Flowers might be one of the first things that come to mind when you think of your wedding, but this doesn’t mean they need to be traditional – oh HELL no. There are a multitude of incredibly exciting, immensely experienced wedding florists looking to tear up the rulebook and flip the bird to tradition when it comes to alternative wedding flowers, whether that’s bouquets, buttonholes or installations. However, they are almost a science in themselves, so to dispel some of the mystery around them, I chatted to my favourite wedding florists to ask questions like what you should look out for when booking wedding flowers, a seasonal guide to wedding florals, and more.
What should clients look for when choosing their wedding flowers?
Obviously, the first thing to look for is a wedding florist with a style you like – but how the hell do you go about this? Tracey from Campbell’s Flowers, a Sheffield-based florist oozing urban creative flair, guided us through some questions to consider. “It’s always a good idea to do a bit of homework and some light social media stalking! Narrow down your choice to ideally one or maybe two florists and then look at their websites. For me, it’s usually about creativity, so do they look a good fit for you? If they have wall-to-wall examples of tight, ball-shaped bouquets and you’re a wild, ‘just-picked’ kinda gal, then you’re probably in the wrong place! Do they make you feel reassured? It’s totally fine working with someone who is new to the scene but the work needs to be professional and of a high standard. Do they seem to have a broad range of work? If you are looking for more than bouquets and buttonholes, do they have examples of installations and structures? Once you’ve answered these few simple questions, then get in touch and organise a meet up – don’t worry though, you’ll know for sure once you’ve met them if they are the right florist for you!”
Emma from The Petal Studio also highlights what you should be looking for once you meet them (and even in the email or phone chats beforehand!) “I think clients need to be looking for someone who they can connect with, who’s as excited about their wedding as they are, who will listen to their needs, and simply be honest.” Caroline from Flowerology adds: “Rapport is just as much a consideration as trust. as they consider price. You are trusting your florist to carry out a very personal, very important job. You want someone you feel would be fun to work with, someone you ‘gel’ with. Key indicators can include things like how long does the florist take to respond to your enquiry? If they take long, then they are probably also too busy. Some florist take on more work than they can really handle to maximise profit. Do you really want to give that person your money, no matter how sought after their work is. Do you trust them?”
With regards to finding the actual floral style you want, Alice from Peonies from Pluto suggests hopping on Pinterest. “There are SO many flowers out there, I always suggest getting onto Pinterest and making the most flowery board possible. The more you look and pin, the more suggestions there’ll be for you. You’ll quickly find your board teetering towards particular colours, textures and shapes you prefer, but remember – flowers are seasonal, so be prepared that you may have to compromise!”
Jane from Dove & Myrtle’s advice is to look for seasonal flowers anyway. “Just like food, choosing seasonal ingredients is 100% best. During the growing season I work closely with some gorgeous chemical free flower farmers in Sussex and source as much from them as I possibly can for every event. Their flowers are second to none in terms of variety and fragrance and it makes me so happy knowing that the flowers I’m using are bee friendly, freshly cut and have only travelled a few miles up the road to my studio! Aside from seasonal blooms and foliage being at their absolute best and naturally most beautiful and fragrant the romantic in me loves that forever more the sight or smell of your wedding flowers appearing each year will take you straight back to your wedding day.”
Where should you find a wedding florist that suits your wedding?
King-Wey from Alright Petal says that, when used correctly, instagram can be a super useful resource for finding your wedding florist. “Try searching hashtags of some typical wedding flower designs like #bridalbouquet, #tablecentrepiece or #flowerarch, or perhaps some of your favourite blooms. I would also recommend searching for florists by location, either within the area you live or close to your wedding venue so things like #londonweddingflorist, #eastlondonweddingflorist or #[insert venue name]florist for example. This way, venue visits and meetings will be easier to arrange.” Plus, as Alice points out, supporting a local small business is always a winner!
And this leads us nicely onto wedding fairs! (I love it when a plan comes together. I’m in the right industry) Emma from The Petal Studio suggests wedding fairs are a great way to meet your florist. “There are some mega wedding shows about that are for the alternative bride, which is a perfect place to meet quirky wedding florists. Also, I would say check to see whether your venue has any wedding fairs booked, and go along to them!” Florists who’ve already worked in your space or are aware of it will have some awesome ideas for what they can do.
Jane advises grabbing a mug of tea – check – and spending time looking through wedding directories too. “They’ve already done the legwork for you by selecting suppliers they believe their readers will love. Also, why not ask another supplier you already have on board or a friend whose wedding flowers you admired? Referrals can be a brilliant way to find your perfect fit.”
How far in advance do you need to book your wedding florist?
This is a kind of how long is a piece of string question, as King-Wey points out, as it differs from florist to florist but also depending on your florist too. Jody from Don’t Settle Petal suggests about a year in advance is a good time: “Book as early as possible. I personally think 12 months is a great time. Your florist can confidently advise you of flowers that will be in season and their cost due to it being the same year! This can make choosing your wedding flowers really inspiring.” Emma points out that this also gives you opportunity to gauge prices and help with the wedding budget.
But there are certain dates that can be trickier than others, as Tracey explains. Firstly, there’s wedding season to think about: “It’s really good to get in early if your wedding falls on Bank Holiday weekends. In these cases, you are looking at booking around 18 months to 2 years or so beforehand. For Summer weddings between May – September I would say around a year to 18 months in advance; for October – April think 6 months to a year – but there aren’t really any hard and fast rules really! Most years our wedding season starts March and ends in December and it’s only really January and February where we just have one or two weddings.”
But on top of that, there’s also florists’ peak period to think about! “Try if you can to avoid florists’ peak period too. Venues offer discounts during their quieter times but flowers are very expensive around Christmas, Valentine’s and Mother’s Day when our suppliers inflate the prices due to demand – so December, February and March can seem economical, but they’re not always! Also, a real favourite with couples at the moment seems to be booking weddings between Christmas and New Year. However, there usually aren’t any fresh deliveries until the 28th December, and the florist needs a day at least to work on them, so be warned, there will be limited choice!”
Having said that – don’t panic if you don’t have that time at your disposal! Many florists can and will take on bookings with a shorter time frame out of season or when they’re smaller jobs.
What do you think makes a fun wedding?
All of our incredible wedding florists (alongside essentially all the other belting suppliers I’ve asked in this interview series) said couples bringing their own quirky personalities in and saying sod it to tradition makes the most fun wedding. “I think the fun is in the details,” Tracey explains. “I’ve been asked to incorporate all manner of ideas from conjuring up scenes from “Moonrise Kingdom” for a Wes Anderson themed tipi wedding, to simply incorporating scrabble tiles onto buttonholes for a pair of ‘word nerds’ (their words, by the way!). For me it’s always about being given the freedom to express the couples’ ideas that creates the joy and fun that everyone notices at a wedding.”
On top of that, Jane heartily suggests cocktails. “I’m all for glitter bombs, the right music and killer cocktails – I mean, c’mon..who doesn’t love a Margarita fuelled 1am Mr Brightside session on the dance floor?” But, it must be stressed, only secondary to the whole authentic love thang above.
What do you wish all wedding clients knew?
Right, folk, don your berets because we’re about to do some MYTHBUSTING. Most shockingly, Tracey says she wishes couples knew that foliage isn’t cheap – SHOCK HORROR! “Seriously. I don’t know who told the wedding world that ‘greenery’ is cheap! If you want wall-to-wall eucalyptus in the Spring then it’s super expensive. All shrubs and foliage go through a natural growing season but when eucalyptus grows the tips are very soft and are damaged by cold very easily so they go black and look awful. Like ALL the materials I work with, including gypsophila (!), they go through periods of being expensive and hard to come by (also smelly if they are gypsophila but that’s another story). So nothing is ‘cheap’ – it’s just marginally less expensive than say a huge, gorgeous David Austin type rose!” Consider the world shook – if you’re looking for wedding flowers on a budget, it’s always best to let your florist guide you on what wedding flowers actually cost!
In a similar vein, King-wey says, flowers aren’t cheap either – even for florists! – and Jody wants couples to know that they can be as involved in their wedding flowers design as they like. “No pressure – but just remember, don’t settle!” she says. (I see what she did there, and I like it.)
Emma says she’d also like to let people know that wedding flowers take TIME. In some cases, it can take up to a week to get all the details perfect, so it’s not something they just whip up. And for that same reason, Caroline wants couples to know that “For goodness sake, if you are going to do your own wedding flowers: at least attend a bouquet making workshop, so that you have half an idea of what is involved.” The events section of her website has upcoming dates, plus private 1-1 lessons on request.
Looking for more super mega useful advice to plan your wedding?
I’ve asked all my favourite wedding suppliers all the awkward questions so you don’t have to.
Why not pin this image to your Pinterest board to remember it for later?
Still looking for a fun, informal wedding photographer? You should check out my 4 minute video for a whirlwind review of all the weddings I shot in 2018. Or just drop me a line to fix up a little chat.
Campbell’s Flowers is an award-winning wedding florist in Sheffield, specialising in creating creative, exciting, flawless floral arrangements. Tracey’s passionate about finding new ways to enhance a venue and looking at it with fresh (geddit) eyes. She also has a super helpful section of her website which shows which wedding flowers are in season when, categorised by month – is she heavensent? We think so. https://campbellsflowers.co.uk/
Although she’s based just outside of Tunbridge Wells, Alice from Peonies from Pluto is committed to making out-of-this-world floral arrangements. Her wedding flowers have a delightful quirky garden style, often with a rainbow twist. https://www.peoniesfrompluto.co.uk
Dove & Myrtle creates romantic, wild and natural floral arrangements for weddings from her studio in Hove. Jane’s all about the painterly and abundant with a hint of secret gardens, woodland floors and the Bohemian, and above all else LOVES colour and texture. Tumbling vines, twisting tendrils and deliciously scented fresh flowers, foliage and herbs are her favourite ingredients and she’s at her absolute happiest creating flowers that look freshly gathered or like they’re growing from wherever they’ve been placed. Check back in with her blog for more in-depth advice on your wedding flowers! https://www.doveandmyrtle.com/
The Petal Studio is a Leeds-based florists, creating quirky, friendly and passionate flowers. Their aim is to make every couple swoon over their flowers, with a loose and rustic feel. Keep an eye out on their blog for more super helpful advice for couples planning their wedding, from wedding flowers chat to beyond! https://www.thepetalstudio.co.uk
Flowerology is a Birmingham-based floral studio, specialising in wedding flowers that are wild, naturalistic, seasonal, and informal. Many of Caroline’s flowers are home grown in her beautiful cutting garden or on her allotment, and it’s this kind of talented hands-on approach that she’ll give from start to finish. https://www.flowerology.co.uk/
Alright Petal is a floral studio based in North London. Her style is seasonal, eclectic, romantic, and always with an element of surprise. We couldn’t have put any words in her mouth that were better than her own, so here’s King-Wey: “There are so many wonderfully talented florists out there so it is getting increasingly challenging to find a genuine niche. However, passion is fundamental no matter what profession you are in. Without wanting to sound too cliché, I sincerely love what I do, and I hope this comes through in my work.” http://www.alrightpetalflowers.com
Don’t Settle Petal offers fearless floristry for Midlands-based couples. Other than having the best business name ever, Jody’s work is wild and bold, with a touch of 70s boho working in harmony with 80s neon. Doesn’t that just sound like the absolute dream? http://www.dontsettlepetal.co.uk/