Brides Up North

a wedding alphabet. f is for flowers

November 11th, 2014 | Rachel Parry

Source sarahwaggoner.com, photo Sarah Waggon, flowers butterfly petals

Image via sarahwaggoner.com, photo by Sarah Waggon

I’ve talked about my obsession with wedding flowers quite a few times on the blog before. To me beautiful blooms are central to reflecting a chosen colour scheme or theme and can even help set the mood of the big day itself.

Just like most other elements of a wedding these days, suppliers and couples are getting much more innovative with the ways in which they incorporate flowers into weddings. Beyond bouquets and button holes, flowers are being used to decorate venues, though arrangements and displays are less formal and more adventurous than what’s gone before, encouraging couples to be thoughtful and free in their choices.

Source ruffledblog.com, photo Ellie Gillard, flowers Battersea Flower Station

Image via ruffledblog.com, photo by Ellie Gillard

We’ve seen pretty petals scattered up the aisle, arrangements in lace adorned jam jars and simple clear bottles as well as hand-tied bundles effortlessly hung upon pew ends and pretty flower heads placed within small glass balls and suspended from the ceiling.

Rather than just one or two arrangements, it seems a ‘the more the merrier’ approach has been adopted by many brides and grooms with blooms flourishing in all areas of the celebration, including decorative floral cakes and hair crowns.

Source theeverylastdetail.com

Image via theeverylastdetail.com

However far you choose to take floral additions on your big day, here are some top tips to help you during the picking process:

do your research

It’s helpful to have in your mind the type of flowers you want before choosing/visiting a florist. Think about your venue and styling as flowers really help to set the scene or mood. Do you want rustic, vintage, sophisticated, modern, minimalist or romantic? Also are there any blooms you want to incorporate for sentimental reasons or to fit in with the season in which you marry? From there you can figure out the types of flowers you would like and can collect images from magazines, or build up a mood board of images online, which will give your florist inspiration and direction to create something specific to you.

find a florist

Different florists may do a particular style of flowers better than another (e.g. use beautiful English flowers to create ‘just-picked’ style arrangements) so ask around for word of mouth recommendations, check out real wedding blog posts online and/or ask your chosen venue for suggested suppliers. Once you’ve drawn-up a short list of possible florists arrange a meeting with them to discuss prices/budget, look through portfolios and to see how they connect with your ideas or if you are struggling for ideas yourself, ask them for suggestions.

Source onehitchedlane.com

Image via onehitchedlane.com

build up a relationship

Once you have chosen your florist meeting with them regularly not only builds up trust but it also gives your chosen supplier the chance to get to know you as individuals – your likes, dislikes and  styles preferences. It also gives you the opportunity to update your florist on other areas of the big day – the venue, dress, theme, style of the ceremony – to help them create designs that are unique to you and your wedding whilst still ringing true to the original brief.

Source modernwedding.com.au, photo Milque Photography, flowers Karen Tran Florals and Events

Image via modernwedding.com.au, photo by Milque Photography

prepare to be flexible

At one point a couple’s wedding flower choices were dictated by which season they were tying the knot in and what flowers were available at that time. However, many florists now buy in blooms from overseas, expanding couple’s options and giving them the opportunity to source more unusual types to push design boundaries. However there may still be times at when you need to be flexible either due to availability of the blooms, colour restrictions or due to your budget – be prepared to comprise and listen to a florist’s alternatives.

don’t forget the small things

The appearance of flowers can change through the budding process so you might want to discuss this with your florist to ensure they order in your choices at the right time ahead of the wedding. Upon request some florists will give couples samples to take away so they can see how they develop over time. They can then pick at which stage through the blooming process they would like the flowers to appear on their wedding day. So while some might like tight bud roses that are just beginning to open, others might prefer them mostly open or even big and blousy.

Source whimsicalwonderlandweddings.com, photo  Campbell Photography, flowers The Wild Bunch

Image via whimsicalwonderlandweddings.com, photo by Campbell Photography

Other image sources as credited in our gallery

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full bloom! supplier showcase: red floral architecture

September 9th, 2014 | Julia Braime

Red Floral Architecture by Mick Cookson Photography (20)

This afternoon I’m very proud to welcome the fabulous Mat Hepplestone of Red Floral Architecture to the Brides Up North stage. I’m very privileged to be working with Mat on a special project this week and am ready to be lost in the scent and sensation of his amazing blossom masterpieces.  A true architect, this man makes cathedrals and castles from roses and peonies, and we love him here at Brides Up North HQ.

With images by Mick Cookson Photography, or otherwise provided by Red Floral.

Image supplied by Red Floral Architecture  (3)

Mat says: My interest in the industry started from a very early age when my family moved house and the new next door neighbours had a local florist shop. I was asked to help out over busy periods and at weekends. At the age of fourteen I ran my own dried flower business from the cellar of the house, going doing dried flower parties in the evenings and selling my wares to the school teachers.

Red Floral Architecture by Mick Cookson Photography (18)

Red Floral Architecture by Mick Cookson Photography (5)

Image supplied by Red Floral Architecture  (5)

Where do you get your inspiration for flower design?

I am very much inspired by fashion. Looking at the season’s catwalk trends leads to the colour choices I produce for the annual season. The American luxury style is what appeals to me and I research the trends across the world to keep the Red Floral style innovative and at the forefront of design.

Red Floral Architecture by Mick Cookson Photography (9)

Describe some of the most recent weddings you have been working on?

Red Floral are lucky enough to house a team of designers who can create an eclectic mix of designs suitable for any venue. Recently we created traditional grandeur at The Monastery in Manchester and a life-size enchanted forest over in Liverpool. The more outrageous the request the more of a buzz we get here at Red.

Red Floral Architecture by Mick Cookson Photography (3)

What advice can you give to a bride when working with a florist?

Be aware that your wedding florist is the person who is solely responsible for creating the desired look for your wedding and stamping the luxury throughout the day. Make sure you select a florist who can communicate your vision, likes and dislikes. Red Floral wants to make your wedding absolutely breath taking so you need to relax and put your trust in your vendors. Brides often book the florist last which is a mistake because you need to get an idea of what everything costs and your budget. It’s good to look at your florist’s portfolio and tons of pictures to help what you’d like your floral design to look like. Also pick a florist with a massive portfolio of weddings as they’re more likely to help you.

Facebook and Pinterest are great tools for gathering together your dreams but please make sure when you go to your florist that the work they show you is actually created by their own fair hands and not just whipped off the internet. Believe me I have seen and heard the horror stories first hand. The common problem at the moment is that many of the ‘floral designers’ out there have little experience within the industry and with the ‘trend’ for messy vintage style arrangements created in jam jars it is very easy for someone to label themselves a florist.

Make sure you know the background of your chosen designer, someone who knows the technical stuff and is savvy enough to know what they are talking about and offer expert advice and alternatives.

Image supplied by Red Floral Architecture  (9)

Image supplied by Red Floral Architecture  (8)

Image supplied by Red Floral Architecture  (7)

What about the timescales for wedding planning and arranging?

Flowers are ordered from all over the world, from South America, Holland and beyond. We need the plan for the wedding to be finalised at least four weeks ahead of the wedding in order to satisfy the wedding demands. What goes on behind the scenes in the world of floral design is crazy in delivering your product on the day.

Red Floral Architecture by Mick Cookson Photography (10)

Any secret tips?

Brides are often scared off by the more expensive flowers like phaleonopsis orchids and peonies. These flowers albeit more expensive are striking in minimal numbers and are guaranteed to scream luxury at any wedding regardless of volume.

Image supplied by Red Floral Architecture  (12)

And what about some advice on picking colours?

So you have set the colour scheme for your wedding, let’s say for example you have chosen purple and ivory. That is a starting point, but please don’t think that everything has to be the exact colours. There is nothing worse than walking into a venue and it looking like an advert for Silk Cut cigarettes. Speak to your florist about tones and contrasts, introducing paler of darker shades from the same palette will give the wedding flowers impact and interest and stop the whole look becoming predictable, tired and dated. A bride’s bouquet created in strong colours will always become the dominant factor in a photograph, so if you want your dress to shine and be the centre of attention, then work the bouquet so it enhances the colours of the bridal gown.

Red Floral Architecture by Mick Cookson Photography (19)

Can you give us a brief outline of flower seasons?

Certain blooms such as roses and carnations are inexpensive flowers and are available all year around. Other flowers may fluctuate in price depending on the season. Daffodils and tulips are available in the spring-time and are a great way of creating some amazing springtime looks. If you have your heart set on peonies then be looking at May or June for your wedding date. I do have brides who set the date in these months especially to have peonies as the focal flower.

Red Floral Architecture by Mick Cookson Photography (6)

Red Floral Architecture by Mick Cookson Photography (8)

What about the timescales for wedding planning and arranging?

Flowers are ordered from all over the world, from South America, Holland and beyond. We need the plan for the wedding to be finalised at least four weeks ahead of the wedding in order to satisfy the wedding demands. What goes on behind the scenes in the world of floral design is crazy in delivering your product on the day.

Can you tell us about your favourite season?

The summer season is the season that really does it for me in the flower world because I am a huge fan of blousy fragrant blooms. Summer time is the perfect opportunity to get creative with some exquisite English blooms and the sunshine brings out masses of flowers. The vibrancy of dahlias, the aroma of sweet peas and of course the beauty and colour range delphiniums and peonies make for some show stopping designs. With so many flower choices, Red Floral can create lavish wedding displays that are so sought after. Blush pink flowers, lilacs and lavenders with hints of nude and peach are available widely and produce stunning loose ethereal designs…

Red Floral Architecture by Mick Cookson Photography (17)

 How can Brides Up North get in touch with you or find out more?

Visit our website at www.redfloral.co.uk  

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Flower Power. Charlotte Balbier For A Real Wedding In Lancashire – Caroline & Stuart

April 2nd, 2014 | Julia Braime

Natural Touch Photography (30)

It’s off to Ormskirk, Lancs this evening as we join Caroline and Stuart to share in their gorgeous Real Wedding.  Caroline chose to style her day with an abundance of floral displays – to blooming beautiful effect!

With images by Stephen Rooney at Natural Touch Photography

Natural Touch Photography (54)

Natural Touch Photography (55)

Natural Touch Photography (1)

Caroline says:  We got engaged in Cyprus in July 2012 and were married on 11th October 2013 at West Tower Country House Hotel, Ormskirk. 

Natural Touch Photography (2)

We had looked at about thirteen venues across the North West but we couldn’t decide on any. There was something not right about all of them for us, but then we visited West Tower and it was absolutely perfect. Beautiful setting, friendly staff, incredibly organised – it just felt right.

Natural Touch Photography (3)

I stayed at Formby Hall the night before with my family and bridesmaids and my chief drove us over to the West Tower in the morning where we got ready.

Natural Touch Photography (6)

I chose quite a vintage style dress. It was Mocha in colour with cream lace over the top. It was a Charlotte Balbier dress from The White Closet in Didsbury.

Natural Touch Photography (5)

After lots of shopping around and trying on, the bridesmaids were in navy dresses from Coast and the groomsmen were in grey tails from Groom in Liverpool.

Natural Touch Photography (7)

Natural Touch Photography (8)

I carried a hand tied bouquet of whites and creams, the majority of which were roses.  We used Flowerstyle by Laurie who is in Formby – an absolutely amazing florist.

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As a special treat for our guests we used Ice Cream Dub who provided our chosen ice cream and sorbet and served them from their vintage VW camper van.

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Steven Rooney of Natural Touch Photography was our choice of photographer.  He was very easy going and professional.

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Red Events Creative provided the chair covers and sashes and Flowerstyle By Laurie our beautiful centrepieces.  Our table plan was our favourite places we had travelled to together rather than numbers. 

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Our cake was the “Vintage Fairy-tale” design from Waitrose – just beautiful. 

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We used Steve Mitchell Wedding DJ in the evening.  He really was excellent.  Our free bar also helped too get the party going!

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I loved every bit of the day!  I really enjoyed getting ready with bridesmaids in the morning, I loved the actual ceremony which surprised us both, the speeches were fantastic and I finished off the day dancing with my new husband and then my Dad! Just seeing everyone having a blast was amazing!

Natural Touch Photography (49)

Natural Touch Photography (51)

After the wedding we went to Australia for an epic honeymoon for five and a half weeks, stopping in Dubai on the way home.

Natural Touch Photography (52)

My top tip for other Brides Up North is that flowers make such an impact. Shop around for the best but always barter!

Natural Touch Photography (53)

Congratulations Caroline & Stuart!

Would you like to see your Real Wedding on Brides Up North? Here’s how.

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Images © 2014 Natural Touch Photography

This is not a sponsored post

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

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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.

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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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Fabulously Floral. A Real Wedding In Chester – Michelle & Rob

February 3rd, 2014 | Julia Braime

Helen Hates Peas Photography

This wedding differs from a lot of the submissions we usually receive here at Brides Up North – because this time its the groom in the driving seat.  In fact, he loved the whole process so much that he’s considering a career in the wedding industry.  Watch this space.

Rob writes:  Out of the two of us, I have loads of artistic flare, and Michelle really isn’t fussed on anything creative! When it came to organizing the wedding, Michelle really hadn’t a clue where to start, and so basically left it up to me. Not to say she wasn’t interested – we made a deal – she would concentrate on the dress and I would sort the venue! We did all main bits together but the actual decorating of the venue was all down to me. She was banned until the big day! 

I loved every minute of the build up. I knew what I wanted and made most of the stuff myself. In fact I enjoyed it that much I am hoping to start up in the industry this year.

I think the man’s a natural.  So, let’s hear all about his vision… over to you Rob. 

Images by Helen Hates Peas Photography.  

Helen Hates Peas Photography

Rob says: I asked Michelle to marry me at home on Christmas day in 2010 next to the Christmas tree. I hid the ring box at the back of the tree. After we had finished getting ready to go to her parents’ house, I said I had forgotten one last gift. When she opened her eyes I was on one knee!

Helen Hates Peas Photography

Helen Hates Peas Photography

We were married on 18th August 2013 at Trafford Hall, Mickle Traford, Chester.  We wanted somewhere pretty and not overbearing that none of our friends or family had been to before. Somewhere all our guests could stay, somewhere we could have free reign over suppliers and not be dictated to by the venue’s preferred suppliers, and above all, somewhere reasonably priced. We loved the old Georgian house and that the venue is run by a charity who promotes eco values. The guests’ rooms were outdoor stables with wild flower turf roofs which were a brilliant talking point as guests arrived and went into their little hideaways. They try and source most of their food locally and try and grow all the veg onsite.

Helen Hates Peas Photography

Helen Hates Peas Photography

Helen Hates Peas Photography

Helen Hates Peas Photography

Helen Hates Peas Photography

Helen Hates Peas Photography

Helen Hates Peas Photography

Our theme was country floral. I have had a passion for flowers since a young boy and eventually studied garden design at Uni. I had an idea of the way I wanted the venue to look, and it involved lots of flowers and greenery. The venue and location were perfect for a country fayre style wedding, which I think is what we achieved.

We didn’t really have a colour scheme, just lots of floral prints. It could have gone horribly wrong, but it worked superbly!

Helen Hates Peas Photography

Helen Hates Peas Photography

Helen Hates Peas Photography

Helen Hates Peas Photography

Michelle wore a crystal and sash White One Bridal sweetheart ball gown from the 2012 collection which she bought from Boda Bridal in Chester. Hannah (bridesmaid) made Michelle’s veil as a personal gift. Her shoes were diamanté flip flops from Oasis.

I wanted to stand out from the best men and ushers, so chose a two piece 0suit from Zara in French Navy. I had a bespoke lilac tweed waistcoat made for me by Crichton of Chester. They also made my shirt and sewed in a contrasting floral pattern to the cuffs and collar for when I took my tie off at night. I wore a silk floral hydrangea tie that I bought from G Room in Hoole, Chester.

We both have a favourite jeweller in Chester called Chique based in St Michael’s Precinct. Michelle’s engagement ring is from there as our wedding rings. As a surprise, I met with Adam, the owner, and selected a pair of pearl earrings for Michelle to wear on the day. I asked Hannah to give them to her on the wedding morning. Little did I know that Michelle had also gone in and spoke to Adam and selected a pair of pearl cufflinks as a surprise for me! Without even knowing we had matching earrings and cufflinks!

Helen Hates Peas Photography

Helen Hates Peas Photography

Helen Hates Peas Photography

Michelle carried a mixture of garden flowers including dahlias, anthirrinun, scabious, everlasting sweet peas, daiseys, astrantia, cornflower, amongst others. I didn’t want to be an understated groom, so my button hole was equally as flamboyant. I had the same flowers as Michelle, but with the addition of a sprig of thalictrum – a delicate purple flower.

Helen Hates Peas Photography

Helen Hates Peas Photography

Michelle walked down the isle to Etta James ‘At last’ and we both walked out to Jackie Wilson ‘I get the Sweetest Feeling’.

Helen Hates Peas Photography

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