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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In your opinion how do flowers enhance a wedding?
I think that a wedding wouldn’t be complete without flowers to some extent, and can make a huge impact to even the most modest of occasions. From a single button hole and small stylish posy at an intimate wedding, to a huge gathering of hundreds of people in the largest of venues adorned with massive centrepieces the appearance and style of flowers instantly tells you there’s a wedding. Without flowers making an appearance in some way I don’t think it would feel the same.
What trends are you seeing in weddings at the moment?
Couples are spending more – big blooms, lots of flowers, lush with foliages and plenty of scent. The classic romantic style is wriggling its way back to the forefront of floral design.
Table centrepieces with fresh flowers are also making a massive come back into the wedding industry. We’ve just about come out of the jam jar centres and now couples are happy to spend between £40-120 per table. It’s amazing to see and it truly does set the venue off, plus the smell is amazing.
What would you say to couple who are worried about the price of wedding flowers?
Don’t be worried! Our chats with clients focus on what they want, I don’t ask for how much at that stage. We are able to tailor to most budgets and work with our clients to make their day special.
What is the feedback like from your brides and grooms?
Communication I think is the key to any relationship and that’s one thing we hold close. The feedback we get is that we have a friendly and informal approach to our customers. We are always available for a chat and we ensure prompt responses to emails. We pride ourselves on our service. Our designs are always stylish and on-trend and the variety of our creations keeps our customers happy.
Here is a selection of recent feedback from our clients:
“Thank you so much for your beautiful flowers they were perfect and everyone is still enjoying them! You captured our requests perfectly and the scent was gorgeous there were hard people to impress lots of gardeners and plant ecologists, but everyone said how stunning they were. Thank you for being part of this journey with us.”
Mr and Mrs Doxford, wedding at Whitley Hall
“The flowers were absolutely beautiful. Everybody absolutely loved the table decorations, the buttonholes, the corsages, everything! Said they completely made the venue, which I agree with, they absolutely transformed that room. And when the girls walked in with the first bridesmaid bouquet I thought it was mine because it was so beautiful! Then mine came in and I burst into tears it was just so perfect! Everything was just perfect – I can’t thank you enough. And such a nice touch on the Sunday was that we made little bouquets out of the centrepieces and dropped them off at our friends’ houses to enjoy as we would be away on holiday so wouldn’t be here to appreciate them. My bouquet is also drying upside down in the shed so I can have it back in the house when we get home. Thanks again Sam. You’re amazing!”
Jemma, wedding at Manorial Barn, Whiston
“What can we say about the flowers except they were beautiful, absolutely exquisite! We send a huge heartfelt thanks for all your efforts the flowers were absolutely perfect for us, your attention to detail was amazing. As you know I was in tears when you delivered the bouquets and flowers to my home they were just so beautiful and I was absolutely speechless when I saw the room at Hotel Van Dyk all set up with the table decorations you had done for us. You went a long way towards giving us the most perfect, memorable wedding day. Thank you so much.”
Denise Tonkin, wedding at Hotel Van Dyk
How can Brides Up North readers get in touch with you/ see more examples of your work?
Get in touch through email to book a consultation firstname.lastname@example.org – we deliver weddings throughout Yorkshire, Derbyshire and North Nottinghamshire. We have an extensive range of images through our online gallery and our portfolio in the shop. Visit our website, give us a call on 01142864353, or visit the shop on Bridge Hill, Oughtibridge, S35 0FL.
Any other exciting news to share?
We were finalists for the Hitched.co.uk awards for Best UK Florist, Finalist – Florist for the British Asian Awards and successfully won Best Yorkshire Florist in the North of England Wedding Awards.
We’re also working on photo shoots with an amazing team of different suppliers with a like-minded view on quality, service and cutting-edge inspiration!