Wedding Flowers Blog

A Uniquely Exclusive Experience at The Ritz

A Uniquely Exclusive Experience at The Ritz & 2017 Collection Debut.

Last month I was delighted to collaborate on a stunning event at London's iconic Ritz Hotel. Held in the exquisite Marie Antoinette suite, this very glamorous party celebrated the launch of Unique Cakes by Yevnig's 2017 luxury wedding cake collection. Working with Yevnig and some of the industry's finest suppliers, we created an enchanted setting befitting the hotel's Louis XVI inspired interiors.

The Marie Antoinette suite is like walking into a jewel box, and worthy of the french Queen herself. Taking inspiration from this, wedding and event planner Rula Komodromos, who has an exceptional eye for detail, drew together all the elements needed to create an exceptional event.

The suite itself inspired the design for the evening. Pretty, delicate and unashamedly feminine, Yevnig drew on the colours and interior decor for her cake designs. I complemented these with gilded vases and epergnes filled with romantic arrangements of hydrangeas, roses, ranunculus and stocks. Almost as good enough to eat as the cake (but not quite)!

Talking of cake, guests were treated to an audience with Marie Antoinette herself! Now we know that she never actually said those words for which she has become infamous, but her attendance  was a delightful addition to the evening. 

Champagne, exquisite food, cake, flowers, decor, lighting, music, entertainment and sophisticated company combined to make a wonderful event. I even got the chance to dress up too, which made a lovely change, because once I've set up the flowers I've usually left before the party even starts!

You can see more of this beautiful event in the video below.

Venue: The Ritz Hotel

Event Planner: Rula Parties

Bespoke luxury Wedding Cakes: Unique Cakes by Yevnig

Photography: Stuart Wood

Videography: The Wedding Film Makers

Invitations: Armorial

Furniture and Props: Farley

Glasses and Tableware: Couvert

Harpist: Sternberg Clarke

Lighting: Lux Technical

Etiquette Expert: William Hanson

"And If We Don't Have The Tea Lights On The Tables, That Will Save 50p From The Overall Budget"

Why I'm Not Going To Justify Why I Charge What I Charge!

Too much of good thing is fabulous! I love weddings, and when it came to my own I didn't scrimp, although I did do these flowers myself. When my husband, Lester and I were married, we wanted to create a beautiful setting in which to celebrate one of the most important days in our lives with the people closest to us. We didn't want a huge wedding, we only had 11 guests, but were prepared to pay for a wonderful celebration. We did get what we paid for.

Without a doubt though the wedding industry is on the receiving end of some very negative press at the moment. According to our detractors, we're all a bunch of rip-off merchants intent on taking our clients for a ride, and ratcheting up our prices at the mention of the word "Wedding". With the announcement that supermarket chain Lidl has teamed up with a high profile London florist to create a "capsule collection" of wedding flowers for £149.00; this may seem like another nail in the coffin for our industry, but I beg to differ. I see this as an opportunity to redress the balance and take charge of a situation that is largely of our own making.

In my 27 years as a florist the business of flowers has changed beyond recognition, but a lot of the people who work in it haven't. Let me explain. When I was studying floristry at college in Plymouth, part of my training included work experience in a local flower shop. Back then customers weren't as discerning, their expectations weren't as high and floristry (thanks to social media) wasn't the aspirational career that it is today. Floristry was seen as something that 16 year old school leavers with poor exam results and house wives whose children had left home did. The very shrewd shop owner summed it up succinctly, when I asked her why we couldn't have more unusual flowers in the shop apart form carnations and chrysanthemums. 

"Plymothians are too thick to appreciate anything else".

Looking back on those words which I thought so shocking at the time, I realise that she was right, and now know why she drove around in a Rolls Royce! Her business was successful because she knew exactly who her customers were, what their expectations were and what they were prepared to spend. She had no aspirations to be anything other than a local florist who ran her business strictly and very effectively. I think there are too many florists trying to be all things to all people and please everyone. I know from personal experience that people pleasers get walked on.

Since then of course the way that flowers are sold has changed radically. Buying flowers inexpensively at supermarkets has revolutionised the way we think about how much they cost. When I was training you could buy a bunch of spray carnations for £1.95. Before I started writing this post I checked online to see what they cost now, and Asda are selling them for £2.00! Is it any wonder then that the general public think that independent florists are expensive? To anyone outside the industry we must seem extortionate!

In recent years the rise of discount stores and cheap online deals has firmly embedded the idea that we can get everything on the cheap in our psyches. Don't get me wrong, I love a bargain and discovering a deal, but I'm not mean. As a small business owner I understand and appreciate that other small business owners work very hard to make a profit, and a decent living, not to rip people off.

Part of the problem in my opinion lies within the wedding industry itself, including the bridal press, bloggers and even wedding planners who don't support suppliers in the way they should. I should point out however that my husband is a wedding planner, so between us the conversation in our house revolves around little else. Through him I've learnt how the many arms of our industry interact and treat one other, and frankly it shocks me. 

We often rant about the way the bridal magazines and bloggers ignore or praise whoever is or isn't flavour of the month, how they fill their pages with fabulous flower heavy images, and then on the next page tell you how to plan your entire wedding for £5,000. I'm very fortunate to have a fantastic relationship with one bridal publication, but I've also been on the snooty receiving end, having not been considered good enough to even talk to. So what's my beef with planners, considering I'm married to one? The good ones don't send you 27 pages of floral drivel (aka a "Floral Design Brief") and prevent you from meeting the clients - that is all! 

I know this last paragraph sounds as though I'm just having a go a certain sectors of the industry, but I and my fellow florists are also guilty of allowing ourselves to be treated shamefully. We aren't always generous to one another, we complain loudly in private about how we're treated, but sit on the fence publicly for fear of rocking the boat, and we definitely don't say NO enough. None of us likes turning down work, but if a potential client sends you an email with the words "and I want the flowers to be as cheap as possible", do you really want that sort of work?

In my grumpy middle age I have decided that I'm not going to be walked all over any more. I won't submit a quote without knowing the budget, and if as one groom said to me "if we don't have the tea lights on the tables, that will save 50p from the overall budget", it's time to find another florist.




Photography: John Nassari

Buckinghamshire Wedding Florist. WeddingShowcase at The Dairy, Waddesdon Manor 5th March 2017.

Wedding Showcase at Waddesdon Manor.

The Dairy at Waddesdon Manor has to be one of my favourite wedding venues. It's secluded lakeside setting, versatile event spaces and exclusive use policy make it the perfect place for a wedding celebration at anytime of the year. As a preferred supplier who knows just how the venue works and how wonderful it can look, I was delighted to be involved with the Wedding Inspiration Showcase at The Dairy which took place last month. The reactions to my table setting were amazing and left me on a real high. Thank you to all the wonderful couples who attended. 

Featuring a host of fabulous suppliers, the showcase was brilliantly coordinated by Kelly Chandler  of The Bespoke Wedding Company, who as one of the Uk's leading wedding planners knows exactly how to organise the perfect event.

Designed to inspire and inform couples with a host of industry suppliers and interactive activities; the Inspiration Day transformed the venue from an empty space into a stunning setting, perfect for a wedding celebration.

The central courtyard of The Dairy, which is a beautiful setting for a civil ceremony or drinks reception was transformed with a clear span marquee, capable of seating 300 people. It was in this light filled space that I created my own table setting, complete with lavish arrangements of roses, fragrant spray roses, hydrangeas, viburnum and scented stocks in shades of blush pink. green and soft apricot. Antique gold chivari chairs surrounded the table, which I dressed with a green paisley patterned cloth, gold beaded charger plates, gilded cutlery and gold rimmed glassware. Cut glass vases and candlesticks completed the look.

The style was soft, romantic and very elegant. The tall vases created bold statements without blocking the view (always a consideration), whilst the low vases gave interest at eye level when seated. I loved creating a table setting that was so feminine, but which also had a broad appeal (the guys loved it too!) So if has inspired you about your wedding celebration, let me know how I can help to flower the wedding of your dreams! 

Venue: The Dairy at Waddesdon Manor.

Event Coordination: The Bespoke Wedding Company.

Table Plan Banner: White cottage weddings.

Photography: Kate Nielen.

London Wedding Florist. Floral Trends for 2017

Wedding Reception Flowers. Image by Amy Shaw.

With the start of the new year, now is the perfect time to think about the design and style of your wedding. Flowers make a wedding, so what trends can we expect to see in 2017?

I’m going to stick my neck out here and say that vintage is over, and so are flower walls! From the sublime to the ridiculous, these two wildly differing looks have been featured endlessly in the bridal press as the must have look for weddings. At one end of the scale vintage has been seen as the perfect solution for the money conscious bride flowering a DIY wedding. At the other end, flower walls filled with literally thousands of blooms have been the floral must haves for those, bold enough and wealthy enough to afford them.

While both styles can and do look beautiful, I’m seeing a real trend towards floral designs that strike a balance between old fashioned tea party and vulgar ostentation. I noticed a definite swing towards something more elegant, stylish and dramatic last year, and I’m sure this will definitely continue in 2017. 

Glamour is back in a big way, with reception tables dressed with tall statement vases overflowing with romantic blowsy blooms in muted shades and plenty of greenery. Talking of greenery, I couldn’t be happier that this is the official Pantone colour of the year, so expect to see it featuring heavily on social media, especially Pinterest.

Foliage is an absolute favourite of mine, yet so often overlooked. Foliage is both versatile and adaptable. Amazing for lavish celebrations when used in huge quantities, but also for more modest weddings because it adds scale and drama to arrangements, giving the impression of expense. If you want to create the feeling of an enchanted garden, ask your florist how to create a fabulous opulent style with just the use of greenery. 

Overtaking the flower wall, floral and foliage chandeliers, as well as hanging flowers generally are among the latest trends. These statement pieces which look so impressive can often be a far more cost effective option. I'm very excited that there seems to be a real desire for good old fashioned romance in floral design right now. Many creative florists are transforming venues with beautiful garden style installations. Garlands for staircases, and banquet style tables, oversized statement urns and even statues are succumbing to this widely romantic look. So if this is a style that you love, think more about the green, and less about the flowers and be a trendsetter in 2017.











LondonWedding Florist Simon Nickell Design Featured in Wedding Flowers & Accessories Magazine

Happy New Year to you all! I'm very excited to start 2017 with some wonderful press coverage, courtesy of Wedding Flowers & Accessories Magazine. A few months ago I was asked to provide flowers for the magazine's Look Book section. Given the brief of mixed colours, I created a bridal bouquet and accompanying arrangements in shades of pink, white, lilac, lime green, magenta and deep berry red. The flowers are featured in the latest issue, which is on sale now, and I'm thrilled to see that my bouquet was chosen for the front cover. It's a pity that magazines don't came with scratch and sniff, because the scent from these gorgeous garden style roses was intoxicating! 

Also in this issue, you can read my interview with the magazine about how I started as florist, what I love about the job, my trend predictions for 2017 and expert advice. Thank you Wedding Flowers & Accessories for this wonderful feature.