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Wedding Flowers Blog

Wedding Ceremony Flowers

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As a celebration of one of the most important days of a couple's lives, flowers are one of the most important elements, and a key component of a wedding ceremony. Whether you decide to exchange your vows in a church, a hotel, or a garden, flowers are the perfect way to make the wedding ceremony the centre of attention.

Before choosing your ceremony flowers however, you need to chose the setting. I know I’m biased, but I do believe that flowers are an essential part of the decoration for the aisle, the altar, and other areas. Whatever flowers you do decide to have, remember that as a couple you are the centre of attention. Your ceremony flowers should enhance the setting, not take over and overwhelm you. Well chosen arrangements should help focus the attention of your friends and families on you during the the ceremony.

The wedding ceremony venue will be the place where your marriage will actually take place, so it deserves some carefully thought out plans.

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For a church wedding there are some important questions to ask before you get carried way in a floral fantasy! Many churches welcome outside florists with open arms, and are happy for you decorate as much as you like, but some aren’t. Over the years I’ve had many dealings with “the ladies who do the church flowers”, and some of them can be very territorial! They definitely don’t like the idea of an outsider coming in, so you may get a flat refusal, or be admitted grudgingly (as long as you make donation to the church funds).

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If you are allowed free reign, there are many options for floral decoration. As a rule of thumb though, there are two main areas to focus your attention. The first is the altar, where large arrangements on either side should be large enough for everyone to see, and be seen from afar. The second is the aisle, where pew ends flowers can define it. These can range from single stems of flowers to large bouquets, but you need to check the fixings! Church pews don’t come in “one size fits all”, and I know from experience that the shape of some pews can make attaching flowers much more difficult than others.

If you are having a civil ceremony in a register office, these may already be decorated with flowers. Some register offices do however allow you to bring in your own floral decoration, as long as it’s removed immediately afterwards.

For couples who choose a licensed venue for their ceremony and reception, this is where you floral decoration can be multi purpose. To be honest, it’s rare for me nowadays not to be asked to move arrangements from the ceremony area and reposition them for the wedding breakfast. Depending on the venue, moving flowers can be logistically challenging, but in general it’s far easier to transfer the flowers from one room to another than move them from a church and reposition them during the drinks reception. Think about arrangements that will suit both rooms, and which could possibly double up as table arrangements.

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If you decide to have an outdoor celebration, make the most of the scenery! If there is a particularly beautiful tree, why not consider dressing it with flower and foliage garlands. They’ll make an amazing backdrop to your ceremony, and can be used to dress the reception tables afterwards.

Whatever style of wedding ceremony you choose to have, religious, civil or humanist, take time to look at all the potential your venue has to offer. Do check to see what you’re allowed to do, and do take the advice of your florist who’ll be able to come up with some amazing ideas!







A Romantic Cornish Wedding at Boconnoc

A Romantic Cornish Wedding at Boconnoc Estate

One of the questions I'm most frequently asked as florist is "do you have a favourite wedding"? The diplomatic answer would be, "they're all so beautiful, I couldn't possibly tell you"! There are some weddings though that seem so special that you say to yourself, "did I just do that"?

Lucy and Michael's wedding was one of those, and will leave its mark as a highlight in my career. For many reasons I was thrilled when they chose me as their florist. Firstly it was in Cornwall, so as a cornishman I loved the idea of going home to do a wedding. Secondly the venue was the ridiculously beautiful Boconnoc estate near Lostwithiel which I have family connections to, and thirdly my husband Lester Gethings was the wedding planner!  

From the outset Lucy and Michael were dream clients. They trusted me to bring their vision to life and create a setting that reflected not only the grandeur of the house, but also their natural informality and love for life. They trusted Lester to coordinate a full blown 3 day celebration, which culminated in a wedding breakfast with banquet tables 100 feet long. With the house sitting in 7500 acres, the brief was to bring the outside in and create a romantic English garden. Working with a palette of blush pinks and green, my incredible team and I filled the estate church and house with peonies, roses, hydrangeas, dahlias and herbaceous favourites,  together with mountains of greenery, blurring the boundaries between the house and park.

Lucy's choice of soft blush pinks flowed perfectly from her bouquet to the church and reception. The look was romantic and abundant, which suited Boconnoc perfectly. The beautiful and evocative photography of Amy Shawe sums up why I love this wedding so much. I hope you do too.

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If you're going to have heels, they might as well be a killer pair from Louboutin!

Lucy and Michael's dog Alfie was part of the day too, as he trotted up the aisle with their wedding rings attached to his collar.

A fabulous large scale urn overflowing with flowers dressed the escort card table, in front of the portrait of General Pitt, who bought Boconnoc with the proceeds from the sale of the Pitt diamond in 1717.

Something that Lester always does for his clients is a reveal. Before the guests go into dinner, he gives his couples a private view of the reception room. This is a chance for them to share a private moment and take everything in. I loved the look on Lucy and Michael's faces as Lester opened the door and showed them this beautiful setting. For me this really was a dream wedding, but I am only as good as the team I have around me. My team of fabulous florists, Amanda Randell, Amanda Winsor and Karen Egan pulled out out all the stops and helped me create a wedding I will never forget.

Venue: Boconnoc Estate

Wedding Planner: Lester Gethings

Photography: Amy Shawe

  

 

"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

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.

Source: www.weddingandweddingflowers.co.uk