Wedding Theme: Mint

In recent years, mint has become increasingly popular as a wedding theme. Bridesmaid dresses, table runners, and stylish invitations all carry the soft accent, and look classy to say the least.

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Image from DeerPearlFlowers, via Pinterest

 

When you think about it, there are not many, if any, mint coloured flowers. But the tone can be brought in via foliage elements, such as silvery blue Echeveria (succulents), Senecio cineraria (Dusty Miller), and Eucalyptus. And it’s a tone that can be paired with either complimentary or contrasting colours – think ivory, pink, coral, or even purple.

As always, the most important thing is to take your theme and run with it. Don’t shy away from letting it sing!

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Question: Bouquet Shapes

When it comes to thinking about your wedding flowers, one of the first elements you’re asked about is what your dress is like, and what flowers you’d like to carry. It’s worth getting your dress before looking at flowers, as the outfit you go for may dictate a particular style for your flowers. There are more than a few options besides the ever-popular hand tie for the bride, so I thought I’d jot a few down here.

Hand tied bouquet, also referred to as a posy or round bouquet. There’s a reason these are such a popular choice with brides – they are simple, elegant and easy to carry. With your choice of flowers, this style of bouquet can suit various wedding themes. For a modern, tidy look, go for compact stems, either all one variety of flower, like roses, or a mix to add texture. Perfect to sit against almost any style of wedding gown.

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At the other end of the scale, a hand tie can be loose and country style, perfect for a more relaxed day. With a selection of soft foliage and either big blousy blooms like English roses, or delicate meadow type flowers, such as Nigella, Astillbe and Daisies. Perfect to carry against a vintage or lacy dress. And why not follow the current trend of a floral headdress to match?

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Pageant, or over arm sheath. This style of bouquet utilises long stemmed flowers, tied and cradled in the arm. Again, it can be very modern, using bold, choice flowers such as Calla lilies and Phalaenophsis orchids, or very ‘boho’ with masses of trailing foliage and sparse flowers. Gladioli, Delphinium and Campanella suit this style well. They look great against a silky, fitted dress.

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Shower bouquet, also know as a cascade bouquet or teardrop bouquet. A classic, traditional choice. They fell out of popularity with the rise of the handtie, but are now enjoying a revival – and rightly so. They are beautiful arrangements, drawing the eye down your dress, so are perfect to compliment an a-line skirt or ball gown. They can be small and delicate, like Kate Middleton carried, or large and fuller, like Princess Diana’s.

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If you’d like to carry one of these while wearing a mermaid or sheath dress, you can go for a more modern, minimalist drop-bouquet. This way, you’re silhouette won’t be too hidden behind your flowers.

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Crescent bouquets are similar to shower bouquets, but the flowers are placed in a crescent shape – ideal if you have detail at the front or down one side of your dress that you’d rather not hide away.

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Pomander. These are a essentially a compact ball of flowers, hanging from a ribbon loop handle. A fun choice for flower girls who like swinging them down the aisle, but they’re also gaining popularity with brides. They go wonderfully well with a knee-length, flared skirt dress.

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Composite bouquet, or glamelia, is essentially one large flower made up of lots of petals, often from a rose. They are a particularly skilled piece, with each petal being painstakingly attached by hand. It’s a shame they’re not that popular in the UK because they are gorgeous! They’d suit a modern themed wedding, against a fitted classy dress.

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Free form bouquets are similar to a handtie, but follow a random shape. They suit a very relaxed laid back event, for the bride going for a ‘gathered from the garden’ look.

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I hope this helps you choose which direction to go in with your flowers. Don’t forget to ask your florist’s opinion too! They are, after all, the professionals, and have a wealth of information and experience to dip in to. Most of all, enjoy this fun part of the planning!

 

 

[Calla lily Pageant bouquet from Colin Cowie Weddings; Boho pageant bouquet from Bajan Wed; Lily of the Valley shower bouquet from MODwedding; Pink minimal shower bouquet from Carlyanes.com; Crescent bouquet from The Knot; Composite bouquet from lisaflorist.blogspot.se; free form bouquet from greenweddingshoes.com – all via Pinterest]

 

Preserving Wedding Flowers

What a joy to be able to look at your gorgeous wedding flowers for years to come. To have them hanging next to a picture of your and your other half in all your glory, making you smile every time you pass them.

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Hazel and Laura make these dreams a reality with their company 3d Flower  Preservation. I’ll let them tell you what they do, from their website:

‘3D Flower Preservation offers a unique opportunity for the bride to save her bouquet as a treasured keepsake – a wonderful reminder of her special day.

3D Flower Preservation specialise in using modern drying techniques, enabling moisture to be taken from the flowers and foliage, leaving them looking as fresh and whole as the day they were delivered to us.

Once your flowers are dry, 3D Flower Preservation re-assembles your bouquet on conservation mount card, cut to a style that suits you. Your bouquet is mounted in a bespoke frame of your choice. The specialist glass used in your frame cuts out 98% of UV light.’

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To make the memento even more special, you can include the grooms buttonhole, a photograph, or a special keepsake from the day. It really is amazing how fresh the flowers still look after being dried. Incredible.

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If you’d rather a smaller souvenir, they also make paperweights featuring a few choice blooms from your bouquet.

For either service, you’re advised to book in as early as possible to ensure they put aside the time in their diary – they’re a small set up so can only accept a small number of bouquets a week. Once booked, they’ll tell you just what you need to do with your flowers, and then work their magic!

To find out more, and book in your bouquet, take a look a their website. Take a nose at their Facebook page to be amazed by their work!

I really wish I’d known about this when I got married!

Technical Challenge: Woodland meets Modern

Last week, over on Facebook, I shared a few pictures of some unusual table centres. They were rustic and reminiscent of a woodland walk, whilst also having a modern twist of an orchid flourish.

I thought I’d share with you how, with a little imagination, a spot of foraging for the right chunk of bark and a few twigs, and an hour or so, you too can create an interesting feature piece.

You’ll need:

  • A section of curious looking bark (or a few pieces) – go for a wander and see what you can find! Obviously, if it’s private land, check with the landowner you’re ok to take some, and in any situation only take already-fallen bark (don’t go ripping those lovely trees apart!)
  • A few mossy, knarly twigs
  • moss
  • an orchid plant, or few stems of your choice of flowers
  • a stem of Dracena, or your choice of exotic-looking foliage
  • a block of Oasis (floral foam)
  • thin silver wire or gardeners twine
  • a small piece of cellophane (or a few layers of cling film)
  • sharp scissors and a knife
  • hot glue gun, (or strong liquid glue and a lot of patience!)

With all your bits and pieces collected, let’s get started!

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Take your piece or pieces of bark and have a good look at them. Remove any unwelcome bugs or dirt clinging on, and check you’re happy to have it sitting in your house. If it’s damp, let it dry out before continuing.  Check there is a slit or gap or two on the top surface for stems to fit through -if there isn’t, get busy cutting or digging a few out with your knife. Not too big mind, you want it to be subtle.

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Take your block of floral foam, and cut to size to fit snuggly into the underside of your bark. Soak the foam – sit the foam on top of a bucket of water, and let the weight of the water take the foam down. Don’t push it down as you’ll get air pockets which your flowers won’t like.

Cover the bottom of your Oasis with cellophane or several layers of clingfilm, to protect your surface. Leave the top surface clear, so you’re stems can enter unhindered. Secure in place with the silver wire or twine. Cover the visible ends of your foam with moss.

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Using your glue, position and attach your twigs diagonally across the top of the bark. Remember to leave your holes accessible for your flower stems! You may also like to cover your wire or twine with a few bits of moss, but this is by no means essential. Make sure the glue is dry before continuing to the next step.

Next, get creative with your foliage and flowers! Depending on where you’re going to place your arrangement, think about the positioning of the flower heads – if it’s going against a wall, make it front facing, if it’ll be in the centre of your coffee table, make sure there’s something interesting on every side.

Put your foliage in first, just a few bits to frame and ‘set-off’ the blooms. Ensure the stems are going right into your floral foam beneath. Then add your flowers. Keep them looking natural – use the movement of the stems to your advantage, e.g. the curve of the orchid flower stem.

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Ta-dah! There you have it, a woodland meets modern table centre. And the best bit? Now you have your frame, you can just change the flowers as your mood takes you! I’m thinking holly and ivy for Christmas, a few cheerful daffodils for Spring…

A final tip – make sure the foam is kept damp (a dribble of water over the sink will do it) and perhaps change the foam every few times too to make sure the stems are going into foam rather than holes.

I’d love to see your creations – why not share them with me over on my Facebook, Instagram or Twitter?

Question: Spend or Save?

When meeting with engaged couples there’s a question that comes up quite a lot – ‘Is it worth spending out on venue decoration?’ or ‘how can I dress the venue without spending a fortune?’

There are several factors that can affect the response to this question.

  • Your budget. It might seem obvious, but if you’ve got a large budget available, then yes, it is worth spending out on making your reception look amazing! But, if your budget is restricted, then let your florist know. There are lots of tricks and tips to make your money go further, to still have flowers on your tables without breaking the bank. For example, if you’ve got a number of bridesmaids, why not use their bouquets along your top table, or as your table centres? All you need is a vase for each bouquet – these budget-friendly vases from IKEA would be perfect. Or see if your venue hires out glasswear.
  • Your wedding theme. Whether you’re aiming for a modern, contemporary event, or a rustic, county-garden inspired day, this may affect your estimated spend. But remember, there are always ways to accommodate a budget, and with a few compromises, get the look you’re after.
  • Style of design. This follows on from the previous point. A tall lily vase with a couple of stems of oriental lilies and palms can look just as modern as a large cylinder vase filled with hydrangeas and roses. Similarly, a collection of country style jars and bottles can look extravagant when bursting with roses, or they can be just the simple decoration needed filled with a few choice blooms in the wedding colours.
  • Seasonal flowers. Another apparently obvious point, but one that catches many brides out! Using flowers and foliages that are in season is a great way of stretching the funds. If you want Lily of the Valley but are getting married in October, you’ve got to be prepared to pay absolutely silly money for it! If your heart is set on having these delicate scented flowers, then plan for your wedding to take place between late March and early May. If you’d like peonies, aim for early Summer, or think about substituting with equally-beautiful, similar shaped garden roses. Have you just got to have hyacinths? Then have your big day between November and March. Take a look at this article from Confetti.com to get more of an idea of what’s available when (or think about what’s flowering in the garden in what month!)
  • Your venue. It may be that your venue is a blank canvas and needs some ‘prettying up’. It may be that your reception is being held in a stately home grand hall, which has quite detailed decor, and therefore doesn’t need much additional decoration. When you visit the venue, imagine the space with the tables, chairs etc in it, and try to get a feel for what is needed. There might be a particularly unsightly stairwell that needs disguising, or a mantle piece to dress and add colour. Take photos of the room to show your florist, or even better, see if they can visit the space with you to advise.

Here’s a few examples of similar table centres for each end of the budget to give you an idea of what can be achieved with various sized budgets.

Extravagant collections in dressed jam jars and bottles, following a country style…or more understated, small gatherings of flowers

Cylinder vases – exotic stems of cymbidium orchids inside the vase creates impact whilst not breaking the bank, or go all out with a compact summery arrangement of flowers on top of the vase, creating a classy statement.

Looking for a low table centre? Using plants can be kinder on the budget but need not look cheap, such as these lavender plants in brushed mirror containers. In contrast, go for a collection of different sized mirror cubes with one type of compact flower in each. Great use of your wedding colours, and really shows off the textures of the blooms.

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A few choice blooms in stem vases among scattered confetti, or a ‘long and low’ arrangements to sit in front of the happy couple – both finish the top table off perfectly, and give the finishing touch to the table. Remember, your top table is an obvious focal area, especially for your photographer (and guests!) during the speeches, so it’s important to have some decoration here.

Another idea is to mix tall and short arrangements over the tables – a shorter arrangement will often be less expensive, but you may really want or need some height across the room. This design trick is perfect for looking after the pennies and getting the look you’re after.

Finally, think about using your flowers as much as possible. If you’re dressing the church, think about bringing the flowers on to your venue. For example, an alter arrangement will work perfectly on your top table. Table centres could be used as your thank you gifts, or spread the love by donating them to the local nursing home to enjoy. Your bouquet could be used to decorate your cake table. Your bridesmaid bouquets could be used on the tables as mentioned, or to dress the bar, next to the guest book, or even to jazz up the toilets!

If you’re curious about what you can achieve for your budget, take a look at my wedding packages. And the best advise is to find a florist who you trust and enjoy their style, book a consultation and talk through your ideas!

 

5 years ago today…

5 years ago today, it was a warm sunny day. And it was a happy day. It was the day I became a Mrs, and married my John.

It took a long time to decided which direction to go with the florals for our big day. Did we want to go beautifully traditional? Or step right outside the box and ‘wow’ with something funky and modern? One thing I did know from the get-go was colours – I absolutely love purple and lime green, and with a touch of white, I knew they’d be perfect. There were a few favourites that just had to feature – Vanda orchids, Eryngium (thistle), Ornithogalum arabicum (chincherinchee), Muscarii, blossom, moss… And with Spring being my favourite season, it had to be our wedding season too.

After much discussion with my florist-friends (and a little with my man), we decided to go quite European, and more on the contemporary side than traditional. I’m a fan of Belgian floral designer Moniek Vanden Berghe, and her work was a big influence on me when designing for our wedding flowers. I spent many enjoyable hours in the weeks before making and wiring various items to compliment the flowers!

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My bouquet was made in a decorative Oasis holder, and had a detailed ‘drop’ at the front, hand wired with bead detail, which was repeated on a smaller scale at the back of the bouquet (always important to let the bride have something gorgeous to look at!). The flowers were compact and grouped, with a finishing twist of Tillansia xerographica, wire, and pair sumptuous purple Vanda orchids.

My three bridesmaids each wore a dress of their choosing within the wedding colours, and their bouquet then echoed the dress, with a handmade collar to frame the flowers.

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The fellas looked a dapper bunch with buttonholes made from cornus, ‘Kermit’ chrysanthemums and thistle. My other half did have an orchid with a silver hand-wired backing to match my bouquet, but he is an enthusiastic hugger, and sadly it was damaged before he even made it into the service room! A quick readjustment, and a rose buttonhole was found for him!

Deciding on the table decorations was hard – there were too many good ideas on the drawing board! After an inspiring trip to C Best sundries wholesaler at Covent Garden, we settled on 4 different complimenting designs over the 12 tables, each with a moss base. I originally wanted moss table cloths (I’m mildly obsessed with moss!), but the venue weren’t keen, so a compromise was found.

Some tables had tall cylinder vases with a big (and I mean big!) ball of lime green ‘Kermit’ chrysanthemum on top, and a wire and pearl waterfall decoration hanging inside the vase. Others had tall tapered vases, with a lime green wire and bead collar, filled with Spring green branches and blossom.

The other two table designs used ‘dull mirrored’ tanks vases and cylinder vases, in various sizes, filled with tight collections of the featured flowers (or chocolates on the children’s table!). The overall effect was gorgeous! I was blown away with how the room had been transformed.

Many thanks to Mel, Hayley and Diane of Kane’s Florist for all their hard work preparing the flowers!

Thank you to Pebble Heaven Photography for the gorgeous album! She comes highly recommended for your big day, or family portraits, baby pictures… check her out!

And so the new year begins

What a year 2015 was.

I had the pleasure of providing florals for a whole stack of diverse and beautiful weddings – from the simple and elegant, to the extravagant and vibrant. What a joy it is to be  a part of a couples’ special day.

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From a hectic Valentine’s day, helping all those fellas ‘say it with flowers’, to an lively Mother’s day thanking all those hard working, much loved mums, and all the way through a summer of events, to Christmas. My festive period was wonderfully busy – with freelancing in the shop, running workshops, and going to craft fairs, it was great fun.

20151212_110647And now 2016 is in full swing. With the diary filling up with new meetings, events and workshops, wedding fairs and promotion, and lots of ideas to think about and develop, it’s sure to be another exciting year!

I’d love you to come along for the ride. What would you like to know about the world of floristry? Is there a workshop you’d like me to offer? Do you need some help or advice with your wedding flowers? Let me know!

Susan and Craig’s happy day

It’s a real joy to be part of a couple’s special day. Susan and Craig’s day was no exception.

Theirs was a day filled with family, friends, and flowers of the sweetest scents in ivory, lilac and purple. With delicate freesias, heady stocks, and beautiful ‘Avalanche’ and ‘Cool Water’ roses, the florals really were a delight. You know you’ve got the flowers right when the bride cries and hugs you on seeing them…

Susan's scented shower bouquet
Susan’s scented shower bouquet
The bridesmaids carried compact bouquets of similar scented flowers
The bridesmaids carried compact bouquets of similar scented flowers
The table arrangements, also used on the registrar's table
The table arrangements, also used on the registrar’s table

Susan emailed me the very next day to express her thanks!

“I just wanted to thank you again for the absolutely gorgeous flowers for my wedding. You produced exactly what I had envisioned in my mind and the fragrance was beautiful. I was on cloud nine all day and loved holding my bouquet for all my photos and smelling the wonderful fragrance while we sat having our Wedding Breakfast.

Everyone commented on the beautiful flowers. Thank you so much.”

just look at those gorgeous colours and textures, and imagine the scent!
just look at those gorgeous colours and textures, and imagine the scent!

Coral’s a charm

Last weekend was a hectic one. After delivering to Debbie in Edmunton, I headed over to Guildford to deliver and set up for Poli and Martin’s big day. Not the smooth, stress-free journey you might hope for when time is of the essence, with traffic, speed restrictions, and roadworks to contend with, but eventually I made it through and arrived at the venue – the gorgeous Lythe Hill Hotel. 

I met with Poli in the Spring of this year, and it was clear that her’s was going to be a beautiful day. The venue itself is a stunner – sweeping manicured lawns, a variety of luxurious guest rooms, and a wonderfully light and airy reception room. A real gem. And Poli is a joy – her friendly, bubbly character was infectious! Starting with her coral and ivory colour theme, and the English country garden style flowers she likes, we set about designing the blooms for their day.

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Poli carried a compact handtied bouquet of mainly coral flowers, with accents of ivory, featuring some of the largest coral Peony I’ve ever seen! There was a whole list of show stoppers in fact, including ‘Miss Piggy’, ‘Vuvuzella’ and ‘Avalanche’ roses, sweet smelling Freesia, and peach Hypericum for a contrast of texture, with the flowers being framed by fragrant Rosemary, Eucalyptus, and soft Asparagus fern. Such a stunner of a bouquet!

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Poli’s maid of honour carried a similar handtie, with a different balance of colours – bringing the ivory out more to help the flowers stand away from her coral-toned outfit. The gents had ‘Miss Piggy’ rose buttonholes, and the ladies ivory spray rose corsages, and the lucky guests each had a white Lissianthus buttonhole too!

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With it being such a gorgeous venue, it didn’t need much prettying up – the tables had a big cream jug full of loosely arranged flowers, and the long top table had simple stem vases with small collections of the focal flowers.

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The wedding ceremony was being held in the grounds, by one of the large ponds, under a pegoda. What a lovely setting it was too, with the sun shining and the pond-life quietly going about its business in the background. Beautiful though the wooded pegoda was, Poli and Martin had requested a little decoration to be added – so I set to dressing the frame with variegated ivy, asparagus fern, and groups of flowers. The idea was to make it look very natural, almost as though it was nature’s own work.

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The last task was dressing the banisters in the courtyard – more ivy and fern, to look natural and rambling along the path, with two floral arrangements hanging at the ends. Quite lovely.

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And it’s always a joy when the bride takes the time to email you before heading off on honeymoon to share photographs and say thanks!

“We can’t thank you enough for the absolutely gorgeous bouquets and arrangements you created for our wedding. We still get compliments on how beautiful they were. Thank you for making our wedding day so special & memorable”

I love my job.

Soft and Subtle

I’m all puzzled as to what day of the week it is – is it Friday? Saturday? Not really sure, but I do know it’s been a hectic old week.

It all started on Friday, getting up bright and early to collect the flowers for a wedding – oodles of white, fluffy gypsophilia, stacks of the softest pink ‘Sweet Avalanche’ roses, and trays of gorgeous textured echeveria (also know as succulents to you and me). I removed all the foliage below water, cut the stems and stood the blooms in nice deep water. I then got busy planting up some of the succulent plants into simple white pots, ready for one of the table designs (that’s right, there was more than one table design… more on that later).

Sunday saw me making a start on the flowers. I began by removing all the soil and wiring the individual succulents, ready for the bride’s bouquet. They really are fab, echeveria – it’s no surprise to me they’re proving so popular in bouquets and buttonholes. Once wired, they survive up to 5 days, and will even continue growing if planted at that point. A lasting reminder of your special day. These little beauties were being paired with gorgeous white ‘Avalanche’ and pale pink ‘Sweet Avalanche’ roses, with just a hint of gypsophilia around the edge of the bouquet.

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Next up, the 5 bridesmaid bouquets – a mass of fluffy gypsophilia with a few ‘Sweet Avalanche’ rose accents. Simple, but so effective.

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Having put the flowers aside ready for the buttonholes to be made in the morning, I then moved on to the table decorations. As I’ve mentioned, there was more than one design – 3 in fact. With 18 guest table, it was important to have some variation to create interest in the large room, and continue with the light, relaxed feel of the decor.

To go with the succulents, was a bottle with a few simple rose stems.

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Then we had large cream jugs filled with a cloud of gypsophilia.

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And finally, the bride had collected a host of vintage bottles, which I filled with more gypsophilia. to be use in little collections of three.

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My last task was the chair ties, again delicate bunches of gypsophila, with a soft organza bow, the perfect finishing touch to the walk down the aisle.

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The wedding was for Abi and Dave – Abi’s sister is one of my dearest friends, and it was a joy to be asked to provide the florals for their nuptials. The wedding was in Leicester, and on Monday, which meant I had to get my logistics thinking hat on. My lovely sister Sophie, who lives in Rugby, came to the rescue, and I was able to stay with her (after fighting through ridiculous traffic and roadworks) on Sunday night.

Monday morning, I was up and making the buttonholes. You guessed it, roses with an accent of gypsophilia to fit in with the day’s theme. And after completing the bridal party bouquet handles with ribbon, it was time to load the car and be off on my way.

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On arrival at the address where the bride and her maids were getting ready, it seemed to be a wonderful calm space – everyone was either having their hair done, or doing someone’s hair, and it was smiles all round. Abi, I’m please to say, was delighted with her bouquet! It’s always a little nerve-wrecking showing the bride her bouquet – is she going to love it? Is it going to be exactly what she hoped for and imagined? And what a joy it is to see smiling faces, with squeals of delight on seeing the bouquets for the first time!

I then went on to the venue, Halestead House Farm, a lovely rustic converted barn, to attach the chair ties, give the gents their buttonholes (and make sure they know what they’re doing with them), and set up the table flowers. And that was that. All set up and ready for action.

So I set off to return home, back through the traffic and roadworks, to clean up after the action, and eventually crawl into bed.

I love my job, but I love my sleep too!