Cosy October

lilacroses2

Time to shake out the winter wardrobe, stock up on candles, cushions and cinnamon sticks, all in readiness for the cosy season of walks among the autumn leaves, mulled cider and wine, Apple Days, Halloween, and Guy Fawkes Night.

I chose these beautiful lilac roses at a recent Wedding Fayre at The Alverton Hotel (a busy show and a lovely vibe) because their colour seems to capture the very essence of late summer dark pinks and mauves, when purple sunset skies nudge us towards the dark nights drawing in and – dare I say it – hint at the gothic colours of Halloween. Not every bride wants to wear white, and here at Floral Creations St Austell, we love to create floral displays for all tastes. Traditional, Vintage, Eco, Shabby Chic, Bohemian Brides, (follow the link to see some of my flowers featured on this Wed Magazine photo shoot) and even Gothic weddings, all call for a special sort of styling and expertise.

So, October has certainly started on a good note – two lively, well-attended wedding fayres (including ‘A Most Marvellous Wedding Experience’ at Pengenna Manor) and also quite literally – with a note from one of ‘my’ wedding couples. I’m often thanked for my wedding work, of course, verbally on the day, and the occasional post-honeymoon email, but this couple went a little bit further and sent me a lovely handwritten note in the post. This is what it said:

Dear Karen

We wanted to write a little note to say thank you so much for the beautiful flowers you provided and arranged for our wedding!

The flowers were absolutely stunning and so many people commented on this! They made our wedding day even more special so thank you!

Such a warm feeling to receive appreciation for what I love to do!

Meanwhile, coming up, I was recently asked to supply flowers for a major London clothing brand’s advertising campaign for 2017, shot in Cornwall, which was a really interesting commission. The photos will be released next year, so more on that later.

November, often a quiet month for weddings and floral work, is a good time to take a holiday, so that is my plan for the first part of the month. I’ll be posting plenty of  pictures from my trip on my Facebook page, and an update next month of my visit to Flora Holland – so, if you’re interested in all things Floralcreations, watch this space.

 

Key dates are going fast

brimdwand

Well, it’s finally September and for the first time in months I have had a chance to draw breath and think about what’s coming next. Up until now, this summer, I have been flat out ordering flowers, conditioning flowers, delivering flowers all over Cornwall, every weekend right through. But this coming Saturday, there’s a signal that summer activities are coming to an end. I will be making up bridal flowers for the last wedding to be held at Trenython Manor before the hotel fills up again with its seasonal time-share customers.

With a seasonal business like mine, where there is such a need to plan ahead to get everything in place in good time for the Big Day, the work ebbs and flows with the calendar like this, and all seems part of a cycle. A quick glance at my diary confirms it – already, key weekends and Bank Holiday dates next year are filling up fast. Even for initial consultations, I’m now taking bookings for January 2017. It’s odd to think that the date for that year will take on such a special significance for 2017 brides and grooms. For some of them in my diary, as yet unknown, I will be confirmed to play a small (floral) part in this cycle of life.

Bridal flowers may form a just a part of the whole, it’s true, but I was reminded again recently how important a part that is, when, back in August, one of my 2016 wedding couples took the time and trouble to nominate me for a Simply Weddings award!

Simply Weddings Award 2016 are looking for small to medium-sized enterprises who:

“work so hard to create the most amazing wedding day and…. really will inspire and assist, and also deliver beyond all expectations”

So you can see why I was chuffed to be nominated – and now I’m through to the finals! (Although chances are against me winning are slim, anyone who does want to vote, voting closes on October 16th so just click on this link and submit your details.) [17-10-16 Update: competition now closed, the page has gone]  Thank you!

And on the subject of planning ahead, if you are starting to plan your wedding and would like to see what’s on offer to help create a fabulous event, Floral Creations St Austell will be showcasing bridal flower creations through October at various venues, so do try to catch one for ideas and inspiration.

On Sunday 2nd October the stunning Pengenna Manor will open its doors for the third year running for ‘A Most Marvellous Wedding Experience’ from 11am – 4pm.

A Most Marvellous Wedding Experience is a fantastically fun, wildly engaging interactive wedding showcase packed full of beautiful, quirky and slightly different wedding suppliers.

On the same day, I will be in attendance (along with some beautiful flowers of course!) to answer queries and provide advice here:
Sunday 2nd October
And the following week, I will be available in person to take bookings for initial consultations and chat through the bridal displays here:
Sunday 9 October, 11am – 3pm for a day of wedding inspiration
So, summer may be ending, but I’m going to be busy right up to the end of October, and with a recent reminder in the shape of two orders for Christmas wreaths (!) I’m already starting to look forward to my November holiday.

In summer, the song sings itself…

summerwedbouq

In summer, the song sings itself‘ said a *poet, but if you’re marrying in summer, there’s still plenty of wedding planning to be done.

So this is the start of my busy time, with summer being the most popular season for weddings, when I end up driving from one end of the county to the other fulfilling orders for wedding flowers. I get to see the beautiful locations the couples have selected, from moorland to coast, and all hopefully in the sunshine. Already this month, I’ve provided the flowers for one couple in St Austell and another at The Greenbank Hotel in Falmouth. For the wedding table centre, the bride had chosen beautiful two-tone pink roses, the colour and texture of whipped ice-cream – so lovely to work with and so summery – they looked almost good enough to eat.

There are so many beautiful blooms to choose from at this time of year, it really does makes sense to make the most of your wedding budget by selecting flowers which are in season. Flowers in season are fresh, they’re available, they’re grown in Britain, and fewer air miles on the order ends up working wonders for your pocket.

Here are some early summer choices:

Allium Alstromeria Antirrhinum Astilbe Astrantia Brodiea Campanula Cornflower Delphinium Forget me Not Foxglove Freesia Gladioli Gypsophillia Iris Ixia Lavender Lilac Lily Lupin Peony Poppy Ranunculus Rose Scented pinks Statice Stocks Sweet Pea Sweet Williams Tulip

And for high summer:

Alstromeria Ammi Antirrhinum Astrantia Calendula Cornflower Cosmos Dahlia Delphinium Eryngium Fever Few Foxgloves Freesias Geum Gladiolus Godetia Gypsophillia Lavender Larkspur Lily Malope Nigella – ‘Love in the Mist’ Oriental Poppy Phlox Rose Salvia Scabious Statice Stocks Sunflower Sweet Pea Sweet William Verbascum Verbena Veronica Zinnia

What could be more romantic at this time of year, than the fantasy of a vintage Romany wedding? Such was the idea behind the photo shoot I took part in last week with Christine Trewinnard Couture and Julia Macintosh Photography. With all the elements in place, a beautiful model in a bridal gown which struck exactly the right note, perfect make-up, a charming painted wagon, rustic-style floral designs, it all worked wonderfully. You can see some behind-the-scenes shots over on my Facebook page.

With all this floral inspiration around, it is of course also the season (24-28th May) for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show so, on that note, I’m off. (Pictures in my next update!)

[*From ‘The Botticellian Trees’ by American poet, William Carlos Williams]

 

Talking wedding what-ifs

ranunculs2

At the Bridal Show Southwest over Saturday and Sunday (April 16th & 17th), I shared a stall with Kelly’s Sweet Treats and in between talking to brides to be and checking out the other suppliers, we swapped (good and bad) wedding stories and naturally, some cautionary tales cropped up.

As some Hollywood wit once said, ‘Buying insurance is no-one’s idea of fun’ and in the romantic roller-coaster run up to the wedding day, insurance is often the last thing on the list. It’s human nature to think ‘it won’t happen to me’, but judging from our chats, wedding insurance looks like a good idea.

There was the friend of a friend whose cousin was all set to marry, she’d known her intended since they were at school, he’d trained as an accountant, she had her own business, their new home was lined up, their life together all set, then she went on a training course three weeks before the wedding, was swept off her feet by a tall, dark stranger, decided he was ‘the one’, and called it all off. For her family, for their finances, all hell broke loose.

Admittedly, that is a ‘worst case’ scenario, but on a lesser scale, as we discussed, accidents happen, and for those of us who work as suppliers to brides-to-be, we know, if it can happen, it will happen, to someone, somewhere. So whenever I’m asked (and although I’m a florist, as I get to know the couple over the run-up to the ceremony, I get asked for advice on all sorts of things) I tend to say this: it really is wise to take out wedding insurance to protect your special day.

Here are some things to think about. What if:

  • accident, sickness or death means a supplier lets you down and you have to cancel or rearrange?
  • your wedding cake gets damaged?
  • your outfit is damaged?
  • your flowers are damaged?

For any bride, these potential disasters would be top of the list, but there’s also public liability to think about, or perhaps you’re having a marquee, or some unusual transport, or ceremonial swords…

As suppliers, we do our very best to make sure everything runs right, but the unforeseen does sometimes happen and my friend and I concluded, it’s best to insure against it.

(P.s. That lovely picture of the four ranunculus stems was taken by Emma Jane Lee Photography at the Ta Mill wedding open day back in March, lovely colours, just had to post it. Thanks, Emma.)

 

Love birds

valentineroses

First of all, I must just remind all you love birds out there of our special Valentine’s Day offer.

Red Beauty roses are truly gorgeous flowers, with tall, elegant velvet petals in that famous rich red hue beautifully curled around the heart of the bloom.

I’m delighted to be able to offer SIX Red Beauties in a fresh hand-tied Valentine’s Bouquet design for just £20. This includes your own special message (hand- written, of course), in a sealed envelope. But it’s early birds first! When they’re gone, they’re gone, so avoid last minute disappointment – secure your order with payment – until 30th January only.

Now, Happy New Year! 2016 is well underway but recent events at Floral Creations mean I’ve only just now got to my first blog post of the year.

So far, 2016 has got off to a great start for the business. My diary has been filling up fast as a result of contacts from the round of autumn wedding fayres. I’ve been busy already with consultations for a selection of summer weddings this year. Each bride has her own unique ideas and I’m really looking forward to designing the bespoke arrangements for their individual wedding plans.

Even though it’s only the end of January, I’ve been to two wedding events already. One, held at a fabulously romantic venue, Tregenna Castle, St Ives, the Cornish Brides award winning wedding venue of 2015 (take note any Valentine’s Day 2016 proposals out there!). The second, the following day, last Sunday, at Merchant’s Manor, a Queen Anne style country house in Falmouth. This lovely manor house would be perfect for a more intimate wedding.

Between these events, both well attended, I’ve met plenty of new b2b’s across the range of styles and preferences. I’ll be following up those fresh contacts in the coming months.

That’s all for now, but next month I’ll update you on a fascinating three-day wedding work masterclass I attended in Liverpool. Can’t wait to show you the pictures.

A rose by any other name

flowers for any occasion

I have been asked many times about the name of my business and why I chose Floral Creations. The reason I chose Floral is because it relates to all flowers, Creations because I love to use flowers to create and make bespoke, unique and personal designs depending on the occasion. The St Austell part was added when I joined the British Floristry Association (BFA).

Whether the designs are for weddings, funerals, birthdays, or a simple ‘Thank You’ token, I create floral arrangements to suit the personality of the customer and because everybody sees styles, colours and fashions slightly differently, I always prefer to have a face to face consultation.

I need to know what my customers mean by ‘shabby chic’ or ‘distressed’. There’s a fine line between a ‘rustic’ style and materials which are ‘naturally rough’. Will the event be ‘classic’, ‘vintage’, ‘on trend’, modern, or ‘contemporary’? I am passionate about both flowers and designs and understanding what the customer is looking for is the first step to a happy result.

For this reason, I do not offer packages but work towards making a bespoke design to suit the customer through a consultation. Of course, this isn’t possible with 100% of customers, but we can always communicate through email, Skype or ‘face time’.

Most brides to be (b2b) love to use Pinterest to gather their ideas together, Googling themes, pinning pretty pictures and collecting the colours they love. If a bride has a Pinterest page, it’s a great starting point – I use it myself – but my experience tells me I have to add a tiny note of caution here: Pinterest definitely reflects a rose-tinted universe! Some of the best bridal pins are unusual, and unusual can mean ‘hard to get hold of’ and, like any rare commodity, this can mean expensive, especially as I work with premium flowers to ensure freshness and quality. But on your special day, you wouldn’t want it any other way.

So my advice to all b2b’s out there, to avoid disappointment with Pinterest ideas, is this: let’s take your pins and clippings as a starting point, your budget as a guideline, and work together during the consultation to make a the foundations of a lovely event take shape.

There are always beautiful flowers to suit every budget – it’s one of the joys of my job knowing how to find lots of alternatives and ‘pin’ them together in artful ways. This is exactly how my experience and expertise filters through in making bespoke and unique designs.

P.s. Back in May I was part of team in a photo shoot where I made bespoke shoes, and bracelets. Sending a big thank you to Enchanted Brides for all their hard work after the shoot. An article has just been released and published in Rock My Wedding magazine.

New arrivals

some of my ordered flowers Rainbow pastel gerberas! I just had to post a picture of these beauties freshly delivered in a crisp white box. They arrived at my studio today in readiness for my latest round of designs.

This March I’ve felt a bit like the Mad March Hare, as my business activities have really taken off and my diary has been filling up at a dizzying speed. I’ve attended two wedding events (see my new Weddings Gallery page), been part of an exciting collaborative wedding photo shoot, prepared flowers for seasonal celebrations, taken on a new hotel contract, and kept up with my networking meetings – I’ve had no time to blog!

But before I get into all that, I wanted to have a quick word about another new arrival that seems to be gaining in popularity in Britain now – the Baby Shower!

Once again we seem to be following our American cousins in the way they celebrate Halloween and Mother’s Day (colourfully, with flowers and cakes!) by adopting the way new mums-to-be in the States have pre-natal parties to celebrate their pregnancies. It’s a great way to gather all the girls (female relatives and friends) together to toast the old life, before baby, and welcome in the new world of motherhood.

If you would like to throw a baby shower, but you’re not sure quite how to go about it, I’m increasingly asked for flowers for these events, so I can help with those, but if you’d like some more general tips, here is a handy guide on some do’s and don’ts when planning your baby party.

Talking of celebration days, March of course has two more traditional (saints) days on the annual calendar: the well-known St Patrick’s Day on March 17th which is a fine excuse to raise a half a pint of Guinness in the name of all things Irish (more appropriate than in my grandmother’s day, when a ‘milk stout’, like Mackeson’s or Guinness, was said to be good for a pregnant or breast-feeding mother!); and St Piran’s Day on March 5th. If you are from out-of-county (or ‘up country’ as we call it), you may be wondering who St Piran was.

He arrived in Cornwall from Ireland via The Saint’s Way, and became the patron saint of tin miners and, as such, is celebrated in Cornwall. St Piran’s flag, a white cross on a black background, has become the emblem of the county.

Every year, I make fresh designs for these days of saints and celebrations, whether to mark a parade, decorate a church, to brighten a family party, or adorn a hotel reception room. You can find some of my latest ones over on my freshly updated Floral Creations gallery page, or more details on my ‘Other Occasions page.

As I said at the start, it has been a busy month. Early in March I had a stand at the Wedding Fayre at fantastic luxury venue, licensed for weddings, The Llawnroc Hotel, Gorran Haven, in south Cornwall, meeting plenty of future brides and grooms and talking floral ideas for their Big Day.  The hospitality manager was so taken with one of my large pieces, set in a giant wine glass, specially designed for the bridal event, that I was offered the contract to create a regular display for the Reception space at the hotel. Good news!

Another new arrival to the business in March resulted from a networking event. As any new business person knows, getting out into the market place is essential, both a challenge and, when it works, a delight. Recently, I met Bella of Designer Flora

an online floral directory of stunning floral designers. Our aim is to link up some of the best independent, designer florists in the UK to provide you with beautiful, fresh, seasonal flowers.  Quite simply, we are your little black book of awesome florists.

and joined the directory as one of just two designer florists in the county of Cornwall.

And as far as networking goes, for a florist enchanted by plant materials and textures, what better networking venue could there be than the Mediterranean Biome at the Eden Project?  I was there yesterday to take part in Cornwall Hour, an opportunity to meet new contacts and suppliers from far and wide – a stimulating way to end the week.

Warm days on the way

jugbouq2Did you know?

“The UK is the world leader in the commercial production of daffodils, with over 4,000 ha grown. Nearly half of the output of bulbs and cut-flowers is exported to Europe and North America.”

[Dr Rosemary Collier, Warwick Crop Centre, The University of Warwick.]

And West Cornwall is one of the major daffodil growing areas. It’s certainly no surprise to me, because since I was a girl, I’ve loved seeing wild spring daffodils and narcissi showing colour in Cornish hedgerows before they even hint at appearing anywhere else.

Down in Cornwall we leapfrog the cool white snowdrops that are a sign of spring coming but still a couple of months away ‘up country’, and launch straight into spring yellows and oranges. Which makes the county the perfect place for a spring wedding. There may be a touch of rain, it’s true (a fine excuse to carry a pretty umbrella), but temperatures outside will be warmer than everywhere else in mainland Britain.

This Sunday, March 1st, is the first wedding venue open day to be held at a well-loved local hotel, Trenython Manor, (gorgeous views over the Bay and Italianate touches) and I will be there among the champagne and canapés.

So come along, say hello and talk flowers. You’ll find me in the chapel!

Spring into Spring!

To send to your valentine?

Celebrated since before the time of Chaucer and courtly love, some say loosely connected with the Roman fertility festival of Lupercalia, and linked with the first rites of Spring, Valentine’s Day is a busy time in every Florist’s Calendar. Spring seems to start properly with all the preparations for the luxury bespoke arrangements ordered as romantic gifts.

Romance, it seems, is just the lift we need at this time of year, and so it’s often the time when brides turn to wedding planning. One very busy and successful Wedding Fayre over in January, my diary is quickly filling up, not only for this year but next, and even into 2017, as I meet more brides-to-be and bridal flowers become part of their plans. My next attendance at a bridal event will be at one of Cornwall’s biggest wedding fairs at the Hall for Cornwall on February 15th.

Everything for the bride and groom to be will be available, from photographers to videographers, cake makers, flowers, bridal wear and entertainments. Designs from the Bridal House of Cornwall will be modelled on the catwalk and free goody bags will be given to lucky brides to be. It’s only £2 to get in, so if you are planning your wedding, come along and find my stand, and we’ll have a chat about about the flowers for your big day.

With the Wedding planning season underway, I was invited to take part in a glamorous wedding photo-shoot at Tregenna Castle (a fantastic wedding venue) organised by artistic, wedding-inspired, professional photographer Olivia Whitbread-Roberts. Not only was it great fun (I designed the brides’ bouquets and the bumper decoration for the VW wedding car included in the shoot), but fascinating to see what can go into one wedding day, so many creative crafts and services involved, including Makeup by Verity, Freelance Makeup Artist In Cornwall, Locks and Lashes, Claudia Montano, Weddings & Events, Honey Bugs Cornwall, Funky Flags Bunting, Sammy’s Cakes & Serendipity. You’ll be able to see the final photos in the upcoming edition of the magazine – I’ll post a link here when it’s issued.

On a slightly different note, there’s more to floristry than weddings of course, and I’ve already had an inspiring and interesting start to the year in other aspects of my work.

In early February, I helped decorate Exeter Cathedral as part of a team of florists from the Academy of Floral Art. If you’ve been to the Cathedral you’ll know it is a beautiful, large, and awe-inspiring building, and, being a centre of worship, has a solemn and reverent atmosphere; these were elements we had to consider in our final designs. We combined textured plant materials with fresh green and white florals, built around key note structural elements, to create large, tasteful arrangements with high impact, which would echo the colonnades and arches. I think all of us were pleased with the results. You can see some of them here, on my Facebook page and in the Gallery page on this site.

A week or so later, I had another lovely day at British Growers South West, meeting many florists & enjoyed a tip-filled presentation from Rona Wheeldon, of Flowerona – who writes another popular florist’s blog here, at Rona Wheeldon’s Flower Blog.

For Floral Creations St Austell this year so far, February really has meant springing forward into Spring!

Bridal Extravaganza

If you’re interested in all things bridal, from frocks and frills, to flowers and favours, The Wedding Alliance Cornwall are holding their first 2015  Bridal Extravaganza tomorrow ( Sunday 18th January ) from 11am – 3pm at The Atlantic Hotel, Dane Road, Newquay, TR7 1EN.

wedding15The event is free, “one of the biggest in the annual calendar. With over 60 exhibitors and specialists from the best of the Cornish wedding industry and an amazing setting that is the luxury Atlantic hotel.”

Floral Creations St Austell will be there. I love the buzz of these events, the entertainment and demonstrations, all of us who provide products and services for weddings, love to share in the excitement of the planning, so please come along, say hello, pull up a pew, and talk flowers with me.