Charlotte Balbier

petals & pencils. the leafy couture school for florists

February 26th, 2015 | Julia Braime

Leafy Couture School For Florists  by James Melia (2)

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

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

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

But back to those flowers.

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

Leafy Couture School For Florists  by James Melia (4)

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

Leafy Couture School For Florists  by James Melia (5)

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

Leafy Couture School For Florists  by James Melia (6)

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

Leafy Couture School For Florists  by James Melia (9)

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

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

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

Leafy Couture School For Florists  by James Melia (7)

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

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

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

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

Hope to see you there!

Leafy Couture School For Florists  by James Melia (8)

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

Images by James Melia.

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Flower Power. Supplier Showcase: Firenza Floral Design

October 30th, 2013 | Julia Braime

Image (c) James Melia for Firenza Floral Design

It’s bloomin’ beautiful on the wedding blog today isn’t it?!  After this morning’s gorgeous wildflower wedding, I’m proud to introduce you to Yorkshire based florist and Brides Up North Featured Supplier Fiona of  Firenza Floral Design.  This talented lady is a wizard with wedding flowers. You need her in your life. 

Image (c) Ann Kathrin Koch for Firenza Floral Design

How and when did you become a floral designer?

I’ve always had a passion for flowers and love being at work in my garden, although I actually trained and worked for many years in the print industry. I loved what I did but it was very technical and I am a naturally creative soul. Having always wanted to venture into floristry, I realised I’d regret not trying and so, in 2005, I decided to bite the bullet and do something about it.

I continued working full time and spent my weekends gaining invaluable work experience at a local flower shop. I volunteered help on an ad hoc basis for almost two years before I had the confidence to leave full time employment, retrain and pursue my dream career as a florist.

So, in 2005, I waved goodbye to my company car and pension and headed off to London to attend the Jane Packer Flower School career course. I rented a flat opposite Selfridges, within walking distance of the Flower School and had an inspirational and liberating month living back in London and learning the skills that I’d dreamt of.

Image (c) Laura Calderwood Photography for Firenza Floral Design

Image (c) Lissa Alexandra Photography for Firenza Floral Design

Where does the name Firenza come from?

The business is named after my nana, Florence, or “Firenza” in Italian. I wanted to make the business name personal to me and after I had chosen it I found out that the meaning of the name “Florence” is “flowering” or “blossoming”, so it was even more appropriate than I had first realised!

Image (c) Laura Calderwood Photography for Firenza Floral Design

Where are you located and will you travel?

Our large workshop is near my home just outside Halifax, West Yorkshire, overlooking the hills towards Ripponden and beyond. It consists of a large consultation area, an office, workshop, and of course, the all-important cutting gardens. We are very close to the Yorkshire/Lancashire border and we also have a private workshop near Cheadle in Cheshire. Distance isn’t a problem and we regularly travel far and wide – wherever the weddings take us!

Image (c) Lissa Alexandra Photography for Firenza Floral Design

What services do you offer for Brides To Be?

Firenza Floral Design is a specialist wedding and event florist and provide flowers for every part of the day. We aim to make the whole process enjoyable and special; from the initial meeting; to the wedding itself where we set up the church and/or venue flowers; delivering the bridal flowers on the morning of the wedding; then taking all the hired items away again afterwards, so our couples don’t have to worry about a thing.

Our style is a very natural, relaxed, garden style, using the sort of flowers you would see growing in a beautiful cottage garden, especially scented flowers and herbs.

Image (c) Laura Calderwood Photography for Firenza Floral Design

What about extra little details?  Do you offer a hire service for accessories and decorations?

We have a large collection of accessories including vases, lanterns, candelabra and tea-light holders, to name a few, all of which are available for our couples to hire. All these are on view at our workshop in Halifax and provide a source of inspiration during consultations.

Image (c) James Melia for Firenza Floral Design

Tell Brides Up North about your “home grown” flowers?

I am already growing a large amount of herbs and foliage for use in our weddings, but this year I have started work to convert an area of ridiculously steep waste grassland within our gardens to grow more cut flowers and herbs, which combined with our established gardens will provide a lot of flowers as well.

Work is well underway on our cutting beds – we have three raised beds all ready to start growing properly into 2014. They are on the steepest land imaginable and have been a challenge to build, especially when combined with a very busy wedding season!

This is something I feel really passionate about, I have always adored gardening and the last few years have been so busy with weddings my poor garden has just been totally neglected, which was making me very frustrated. So my (possibly rather strange) logic was if I make it part of the business I HAVE to do it and it has actually proved to be the case! I must admit though my first foray into serious seed growing was not particularly successful but I don’t yet have a greenhouse so that’s going on my list to Santa!

As part of this process I have met some fabulous growers across the country and I always use British growers where possible. I am also part of the lovely “Flowers from the Farm” network where I keep in touch with, and support, local flower growers.

Image (c) James Melia for Firenza Floral Design

What sets your business apart from your competitors?

As well as the above, we specialise in using scented flowers and herbs, a lot of which are grown in my own garden. The unique ability of a particular smell to remind us of times, places and memories, is the reason why I’m so keen to use scent as much as possible in my weddings.

We use a lot of typical garden flowers like forget-me-nots, aquilegia, clematis and even buttercups, which give our flowers their very distinctive natural, garden style.

Image (c) Laura Calderwood Photography for Firenza Floral Design

Image (c) Laura Calderwood Photography for Firenza Floral Design

Tell us about some of the industry connections you have made and shoots that you have worked on since launching your business?

We have met some lovely people along the way and have built up some fabulous relationships with many fellow suppliers. We’ve worked a lot with the lovely people from PapaKata and have worked on many of their 2013 weddings, they are great to work with and our natural style flowers particularly suit their tipis.

Since setting up in 2005, we’ve worked on several shoots with great photographers including Damian Hall, Barnaby Aldrick, Shelly from Toast, Sarah Mason and Lissa Alexandra, to name a few. One of our former brides has recently set up her own photography business, Laura Calderwood Photography, her work is beautiful and we have worked a lot together this year as well. We’re currently working on a series of shoots with local photographer James Melia and make up artist Jo BLiham. We all share a similar style and the shoots we’ve worked on so far have been truly beautiful, some of which have been picked up by the wedding media.

Image (c) Andy Sutcliffe Photography for Firenza Floral Design

What have been your professional highlights to date?

In July 2012 we were commissioned to provide flowers for Her Majesty The Queen. This was so exciting, although a little terrifying, if I’m honest. The brief was not to be “too weddingy”, so I stuck with my natural, gathered, garden style and imagined the sort of flowers that she would choose. I opted for bright cerise Yves Piaget rose, which is gloriously scented, with lilac delphinium, blackberries, purple clematis, mint, pink campanula, Artemisia, antirrhinum, stocks and hydrangea. The presentation bouquet for Her Majesty had a selection of these, with pink peony and monarda – it was an absolute honour and a very proud day!

What are your favourite wedding floristry looks for 2013?  What trends do you see emerging?

Our style of floristry is timeless and not particularly trend-led and I will always be a huge fan of very natural and unfussy designs. The just-picked look is still very popular and will remain so into 2014. There is a move towards more mixed and bright colours and in a much more unstructured style – less rose domes and more wild, natural and untamed designs.

Image (c) Lissa Alexandra Photography for Firenza Floral Design

Image (c) Lissa Alexandra Photography for Firenza Floral Design

Image (c) Laura Calderwood Photography for Firenza Floral Design

What would be your top tips for a Bride To Be when choosing her wedding flowers?

Allow your florist to have as much free reign as possible – I don’t mean just let them do what they want, but rather guide them with an idea of the sort of look you are after, what flowers you like and dislike, and then let the florist do the rest. This way you benefit far more from their creativity and you get a totally bespoke look designed specifically for you. If the florist understands your vision, it gives them the confidence that if they see the most beautiful but unexpected flower at the market that week, they can use it and you will love it. The more prescriptive a bride to be is, the less creative the florist can be.

Also, take some time to look at previous work the florist has done and consider whether it is in line with what you want, before asking them to give you a quote. I wouldn’t expect someone to come to us looking for a contemporary and off-the-wall design, because that just isn’t our style. All florists have their own natural style and pictures on their website blog or Facebook page or displays at wedding fairs will reflect this and help to show you their signature style.

Finally, don’t feel you always have to use the colour of the bridesmaid dresses in the flowers, especially if it is an unusual colour, instead you could use the dresses as a backdrop for a different colour scheme. For example, if you have a royal blue colour scheme you could consider opting for flowers that compliment it instead, perhaps using ivories, greens and blush pinks or maybe ivories, peaches and oranges. If your chosen colour scheme is particularly dark, I would always recommend using tones of the colour as well, to prevent a clash of dark and light colours, so instead of just using red and white flowers for example, introduce ivories as well as pale and darker pinks as this gives a far more cohesive appearance.

Image (c) S6 Photography for Firenza Floral Design

What would be your no-nos?

I really dislike dyed or artificially coloured flowers, especially the rainbow rose, which in my eyes is just wrong I’m afraid! Nature is so beautiful on it’s own so we should use what nature gave us. I would suggest finding other ways of bringing in unusual colour schemes, maybe through ribbon, or brooches.

Elbowroom Photography

Who would be your dream client and why?

George Clooney. He seems to be the sort of person who would choose our flowers, his style is so understated and classy, with nothing too glitzy or bling. I think he would want very natural and beautiful flowers. He has a villa on Lake Como (one of my favourite places) and I have a vision of a ceremony outside, under rose covered pergolas on a late spring/early summer day, it’s sunny but not too hot, with the lake in the background and oodles of displays of scented garden roses, scented stocks, herbs, peonies, delphiniums and hydrangea. His bride is carrying a very simple but beautiful bouquet of herbs, roses and peonies in blush pinks and ivories…ah well…we can all dream… (the number is below George if you’re interested)!

Image (c) James Melia for Firenza Floral Design

Image (c) James Melia for Firenza Floral Design

Are there any really memorable weddings that you have worked on?

They are all memorable in their own way, but a recent one we worked on was a little different. Flowers were really important to Georgie, she wanted a very natural, forest floor type theme, which all worked fabulously with her tipi wedding and we created a lot of beautiful displays for her. But, the memorable thing for me was that she arrived at the wedding breakfast on a white horse (something I’d always wanted to do) and I just love this shot of her with her bouquet. Apparently the horse bucked at one point but she clung determinedly onto her bouquet throughout!

Firenza Floral Design

Which weddings or shoots do you have coming up that you are really excited about?

We worked on a wedding a couple of months ago where not only did the bride wear a crown of ivy and daisies in her hair, but the groom wore a flower crown as well, which he was most excited about. I imagine this will be the first and last time I design a flower crown for a groom and it was great to get creative!

Image (c) James Melia for Firenza Floral Design

Can you give Brides Up North an idea on price?

It’s a bit “how long is piece of string?” I’m afraid. That is almost impossible to answer as everything is totally designed around each couple, I will say that working on a percentage of your wedding spend, which a lot of magazines seem to suggest, is not always the way to go as it doesn’t take into account whether you want a lot of flowers at the church, whether there are a lot of bridesmaids or table centres, how time consuming the set-up is, or even the sort of flowers/herbs you want and it seems to result in some very unrealistic expectations! It may seem very obvious but the more flowers you want the more it will cost. There is a very rough price guide on our website which can help with budgeting purposes but we always suggest a full consultation before giving more specific ideas on price.

Image (c) Laura Calderwood Photography for Firenza Floral Design

Image (c) Laura Calderwood Photography for Firenza Floral Design

How can Brides Up North see examples of your work or find out more?

We offer consultations our beautiful studio and workshop in West Yorkshire. For more information visit www.firenzafloraldesign.co.uk or ring 01422 835540.

You can follow Firenza Floral Design on Facebook and on Twitter

Image (c) James Melia for Firenza Floral Design

 

Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Images © 2013 as tagged James Melia, Laura Calderwood, Elbowrooom Photography, Ann Kathrin Koch, Andy Sutcliffe, S6 Photography and Lissa Alexandra Photography

Firenza Floral Design is a Brides Up North Featured Supplier and this is a sponsored post

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

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A Year In Bloom – A Bouquet For February

February 13th, 2013 | Julia Braime

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Ok.  I think we’ve had enough snow now, don’t you?  Maybe leaving the beautiful Snow Queens shoot up from yesterday afternoon and into this morning (click here to catch up if you missed it) has jinxed me. At least I felt that way when I skidded down my drive and drove oh-so-slowly to this lunchtime’s meeting!  Bah.

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I think it’s time for Spring to, erm, well, spring, don’t you?  Luckily, Brides Up North Featured Supplier and regular wedding blog contributor Sarah of Leafy Couture is here with one of her beautiful bouquets and an injection of my favourite colour (c’mon, surely you could tell?) just in time for Valentine’s Day. 

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February Wedding Bouquet by Leafy Couture

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February

green cymbidium orchids

pink ranunculus

tulips

camellia leaves

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Sarah says:  The bouquet this month was inspired by love, its Valentine’s this month after all! We have gone for a lovely seasonal pretty modern mixture instead of the classic red roses.

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We have used a combination of green cymbidium orchids for a touch of the exotic, pink ranunculus – seasonal and girly like a spring peony and classic pink tulips. The flowers are young clean and pretty: perfect for a Spring wedding or a delicate posy for Valentine’s day.

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February Wedding Bouquet by Leafy Couture

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Spring is such a wonderful time for flowers, after the dark Winter it brings beautiful vibrant bulbs. 

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Ranunculus are so romantic for weddings with each one having layers and layers of delicate petals. Tulips are an elegant flower that look gorgeous en masse or used with other Spring flowers. I love that they grow so they are not the flower for you if you like flowers that stay neat and perfect, they have a wild nature of their own! We finished the bouquet with sleek camellia leaves and grosgrain ribbon.

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February Wedding Bouquet by Leafy Couture

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Happy Valentines Day! Get your man to buy you some beautiful spring flowers this year or why not break tradition and get some for him?!

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See more of our Year In Bloom series by clicking here.

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And that’s not all.  I think it’s high time to introduce you properly to the lovely lady who has been bringing us beautiful blooms month on month.  But why not let her introduce herself and her team?  Let’s take a peek behind the scenes at Leafy Couture.  This is such a gorgeous and inspiring little film. 

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Sarah says: I wanted to do a behind the scenes film to show clients who we are and our passion for what we do. It can be hard when planning your wedding to know who to choose to work with on your special day so here are the Leafy girls in action!

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We work with all different themes and ideas for weddings, every one is so different, it keeps us on our toes! The wedding in this film was one of the biggest we have worked on with thousands of roses and 5ft flower balls and was featured on Brides up North
(click here to see it!). We love a challenge and this one had us weighing flowers to work out how much the truss in the marquee ceiling could hold. The results were stunning and the marquee smelt amazing!  For more information visit the Leafy Couture website.

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Film by Artisan Films

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

Leafy Couture is a Brides Up North Featured Supplier, but this is not a sponsored post

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

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A Year In Bloom: A Bouquet For November

November 23rd, 2012 | Julia Braime

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Sarah from Leafy Couture is back with another indulgently beautiful bouquet in pinks and crimsons to warm up your November.  Because you’re worth it! 

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Be inspired.

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Leafy Couture

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November

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Grand Prix & Black Baccara Roses

Cymbidium Orchids

Hydrangea

Skimmia

Ivy Berries

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Sarah says: For November’s bouquet we chose the deep burgundy colours that hint that its nearly the festive season. I adore the mixture of cymbidium orchids and roses, it gives a lux feel to any bouquet. The hydrangea has turned this time of year and each petal shows a rainbow of tones. The skimmia and ivy berries echo all the berries in nature this time of year. The roses are Grand Prix and Black Baccara they are velvety in texture and the smell of raspberries.

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Leafy Couture

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I love the ribbon detailing as it adds extra interest to the bound stems and also the two tone ribbon adds to the glamour of this little posy. It would look stunning next to dresses that were red, burgundy, sage green or pale pink. We added a gold votive as it just shows how the tones would work well in a colour scheme of these colours.

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See more of our Year In Bloom series by clicking here.

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Leafy Couture

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It’s so very nearly Christmas, so don’t forget Leafy Couture’s festive classes. I’ll be there, taking advantage of the mince pies (these baby bumps have their uses)!

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Sarah says: Our festive wreath class takes place on Saturday 8th December from 10am -1pm. Learn how to make and decorate a stunning seasonal mossed wreath whilst nibbling mince pies and drinking spiced hot chocolate and we will also be demonstrating how to make some festive decorations for your home.

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Or try our festive table arrangement class on Saturday 15th December from 10am -1pm. Learn how to make a beautiful scented arrangement for your home with candles, dried fruits and decorations. We shall also be showing you other tricks to inspire you at Christmas.

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We are also opening a pop up shop for all your festive needs, we will be taking orders in the weeks leading up to the big day and will be open 20th, 21st and 22nd December in the Garden School at Courtyard Planters in Otley, we can’t wait! Come and see us for a mince pie or two!

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All course materials supplied with refreshments, courses to be held in the garden school at Courtyard Planters in Otley.  Places limited to twelve for maximum flowery festive fun! Both courses £55+ VAT each. Contact sarah@leafycouture.co.uk ASAP to make a booking.

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  – Images © 2012 Leafy Couture

Leafy Couture is a Brides Up North Featured Supplier, but this is not a sponsored post

Contact Brides Up North to submit your business as Featured Supplier

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog

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A Year In Bloom – A Bouquet For October

October 29th, 2012 | Julia Braime

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The clocks have gone back, the ghosties and ghoulies are gathering, the bonfires are ready to be stoked and our monthly bouquets by my friend and guest blogger Sarah of Yorkshire florist Leafy Couture are just getting more and more beautiful.   

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This vibrant October bouquet wards off the winter gloom, gives a stylish nod to Hallow’een and is my favourite yet. 

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October Bouquet by Leafy Couture

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October

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Cherry Brandy Roses

Cotinus

Scabious Seed Pods

Crespedia

Hydrangea

Chines Lanterns

Crab Apples

Berried Eucalyptus

Viburnum Steel Berry

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Sarah says: We are fully embracing Autumn with this month’s bouquet. We love all the textures and deep colour tones at this time of year, the changing leaves on the trees, that smell in the air, berries in the hedgerows and apple harvests. We have tried to bring it all together in this bouquet. A great choice of colour tone to bring warmth on a cold crisp autumn day.

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October Bouquet by Leafy Couture

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We have used cherry brandy roses, deep cotinus foliage, scabious seed pods, crespedia, hydrangea, chinese lanterns, crab apples, berried eucalyptus and viburnum steel berry. We finished the bouquet with a jute ribbon. This bouquet would look great with brown, ivory or rich orange bridesmaid dresses.

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October Bouquet by Leafy Couture

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The bouquet has lots of layers and every time you look you see more details. The cherry brandy roses with their two tone appearance and cotinus with its variegated leaf reflect the changing autumn leaves. The wired crab apples and lanterns add a different dimension and we love to use these in arrangements this time of year.

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See more of our Year In Bloom series by clicking here

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October Bouquet by Leafy Couture

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And if it’s nearly the end of October, that that only means one thing:  Christmas is coming (wahoo)!

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If, like me, you fancy trying out your floristry skills before you hear the jingle of sleigh bells, then Leafy Couture’s festive classes are for you.  I signed up back in July!  Who is for joining me in decking the halls this December?

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Sarah says:  Our festive wreath class takes place on Saturday 8th December from 10am -1pm. Learn how to make and decorate a stunning seasonal mossed wreath whilst nibbling mince pies and drinking spiced hot chocolate and we will also be demonstrating how to make some festive decorations for your home.

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Or try our festive table arrangement class on Sunday 15th December from 10am -1pm. Learn how to make a beautiful scented arrangement for your home with candles, dried fruits and decorations. We shall also be showing you other tricks to inspire you at Christmas.

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We are also opening a pop up shop for all your festive needs, we will be taking orders in the weeks leading up to the big day and will be open 20th, 21st and 22nd December in the Garden School at Courtyard Planters in Otley, we can’t wait! Come and see us for a mince pie or two!

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All course materials supplied with refreshments, courses to be held in the garden school at Courtyard Planters in Otley. Places limited to twelve for maximum flowery festive fun! Both courses £55+ VAT each. Contact sarah@leafycouture.co.uk to make a booking.

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Brides Up North UK Wedding BlogImages © 2012 Leafy Couture

Leafy Couture is a Brides Up North Featured Supplier

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

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog

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