Wedding Flowers Blog

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



Wiring For Florists Workshop

A Workshop for Professional Florists

Running your own business can be all consuming. We love what we do, so we live and breathe our chosen careers, but we all need to recharge our batteries from time to time. So when Lindsey Kitchen of The Whitehorse Flower Company suggested via Instagram, the idea of a workshop day just for professional florists, I couldn't wait to sign up. 

The idea behind the workshop was Lindsey's use of traditional wiring techniques for making bridal bouquets. These are something that I learned at college more than 25 years ago, but which many florists who are used to making ever popular hand tied bouquets, are unfamiliar with.   

Before hand tied bouquets became the norm that we see today, most florists used (and still use) floral foam bouquet holders, into which flowers are glued with a hot glue gun. This saves a lot of time, but the end result is, in my opinion rather stiff and unnatural. Before this though, for more than a hundred years bouquets were wired, which was a great skill and took time to master. Time is money, and so this labour intensive method gradually fell out of fashion to be replaced by the very popular hand tied bouquets we're so familiar with today.

Lindsey however still incorporates wiring into her wedding work, and came up with the inspired idea of a workshop where professional florists could meet, practice their wiring skills, share knowledge and experiences, and take a day out their busy schedules just to focus on themselves. 

The venue for the day was Little Park House near Newbury in Berkshire, where we were hosted earlier this month by owner Jill Houston of  Little Park Flowers. After a lovely welcome from Lindsey (with coffee and lemon polenta cake!) my fellow florists, Nicola Eve and Lesley Johnston and Lindsey's amazing team members, Megan and Saranna began the day with a tour of Jill's cutting garden. Here we were able to pick a beautiful selection of flowers including tulips, ranunculus, aquilegia, lily of the valley, foliages and herbs. This was in addition to the wonderful selection that Lindsey had ready and waiting for us in the house.  

What struck me most about the day was just how wonderful it was to be in a room, doing what I love to do, with my peers. We weren't newbies or wannabes playing at being florists, we ARE florists and experienced ones at that. We were there to reinforce our skills, share our expertise and aid one another in a mutually supportive environment.

When it came to making our bouquets, Lindsey's natural warmth and enthusiasm encouraged us to be as creative as we liked. I chose to go wild and woolly with a rich palette of deep purple and plum, with accents of white against a backdrop of chocolatey hazel foliage. Lesley's cascading bouquet was a sensational confection of multi coloured blooms including parrot tulips, ranunculus, roses, jasmine and aquilegia; while Nicola's exquisitely structured bouquet in delicate pastel tones was reminiscent of the 1930's.

Throughout the day we we enjoyed Jill's wonderful hospitality with a gorgeous lunch and sweet treats in abundance. We were joined in the afternoon by photographer Caroline Palmer who captured us as we worked (weird working facial expressions by me) and our finished creations

To say that I was on a high when I left at the end of the day would be an understatement. I was on Cloud 9! Lindsey's and Jill's workshop was an absolute joy to attend, and reinforced my confidence in my own ability. We all need to occasionally make time for ourselves; to think things through and learn from one another.

The day I stop learning is the day I give up!   


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.