DIY wedding flowers

DIY flowers

There’s a big trend in wedding flowers, rather than forking out on professionally designed florals, why not do it yourself! 

There are a gazallion blogs full of advise on line to encourage you to do it yourself, this blog is written as a slight antidote to all of those how-hard-can-it-be people out there….

There are some pros and cons to creating your own wedding flowers, and as a old hag in the business I think I can tell you a thing or two:

 

The Pros:

 

-The best thing about DIY is obviously the cost involved. You don’t have to pay anyone for their time and although the flowers you are buying might be retail priced, you will save a pretty penny.

However you don’t have to get your flowers from a florist or the supermarket, some wholesalers are open to the public, if you are willing to get up at the crack of dawn. Just be aware that most flowers are sold in bulk, Roses come in wraps of 10 or 20 stems, Gyp and other fillers in wraps of 25 or 50 stems. (and you will have to add 20% vat on top)

You do need to know what you are buying before you start, you have a shopping list with all the ingredients  that you need for your design and you need to stick to that. 

I have known brides who dismissed my designs because it was too expensive and ended up spending even more on DIY florals as she didn’t have a design plan, more of this later….

-You can have your flowers your way, you are totally in charge of the design process, you don’t have to bother to try and explain the image in your head to a florist, you are doing it yourself! You can also only blame yourself if it isn’t working, more on this later….

-It’s a very super sociable thing to do with you bride tribe, aunties, your mates, anyone who’s a bit handy and has a good eye. You can spend your wedding eve having the best time with your nearest and dearest putting all the flowers together over a glass of bubbly, what could possibly go wrong? (more on this later……)

The Cons:

-The cost: its more expensive letting the professionals handle your flowers.

We florist charge for the flowers and materials AND for our time. This allows us to make a living; have a roof over our head, feed our kids. 

We are not in business to rip you off or rob you of your hard earned cash, you are paying us for the hours worked and for our expertise, experience and the training we have done.

 

An average wedding could mean around 10-14 days of work, from correspondence with the brides, the design process, the ordering, sorting, conditioning of the flowers, the arranging of your bouquets and centre pieces, the delivery and installation, the tear down and tidying up of the studio, and the mountain of paperwork, receipts, tax etc. 

You are also paying not just for the hours worked on your wedding but also the hours studied, the hours of practise, the hours of expertise…..

We can tell you what flowers are available on our wedding day in your favourite colours, we know about what works well together, how certain flowers need certain treatment, how the mechanics work of a floral arch, an elevated arrangement, a cake flower etc so it is build safely and doesn’t fall down or collapse half way through the service….

-And now for the hardest part: the design plan, recipes and stem count!

The hardest part of being a wedding florist is creating a design plan, within a certain budget and sticking to it.

When we have designed a plan for a wedding and the time has come to order the flowers at the wholesalers it is sooooooooooooo hard to stick to that and stick to the budget and not look at all the other beautiful flowers there that would also look great or would add that extra touch….We have set aside x amount on the flowers and we have a stem count and we need to stick to that!

I often get panic calls from DIY brides that did not have a design plan with fixed recipes/ stem count. They went to the market and bought random pretty flowers and now they are trying to put it together and its just not working and the ceremony starts in a few hours and can I please help.

Or even worse, can I just provide a complete design plan including stem count, free of charge and my Mum will just chuck them in a vase as she’s great with flowers……

It’s much harder than you think, I mean MUCH harder. 

There are lots of people who do a recreational flower course for an evening or a weekend and think they can pull of doing wedding flowers and fail miserably. These courses provide you with a fixed amount of flowers that have been carefully selected by the course leaders and focus is mainly on the arranging of the flowers, not on how to calculate your stem count.

Although some people have been reasonable successful at doing it themselves. 

If you are contemplating doing your own you will have to practise. Make a sample, make a design plan. Have good recipes with the correct stem count. Have all the tool and materials ready and make sure your designs are secure and safe. But please work it out by yourself, watch Youtube videos, don’t ask us florists to pick your brains. We really can’t afford to spend time on that without getting paid for our time, the design process and the recipes/stem count is a big chunk of the process.

-I would also like to let you know that working with flowers is a dirty business. 

You will smell of foliage for weeks after the event. That means YOU at YOUR wedding, in your beautiful dress, you will smell of Eucalyptus, the Eucalyptus oil has stained your hands and the stains won’t scrub off and your nails are ruined….You will also have cut yourself on the rose thorns so you might as well hide the dirt under your chipped nails underneath the several plasters on your fingers…..

This is the one thing that no one tells you on Pinterest. If you are going to do it yourself you need to be wearing gloves and have your nails done after the flowers. If you don’t believe me go see a couple of florists and just look at their hands…

-Now a small word of caution on the people helping you. They will have an opinion, and the design in their head will probably not match the design in yours. This can all be a great experience or it can end in tears. 

If your bridesmaids/ aunties/ mates are helping you you will have to present them with clear and precise instructions. You have a design plan and stem count in order, all the tools you would need, and your helpers need to know exactly what they are doing in order to make this work. It’s your wedding, you are in charge and you tell them what to do. Anyone helping you that thinks they have a better idea on the day needs to maybe moved to the napkin folding area. Again I have had brides, mother of brides, aunties calling up in a panic as the sociable aspects of DIY turned into a mahoosive power trip, Martha-Steward-eat-your-heart-out, I-am-better-than-you party, not what you need. This is another thing that Pinterest is not telling you….

There is always an option to combine a bit of DIY and a bit of professional floristry.

If you want to just oder your wedding bouquets and that tricky floral arch from the florist you could get away with creating your own table centres. Some florist don’t mind and you can always discuss this idea with your florist to make sure that you are getting similar flowers to tie it all together. 

Some florists are not really keen on that idea and that includes us here at Rose&Mary.

We have an exclusivity clause in our Terms and Conditions and only provide a full floral service for weddings and events. It sounds really harsh but this decision was made after a few DIY encounters where we were booked to providing the florals. 

It’s always totally heart breaking to work super hard on wedding flowers, with our heart and soul poured into the carefully chosen designs and arrangements only to find, once arrived at the venue, that someone has added some hideous attempt at floral designs with cheap supermarket flowers in the wrong colours. 

I would like to finish this blog with some advise and a quick recap.

It’s not easy to do it yourself, most examples of DIY wedding flowers I have seen have been a total disaster and I have been asked to step in and rescue the situation on many occasion. I have also seen examples of brides spending more on their florals doing it themselves than I would have charged.

I have also seen very successful attempts at DIY wedding flowers where the venue looked absolutely beautiful. These DIYers usually had a background in craft or were designers in other fields other than floristry and they had absolutely nailed it! The secret is to keep it simple.

If you are not sure about it please do go and buy some flowers and practise. It’s a bit like cutting your own hair. A hairdressers would give you a much better haircut than you could ever do! (all images on this blog are from Pinterest DIY fails)

Is anyone “helping” you to choose your wedding flowers?

Is anyone “helping” you to choose your wedding flowers?

Last week I had a consultation with a lovely lady, let’s call her Susan.

We had previous to our meeting talked over the phone a few times and to me she sounded like the ideal client.

I loved the location of her wedding, a venue I had worked with on several occasions, and she had a lovely Pinterest board with lots of gorgeous images of wedding flowers that were achievable for her season and budget.

Little did I know I was going to have the worst consultation I have ever had; accompanying Susan was the furure mother in law.

It turned out that Susan had accepted the offer of help from her future mother in law, lets call her Beth, to help her with the wedding flowers. 

Both Susan and her husband work full time and since Beth had been married  before and knew what to expect she came along to the consultation.

 I always prepare for a consultation so I can show my prospective client as many options as her budget/colour scheme/season would allow. Susan had a really gorgeous Pinterest board that I could also use to discuss what to have at the venue and in her bridal bouquet so I was super looking forward to this meeting.

Things went off to a great start, we talked about the personal flowers she and her bridesmaids were going to have and even Beth was happy with the choice of flowers, the shape of the bouquet and the colours.

It was when we went on to the venue flowers where it all went wrong;

Susan and Beth had totally different ideas on the venue flowers. The kind offer of help that Beth had extended to Susan got slightly out of hand, Beth was under the impression that the “decision making progress” was in her hands. 

Beth had not seen Susan’s beautiful Pinterest page, nor did she want to match anything to the chosen colour scheme nor the season of the wedding. Beth was stuck in an awesomely freaky time warp and her mind was made up.

There is a huge choice when it comes to wedding flowers.

It all depends on the place you get married in, the season and your budget and I know it’s hard to make a choice, especially as you are going to do this wedding thing only once! 

The only person who really knows their stuff is the wedding florist (or swap this to caterer, dress designer, cakemaker, planner or stylist) or maybe a friend or sibling that got married recently.

Beth thought she had experience as she was a keen gardener and had organised the flowers for her own wedding but that was a long long long long long long long long long long long time ago.

Imagine comparing the Royal weddings of William and Harry to their parents wedding. The dress and flowers Diana wore were gorgeous at the time but now seem so dated compared to Kate and Meghan’s dresses and flowers.  

Beth got married with a lot less style and budget, even longer ago than Diana did and hadn’t really bothered to do her homework and see how times have changed in wedding fashion and flowers.

So we continue on with the consultation. Beth is not really open to my expertise as a wedding florist and as she had offer to pay for the flowers is now dismissing many of Susans suggestions as well. I can see the desparation in Susan’s face but she politely lets Beth take charge, things are getting slightly out of hand and I can see that neither Beth nor Susan is really happy.

Now here comes my dilemma, I want to book this wedding but I also want to keep all parties involved happy.

I started to talk about the level of expectation in all parties involved. This consultation was going nowhere and whatever was decided, it was impossible for everybody to be truly happy, most of all me caught up between these two.

There is a distinct difference between offering advise or help with ideas and making the final decisions.

Decision making should only ever be left to the bride and groom, regardless of who is paying for the flowers, unless other parties have explicit permission.

I have had many successful consultations with brides who brought along their mothers or mothers in law along but the line between helping and decision making can sometimes get blurred.  

I have even experienced whole families falling out and severing all contact just before the wedding over trivial things like napkins and canapes. 

Choice is a powerful thing and lack of choice or abuse of decision making can lead to a lot of frustration.

Organising a wedding should not be a stressful process but a fun and creative one. All weddings I have done (over one hundred now) are different and truly bespoke to the bride and groom’s wishes. The wedding supplier should be there to guide you through all the options.

With flowers you are to a certain extend subject to the season and sometimes restrictions at the venue but  you can have whatever your budget allows you to have; there are no boundries to your wishes.

If asking for help in this process from a friend or family member it is really important to set bounderies on decision making. They will inadvertively impose their personal stamp on the choices they provide and that can be really positive but sometimes it is not, especially if there is an age or style gap. We live in a melting pot Cosmopolitan and more often than not a union between 2 people will bring culture, tradition and personal favourites from both sides that all have to be taken into account.

Also sometimes the offering of help and advise is more to the benefit of the adviser than the advisee as it gives them a sense of purpose but can sometimes enhance an individuals sense of power over the one seeking advise (or in Beth’s case turn into a phantasmagorical power trip) 

Just because they have been married before doesn’t give them a lot of experience in contemporary wedding flowers. Try and compare it to your interiors. Imagine your mother in law coming into your house and changing all the furniture and decoration because they moved house 35 years ago, it’s a bit like that…..

So what happened to Susan and Beth in the end?

I stopped the wedding consultation and rebooked with Susan on her own. When Beth objected I gave her a direct but friendly lecture on the power of decision making. Beth got a bit upset about that but it turned out that when Beth got married all those years ago the same happened to her and her mother in law. It brought up a lot of negative memories for her; by offering to help Susan Beth finally got her wish to choose the flowers she really wanted for her own wedding without realising that she was choosing for somebody else…. Once she realised she was doing the same thing she backed out of the decision making progress and everything had a happy ending. Susan chose beautifully and did become my ideal client and Beth got a really big bunch of the flowers she loved most as a surprise during the speeches.

So to round up this blog please be clear, communicate your feelings and expectations and set your bounderies. It is always handy to just write a list of advise people give you. That way you acknowledge their ideas and take it away to think about/compare to the other ideas at a more convenient time.

In the words of comedian Mindy kaling:

In real life, shouldn’t a wedding be an awesome party you throw with your great pal, in the presence of a bunch of your other friends? A great day, for sure , but not the beginning and certainly not the end of your friendship with a person you can’t wait to talk about gardening with for the next fourty years…..

We are featured!

The latest addition of the Magazine Wedding Ideas is featuring a wedding we flowered last August at Warren House in Kingston upon Thames. Jade and jack were the perfect couple to work with. The chose a summery mix of blush and peach flowers with little pops of orange and yellow. We managed to get hold of some spectacular Flash eye Roses, Cafe au lait Dahlias and lots of other summery flowers.

 

The aisle as set up outside with little pew end jam jar and petals on the floor, with more jam jars and petal inside the spectacular pergola

The bridesmaids wore dusty pink dresses that were the perfect backdrop for the flowers they were holding.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inside this beautiful Victorian mansion the flowers on the guest tables consisted of low vase arrangements, a big vase on the piano and flowers for the cake. I wish I could take some credit for the delicious cake but the lovely Vaani at Sugarplum Bakeries decorated the cake, we just provided the flowers all taped up and wired ready to go.

Below is the list of suppliers, all photos on thus blog are taken by the very talented Sarah; www.hannam-weddings.com
Bridal Gown: Mikaella by Paloma Blanca| Bridal Boutique: Pure Couture | Bride’s Shoes: Dune | Bridesmaid’s Dresses: David’s Bridal | Page Boy’s Attire: Dapper | Floral Designer: Rose & Mary | Cake Designer: Sugar Plum Bakes | Stationery: Grace & Bramble | Guitarist: Liquid Strings | Band: Ear Candy | Master of Ceremonies: Steve Eggleton | Venue: Warren House

How to hold your wedding flowers

bridal bouquet

How to hold a wedding bouquet (the correct way!)

We at R&M love a royal wedding, there seems to be a lot of them happening lately.

They adorn St George’s chapel with the most sumptuous floral arrangements and have scores of adorable little flower girls and page boys. The whole world is watching and a lot of focus is always on the dress and whoever designed, the jewellery and the understated bouquet filled with dainty flowers that are symbolic to the royal family.

Princess Eugenie, who married on Friday, looked stunning in her designer dress and beautiful emerald tiara.
Her bouquet was a trailing one by fellow Dutchie Rob van Helden completely wired with Roses, Thistles and totally unseasonal Lily of the Valley.
Now here starts the subject of this blog, how to correctly hold a wedding bouquet. Princess Eugenie had maybe skipped that lesson, her flowers were all over the place. The problem with a trailing wired bouquet is that it is not very attractive from the back or the side, she was not holding it correctly so it was sticking out like a miniature ironing board and held too high, obscuring her rather lovely dress.

 

 

 

 

The correct position for the flowers to be held is below your belly button, so brides and bridesmaids listen up:

Stand straight, rest your arms on your pelvis and hold the handle of your bouquet at the level of your bellybutton with the stems pointing towards your lady bits for a hand tied bouquet or with the stems towards your belly button for a trailing bouquet, and most important is all, don’t forget to breathe!
If that’s all too complicated just hold your bouquet on your lap, sitting or standing!

bridal bouquet

Here at rose&Mary we always ensure the bride is aware of the correct way to hold a wedding bouquet (or bridesmaids a bridesmaids bouquet)

When we finish off a wedding bouquet by ribboning the stems we always place a belly button pin at the right place.

The bride (or maid) is instructed to always please her thumbs on the belly button pin to make sure she keeps the correct holding position.

I know a lot of brides have the tendency to hold their bouquet away from their dress but that’s not a good idea. We florists make sure that there is no drippage or staining so do keep your flowers ‘close’ to your body.

Also a lot of brides hold their bouquet too high ( are they trying to hide behind the flowers?) which obscures their body too much, don’t do that, show off that gorgeous dress you are wearing!

buttonhole

We also instruct the men folk with a quick bottom hole instruction. Place the buttonhole with the Ivy leaf towards the body, on the left lapel with the pin starting at the back, round the stem of the buttonhole (straight angle to the stem of the buttonhole) ending round the back again.

For the ladies there is a corsage with a magnet rather than a pin so we don’t pierce that lovely fabric! (Just be aware of not getting too close to anyone with a pacemaker, these are quite strong magnets!)

The most important advise while wearing a buttonhole or corsage is to NOT HUG anyone whilst wearing it, there things are fragile and don’t hold well being squashed between 2 bodies!

Or if you must hug, and I mean we get that, please just wait until after the pictures are taken or rather try a chest bump, or side shoulder hug or just shake hands!

 

Your wedding should be the most fun day and it’s normal that brides get a bit carried away and often just forget about all this stuff  (or don’t even care) and don’t worry too much, just go and have the most awesome day ever! It’s just that now you know what to do!

Meghan’s wedding bouquet, what do you think?

How exciting was it to see the royal wedding. As a wedding florist I was glued to the screen trying to get a first glipms of the wedding bouquet. The chapel looked absolutely stunning and well done to the gorgeous Philippa Craddock for pulling that off but for a lot of brides and for me its all about the bouquet….

Royal and celebrity weddings have a huge influence on what brides-to-be choose for their own wedding flowers.  After Kate married Will there was a trend for small wedding bouquets and after her sister Pippa got hitched the popularity of Gypsophelia went through the roof, although it didn’t last for very long…

Anyway, so Meghan emerged from the car without her bouquet, and when it was handed to her I as a bit surpised at first by the size and simplicity of the bouquet. Aside from lots of Astilbe it was hard to make out which flowers were being used as there was a distict lack of a focal flower and it all looked a bit hand picked and thrown together.

So apperently it WAS hand picked, by Harry himself from his Mother’s private garden. The other flowers in there were Diana’s favourite: the Forget-me-not (in white), Lily-of-the-Valley, Astrantia and of course that famous sprig of Myrtle.

All these flowers had a personal meaning to Harry. The flowers were a connection to the mother he lost 20 years ago.

I have had many brides with special requests that had a deep personal meaning to them that they wanted to incorporate into their wedding bouquet. Most brides are only getting married once and this is the opportunity to incorporate special flowers or items that belong to loved ones that are no longer around to celebrate with you, by using these flowers and objects they are part of the celebration in a symbolic way.

These special flowers need to tick all the bride’s special boxes, scent that bring about a special memory, colour that means something, shape and structure. It doesn’t matter what is the flower fashion at the mo, or that the colours are a bit unusual, this is the brides (or grooms!) choice and it is special to them, even though it might not look all that grand or sophisticated.

I have made wedding bouquets from flowers that were specifically grown for the bride by her family. The family had planned it all out a year in advance, making space in their garden, sourcing the seeds and lovingly tending to the plants in the hope that the flowers would be at their best on the day of the wedding. Now that’s what I call dedication!

I have also been foraging flowers from a Grandmother’s garden. She had passed away and was a very keen gardener and by us using foliage and flowers from her garden to use in the wedding bouquet was a way of making sure that Granny was present at the wedding.

I have used antique silk from an ancestors wedding dress to wrap around the stems of a wedding bouquet as well as little picture frames that were sewn on the handle of the wedding bouquet.

Now back to Megan’s bouquet, I am not sure is she had much of a say in the flower choice. Her favourite flower is the peony and getting married at the height of Peony season I was a bit suprised they didn’t feature in her bouquet. There were peonies in the church flowers and I would love to have seen the venue flowers but unfortunately they haven’t released any images of those (except the cake, and what a cake it was!)

The flowers that were in her bouquet all have a symbolic meaning and as with Kate and Will’s flowers the symbolic meaning was an important factor in the flower choice.

The sectret languish of flowers was popular in Victorian times when expession of emotion was frowned upon and emotions were silently expressed through flowers. meghan's wedding flowers

Astrantia’s meaning is Strength, Courage and Protection, Astilbe meaning is Patience and dedication.

Lily of the valley meaning is Sweetness and Happiness and Forget-me not’s meaning is in it’s name.

According to the official release from kensington palace the myrtle sprigs used in meghan’s bouquet are from stems planted at Osborne House, by Queen Victoria in 1845, and from a plant grown from the myrtle used in The Queen’s wedding bouquet of 1947.

The tradition of carrying myrtle begun after Queen Victoria was given a nosegay containing myrtle by Prince Albert’s grandmother during a visit to Gotha in Germany. In the same year, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert bought Osborne House as a family retreat, and a sprig from the posy was planted against the terrace walls, where it continues to thrive today. The myrtle was first carried by Queen Victoria’s eldest daughter, Princess Victoria, when she married in 1858.

So back to wedding flowers. If you are planning a wedding and you would like to use any specific flowers or ojects that are special to you and your family please let your wedding florist know. As a wedding florist it is so much more fun to provide a truly personal bespoke service rather than trying to copy the latest Pinterest trend.

We wish Meghan and Harry and all the other couples that got married this weekend all the best!

x `Leonoor

 

 

 

Wedding colour schemes

pink lady

Wedding colour schemes, and how to fit in those wedding flowers

(and how not to go too overboard!)

I have declined to do a wedding once, actually I have said no to a few wedding enquiries over the last few years and it was usually for the same reason; the colour scheme.

As a florist I do love a bit of colour and I am always very happy to incorporate flowers that fit into your chosen colourscheme.

The problem is that some brides were taking their colour scheme a bit too literally; Royal blue and white or Teal and Gold are hard nuts to crack in flower land.

I am a florist who takes pride in her work and puts a lot of focus on fresh and seasonal flowers. I always do my best to get the best flowers that are around and the one thing I don’t like using is artificially coloured flowers. First of all they don’t really look all that great and secondly the colour could leak or smudge all over your white dress, not good all round.So if you have chosen Royal Blue and white as a colour scheme, that’s great stuff.

blue wedding bouquet

There are lovely blue, white and cream flowers available pretty much all year round. Different shades of blue are gorgeous together, so is added foliage to soften the look. Silvery eucalyptus or Senecio are great for adding those cooler tones or what about adding a little pop of peach to accentuate the flowers.

What is not good is to stick to Royal Blue and hard stark white in flowers, or Cadbury purple and White, or red and white.

These colours are quite far apart in the colour wheel so would need a little help from a soft blue, cream of green to bring them together. (or lilac with purples and pink or peach with reds)

Think football shirts.

You might just be a huge Leicester City fan, in which case I might make an exception,

But the Royal Blue and White, Cadbury purple and white or Red and White for that matter, are hard colours with stark contrast and will not look soft and romantic in wedding flowers. It needs a mid-toned flower to hold hands with white and blue/purple/red to make the arrangement come together.

Is your man wearing a Navy blue suit? He could wear any tie he likes with it, next time you are in the City have a look around. It’s fair game combining colour accents in ties and socks.

 

 

Now here is a picture of a wedding I did last Autumn. The bridesmaids are wering navy bridesmaids dresses.

How nice do the flowers look? Now I’m sure it would look georgeous with all white or blush flowers but it doesn’t have to be all matchy matchy.

Also there is no need for all the flowers to be the same all over the wedding. Bridesmaids can have different flowers to the bride. The venue flowers can be different to the bridal flowers. Whatever goes well with the decor of the venue doesn’t need to be incorparated in the choice of colour for the bridesmaids dresses or their flowers or your wedding bouquet.

Here is a picture of flowers I did last year for the gorgeous Kate. Her bridesmaids were all wearing teal dresses. I chose to add some poppy seed heads in their bouquets (and the bottonholes) but I also packed the bouquet out with blues, whites, purples and silver foliage as well and added a pop of lime to accentuate the colours.

Teal and gold wedding bouquet

Here is the bouquet I did last week for the gorgeous Wilma. Her colour scheme was Teal and Gold. The ballroom at the bvenue had a lot of reds and coppers in their décor so it wasn’t the best choise of colours and I did tell them that Gold and Teal were not available in fresh spring flowers. We settled on very pale yellows and blues. The roses used are called Buttercup.

 

 

So my message to the bride who chose Cadbury purple as her colour scheme;

Try some lavender shades with cream flowers or a hint of peach. Dusty blues, lilacs and silvers go really nicely if you want to stick within your Royal blue or navy scheme but please add a pop of orange to make the flowers stand out!

 

 

 

Winter wedding flowers, do you play it cool or warm and moody?

winter wedding bouquet

Getting married in the winter is getting more and more popular.

Is it the games of Thrones effect? Or shall we blame the concept of Hygge.

It really doesn’t matter as getting married in the winter is a great idea.

In January some venues offer discounts as it is such a quiet time after Christmas and overall the flowers are quite cheap at that time.

Even though not many flowers are around in nature most flowers are grown in green houses and there is always a good selection to choose from. There is also a great selection of foliage, seedpods and twigs available.

However, there are a few weeks in the winter months where getting married is not such a good idea.

The period between Christmas and New Year is difficult to deal with if you are a florist ( or any other supplier)

There is no auction over Christmas and supply is poor just afterwards so it is hard to get nice flowers, and for most wedding suppliers this is a time to rest after the busy time in the run up to Christmas. (I had an enquiry for a wedding on the 27th of December, which means asking my florists to work over the Christmas period)

The other time that’s tricky is around Valentine’s day.

With the majority of flowers being sold at auction where demand is huge (especially for roses) and supply is low the prices will shoot up. The wedding florist will have to pass on this price hike onto the customer so expect higher prices for wedding flowers. Florist are also very busy with valentine’s orders so it’s better to wait and get the florist to pay full attention to your wedding flowers!

Anyway, back to those lovely winter months where getting married is all cozy, with lots of candles, throws and firepits and…

There are 2 very distinct styles of wedding flowers that are very popular at the moment, both very different from each other,

we are playing it warm or very very cool.

white bouquet

Firstly, lets talk about Hygge.

This is a Danish concept which means a state of wellbeing, coziness and happiness  (Or as the Dutch say: Gezellig!)

This concept is obviously an abstract sense and can translate into whatever makes you feel good inside but there is a distinct style associated with this and this lends itself really well to winter weddings.

The Hygge bride likes lots of candles, foliages and whites. This Scandi style is great year round but it lends itself very well  to winter weddings.

The flowers are not too blowsy, small and understated but very stylish indeed.

Popular in this style are garlands, floral or foliage chandeliers and wreaths rather than the traditional centre pieces.

To accentuate the season a lot of silvery foliage looks great. Eucalyptus, Senecio and Olive are great foliages to use, deep greens such as italian Ruscus is great and the copper tones of the Magnolia leaves are very nice to use as well.

 

Popular flowers in this look are white Ranunculi, spray Roses, scented Narcissi, Hellebores, Muscari and my favourite flower, the white Anemone.

Paired with berries, seedpods and twigs and lots of foliage this is a great look.

Don’t forget to finish the look with lots of candles, some cozy shrugs, fire pits and soft furnishings, or add big statement balloons.

 

 

The second popular winter wedding trend is all about warm and moody tones, deep hues and lush arrangements.

Colours such as Burgundy, maroon, deep purple, burned oranges and deep blues are great, flowers are lush and luxurious.

The arrangements can be messy and deconstructed with lots of lush velvet or silk ribbons with little pops of berries and trailing foliages, with blousy flowers in rich deep tones.

All these jewel tones are great paired with gold and copper accents in the use of goblets, candelabras, cutlery.

Other great ideas to accentuate the depth of colour are dark tablecloths and napkins and lots and lots of candles.

Great flowers to use are Amaryllus, anemones, Hydrangea, Amaranthus, Hypericum, Roses, Euphorbia, Hyacinths and Hellebores

 

jewel tones

Or what about a hybrid?

Whites and greens with a pop of Burgundy or blue are popular.

It’s best to add some other nude tones so the contrast between the whites and deep tones is not too harsh.

winter bouquet

winter wedding bouquet

winter wedding bouquet

 

Autumn wedding flowers

autumn bouquet

Autumn is our favourite season for wedding flowers. There are often days in September and October where the weather is good and the backdrop of autumn coloured leaves in the trees make for some stunning wedding photos.

The colour palette for autumn flowers allows for some richer and deeper tones. You can still get some gorgeous whites and pastels but the availability of  richer colours make it the ideal time to get married ( in our opinion!)

 

There are certain flowers that are at their absolute best in autumn and are great in wedding bouquets.

The first one to mention is the Dahlia.

This flower originates from South America and was originally grown for its tuber as a food source.

The Dahlia comes in a range of colours from the giant blush Cafe-au-Lait and other whites,creams and pastels to bright oranges and pinks and purples to deep maroons like Nights-of Arabia.

The Dahlia is available from the end of July with their peak season in September.

autumn wedding bouquet in blush and white
autumn wedding bouquet in blush and white

This wedding bouquet  is an autumnal blush and white one.

It’s a combination of roses and lysianthis, which are available year round, with Dahlia Cafe-au Lait, hydrangea and lots of silvery foliage. The olive branches are available in the autumn with little olives attached.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The next flower that’s great in autumnal wedding flowers is a two-tone rose.

These aren’t neccerarily seasonal and available all year round but work so well in autumn wedding flowers.

Some of my favourite are Cabaret, a cream rose with a peach tip and Cherry Brandy, a burned orange rose where the outside of the petal has a pink hue.

A paler version with a muted salmon colour is a 3D rose.

Here is an autumnal wedding bouquet with Cabaret roses and 3D roses. This one also has Dahlias. Lysianthus and Hypericum and Ivy berries in the bouquet.

 

 

 

 

 

The next flower that is at their best in  Autumn is the English Hydrangea.

With lots of tones from pale green and white to soft pinks, blues and purples to bright pinks and maroons. The English Hydrangea is a great filler and great value for money compared to the Dutch greenhouse Hydrangeas. The coulors are more muted and a bit more dirty than the bright Dutch ones but they give a great vintagy feel to your wedding flowers and are great value for money.

Below is a blush wedding bouquet with English Hydrangea. (If you are reading this and don’t live in England please read an outdoor grown Hydrangea). There are also some snow berries in there that is a great autumn filler and some Helichrysum or straw flower. These everlasting flowers are making a huge comeback and are a great way to give some texture to your wedding flowers. They come in a range of colours from blush and pale pastels to deep reds and burned oranges.

autumn wedding bouquet in blush and peach
autumn wedding bouquet in blush and peach

A great colour palette for autumn are the Sunset tones.

I am talking about reds, pinks, oranges and peaches and maroons mirroring an amazing sunset/ dawn or the turning of the leaves at this time of year.  These colours are widely available and look great in autumn weddings. You can also add some blues and deep purples to the mix if you are brave enough or a pop of bright orange or red, it’s all good!

Examples of great sunset tone flowers are Love pearl, Pink Lace and Esparance Roses, Salmon Dahlia, English Hydrangea, Hypericum, Ivy and Pyracanthus Berries and lots of dark foliage such as Cortinus, Jasmine, Amaranthus and Virginia creeper.

toptable arrangement in autumn colours
toptable arrangement in autumn colours
bridal bouquet in autumn colours
bridal bouquet in autumn colours

 

This bridal bouquet has some hot pink spray roses, peach Dahlias and Vuvuzela Roses with pink and peach Lysianthus and Senecio and Eucalyptus leaves.

The bride wantyed the silvery foliage but it would also look really good with dark foliage such as Cortinus or hard jasmine thats has a deep red hue at this time of year.

 

 

autumn bouquet with berries and seedpods
autumn bouquet with berries and seedpods

This wedding bouquet is an autumnal mix of berries, seedpods, thistles, sedum and crocosmia. The bride wasn’t too keen on flowery flowers and autumn is the perfect time for structural bouquets like this.

 

 

 

 

More autumnal flowers that didn’t get a mention are Crabapples, Nigella Seedpods, Asters, big autumnal Chrysanthemums such as Tom Pierce or Avignon, Amaranthus, Chocolate Cosmos, etc

Inspiration v Budget, what to expect from a wedding florist.

We do a lot of weddings here at R&M, and get enquiries for wedding flowers in all kinds of budgets.

Some brides nip to the registry office and have a few jam jars on the table at the pub afterwards, some brides want flowers absolutely everywhere. We always place the wishes of the bride first and both can look fantastic, as long as the level of expectation can be met.

The one thing a lot of brides-to-be don’t have is a realistic idea of the costing of flowers. Fair enough I hear you say, it’s not like you shop for wedding flowers everyday and it should be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get it just how you want it, or even better.

With the overkill of beautiful imagery on Pinterest, Instagram and those celebrity weddings it is really hard to set a realistic idea about the cost of wedding flowers and hopefully this bit of writing will help you get to grips with it all.

Above here on the left is a picture of a gorgeous table plan (picture from Pinterest) This fits clearly in the luxury wedding bracket.

How much does it cost?

Well, just imagine that Rose&Mary is an ice cream shop and each flower is a scoop of ice cream. How many scoops of ice cream is in this arrangement? I would say about 100. We at Rose&Mary would charge around £2.50-£4 per scoop of ice cream depending on flavour. Can you see where I’m going here?

Also look at the recepticle the flowers are in. That’s not a standard ice cream cone, that’s a fancy cone so it will be more expensive. Sprinkles and sauce are extra too (as is the cherry on the top).

 

 

Now if you have a budget of under £50 per table that doesn’t mean that you can’t get some nice flowers on there and by all means do show me these pictures to get the flower choice, colour scheme and texture right but it’s not going to look like that. There are just too many scoops and fancy cones to fit into your budget.

The next thing I would like you to consider is how much space needs to be filled with flowers.

The picture above is crammed with flowers and it looks absolutely beautiful but if you had half or even a quarter the amount of flowers on the table it can still look good and cost less money.

A standard round guest table that sits 8 to 10 people would need to have an arrangement in the centre of the table thats big enough to fill the table with lovelyness but not too big so that it takes away the room needed for the plates, glasses and favours.

There is a basic formula and that is that you would need a minimum of about 1-1.5ft in diameter worth of flowers. This can be the base of a tall candelabra with a beautiful large arrangement of flowers for that luxury wedding or a selection of a few budvases/ jam jars for the budget-friendly bride.

Any centrepiece that is smaller in diameter is not going to look good.

Now imagine the space these tables are in. A country barn with low ceilings and beams will make the candelabras look crammed in but on the other hand a few jam jars on the table with huge high ceilings will look lost in their surroundings. The same goes for the ceremony flowers.

A church is a really big space to fill and done well would require a huge amount of flowers. A small registry office might not need any flowers at all as you will have to put your wedding bouquet down somewhere anyway. It is also really not a bad idea to reuse the flowers from the ceremony table on the cake or top table afterwards to save on budget.

I have had lots of enquiries about wedding flowers where there was a breakdown in communication because the bride did not have a realistic sense of what is needed to make the wedding flowers look good.

The visuals of a wedding are so important and that’s what people remember most about a wedding. You only get to do it once and you have to do it right. “You get what you pay for” is something I say all the time during consultations and if they can find another florist who can make a tall candalabra arrangement for £20 then I would highly recommend a sample before the big day as the scoops/stemcount in flower arrangements is so important and needs to make sense.

If you have booked the standard 8-10 seater guest table you and you have set yourself a budget of £25 per table you will not be able to fill that minimum 1-1.5ft in diameter with a single vase of flowers, any florist that promises a good looking arrangement is having you on.

How many scoops of icecream do you think it takes to fill that space without huge gaps or lots of cheap filler flowers?

And if the bride-to-be can think that as its her special day so surely I can just charge a little less on the labour cost and more on the flowers then think again. I am not trying to rip you off, I don’t charge a premium for weddings. I buy the best quality flowers at the best wholesaler in town and charge a certain amount of labour. This earns me a modest income that allows me to feed my children and allows us a roof over our head.

There is a lot of bad press lately about rip off wedding suppliers. The hardest thing in our proffession is to be able to match the level of expectation to that of the brides while working within a given budget.

Competition among wedding suppliers is fierce and will drive down the price of wedding supplies but please please please do your homework and use common sense. Always check out previous wedding work of all your suppliers (check mine on www.instagram.com/roseandmaryuk) Don’t be afraid to ask for samples, check out reviews or ask to be put in to contact with previous customers.

If you are providing images of flowers from pinterest do a quick stem count,how many flowers can you see?

A Wedding of Bird loving-Love Birds

I had the nicest wedding consultation with Helen last year.

The initial enquiry was for yellow roses with white September Daisies which isn’t one of my favourite flower combinations but I did my homework and prepared some lovely images of alternative flowers; Rose domes in greens, creams and lemons or romantic posies made with clouds of september/Chamomile/Gyp. She loved all my images and was very open to new ideas which made her one of my favourite clients!

The wedding venue was the Wetland Centre in Barnes which is a nature reserve on the flood planes of the Thames in West london. This place is a haven for wild life in the middle of an (sub)Urban area and is mainly used by migrating water fowl.

So during our consultation it is becoming clear that the groom in question is a serious bird lover, hence the venue, so we are discussing interesting ways of including this theme into the wedding flowers.

For the venue flowers I suggested to get these lovely kitch flower pots in the shape of a swan (did I mention that they really liked swans?) I had seen them trending on some cool social media site and found some reproduction once from China, complete with fake craqueluer and goldy bits, and they were just perfect!

We filled them with peach and creams fluffy soft summer flowers and wild grasses to relect the amazing view of the Wetlands stretching out of the venue’s windows.

swan flower pot

The next special request was the groom’s buttonhole;  If we can please add a green Parakeet feather into his buttonhole!

“Sure, no problem’ I said, how hard can it be to find one. There are thousands of these green noisy things flapping around all over the neighbourhood. Well, that was a bit of a mistake, I had to spend a whole afternoon walking around the park in search of a green feather (and it was raining!) Turns out that they just don’t shed their feather that easily. Anyway, after about 3 hours of dragging the kids round Bushy Park with the promise of a big treat for the lucky feather finder we managed to find 2 and in the buttonhole they went. The things we do for our bride and grooms……

 

buttonhole with Parakeet feathers

The bridal flowers were a mix of peach and cream tones which included the brides favourite flower, the Gerbera Daisy.

We love a bespoke wedding here at Rose&Mary. Let the bride and grooms personalities and passions shine through and be reflected in their wedding flowers. Eveybody has a favourite flower and we will do our best to incorporate everything that you love and passionate about onto our wedding work.