All flowers are fully conditioned and in peak condition for the day but the weather does play a big part especially if it is hot and your reception is in a tipi or marquee, sometimes for these we put the flowers in place while the ceremony is taking place. If you want your bouquet to look good in the evening it should be put to one side as soon as you are finished with it but if it is hot and you have delicate blooms it might not look its best by the evening. Sometimes we make an additional bouquet and button hole for the evening.
There will be some couples that would like to preserve their florals from their big day, are there any tips you could give to make sure they achieve great results?
There are lots of companies who preserve bouquets and they will advise as to transport and packaging of the florals after the ceremony. If it is your bouquet then it needs to go into water if it’s a hand tied and put in a cool dark place as soon as possible. I would recommend an additional button hole as they get a bit battered. It is important that you tell your florist that you will be doing this as things like glue must not be used.
With so many influential streams, social media, bridal editorial, blogs, wedding events etc, where do your brides tend to find their floral inspiration?
Instagram and Pintrest seem to be the go too platforms for visual inspiration then editorials and blogs for real weddings. In some ways its good, but in others it is very confusing, there is so much choice.
What were the leading floral trends for 2019?
I found last year we went back to pretty bouquets, a lot less of the large foliage bouquets that had been around for the previous two years. Lots of natural styling and pale pallets of ivory, green and blush.
What are the 2020 trends starting to look like?
2020 is very similar to 2019 lots of pretty, simple florals and understated. And I am expecting that 2021 will look very similar too.
How do you keep up to date with trends? Is there a source you favour when looking for your inspiration?
When I first went to college a new magazine called Wedding Flowers, later to be re named Wedding Flowers and Accessories, it came out first twice a year then over the years became bi monthly, it was fab it had just pictures of bouquets, button holes table centres and latterly real weddings. Unlike bridal magazines that covered everything. It was inspirational I would recommend that all of my brides bought a copy, unfortunately last year it went digital only.
I look at designs in all settings, social media, other florists, pintrest, blogs etc from all over the world then you put your own creative twist on everything. I also have a large library of books and magazines which I have collected over the years. Social media is good but you cannot beat a book or a magazine.
If you had to choose your favourite bridal bouquet, what would it look like?
I just love the soft romantic look of Peony, Garden Rose and Freesia just simply gathered together in no particular style. The scent is divine and that to me is really important.