Charlotte Balbier

contemporary, caring & cutting-edge: fantail designer florist

July 4th, 2017 | Rachel Parry

Fantail Designer Florist (c) Stu Ganderton (9)

As regular readers of the wedding blog will know, we’re suckers for beautiful wedding day blooms and love to see florists pushing the design boundaries in order to deliver something that is both impressive and individual.

One such florist who does just this is Brides Up North Sponsor, Samantha Coventry, proud owner of Fantail Designer Florist. Supplying dream bouquets, centrepieces and styling for weddings in Yorkshire, Derbyshire and North Nottinghamshire, Samantha enjoys nothing more than meeting new couples and translating their personalities and ideas into show-stopping arrangements.

This afternoon on the blog, we’re super excited to be catching up with this talented lady at her Sheffield-based shop to her learn more about her designs, service and style…

With images by Stu Ganderton Photography.

Fantail Designer Florist (c) Stu Ganderton (7)

Can you tell us a little about your background and how Fantail first came to fruition?

samantha says: Originally hailing from New Zealand, I came to Sheffield to peruse in a career in Interior and Furniture Design. Succeeding in this, and in the meantime having two children, a dog and a cat, I then retrained in floristry and set up Fantail doing freelance wedding floristry from my home studio in 2008. The business outgrew the house and when the local post office moved premises the opportunity arose in the village to open a shop, which I couldn’t allow to pass me by!

How has the business grown since that time?

Since we opened the shop back in November 2016, the business has grown ten-fold. It has given us the opportunity not only to offer more in the everyday bouquet market, including deliveries, but has also allowed us to expand our wedding portfolio. In addition to this we’ve been offering seasonal floral making classes, which have been over-booked to the extent that we had to double the dates! As well as flowers we also supply other, locally made, products, such as Sheffield Honey, Burgon & Ball gardening items, Nathalie Bond organic skincare and cards for all occasions. We’ve also taken the idea of a florist further beyond flowers by offering house plants in designer pots, with our own unique twist.

Fantail Designer Florist (c) Stu Ganderton (1)

What do you enjoy about working in the world of weddings and what is your favorite part of your job? 

I love weddings and take pride in being involved in one of the most important days of a couple’s life.  I enjoy everything about creating for a wedding. The initial consultation is great – you get to find out how the couple met, what are their likes and dislikes, their honeymoon ideas and by working together with them I can begin to suggest floral designs that work and create something unique that reflects their personality, the venue and the theme. The best part is when we meet them on the day to deliver the designs and they see the venues transform to the vision we created together.

How would you describe the style of flowers that you create and where do you get your inspiration from? 

We are contemporary florists, with classic style and dip into vintage. We use a range of different textures and tones and try to include something different.  We like to think that we are thorough and consider all the details, such as wiring succulents so they can be planted after the wedding and incorporating plants dependent on the time of year for the same reason. We take inspiration through the seasons, which sounds pretty obvious, but we always like to encourage seasonal availability. Yves Saint Laurent said: “fashions fade but style is eternal” and I think that’s as true for floristry as anything else.

Fantail Designer Florist (c) Stu Ganderton (4)

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

We like to invite couples into the shop for a chat. We like to get to know our couples and I think jelling with each other is another key to the success of the relationship. We’ll go through all the nitty gritty things from floral bouquet style, the pins colours on the buttonholes to the length of a trail based on the height of the bride to the height of the candles used on a candelabra.  We then come up with a plan going forwards that suits that couple and their budget.

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

Most brides will have an inkling as to what they think they would like or want to achieve in the venue for their wedding day. That might be a colour or a favourite flower or style, including bringing along magazine cuttings to the meeting. We can generally get to a finalised design by the time we’ve finished. Pinterest is a massive influence and is helpful for both brides and grooms as well.

Fantail Designer Florist (c) Stu Ganderton (8)

Where do you source the flowers from for your arrangements? 

We source flowers from a range of suppliers including UK-grown flower farms, the Dutch auctions and even as far afield as southern Africa.

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friday fabulous: #tinytree

December 9th, 2016 | Julia Braime

tinytree-stomped

It was definitely beginning to look a lot like Christmas for the Brides Up North gals this week as we received a teeny #tinytree through our letter box (yes… you read that right… read on!), courtesy of the coolest florists on the block, Bloom & Wild the flower delivery company.

Bloom & Wild is a British florist that makes sending design-led flowers online a joy. Bloom & Wild’s bouquets are sent through the letterbox, meaning the recipient doesn’t need to be in to take delivery and instead comes home to find the perfect gift waiting for them on their welcome mat. Their flowers are freshly cut, each bloom individually netted ‘in-bud’ and hand-packed in the innovative letterbox packaging allowing you to enjoy the full life of cut flowers – from bud to bloom.

Our Brides Up North tree (“The Drew”, similar to “The Bobby“, still available to purchase via the Bloom & Wild website) may be small, but it’s perfectly formed at 40cm tall, with its pot, wintery moss, twinkly lights, shiny baubles and bow. We love him.

We think Bloom & Wild’s hand cut bouquets (or#tinytree!) would make a perfect and unique gift for your bridal party, for that special someone this Christmas (leave this post open where your other half can see it!) or even to add to your own wedding gift list.

On that note, our favourite idea is their subscription service. Who doesn’t want a present that keeps on giving? Bloom & Wild bouquet bundles come in at £15 per bunch and you can schedule each delivery to a specific date, say Valentine’s Day and birthdays too, as the deliveries continue throughout the year.

The best things come in small packages after all, don’t they?

Find out more at www.bloomandwild.com

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wonderfully whimsical: introducing flowers at the barn

August 4th, 2016 | Julia Braime

Flowers at the Barn - Hayley Rose Photography (5)

If you’re currently at the point in your wedding planning where you’re on the search for someone to provide your beautiful blooms then standby, as we’re introducing a new Brides Up North Sponsor to the blog today who can most certainly assist.

Flowers at the Barn is the creation of talented florist Andrea Moyle, who was inspired to set up her Yorkshire-based business due to her love of all things pretty and floral, not to mention her slight obsession with weddings!

Working with beautiful seasonal flowers and fragrant herbs, Andrea is a pro at creating informal and whimsical style arrangements; from fabulous bouquets and button holes to striking flower crowns and arches.

To tell you more about the business and blooms, we’ll leave you in Andrea’s green-fingered hands…

Images by Hayley Rose Photography & Jane Beadnell Photography.

Flowers at the Barn - Hayley Rose Photography (13)

Tell us a little about your background and when and why you first set up Flowers at the Barn?

andrea says: Growing up I used to love being outside, I loved anything and everything about nature: animals, flowers, mud, rain – the lot! But it wasn’t until two-and-a-half-years ago when I moved to Yorkshire from the hustle and bustle of the London suburbs that I saw myself wanting to exclusively work with flowers. Prior to this my career was as a Personal Assistant in a far more corporate, desk orientated world – I knew something needed to change! When I fell pregnant with my daughter this was all the spurring on I needed to set about making Flowers at the Barn – a living dream and I’ve not looked back since!

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

I love weddings, in fact some may say I’m even a little bit obsessed! I love not only the flowers, but the dresses, venues and overall styling. You just can’t beat a good wedding! It’s one of the happiest days of a couple’s life and it’s thrilling to be a part of that. I love the planning and thought that a couple put into a wedding and then seeing their vision come to life as the venue is dressed on the wedding morning – it’s very rewarding.

Flowers at the Barn - Jane Beadnell Photography (2)

What is your favourite part of your job? 

Meeting a new bride/couple and learning about their plans for their big day is so exciting to me. I enjoy throwing ideas around and collaborating with them to come up with a design for their day. Also, delivering the flowers to the bride on the wedding morning and seeing her reaction while wishing her all the best for her big day.

How would you describe the style of flowers that you create?

I guess you could say the flowers I create are inspired by my love of nature. I love an informal, whimsical, English country garden style, using seasonal flowers and herbs where possible.

Flowers at the Barn - Hayley Rose Photography (14)

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

Some brides know exactly what they want but for those who don’t inspiration can be found by looking at the venue they are getting married at. A grand house is often more suited to candelabras, rose bowls and cut glass arrangements whereas a tipi or barn wedding will have a more rustic, country vibe so this can be reflected in the flowers. I also find the time of year the wedding is taking place is also a great source of inspiration if you’ve no idea where to start. And don’t forget Instagram – hours can be lost looking through gorgeous flower images there!

Beyond bouquets and button holes what other elements of the wedding can you assist with?

I undertake all types of floral work, from thank you bouquets to floral arches, flower crowns to decorating a tree!  If you can think it, I’ll try to deliver it!

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petal perfectionists: introducing paragon floral design

July 27th, 2016 | Rachel Parry

Paragon FloralDesign (12)

ZT Photography

As flowers are one of our very favourite wedding topics, we’re super excited to be introducing you to a fabulous new Premium Sponsor of ours today – the talented Paragon Floral Design.

Based in a wonderfully creative workshop in Oldham, there isn’t much that its experienced florist owners, Lisa Holroyd and Kate Whelan, don’t know about beautiful buds and blooms. Having worked together for more than a decade, the skillful ladies say they share a “geeky passion” for both the wedding industry and floral design, which you can see reflected in their stunning work.

Keen to create arrangements that are as individual as their clients, Lisa and Kate take their inspiration from a wide variety of sources and love showing how flowers can really bring the wow-factor to a wedding.

For more details on what they offer and the way that they work, we’ll hand you over to the lovely Kate…

Paragon FloralDesign (15)

Can you tell us how did Paragon Floral Design come to fruition?

kate says: Paragon Floral Design came about after Lisa Holroyd and I had worked together in various places for about ten years, both in the UK and abroad. We both share a geeky passion for the industry and design in general. After running a chain of shops and an event studio in Bermuda we decided it was time to come home and do it all for ourselves. It’s been slowly coming together since we arrived back in the UK in 2013 and we have been busy with all the preparation, branding, wedding fairs and promotional gubbins since then! In amongst that Lisa had her second child and I gained a teaching degree (we do like to keep busy!) The website went live back in November and we are really pleased to have bookings coming in already. Lisa and I have the same work ethic, which is nice to have in a ‘work wife’. We are perfectionists so we know how important it is to ‘get it right’ on the big day.

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

It might sound cliché but every day is different; one day you can be cleaning vases and the next you have a massive delivery of beautiful flowers to condition and sort out. Then the next week you might be in the office and in meetings all day discussing new jobs. We love the concepts, that every couple has a different view of their big day and it’s fun to get all those images together and create something new and unique. You meet so many different people; it’s an all-go industry!

Paragon FloralDesign (13)

ZT Photography

What is your favorite part of your job? 

For me it’s actually a moment you get on the big jobs, where the flowers are in, tables set, lighting is on and being tested and the music is playing. Just before we leave you get to see it perfectly intact, like the guests will see it just before the party. The calm before the storm sort of thing. I love that – it’s a bit emotional and makes me really proud.

For Lisa it’s the brainstorming with the couples, the making and setting up of an event too. There is a very unique feeling you get when you know you have been a part of helping clients create a beautiful memory. We basically love it all!

How would you describe the style of flowers that you create and where do you get your inspiration from?

Everywhere. We especially love texture and detail – creating new shapes, something a bit quirky but still elegant. We love architecture, nature, fashion and learning new craft techniques. We bounce ideas off each other too, that’s cool when you can say “hey what do you think about this?” and then it suddenly takes a new direction and becomes something awesome you never thought of. We like to spend time just creating, so we can show couples fresh ideas.

Paragon FloralDesign (18)

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

In the first instance couples can email or call directly if they like. Alternatively, we have a contact form on our website that they can fill in. We always respond within 24 hours and we will send out a wedding welcome letter with some basic info on it about us and how we work. It includes some basic price ranges too so that you can have a stab at a budget to work on. From there we usually have a phone call to get an idea of your vision and then set up a meeting to discuss the bits and bobs. If you are happy to pick us then we take a 25% deposit and you are booked in! We’ll then send you your mood board and you have a full-itemized invoice. Six weeks before the wedding the balance is due and up till a few weeks before we can make little tweaks as those extra guests accept, or you forgot about Aunty Marjorie who needs a corsage!

We collect all the info we need from you to deliver the bridal bouquets, set up the florals and then collect anything that requires doing so after the wedding so that on the day, there is nothing to worry about. Lisa and I are on every job we do. We make the flowers and set up, so all you need to do is be there to enjoy it.

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

Every wedding is different. Pinterest is great and it’s a good source but many images are lit/ have filters added so that the colours you see are not really like that. Take into consideration your fashion sense and the colours you like to wear and how you’ve decorated your home? Sometimes you don’t think about that stuff but it really says a lot about who you are every day and we can use that to design something just for you. Take into consideration the venue and your wedding dress too. The style of the venue and the shape of your dress can dictate the feeling and style of floral designs. You don’t just need to show us images of flowers either, perhaps there is some art you like? A photo you love? We can use all that too!

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wedding planning 101: super stylin’

September 29th, 2015 | Rachel Parry

Be My Bridesmaid

image source

Having set your budget, booked your venue, sent out your save the dates and secured your photographer and entertainment, it’s time to move onto tasks that many brides deem as the more enjoyable and exciting parts of the planning schedule.

This is because it’s time to start thinking about how to style yourself and your venue for the big day to come! So in today’s wedding planning post we’ll be talking blooms, bridal boutiques and bridesmaids.

Check out our earlier posts in this series by clicking here (the early stages) and clicking here (the next steps).

flower power

Today beautiful blooms tend to stretch way beyond bouquets and button holes with many couples opting to incorporate pretty petals into their décor too. From dainty pew ends to grand floral chandeliers, the possibilities are pretty much endless, though you will need to find a florist that shares your botanical visions in order for them to become reality.

When searching for the right florist, it’s important to look for a trusted supplier with good testimonials from previous couples. You will also want to view examples of their recent work to get an idea of the styles and arrangements that they can achieve. So it might be that you are looking for a florist known for loose, natural and rustic designs, or perhaps neat and elegant arrangements or those that can wow with modern, striking floral structures.

Once you have whittled down a short list meet up with the florist to see how you ‘click’ and if they share your visions on bouquets and floral decorations. They might even suggest great ideas you’d never even thought of.

the one

In many cases shopping for the dream dress is a bride’s favourite part of the planning, though it can be daunting and frustrating at times too with so many options to choose from.

Having done your initial wedding dress research using magazines, blogs and websites to get an idea of the type of gown you might like and to suss out which designers fall into your dress budget, it’s time to search for boutiques that stock your chosen designers and make appointments to visit.

When attending bridal boutique appointments it can be easy for brides to get carried and invite a small entourage to accompany them but it really is best to keep numbers to a minimum to avoid becoming confused by differing opinions. Take those who know you and your style best and will give you an honest opinion – so perhaps mum, sister and maid of honour.

Though it’s good to have an idea of the type of dress you might like, it’s also good to be open minded at your appointment as a style that you’ve never considered just might turn out to be ‘the one’. Bridal stylists know their stuff so if they make a suggestion to try a certain gown on, go with it but don’t feel pressured – the decision is ultimately yours.

leading ladies

Once your dress is sorted you can move onto finding the right gowns for your maids. Again, though most ladies love to shop, bridesmaid dress hunting can be far from retail therapy with bridesmaids clashing on what they would and wouldn’t want to wear.

To avoid shopping centre tantrums it’s a good idea to get together with/speak to your bridesmaids about what type of design and colour you were hoping to dress them beforehand, giving them an opportunity to express any concerns early on. If you have maids of varying figures you could dress them in one colour but different styles of dresses to suit their individual shapes. Alternatively, if you have maids of varying hair colours and complexions, you could ask them all to wear the same design but in varying complementary colours, to suit both them and the wedding styling.

Also, when picking suitable colours for the maids’ dresses think about the styles and tones of flowers you’ve picked and how they will work together.

#foodie

At this point in the planning process it’s also a good idea to get the catering search underway if the venue you’ve booked won’t be providing the food.

Over time wedding breakfast menus have been extended beyond traditional meat and vegetables, meaning that there are now lots exciting options to whet your appetite. Some couples base their food choices on their personal preferences while others make their decisions by the season of the wedding. There’s also the option to pick menus that complement the style of the wedding, so for example afternoon tea for a rustic, country themed wedding, or street food, such as pizza or Mexican, for informal outdoor weddings.

Whatever you decide look for caterers with good reputations and find out what is included in the price, such as waiting staff and glass/crockery hire, to avoid any hidden costs. Then it’s time to sample the goods with a tasting session so you’ll know exactly how the food will look and taste when it’s served up on the day.

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all things bright & beautiful: blossem

September 8th, 2015 | Julia Braime

Gav Harrison Photography (6)

image by Gav Harrison Photography

This morning on the blog we’re super excited to introduce you to another of our fabulous Featured Suppliers, welcome Emily of BlossEm.

This lovely Yorkshire florist just can’t get enough of weddings, so much so that she converted her initial flower shop into a dedicated wedding studio to focus solely on creating stunning arrangements for couples’ big days.

For Emily, wedding flowers provide so much more than pretty, as she carefully selects blooms that will suit the season and styling of a wedding whilst bringing fragrance, colour and texture to the proceedings.

To explain more about her passion, we’ll hand over the blog reins to Emily…

Chris Stevenson

image by Chris Stevenson

How did you get into floristry?

emily says: At 18-years-old after college, I deferred my university place to study textiles and embroidery and travelled around the world for 12 months. On my return I enrolled onto a floristry course and the rest is history!

Design was always my passion and floristry allowed me to practice this in a much more natural way. I continued studying floristry up to C&G Level 4 and opened my shop a few days before my 21st birthday. I’m also qualified to teach floristry and I was the tutor at Wakefield College for a few years.

Image by www.s6photography.co.uk

image by S6 Photography

Why wedding floristry specifically?

After my first baby was born I took some time out and focused on a passion of mine – wedding designs. This worked well for me as it allowed me to spend more time on each of my weddings. I had no other distractions. It worked so well in fact I never opened my shop back up, using the premises as a wedding studio.

I also just love weddings – I love couples in love and I love how a wedding makes people feel. It’s a magical experience for everyone involved.

What is your favourite thing about being a florist?

So many things…the change of seasons, when the blossom begins to bloom, when the autumn leaves begin to fall.

The impact that blooms can create, from colours to fragrance, every room feels better with fresh flowers.

Meeting new and working with so many different couples, listening to stories and being allowed into their special days – I could go on!

meijer1

How can flowers transform a wedding day?

Flowers bring all the elements together in a wedding. The colour, style and texture will complement the bride’s dress and bridesmaid’s dresses. The venue flowers should work with the surroundings as complementing the scenery around will no doubt enhance a reception room. Details and props can be added to reflect the couple’s personality and bring the whole look together.

bride 2
What can couples expect from a consultation with you?

I like to see as much as possible to get a feel for the couple. Ideas, fabrics, stories – anything that shows the personality and style the couple are aiming for. From there we can discuss flower choices, the designs and budget. The couple can see my portfolio of previous weddings and testimonials and we can drink tea and eat biscuits. I can then create a tailor made quote for each couple. I don’t do packages as I find they don’t work for my brides and they don’t work for me – everything is individual.

BlossEm (1)
What advice do you offer to brides and grooms that aren’t too clued-up on flowers?

Let your florist guide you – trust them, after all that’s what you are paying them for. Stick with seasonal flowers where possible and work with designs to complement your dress and venue. Oh, and have fun exploring new blooms!

As well as colour, what other elements should a bride and groom take into consideration when choosing their wedding flowers?

The season of the wedding is always important, after all if you are having a winter wedding but are dreaming of garden Peonies you need to re-think!

Andy Gaines Photography (3)

image by Andy Gaines Photography

Are there any particular flowers, colours or arrangements proving popular with couples at the moment?

Woodland, enchanted forest, boho-chic – basically bringing the outdoors in is very on trend right now. Brides are becoming less afraid of foliage and are happy to have very loose, romantic and natural styles and designs.

Tell us about what type of wedding you would like in terms of your flower choices

Every time I leave a wedding I’ve set up I think to myself that’s my ideal wedding, then a few weeks later I think exactly the same at another! I love the change of seasons and constantly go from a spring wedding to a winter wedding, and then I think a summer wedding would be great! One of my favourite all time flowers is Nigella, which is available during May, I also love Ranunculus and Anemones. And Peonies of course. Oh and Delphiniums…

BlossEm (3)

What can a couple who book you expect from you on the wedding day?

From the initial consultation to the delivery and set up the morning of the wedding, it will be me you will deal with. All emails and meetings will be held with me, all designs will be made by me. I believe brides need to feel calm and as relaxed as possible in the run up to the big day and I will be on hand to ensure all runs perfectly.

What would you say to couple who are worried about the price of fresh flowers?

Work with your florist and trust their judgement, choose uncomplicated designs and stick with seasonal favourites. Cut back on designs that aren’t necessary and opt for a design that will wow!

Gav Harrison Photography (1)

image by Gav Harrison Photography

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

On my newly re-designed website at www.blossem.co.uk as well as my Facebook page, Instagram and Twitter.

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