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Questions To Ask Your Wedding Florist

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When it comes to choosing your wedding flowers, the world is your oyster, limited only by your imagination. When it comes to choosing your florist however, it's crucial to find someone who really understands your vision, and who has a design style that's right for the look you want to create. In this month’s blog I’m setting out the questions you need to be asking your wedding florist, together with my advice and suggestions.

Check The Date
Before you do anything else, ask a potential florist if they’re available on the date of your wedding. DON’T start by sending them a long list of requests and images without telling them when you’re getting married. It may sound very basic, but I’ve lost count of the times I’ve had a wedding enquiry but no date!

Ask if they do more than one wedding on the same day. I only ever do one, but some florists, depending on how big a team they have may do two or more.

It’s always reassuring to know if a florist is familiar with your ceremony or reception venue. If your potential floral designer is recommended by your venue, then they’ll be able to advise you on both the best way to enhance its features, and warn you of any restrictions it may have.

Will you make a site visit to do a venue walk-through before the wedding date? If it’s logistically possible, visiting the venue with your clients is a great way to instil confidence in your service. It’s also a good way to make creative suggestions that you might miss in an email or ‘phone call.

Will you be making the floral arrangements yourself or will it be another florist? Whilst I would love to be able to do it all, it just isn’t physically possible! I’m very fortunate to have a wonderful team of very talented florists to assist me.

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Flower Budget
Do you have a minimum spend for wedding flowers? As well as telling a florist what your budget is, it’s important to find out their starting price. If you’re both upfront about money from the beginning, it will save a lot of time and potential embarrassment further down the line.

I’m often asked asked about ways to make effective use of the flower budget. This can be anything from repositioning ceremony arrangements for the reception, or using locally grown seasonal blooms instead of imported exotics. I’m always happy to advise my couples on the best way to focus their budget.

Do you offer packages for wedding flowers, or is everything bespoke? Everything I do is unique to my couples. I work with them to reflect their vision and personalities.

Business Essentials

How long have you been in business? I’ve been a florist for 29 years and in business for 14 years.

Do you have a  portfolio that I can see? I have a very comprehensive portfolio of work, together with an ongoing portfolio on Instagram. Many of my couples find it reassuring to see what I’m up to between the time they book me and their wedding!

Do you have business insurance? I have £5,000,000 public liability insurance.

image by  Lloyd Dobbie

image by Lloyd Dobbie

Floral Design
How would you describe your style of floristry? As an experienced florist I’ve always believed I should be able to work in whatever style the client wants; from wild and wooly to sleek and modern! Having said that, I love a very relaxed herbaceous garden style.

Which flowers would you recommend based on the time of year and budget? I always suggest using the best of whatever’s in season. Peonies in December or Lily of the Valley in August will cost a fortune and be imported from the other side of the world, so don’t be too rigid in your floral choices.

If the flowers I want aren’t available, can you suggest good alternatives? To avoid disappointment I have a disclaimer in my terms and conditions that says I will always substitute any unavailable flowers with suitable alternatives.

If I send you a picture of a bouquet that I love, can you recreate it? Whilst I’m happy to use an image as inspiration, I ask my brides to trust my experience and creativity.

Can you create a mock up of an arrangement before I book you? If so, is there an additional cost for this? Once a deposit has been paid I’m happy to create a mock up, which I don’t change for. There would however be a charge before a booking is confirmed.

Deposits and Balances

Will you provide me with a detailed proposal with a breakdown of costings? Will this include delivery and set up? Are there any additional fees that have not already been taken into account?

All my proposals include a full breakdown of costings, including delivery, installation and clearance and VAT. I believe in being as open and honest with my pricing as possible.

How far in advance do I need to book your services? Some couples book me 18 months in advance, whilst others leave it right to the last minute. I would however generally advise booking 6 to 9 months ahead. I’m a great believer that if you find a florist you really want, book them asap, because if you don’t someone else will!

How much deposit should I expect to pay? Deposit payments vary considerably, and I know a lot of florists take deposits as low as £100. Without telling my competitors how to run their businesses, I don’t think this instils a sense of confidence or commitment with the client. I take a 50% deposit for weddings up to 12 months in advance. For weddings more than a year ahead I take 25%.

When is the final balance due? The balance is due 2 weeks before the wedding, and then it’s all systems go for the big day!















Choosing Your Wedding Florist.

You’re on the hunt for the florist that can bring your vision of your wedding to life, but where do you begin? You may have someone in mind already, you may know them or have seen their work first hand at another wedding, but are they the one for you?

Choosing the style and decor for your celebration is a very personal decision, and can involve a lot of emotion. The choice you make has to feel right, and you have to trust that your florist understands the look that you want to create. I’ve always believed that my couples choose me as their florist because they want ME to do their flowers. It’s my name on the website, so they are reassured that all their dealings will be with me (and they always are). This creates a sense of confidence.

So to begin at the beginning, how do you go about finding your wedding florist?

Many of my couples find me as a recommended supplier at their wedding venue. Being recommended means that I know how a venue works, what is and isn’t allowed, what works best in certain areas and that knowledge gives couples a clearer understanding of what their wedding could look like.

Increasingly Instagram is influencing couples floral choices. It’s a great way to find a style you love, connect with a florist and see their portfolio of work, and once you’ve booked them to see what they’re doing in the lead up to your wedding.

Wedding Fairs and Showcases - these are a great way to see up close and personal what a florist’s work is like. You’ll also get the chance to find out if you actually like them in person! Remember, you’re going to be working with your florist for many months, and sometimes for more than a year. You need to feel absolutely confident that they understand you and vice versa. A gorgeous website and fabulous PR may attract potential clients, but if a supplier can’t back that up with practical knowledge and expertise it’s time to walk away.

Choosing your flowers is an enjoyable part of the planning process, it’s all about the creativity so dive in. Once you have found your dream florist though, don’t wait. Book them before someone else does!

Next month, I’ll be covering the questions you need to be asking right from the start.


An Introduction To Wedding Flowers

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Welcome to the New Year, and to the first of my monthly posts for 2019. Over  the coming year I’ll be sharing the knowledge I’ve gained over the last 28 years as a florist; together with advice about creating the dream floral scenario for your wedding. Starting with how social media influences your decision making choices, and mentioning the money side of things as well; over the coming months I’ll be delving into much more detail about every aspect of wedding flowers, helping you create your dream celebration. 

Firstly, I want to say that choosing the flowers for your wedding is one of the most enjoyable parts of the planning process (or at least it should be)! We’re not talking nuts and bolts here, but a beautiful part of your celebration that will take centre stage throughout the day, and for years to come in the photography. 

Secondly, the way couples choose the flowers for their weddings has changed beyond all recognition from when I started my training at the end of the 80’s. Traditional flower shops with commercially produced catalogues have given way to social media. Instagram and Pinterest have opened a whole new world that you never knew existed! They’re saturated with gorgeous images of flower walls, enormous hanging installations, arches and flower heavy photoshoots. The floral world is your oyster, and it’s hard to know where to begin. My advice is STOP! Before you get completely carried away, and bombard some unsuspecting florist with 47 images of wedding bouquets, start with the money!

I’m in a fairly unique position, in that I’m married to a wedding planner, so I’m very familiar with the budgeting that my husband advises his clients to allow for each element of their wedding. Most couples don’t know this crucial information though, and to be honest why would they? Unless you’re used to spending a five figure sum on flowers for your house every week, you’re never going to spend that much on them, except for a wedding.

The cost of wedding flowers is sometimes like the elephant in the room. Couples don’t like talking about it, and much of the wedding industry seems to be ignoring it. A lack of discussion about what wedding flowers actually do and can cost leads to a huge amount of frustration, misunderstanding and embarrassment for florists and clients alike. A serious lack of information about the work involved for a wedding florist isn’t helped by the media and bridal press telling couples to ask for discounts, and that they can have it all on a budget of £500. There is of course nothing wrong with spending £500 on wedding flowers, as long as you don’t expect them to look like £5000!

MY advice is to ALLOW 10% of the overall budget for flowers. That doesn’t mean you have to spend 10%, but keep it in mind as you decide on on your guest numbers, the number of arrangements you want, and crucially the work it’s going to take to make it all happen.

I firmly believe that you should choose your wedding florist because they’re creative and talented individuals, and because you love what they do. Start from that point and everything else will follow.

Next month I’ll be covering the first steps in choosing a florist, and the questions you need to ask.









Coordinating Flowers And Outfits For The Bridal Party

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Coordinating the flowers that complement your bridal party may seem like a daunting process, but there is plenty of advice around to help you make the perfect choice for your wedding. Keep reading to find out some great advice for the stylish boys (and girls) who'll be starring at your celebration.

As the big day gets closer, future brides and grooms face the challenge of dressing their wedding party. We know that choosing the perfect wedding dress can cause a lot of stress, but there are many behind the scene details that go into picking out the perfect bridal party attire as well. It’s important that everyone standing by your side coordinates flawlessly, so your wedding vision can come to life. Since we know this can be a big feat, let’s discuss a few simple ways to make sure your wedding party looks their best on your big day.

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While it used to be common to have all your entire wedding party wear the same color and style attire, times are changing. Now is the time to get creative with prints and colours, so there's no need to shy away from mixing and matching. For the bridesmaids, find a dress site that allows you to browse through not just different shades of dresses, but different styles too. Choose a colour and have them pick a style, or choose a look and play with different colours. You’ll find that some colours and styles don’t flatter everyone in your wedding party or photograph very well, so it’s great to have options available for you and your bridesmaids to choose from. If you choose to have different hues, look into having your bridesmaids carry the same style bridal bouquets. This is an excellent way to create a blended look. Even if the bouquets have a mixture of different flowers and greenery, having your bridesmaids carry the same style bouquets will tie everything together beautifully as they stand by your side as you say “I do.”

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The same thing goes for the groomsmen in your wedding party. While wearing the same style of suit or matching ties offers a classic look, don’t be afraid to mix and match, especially when it comes to colours and patterns. There are plenty of other ways to stick to a theme rather than wearing all the same shade. For example, different patterned dress shirts  add great style and extra flare to your wedding attire. While it may seem that multiple shirt patterns could clash, there are different ways to bring everything together. One way to unite the patterns and tones is to have all your groomsmen wear the same flowered buttonholes. The colours from the flowers and greenery will balance the patterns for a cohesive look. Another option is to have your groomsmen wear the same style and colour suit. Patterned shirts will then look more harmonious when your groomsmen are standing next to each other for the all important photographs.

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These are just a few options to choose from. There are a variety of other ways out there to bring the looks of your wedding party together. Whether it’s incorporating different flower colours, textures or patterns, don’t be afraid to think outside of the box when looking for alternative ways to dress up your wedding party.

What are some creative wedding attire options that you want to try with your bridesmaids and groomsmen? If you’re struggling to find the right flowers and colours to dress your wedding, look to the experts for inspiration and advice! After all, they have a special eye that is sure to help your big day bloom beautifully.

 

Source: https://www.weddingwire.co.uk/wedding-tips

St Bart's Brewery Wedding Flowers - Megan & Sarah

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Megan and Sarah's London wedding was a wonderful celebration of love, family and friends. On a bitterly cold day between Christmas and New Year, their celebration was captured stunningly by photographer Laura Babb, whose emotive and atmospheric images perfectly captured the warmth of this special day.

I was introduced to Megan and Sarah, who live in the US by wedding planner Andri Benson, who coordinated all the practical and design details of the day. The ceremony venue was the very evocative Asylum Chapel in Peckham, a deconsecrated event space which is full of faded charm.

For their flowers Megan and Sarah chose a colour palette of rich burgundy, plum and blue. They exchanged their vows in front of dramatic urns filled with flowers and rich seasonal greenery, while dozens of candles added warmth and atmosphere to their ceremony space. 

Instead of carrying bouquets, Megan and Sarah wore blousy corsages, while their wedding party all had buttonholes. These proved very useful for the post ceremony trip on the London Eye, and stopped guests getting lost!

As darkness descended guests arrived at St Bart's Brewery in Smithfield for the evening celebration. Long banquet tables were set for guests to enjoy warming sharing platters, and dressed with floral arrangements of roses, tulips, hyacinths, thistles and winter berries in copper bowls and vases. 

December can be a drab time for weddings, but Megan and Sarah's post Christmas celebration was the perfect combination of love and happiness in our iconic Capital.

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Photographer: Laura Babb

Wedding planner: Always Andri 

Ceremony Venue: The Asylum Chapel

Reception Venue: St Bart's Brewery