Charlotte Balbier

breath-taking blooms: forage & blossom

September 1st, 2015 | Julia Braime

FandB2-Helen Lishman Photography

image by Helen Lishman Photography

This afternoon on the wedding blog we’re delighted to introduce you to a very talented wedding supplier and Brides Up North Sponsor, Alice of forage & blossom.

Now here’s a lady who knows pretty! Alice gained a wealth of knowledge in the florist industry before setting up her own business Forage & Blossom, through which she now supplies couples with beautiful and bespoke creations for their special and individual wedding days.

Not only that, but Alice grows many of the blooms which feature in her stunning arrangements herself, further highlighting her genuine passion for the job!

To fill you in more on what she has to offer, we’ll hand you over to the fabulous lady herself. Take it away Alice…

Forage & Blossom  (4)

image by Jackson & Co Photography

How did you get into floristry? 

I came to floristry in a sideways curve; having weaved my way through an artistic education and a range of jobs in the world of design and interiors, I found myself being pulled unequivocally towards floristry. Perhaps it was a path I would always find, having been drawn to flowers as my mum’s shadow in the garden growing up.

I started on the shop floor of a busy florists in London and trained on the job. I plunged blindly in; it was a steep learning curve and sometimes quite intense and tough. I had great colleagues though and if ever things became a bit too much we would let off steam having a good dance around the shop – much to the amusement of our boss and marketing team in the office at HQ with the security camera screens.

I knew what I really wanted to do though was work in weddings. So from there I moved to work as a freelancer for Jay Archer Floral Design. Working for Jay was incredible and an eye opener, she has now become a great friend and a mentor for me creating my own business. She is fearless with some of her ideas and designs (sometimes creating situations of “so I said I would hang that from there – we just need to work out how…” and there is always a way). Jay has a wonderful freeness and fluidity to her style and being, it was amazing to work for her and learn from her.

Leaving Jay was a wrench, but that was when I felt ready to set up on my own and start my own ventures as Forage & Blossom.

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image by Paul Liddement Wedding Stories

What do you enjoy about working in the world of weddings? 

I just knew before I started that I wanted to work in weddings and events. I like working towards an event and also the opportunities of the one -off things you get to create for weddings. I also like building up a relationship with the couple and getting to know them and their individual vision. Plus, I enjoy how each couples’ personality is unique and that feeds into their style. Hence each scheme is individual and different even when the colour palette is similar.

What is your favourite part of your job? 

Well it’s definitely not the early mornings as I’m more of an owl than a lark and I can’t even speak until I’ve had a cup of tea. Strangely though I do quite like being up before the World and seeing things only a few people are awake for, like strange storms and sunrises.

There are many different parts of the job I love. There are the days in the field and cutting garden, doing the digging where the hard labour is oddly satisfying, the childlike excitement when the first seeds emerge, or a rose I have been waiting for finally flowers. I also can get totally lost in my flowers when I love a particular scheme, it’s only the deadline stress which can bring you back to earth. I also really love getting to know a couple quite closely and being involved with their wedding day. I often get to see a secret picture of the bride’s dress because it is quite key to the style of the day. I think I love that every couple is different and hence every floral scheme is unique. So my favourite part of the job is probably the varied elements of it and that each wedding is very different.

Forage & Blossom  (5)

image by Helen Lishman Photography

How would you describe the style of flowers that you create? Where does your inspiration come from?

My style comes, in part, from my artistic background in the design world and a large part from nature. I draw a lot of inspiration from the surrounding world, things I see – be it magazines, shop displays, a painting or a print, and most often the natural world. I feel my style is constantly evolving and I am always learning.

I enjoy more wild and loose designs and flowers being how they are in nature with kinks and flairs. My style is definitely more on the wild and natural side. I love using textures and tones. The natural fluidity and movement in an arrangement is also really key to me. For me, foliage is just as important as the flowers. A big beautiful bloom has far more impact with contrast. The depth, sensuality and movement comes from all the elements in the design working together.

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image by Paul Liddement Wedding Stories

What process will a bride or couple go through if they pick you to supply their wedding flowers?

The process is different for each couple as everyone’s situations are different. Generally I like to have an initial phone or Skype consultation to chat initial ideas and thoughts and to just gather a vibe and a feeling from the couple. Then I have a face to face consultation which I can come to with ideas and prep from the phone/Skype consultation. This can often be at the venue, or I’ll do a separate venue visit. Some of my couples live abroad or far away so with some couples we carry out all our consultations over Skype, which has worked really well and fits in well with people’s busy lives.

I’m in contact with all my couples up until their big day and some couples like to have a Pinterest board on my Pinterest so we can both Pin, comment and share ideas. For Pinterest people (I’m an addict) this can be a great way of easily sharing images and creating a mood board.

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Where do you advise brides to source inspiration from for their flowers?

From anywhere. Some couples have a strong vision of what they like and others are slightly overwhelmed at the beginning. I find everyone has an individual style and after chatting and meeting (even if it’s on Skype) you can get a feeling off people and start to understand and read their tastes.

Once I have started to get to know a couple we can then chat about their venue and see what would work there, fit with the surroundings, their personalities and the vision they have for their day.

I think a florist is there to gather a couple’s taste and then throw suitable ideas back at them to see what they like.

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image by Paul Maven Photography

Where do you source the flowers from for your arrangements? 

I have my own cutting garden, so as much as possible I try to source from that and I also source from other local growers. I can’t grow everything though, so I also supplement from the import market.

My style is very much bred from the flowers I grow in my cutting garden. I enjoy the ever changing seasonality of if it and there are many things that you can grow that just don’t travel well in the import market so they don’t have them. The imported flowers are also grown for stem strength so scent is bred out of them. I love scent; I feel it is so evocative and important to my flowers.

The import market absolutely has a place and use, the scale of the British Growers is not able to compete with the Dutch import market. There is, however, a building movement from British growers who are trying to establish their place in the Floral Industry. People are becoming more conscious of their carbon footprint and wanting to support local businesses. British growers have something to offer and it’s different to what the import market can offer. I’m only a small scale grower myself but, I am very much a keen supporter of the British Flower Movement.

Do you have a favourite type of flower?

Ah, impossible question. I am constantly having new favourite flowers. Seasons come round and I find a new flower and then old favourite returns and I can’t believe I forgot how lovely it was.

The Sweet Pea is a staple favourite and has an element of nostalgia attached to it for me, as I have always grown these with my mum as a girl. This year I have discovered a new favourite, the foxglove. It has just been fantastic in the cutting garden. I love its weird kinks, the beautiful shades of colour it changes through on one stem, the cream ones are gorgeous and then sometimes an odd cross pollination one pops up, which is unusual and beautiful. Oh and then the cornflowers popped up after the foxgloves – I had forgotten how much I loved the deep blue of the cornflowers.

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image by Paul Maven Photography

Any particular styles of flowers proving popular with brides at the moment?

Crowns, crowns, crowns.

In your opinion how do flowers enhance a wedding?

Well I am completely biased. I am obviously mad about flowers and for me they bring the whole style and feel of a day together. Often you don’t really need other decorative elements as you can do it all with your flowers.

Flowers also have nostalgia and personal meaning attached to them; many brides ask for a certain flower in their bouquet which was the first flower their spouse to be gave them/ a flower deeply associated with a lost loved one/ a herb with a certain meaning, such as rosemary and fidelity/loyalty and I read somewhere white lavender’s meaning is everlasting love. So for me there are the many depths of flowers which can enhance your day and just add that extra something.

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What sets you apart from other florists? 

At Forage & Blossom you will receive a very personal service as I feel your flowers should reflect you for your special day. I will take the time to understand your vision and personality so it is fed through the scheme we create for you. I will be personally growing many of your flowers and creating something a bit different to the traditional style. I don’t really go by the rules and enjoy approaching each brief individually and with a sense of inspiration and adventure. If that sounds like the path for your wedding flowers please get in touch.

How can Brides Up North readers get in touch with you or see more examples of your work?

If you want to get in touch please contact me at hello@forageandblossom.com or call me on 07495 160525. You can see and find out more at www.forageandblossom.com as well as on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

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image by Paul Liddement Wedding Stories

Anything else we should know?

Workshops are on the horizon for Forage and Blossom.

I recently did a Flower Crown Workshop for a friend’s Hen Do which was great fun and we wore them all day and night as we partied out on the town. We all felt that everyone needed a flower crown in their life as they just make you feel better when you’re wearing one. So this and more to come – watch this space!

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beautiful blush. lusan mandongus for a wedding in cheshire – joanna & ryan

June 4th, 2015 | Julia Braime

A Pretty Wedding at Abbeywood Estate and Gardens (c) Joanna Bradbury Photography (33)

I just love the setting of today’s real wedding, a gorgeous glass room at Abbeywood Estate and Gardens which boasts gorgeous views of the venue’s spectacular grounds.

Taking inspiration from Abbeywood, bride Joanna picked a pretty blush colour scheme and included lots of wild blooms in the wedding décor to help bring the outdoors, in.

And this is yet another wedding with an incredibly well dressed bridal party. Ryan and his fellow men look fabulous in their suits and kilts and we’re loving the bridesmaids’ specially designed pastel dresses. But without doubt it’s Joanna who steals the show in her gorgeous slim-line Lusan Mandongus gown and full-length veil.

With images by Jo Bradbury Photography.

A Pretty Wedding at Abbeywood Estate and Gardens (c) Joanna Bradbury Photography (1)

joanna says: We got engaged in October 2013 in Copenhagen, Denmark. The holiday had been booked for ages. We always try to go away during the holidays as I’m a teacher and we both enjoy travelling. We chose the hotel together and discussed what we would do during our break. On our second day we hired bikes and cycled around the city visiting the sites. Just before we were about to go back to the hotel, Ryan decided that it would be a great idea to cycle through the park. We stopped outside the palace in the gardens where Ryan got down on one knee and proposed. After the proposal we enjoyed the rest of the holiday celebrating before returning home to share the good news with our family.

A Pretty Wedding at Abbeywood Estate and Gardens (c) Joanna Bradbury Photography (3)

We set the date for 15th August 2014. We were very lucky to get this Friday in August as many weddings had been booked over a year in advance. I always knew I wanted a short engagement.  The thought of planning/talking about a wedding for two years was just not for me.

We got married at my church St Mary’s in Crewe and then celebrated the rest of the day at Abbeywood Estate and Gardens, Northwich. We knew from our first visit that Abbeywood was the venue for us. We have both worked in hotels when we were younger and didn’t want our wedding to feel like something on a conveyer belt which many hotels felt like to us. Abbeywood made us feel so special and nothing was too much trouble. It was beautiful, no fuss venue with lovely staff. The gardens were breath-taking and because the room was made entirely from glass, it felt like we were sitting outside in the gardens all day.

A Pretty Wedding at Abbeywood Estate and Gardens (c) Joanna Bradbury Photography (4)

We didn’t really have a colour scheme, however the bridesmaid dresses, ties and the majority of the flowers were a subtle blush. Ryan was certain that he wanted a blue suit so we fitted the bridesmaid dresses around this and because the gardens were so bright and colourful we also chose colourful flowers as our centre pieces.

A Pretty Wedding at Abbeywood Estate and Gardens (c) Joanna Bradbury Photography (9)

My dress was a Lusan Mandongus wedding dress. I chose this dress because it was simple and elegant but a little bit different. I loved the dress as soon as I put it on and even though I continued bridal shopping for many more weeks with my mum, I knew that I would not find anything that would suit me better. I was never a girl who had a vision for a dress so I tried on all shapes and styles but quickly came to realise that I wanted something lace and fitting. My shoes were from I Do Dresses in Crewe. They were the comfiest shoes and allowed me to keep dancing all night.

Ryan choose his suit from Platts Menswear and Formal Hire in Crewe. The staff were so knowledgeable and extremely helpful. The most important thing to Ryan was a suit that fitted him really well and that it was a bit different. The suit that he chose was a gorgeous French blue and tails because he knew that no other guests would wear a tails suit to the wedding. My Dad then chose a blue kilt and matched this with a French blue jacket. The suits that the groomsmen wore fitted all the men perfectly and they looked extremely smart all day. Ryan thinks that this suit was the nicest attire he has ever dressed in.

A Pretty Wedding at Abbeywood Estate and Gardens (c) Joanna Bradbury Photography (17)

The bridesmaids’ dresses were designed and made by Mariee bridal shop in Nantwich. The shop specialises in bespoke bridal wear. After months of searching for bridesmaids dresses that complemented my dress and the groomsmen’s suits we decided to visit Kate at Mariee. I showed her a picture of my dress and the French blue suits that we had chosen and right anyway she picked the perfect colour of fabric (blush) and drew the most beautiful bridesmaid dress that myself, my mum and both of my sisters loved instantly. My sisters then asked Kate to add buttons down the back and a lace belt that matched the lace from my dress. The dresses were perfect and looked great on the day.

A Pretty Wedding at Abbeywood Estate and Gardens (c) Joanna Bradbury Photography (14)

We hired our wedding transport from Horgans. The driver arrived in the morning and took myself and my dad to the church and then myself and Ryan to the venue after the mass. It was a nice time after the mass for me and Ryan to catch up and have a glass of champagne together before the reception.

A Pretty Wedding at Abbeywood Estate and Gardens (c) Joanna Bradbury Photography (28)

Our photographer on the day was Jo Bradbury. She was the perfect choice for us because I knew that I needed someone that was going to fit around our day and not take over by making us spend hours having photographs taken. Jo was great, I barely knew she was there and the photographs are all stunning. She managed to capture so much of the day and stayed well until the evening getting some really fun shots of enjoying themselves on the dance floor.

A Pretty Wedding at Abbeywood Estate and Gardens (c) Joanna Bradbury Photography (35)

My flowers were provided by local florist Julia Wynn. I told her about Abbeywood being a natural garden and that I wanted my flowers to reflect that. She came with lots of ideas and knew exactly what I wanted. She put together a very natural bouquet for myself and my bridesmaid that included a thistle because we are Scottish. Julia also sourced flower boxes and trees for the centre pieces for the tables.

Because I’m a teacher my invitations were designed by the children at my school. The head teacher at my school launched a competition to design the best invitation for my wedding. I had hundreds of entries all of them were great in their own way. We eventually chose one winner for the invitation but all the other pictures were way too cute not to use. I went to Delmar printers in Nantwich who kindly made the invitation and then scanned the other hundreds of pictures and shrunk them small enough to fit onto name cards. Every guest had their own personalised name cards with a picture designed by one of the children from my school. Each table number was written on a small blackboard with a top tip for marriage written by the children in my class. They were all really funny like: let your wife go shopping, don’t flip out if she spends £200; Buy waffles from Asda; make each other smile every day; and let your husband play on the iPad all day. They gave the guests lots to laugh at and talk about when they got to their table.

A Pretty Wedding at Abbeywood Estate and Gardens (c) Joanna Bradbury Photography (43)

We only gave favours to the ladies at our wedding. Each was given a china tea cup and saucer.

A Pretty Wedding at Abbeywood Estate and Gardens (c) Joanna Bradbury Photography (47)

My friend made our wedding cake. We spent an evening together searching the internet for ideas and she made one that was a mixture of a few ideas. The cake was perfect and all my guests kept telling me how delicious it was too. It had three tiers, blush flowers and lace icing.

The food at Abbeywood was delicious and many of our guests throughout the evening said it was the best wedding food they had ever had. We chose fishcakes for starters, chicken for main and chocolate brownie for dessert.

A Pretty Wedding at Abbeywood Estate and Gardens (c) Joanna Bradbury Photography (39)

We knew that we wanted a band for our wedding because a band gets everyone up and dancing like nothing else. The band we chose was The Jim Jams. We had booked them before for a birthday party so we knew they were professional and really know how to show everyone a good time. They had everyone up dancing from start to end!

A Pretty Wedding at Abbeywood Estate and Gardens (c) Joanna Bradbury Photography (45)

Other suppliers we would recommend include Hair by Amanda Hendrie. Amanda specialises in wedding hair and put my hair up for my wedding. I had trials previous to the day so we both knew exactly what I wanted. She took into consideration the style of my dress and how I usually wore my hair so that I still looked like myself on my wedding day, which was really important to me. I also had a veil to consider for the day and a hair slide for the evening. My hair stayed up and perfect all day.

We also can’t speak highly enough about a company called Shoot it Yourself – this was the best wedding money that we spent. The cameras were dropped off at our house the day before. Ryan took one camera with the boys and I kept one camera with the girls. Our friends and family recorded parts of the morning, the wedding mass and parts of the day. The next day Shoot it Yourself collected the cameras and put together three chapters of our day.  The ‘best bits’ was a selection of clips from throughout the day with our music choices. The best bits were also put on their website so that all our friends and family could watch too. The other two chapters were of the complete ceremony and the speeches. Since the wedding day we have watched it so many times and it brings back some great memories. We also got to see everything that goes on in the background that we would have never seen otherwise.

A Pretty Wedding at Abbeywood Estate and Gardens (c) Joanna Bradbury Photography (59)

Ryan’s favourite part of the day was between main course and dessert, he looked up and as the sun was piercing into the glasshouse everyone was enjoying themselves and he knew the hard parts were over and the party was about to start. My favourite part of the day was during our first dance, I was so worried that we would be left on the dance floor for the entire song alone, but as soon as the band invited people to the dance floor all our guest flooded on, desperate to get the party started!

A Pretty Wedding at Abbeywood Estate and Gardens (c) Joanna Bradbury Photography (62)

For our honeymoon we went to Italy, visiting Venice, Lake Garda and Milan. It was a great honeymoon. We enjoyed Lake Garda the most as it gave us time to relax, we didn’t realise just how exhausting getting married would be. The rest during our honeymoon was very much needed.

My top tips to other Brides Up North would be – book a live band, book the week before you get married off work as there is so much to pick up and do and where possible go with local businesses.  The amount of times you need to go and see suit suppliers, bridesmaid dresses, printers etc. staying local where possible saves you so much time and you get a more personal service from a small local business. Finally you don’t need to spend money on things you don’t need, all people tend to remember is the food, the company and the music.

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style sheet. florals

March 9th, 2015 | Rachel Parry

via Style Me Pretty, photography by  Brklyn View Photography, flowers by Blush Design NY

image via Style Me Pretty, photography by Brklyn View Photography, flowers by Blush Designs NY

I’m quite literally wilting over wedding flowers at the moment with inspirational images of how couples are incorporating blooms into their celebrations sending me pin-happy over on our pretty Pinterest boards. This made the theme for our next style sheet post rather easy to select.

To me flowers are the epitome of romance and it’s therefore essential that they’re included in a wedding day – and I don’t just mean in bouquets and button holes.

Clever couples and creative florists are joining forces to think of imaginative ways for blooms to spring up in all elements of the day, from the décor right through to the daiquiris.

So today we take a look at three different ways to achieve a blooming marvellous big day.

in full bloom

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Clockwise from top left: image source| image source| image source, cake by Cake Ink| image source, dress Ian Stuart| image source, photography by Laura Hotz| image source, photography by Lena Kozhina| image source| image source, invite by Olive Juice Stationery| image source| image source    

If you plan to take a ‘go hard or go home’ approach to your wedding theming it has to be full on blooms all the way.

It’s not that you have to incorporate them into every single element of the day for the desired effect, but where you do choose to include them your choices must be bold.

For those wanting to make a style statement with a capital ‘S’ a floral frock is required. Gradually more designers appear to be coming round to the idea of offering a pretty print design within their collections for brides looking to push the boundaries. Ian Stuart’s South Pacific dress is a wonderful example. Meanwhile brides choosing to hop, skip and jump over the boundaries are selecting gowns with in-your-face corsages for maximum impact.

If you’d rather stick to tradition when it comes to your own gown you could always dress your maids in colourful florals instead. Another alternative is to wear a striking flower crown and carry an equally elaborate bouquet, though still aim to keep some focus on your gown. Flower print underwear and shoes provide other ways to get your flower fix.

Décor wise the possibilities are endless. We particularly love hanging paper flowers, which look super cute and can provide a lovely backdrop for photos, and hand-painted floral cake designs offer a stunning focal point at the reception. Colourful patterned stationery can also help keep the theme consistent throughout.

white out

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Clockwise from top left: image source, photography by Nicolai Melicor| image source| image source, photography by Abby Jiu| image source, photography by Souder Photography| image source, photography by Bamber Photography| image source, photography by Julia at Swoon Weddings image source, Photography by Krista Fox, cake by   Bobbette & Belle| image source, photography by Emily Wren Photography| image source, invite by B Wedding Invitations| image source

Those considering a clean and simple white wedding will be pleased to hear that a flower theme doesn’t have to be fussy. The look can easily be stripped back by picking delicate floral details in the purest possible hue.

There are numerous wedding dress designs featuring sweet floral details that will leave brides spoilt for choice. Some may prefer to keep things subtle with floral lace appliques while others might want something that stands out that bit more, such as little floral corsages over the shoulder of the dress or on the bodice.

White bridesmaids don’t have to be totally plain. Picking dresses with a pale floral pattern can add interest and depth to the wedding party’s attire without detracting from the bride’s gown.

For the décor a bride can choose to keep things delicate with tiny flowers in small bunches hung on the ends of pews, the backs of chairs or dotted in jam jars around the venue. Alternatively they can select large blousy blooms grouped together along table centres and overhead on chandeliers for a little more oomph.

For the bouquet larger, more structured white blooms broken up with natural, green foliage can help to break up the pale palette.

Finally, in terms of food and drink choices white wedding cakes with textured detailing are wonderfully elegant as are beautiful beverages sprinkled with petals, such as chamomile flower wine.

life’s rosy

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Clockwise from top left: image source, dress by Claire Pettibone| image source, envelopes by From Leoni With Love| image source, garland by La Mia Cassa| image source, robes by Silk and More| image source| image source , photography by 4Eyes Photography| image source| image source| image source, photography by JoPhoto| image source, photography by Sarah Bray Photography

In my opinion the most romantic flowers of them all are roses.

Synonymous with love, these blooms are an ideal choice for a floral wedding theme and can be picked to suit a variety of different style weddings, from vintage to modern affairs.

While classic red roses can work well for winter weddings I much prefer the flower in elegant tones of pink, purple, white and peach, which can be styled to suit weddings throughout all the seasons.

To set the theme from the off, why not send your invites out in plush patterned fabric envelopes tied up with rustic string.

Working with your florist you can then choose whether you would prefer tight bud roses, big blousy blooms or a combination of the two, for your bouquets, button holes and decorations.

Don’t be afraid to think outside the box a little by having details such as roses tied to ribbons hanging above your tables to create a flower chandelier effect, or a table seating plan bordered by the blooms. A naked wedding cake simply decorated with flowers would be another simple but striking addition.

For the bride’s dress designs with flirty rose detailing in corsages or embroidery, such as designs by Claire Pettibone, will tick boxes. There are also numerous stunning shoe designs featuring the enchanting bloom – if you find yourself spoilt for choice you could pick a pair of girly heels for the day and some cute pumps for the evening celebrations.

While you might not chose to extend the rose theme to your maids’ attire, a nice idea would be to surprise them on the morning of the wedding with a rose pattered robe in which to be pampered and preened. This will also make a fun photo opportunity for you and your gals.

If roses aren’t your thing you could always change the theme to suit your personal preference or the season by building your day around sunflowers, daisies or peonies.

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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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