It’s November and we are officially within the 8-month mark before Hannah and Ben’s wedding weekend next summer! With all the big planning pieces ticked off there’s time to focus on the fun stuff and, in my book, the wedding flowers and styling come top of that list! Today I’ve teamed up with Emma Soulsby of Ladybird Flowers to bring you all our floral and styling expertise in a piece about where to start with your wedding flowers.
First, let me introduce Emma. Emma is an experienced wedding florist (as well as being an all round lovely lady). Since starting her business 5 years ago she’s had her work featured across numerous wedding blogs and publications (Wedding Sparrow, Bridal Musings, Way out Wedding and our very own English Wedding Blog, to name but a few). For me, a fantastic florist is one half of any wedding styling partnership and I’ve had the pleasure to work with Emma on a number of occasions. Emma is also Hannah’s chosen florist for her wedding day! Last week we took a trip to London’s Covent Garden Flower Market to catch up on everything floral to bring you this post.
How Do I Pick A Florist?
When picking a florist both Emma and I agree– the most important thing to get right is that their style of floristry fits with yours.
What do we mean by this? Well, a little like any creative, florists all have their preferred style of design. Some love wild, loose arrangements and foraged pieces, others opt for bold, funky contemporary. You don’t need to get too complicated about it – the main thing to look for is do you like their portfolio of work? Emma is a big advocate of using Instagram accounts – “Florists regularly post current pictures of their work, probably much more than on their website, so you can see if you like the style and shape of the arrangements they have created. Also check out their Instagram stories. I regularly post stories, especially when I’m working on weddings so you can follow me behind the scenes and see all the work that goes into your wedding and how the set up of the wedding flowers work.”
Emma’s designs are creative, stylish with a relaxed natural feel: “I like looking at arrangements designed in a way that excites the eyes, with lots of textures, different heights, full of flowers and foliage.” As a wedding stylist it’s really important to me that I recommend a florist to my client who I know will work with their wedding. I’ll always start with the mood board that I design with my couples – this pulls together all the design elements visually – and from here I get a very clear idea of who I know will and wouldn’t work. The better the fit the better the result and, for Hannah’s wedding I knew Emma would be perfect.
When Should I Book My Florist?
In my experience, like anything, the good ones are in demand and get booked up in advance. Personally as soon as I’m at the point with my couples of having agreed the look of the wedding I suggest we book the florist (to our point above you kind of need to have this part sorted before you know the type of florist you’re looking for). Typically this is anywhere from 12 to 8 months out. Emma suggests “ideally about 9 to 12 months before your wedding” (aren’t we in tune?).
What Do I Need To Think About When Choosing Flowers For My Wedding?
Most couples want their wedding to reflect them as a couple and your wedding flowers are no exception. For Emma it’s important to get to know her couples at the beginning of the design stage: “I want to know their likes, dislikes, colours, venue, wedding style (is it a party, an intimate affair, romantic, edgy etc). I work with my clients to create arrangements and installations unique to them.” Any fabulous florist should guide you through the design process and it should feel like a fun, relaxed and enjoyable process, presenting flower choices and ideas that will work for you.
Having worked alongside many florists I’ve also picked up a few handy tips along the way but the top two have to be these…
Trust The Professional
Flowers are natural. They aren’t uniform in any way; they can vary in colour, tone, shape and size even within the same species. What looks one way in an image or book can look another way in real life. On top of this, flowers look super different as part of an arrangement with other flowers/foliage than they look as individual stems. That’s the artistry of the florist’s work – to understand how to put together an arrangement that works. The most important thing is that you can give your florist a good idea of the look and colour tones you are after and your wedding style. Beyond this there will always be an element of trust in them then to do their job.
As much as you should trust the florist to do their job, it’s also important that you are also honest with them about what you do and don’t like. If, after an initial consultation, your florist comes back with something you aren’t sure about, tell them! I’ve done this a lot and, done in the right way, it’s completely fine – your florist wants you to be over the moon with the work they create for you so speak up at the start.
I’ll give an example. For Hannah’s wedding we’re hatching a plan for a feature installation. Emma came up with a fabulous initial idea but I had a niggle about how it would work in the context of the venue (Emma has not yet seen the venue in real life). Hannah (surprisingly?!) had the same niggle and there were also a couple of the flower choices Hannah wasn’t convinced on – just personal preference. So… we told Emma, the three of us chatted it through and came up with an idea we are all super excited about.
How Much Do Wedding Flowers Cost?
I come across this question a lot from couples. The answer is a difficult one! The cost of wedding flowers varies from wedding to wedding because of the huge number of variables that play a part.
Let’s start with the obvious, the flowers themselves. Some flowers are more expensive than others. Using flowers readily available and in season, for example, can be a lot more cost effective than having your florist specifically order/ship something in.
The ratio of flower to greenery in your arrangements will also play a part (greenery is typically cheaper than the flowers). The true cost of wedding flowers isn’t just in the actual stems themselves either. Some arrangements or installations can literally take a florist hours or even days/weeks of preparation and putting together. The complexity of your arrangements will play a part.
It’s easy to think of the florist’s job as something lovely, fluffy, pretty. Let me dispel this myth. The florist job is arguably one of the least glamorous. It’s long hours and often dirty, hard bloomin’ work (I’m taken back to the last styled shoot I worked with Emma. This lady was on site, outdoors, pre 5am in sub zero temperatures trying to work flowers into frozen oasis – which had frozen in the cold). The love, sweat and work that go into wedding flowers you wouldn’t believe!
The biggest piece of advice to help when it comes to cost is having a budget in mind. Even though I’ve become fairly good at estimating a floral cost based on the images and descriptions from my clients at our initial consultation, the final cost will vary depending on what is finally decided – most of my couples want to make a statement with their styling and will spend anywhere from 5% to 12% of their total wedding budget on their flowers. This won’t work for everyone. Emma says “having a rough idea of budget will help your florist work through all the areas of your wedding and be able to present a proposal to you which avoids the disappointment of it being unrealistic versus what you have to spend.”
I couldn’t close this piece without asking Emma if she has a favourite wedding or floral project to date: “I’m very lucky to work with such amazing couples and clients who come to me because they love my style and design so it’s actually very hard to pick a favourite! That said, I’m very humbled to have been asked to be part of the amazing team that decorated the gates of Borough Market when it re-opened after the London Bridge terror attack. It was such a wonderful evening, so many creative people came together to work throughout the night to have the gates covered in flowers, fruit and vegetables, ready for the re-opening.”