Charlotte Balbier

petals & pencils. the leafy couture school for florists

February 26th, 2015 | Julia Braime

Leafy Couture School For Florists  by James Melia (2)

As well as being a source of inspiration and guidance for our brides-to-be we also like to give our supplier followers a helping hand where we can by letting them know about blooming marvellous industry events such as Leafy Couture’s two-day styling class on the 5th and 6th of March 2015, part of their brand new offering - The Leafy Couture School For Florists.

I’ve been doing quite a bit of public speaking on blogging and social media within the wedding and lifestyle sector recently, and I’m honoured to have been invited along to share my top tips in a dedicated session during this special event.

I love hosting smaller group sessions like these, and if hearing about my recent adventures into the world of coaching have peaked your interest a little do watch out for some very exclusive workshops launching here soon.

But back to those flowers.

Leafy Couture School For Florists  by James Melia (1)
Our good friend and the wonderful talent behind Leafy Couture Sarah Richardson, has a an amazing portfolio that comes with some serious clout. This incredible lady has vast experience in the world of weddings having worked on hundreds over the past eight years, from marquees to grand stately homes, she is truly passionate about couples’ big days.

Leafy Couture School For Florists  by James Melia (4)

Her work is regularly featured in national wedding magazines and local press as well as on numerous national and international wedding blogs, including Brides Up North. She’s also one of our go-to-girls for styling at our industry events and creative shoots, delivering impressive blooms every single time. To add to her credentials Sarah has taught floristry to BTEC Level 3 as a college tutor, demonstrated at RHS Harrogate Flower Show and has recently been nominated for a Wedding Magazine blogging award, phew!

Leafy Couture School For Florists  by James Melia (5)

She’s therefore incredibly well placed to support others in their passion for flowers through both her group styling events and one-to-one mentoring sessions. Whether amateur or experienced a lot can be learnt from this lady and we’re sure some of our florist friends will be keen to go back to school if it means gaining tricks of the trade from Ms Richardson.

Leafy Couture School For Florists  by James Melia (6)

But enough from me, I’ll hand over the pages to Sarah to explain in more detail what her upcoming styling event has to offer – catch you there!

Leafy Couture School For Florists  by James Melia (9)

sarah says: This class is especially for florists who are wanting to build their confidence in the world of weddings.

We will hold your hand and guide you through a series of arrangements to build your portfolios. We will introduce you to a wedding planner, wedding blogger and events team to get insider tips on how to get on in the industry.

And there’s more. We’ll help you work on building your own style and create images for your websites and social media. We will guide you through our processes with wedding appointments and show you how to create wedding bouquets, buttonholes, flower crowns and then style a ceremony and wedding breakfast with large scale designs such as urns and an archway.

Leafy Couture School For Florists  by James Melia (7)

All classes take place in The Chili Barn, Otley – a real wedding venue, where we will show you all the things you need to think about when working on site and fill your head with ideas. You will be working on your own and also as part of a team as you would in a real life wedding situation.

This is a two-day course with all refreshments, including tea and coffee and cake and a delicious lunch, provided. All material, aprons, workbooks and flower material will also be supplied.

Places are limited so each student will get maximum experience and attention. A basic knowledge of flowers and floristry is preferable but we are on hand to guide you every step of the way.

We shall have a photographer on site but you are advised to bring a camera too or a smart phone. All students will get a free skype or phone mentoring session a month after the course to continue the support. Students will also get free access to our new E-Book chapter on wedding flower appointments and session hand outs.

Hope to see you there!

Leafy Couture School For Florists  by James Melia (8)

For more details about the styling class, costing £600 per person, and Leafy Couture’s one-to-one mentoring sessions, please email Sarah at sarah@leafycouture.co.uk, or visit www.leafycouture.co.uk.

Images by James Melia.

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Full Bloom. Supplier Showcase: Sandra’s Flower Studio

April 3rd, 2014 | Julia Braime

Image: Joanna Gower Photography

Image: Joanna Gower Photography

At last count, we had over 28,000 Brides Up North subscribers, over 18,700 Twitter followers and over 10,400 Facebook likes on our page.  That’s a lot of love people! 

Keep it coming and #jointhenorthernrevolution across our social networks.  It’s an active, diverse and exciting community we have there – updated even more frequently than the blog itself, and the place for all the insider gossip, breaking news and casual content – and we’d love you to be a part of it.

The northern revolution wouldn’t be happening at all without the support of talented regional suppliers like the lady I’m about to introduce you to: the lovely Sandra of Brides Up North Featured Supplier Sandra’s Flower Studio.  I’ve invited Sandra along to our pretty pages to tell us all about what she can do for a bride like you on her wedding day.  Let’s meet her.   

How and when did you become a floral designer?

Sandra: I started out in floristry 22 years ago after leaving school and working in a florist shop. and became specifically interested in wedding design in 2000. Each year I increased the amount of weddings I worked on until last year I made it my full time profession setting up fully on my own.

What is your background and qualifications?

I have two NVQ’s in floristry but I was basically bench trained and have learnt many techniques by keeping up to date with trade magazines and going to demonstrations.

Image: Hines-Images Photography

Image: Hines-Images Photography

What services do you offer for Brides To Be?

I offer a full flower service from designing bride and bridesmaids bouquets, buttonholes, corsages, hair pieces, church pedestals, archways, pew ends, altar designs, to venue and reception table designs, entrance displays and anything else floral. I can also add in those little table details such as confetti, table crystals, tea lights and so on. I have also started to offer a dry hire service for all my vases, fish bowls, martini vases and candelabras 

What sets your business apart from your competitors?

I listen to my brides and make suggestions if necessary but ultimately they decide on what flowers they are having. If you want something and it is available and feasible to do, then you have it. So many times I hear ‘Other florists have said I can’t have…’ Of course if you don’t know where to start I will help and guide you through the process and as your plans develop and your flowers need tweaking then so be it. I also don’t mind how many times you get in touch, this is your day and it needs to be right for you and unless you are 100% happy neither am I.

Image: Natural Expressions

Image: Natural Expressions

Tell Brides Up North about making the finals of The Wedding Industry Awards.  Why did you enter and what does this mean to you?

I like these awards. They are, initially at least, voted for by my clients. I entered two years ago when I first started my business to see if I could compete with the best. I was shortlisted. This year I entered again to see if my brides were as happy as they told me – the voting is anonymous – and the comments I got back were overwhelming as were the scores. I was very happy to be shortlisted again. These awards give you a boost but also the comments give you an idea on where you may need a little improvement.

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Grow Your Own. Supplier Showcase: Firenza Floral Design

March 5th, 2014 | Julia Braime

Ann-Katrin Koch

Image by Ann-Kathrin Koch

A few weeks ago we welcomed Brides Up North Featured Supplier and award winning Yorkshire wedding florist Fiona Pickles, director of Firenza Floral Design, to the wedding blog to tell us all about her home grown wedding flowers. 

Laura Calderwood Photography for Firenza Floral Design

Image by Laura Calderwood 

This afternoon I’m doing something rare and reposting that content for you here, following controversy last month about a supposedly British grown Valentine’s bouquet supported by the Royal Horticultural Society … that turned out to contain no British grown flowers at all, as they were out of season!  The story was covered in The Telegraph, The Daily Mail and other titles and after much pressure from the British flower growers (under #britishflowers on twitter) the RHS removed the incorrect labelling and personally responded to every single tweet of complaint (and there were lot!).  The RHS are also working with British growers now for something for Mother’s Day.  

Guaranteed:  all the flowers you see in the piece that we share here this afternoon have been home grown by Fiona’s fair hands.  That’s something pretty special.  Imagine choosing your wedding flowers and seeing them grown from seed!  Fiona is passionate about her love of British flowers and is here to tell us how she continues to develop her own crop to incorporate more locally grown blooms into her beautiful wedding bouquets.  Let’s hear from her…

James Melia for Firenza Floral Design

Images by James Melia

James Melia for Firenza Floral Design

James Melia for Firenza Floral Design

Fiona says: I’ve always had a passion for flowers and really love being at work in my garden. Even though the weather isn’t great at the moment we’ve been outside in the wind and rain preparing the cutting beds, and in a few months, with a bit of luck, we’ll have flowers in bloom and I can’t wait!

Having locally grown flowers and herbs adds an extra special and personal touch to a wedding knowing the flowers have been grown right here, in the Yorkshire countryside.

Laura Calderwood Photography for Firenza Floral Design

Images by Laura Calderwood 

Laura Calderwood Photography for Firenza Floral Design

Laura Calderwood Photography for Firenza Floral Design

Laura Calderwood Photography for Firenza Floral Design

As a wedding florist we are incredibly busy – especially during the spring and summer – and growing our own flowers does mean extra work, but it’s something I love and am passionate about, plus it’s very rewarding, so the extra work is worth it, which is why we started to grow more of our own wedding flowers last year, with wonderful results.  We’re based in West Yorkshire and whilst we seem to have a very pleasant micro-climate, we are still in the Pennines, 1,220ft above sea level and on a substantial slope, so conditions can be a little testing. Before growing in earnest, I wanted to get some good advice from other growers so I attended a “Flower Farming for Beginners” course at Common Farm Flowers run by the fabulous Georgie Newberry, she has a real passion for British grown cut flowers and her business was a real inspiration to me.

jamesmelia-101

Images by James Melia

James Melia for Firenza Floral Design

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Last year, we had a lot of snow in March so it wasn’t the best start to the growing year, but the beautiful summer meant that our herbs and flowers were very, very happy on our fully south facing plot. We even had a photo shoot here in late June, with a small team of trusted suppliers, all the flowers used in the shoot were grown by us, including the buttercups, which I just adore!

Laura Calderwood Photography for Firenza Floral Design

Images by Laura Calderwood 

Laura Calderwood Photography for Firenza Floral Design

Laura Calderwood Photography for Firenza Floral Design

Laura Calderwood Photography for Firenza Floral Design

Laura Calderwood Photography for Firenza Floral Design

We use a lot of mint, rosemary, thyme, lavender, lemon balm, oregano and sage as well as many beautiful cottage garden-style flowers. We’re extending our herb terraces even further this year, so lots more scented beauties to come hopefully. I love using herbs in our wedding flowers, it really adds a beautiful dimension and helps to create those lasting memories.

We will never be able to grow enough flowers for all of our weddings, but as well as growing more of our own, I am working closely with Gill Hodgson from Flowers from the Farm, a network of flower growers, large and small, across the country, to supplement our flower needs, so we can use as many British Flowers as possible.

Mark Dolby

Image by Mark Dolby

Looking ahead for this year, the beds are being filled with compost, the cold frames are ready, the seed catalogues are being perused and my tools are being sharpened ready for another busy year of weddings and growing. The workshop is being fitted out with shelves and storage to create more space, we are even planning a lean-to greenhouse on our beautiful but rather shabby shed to give us more space for all our beautiful British flowers and I can’t wait!

If you’d like to make an appointment with Fiona to create your wedding flowers please contact visit www.firenzafloraldesign.co.uk or ring 01422 835540.

James Melia

Images by James Melia 

James Melia

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Brides Up North UK Wedding  Blog – Images © 2014 as tagged, James Melia. Ann-Katrin Koch, Mark Dolby, Laura Calderwood

Firenza Floral Design is a Brides Up North Featured Supplier

Contact Brides Up North to submit your business as a Featured Supplier

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A Year In Bloom: A Bouquet Of Peonies, Lavender & Stocks For May

May 28th, 2013 | Julia Braime

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Leafy Couture

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May

Sarah Burnhardt Peonies

Pink Ranunculus

Lavender

Viburnum Opulus

Memory Lane Roses

Lilac Stocks

Scented Eucalyptus

Rosemary Foliage

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It’s been a full 12 months since my friend and Featured Supplier Sarah of Yorkshire Florist Leafy Couture started sending flowers to my inbox every month, and this afternoon we conclude our Year In Bloom feature with the prettiest bouquet of them all.  A heady combination of summery scents in pretty pastel shades.  As usual, it’s bloomin’ gorgeous!

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Sarah and the Leafy Couture girls will be back to launch another regular feature here on these swirly silver pages shortly, but for now, enjoy the view!

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Sarah says:  May’s bouquet is a fabulous combination of spring and early summer flowers. The scent is gorgeous from the stocks, peonies and lavender. Scent is such a powerful thing, it can calm the nerves of a excited bride and also bring back wonderful memories of your special day.  The blooms are all billowing, perfect for a English country style wedding.

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Leafy Couture

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In this bouquet we have gone for a textured, relaxed feel. A more "just picked" look with less uniformity. It would work really well with a lace dress or long elegant dress with few embellishments. It would also look great with floral bridesmaids dresses.

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Leafy Couture

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Catch up on the entire Year In Bloom series by clicking here.

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Images © 2013 Leafy Couture

Leafy Couture is a Brides Up North Featured Supplier

Contact Brides Up North to submit your business as a Featured Supplier

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Darling Buds: Perfect Flowers For A Spring Wedding With Firenza Floral Design

April 16th, 2013 | Julia Braime

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Laura Calderwood Photography

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With Spring well and truly in the air, expert wedding florist Fiona Pickles, from Brides Up North Featured Supplier Firenza Floral Design, takes the business of choosing perfect arrangements in her stride. Having recently won Best Wedding Florist for the North East Region from The Wedding Industry Awards, she knows a thing or two when it comes to choosing the perfect wedding flowers.

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With her expert knowledge and awareness of seasonal availability, not to mention a champion for locally grown flowers, Fiona is prettifying these pages this morning with her seasonal creations, as she shares some advice and tips on choosing the perfect flowers for a Spring wedding.

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Laura Calderwood Photography

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Fiona says: Spring is all about fresh new beginnings and optimism and it is my favourite time of year for flowers, they are all so beautiful. To keep the feeling that Spring is in the air, choose lots of fresh, local and readily available blooming flowers.

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When choosing flowers for a Spring wedding one must consider the seasonal availability to hand and the abundance of colour on offer, which makes Spring time the perfect choice for both a soft, muted and romantic look as well as a vibrant, bright and fresh wedding.

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Laura Calderwood Photography

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Growing my own flowers means all sort of options are open to me that just aren’t available at the flower markets, such as beautiful pale lemon cowslips, ever-so delicate forget-me-nots, honeysuckle, stately dicentra (little white or red heart shaped flowers), and aquilegia (grannie’s bonnets), to name a few.

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There are so many different flowers to choose from and to help you decide, here are some of my favourites…

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Laura Calderwood Photography

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Tulips are a popular Spring flower and perfect for weddings as they come in a huge variety of colours, making it easy to fit in with themes. They look great mixed into a bouquet or grouped together on their own.

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Andrea Barrett Photography

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Narcissi (daffodils) are the flowers that signal the beginning of Spring. As well as the familiar bold and cheery yellow daffodil, with a beautiful open bloom there are also some beautiful muted narcissi in buttermilk (cheerfulness) and even white varieties (paperwhites). They work beautifully in bridal bouquets giving a delicate almost frilly effect, as well as adding a beautiful scent. They make wonderful table centrepieces and can be potted up as favours for guests.

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Cherry blossom is available in pink (usually pale) and white and are fabulous for table centrepieces – they work equally as well in an informal “jug style” display as well as in tall, dramatic statement pieces.

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Lilac stunning heads of lilac or white flowers offer a delicate scent. They add a beautiful extra dimension to bridal bouquets. A bouquet of lilac on its own is really stunning.

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Ranunculus - like gorgeous mini peonies, they come in a wide range of colours and are one of my absolute favourites. A bouquet of just a single colour ranunculus is so delicate and striking. Equally they work well mixed with other spring flowers.

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Viburnum opulus (guelder rose, snowball) is a versatile spring flower in a vivid acid green, which fades to almost white as it ages. They work brilliantly in large pedestal displays and go with every colour of spring flower available.

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Laura Calderwood Photography

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Hyacinth come in many colours and have the added bonus of being highly scented (although it may be best to avoid for people with allergies) and are very versatile in all styles of design.

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Anemone are so delicate and many have a beautiful dark blue/purple, almost black centre, so even the pale colours become a fabulous choice to tie in with darker coloured bridesmaid dresses in a very subtle way. As well as a large range of whites and pale pastel colours, they do come in strong colours such as vibrant magenta and red.

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Laura Calderwood Photography

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Hellebore is a beautifully delicate flower which ranges from white, pale green through to a more acid green, to shades of mauve and purple right up to a beautifully moody dark purple. A hellebore head with twigs and herbs makes for a striking buttonhole.

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Spring flowering clematis – a pretty climbing flower that works when trailing over a candelabra or around vases for a stunning centrepiece. They also work really well in garlands.

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Laura Calderwood Photography

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Bluebells provide a vibrant blue in late spring and when combined with a fresh zingy lime green offer a beautiful bright option whilst retaining a natural look.

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Snakeshead fritillary are a native British flower and grow wild in grass meadows, they come in either the usual mauve checkerboard effect or a white variety of the same. They are so delicate and make a beautiful addition to a mixed spring flower display.

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Laura Calderwood Photography

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Fiona will be exhibiting her beautiful blooms and floral displays next Sunday 21st April 2013 at The Brides Up North Luxury & Vintage Grand Wedding Exhibition at The National Railway Museum in York.  Do you have the date in your diaries? Click here for all the info and to pre-register as a VIP Bride To Be. 

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Fiona offers consultations at her beautiful studio and workshop in West Yorkshire. For more information visit www.firenzafloraldesign.co.uk or ring 01422 835540.

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Images © 2013 supplied by Firenza Floral DesignLaura Calderwood Photography & Andrea Barrett Photography

Firenza Floral Design is a Brides Up North Featured Supplier

Contact Brides Up North to submit your business as a Featured Supplier

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