In summer, the song sings itself…

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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]

 

Flowers across the world

Outside the French Embassy in LondonI wanted to start with this picture – the display is not one of mine, but one of the floral tributes laid outside the French Embassy in London last week.

This beautiful arrangement of white lilies with the red, white and blue tricolor ribbon, simply placed on the stone steps against the backdrop of all the terrible news and commentary, says so much about those recent tragic events. It reminds me that although context and timing are everything, a floral gift is such a strong but gentle way of sending a message.

A good florist is called upon to bring skills and imagination to all occasions, good or bad. Our abilities to create stunning displays for important moments, such as world faith festivals, like Christmas and Hannukah, are another example, and like any professional, we love to gain industry standard recognition for the gentle arts of our trade. So last weekend I was excited to follow the fortunes of some my florist friends competing for the title of Chelsea Florist of the Year 2017. Tina Parkes and Caroline Crabb did especially well with very high scores.

The first heat was in the South West in Bath and there will be further heats with another held in Birmingham next month, and a couple more more in the New Year. Another category of competition that has just taken place was called ‘World Skills’ and this month, the title for the theme was ‘The Festival of Lights’, or Diwali.

November has been a busy month so far, following up on booked consultations from the season’s wedding fayres as next year’s brides start planning their Big Day for 2016. The last fayre this year is on the 29th November at Carnglaze Caverns, Liskeard so if you’re a b2b (bride-to-be) and want some inspiration to keep you going over the winter quarter, do come along, these events have a lovely buzz, free samples, and they’re great for ideas and contacts.

On my own networking front, I attended The Cornwall Wed Meet Up at Alverton Manor in Truro, recently. Not only did this showcase a beautiful wedding venue, two of the key note speeches were just up my street, ‘Becoming Self-Employed & Staying Sane!’ by Kirsten Butler, and ‘Digital trends affecting the wedding industry’ by Tina Reading. Plenty of food for thought, thank you, both.

Upcoming, watch this space. I’ve just heard that some of the photos of my floral work from a wedding shoot earlier in November will be appearing in Vintage Life magazine next week. I can’t wait to see which ones they’ve chosen. Vintage Life has everything for the followers of this fashionable trend, from vintage-style 1950’s themed day trips, to whole weddings decked out in Downton Abbey style  clothes and accessories. The photo shoots are hard work, but they always result in some fantastic marketing materials. The professional photographers I’ve worked with are so talented at showing wedding flowers (and cars and clothes and hair!) to their best advantage, they give new brides a truly glamorous glimpse of what can be done on the day.

Sleepless summer nights

ehdgWhen important events happen as they should, the guests turn up at the allotted time, events proceed with due ceremony, and everyone from principal players to minor cast, enjoys the lovely food, admires the flowers, joins in with socialising, and feels a part of the occasion.

For those of us in the events industry however, as you can imagine, much more nailbiting and drama goes on behind the scenes and this month, the general bugbear for florists and floral designers across the land has been the problems at the Channel Tunnel.

In my business, it is important to offer variety and choice, and although I source many of my flowers with local growers, some customers want special orders out of season. Similarly, I offer sustainable materials, but feel it is also part of my work to be able to include elements grown outside the U.K. In short, I also rely on imports from Holland, Belgium and France.

So, with a big wedding coming up, and all the reports on the news, you can imagine how many sleepless nights I’ve had worrying about large orders not arriving in time, bespoke blooms sitting spoiling in a lorry refrigerator, trapped on the hard shoulder, and what a headache and organisational hassle finding a last minute alternative can be. For brides, the colours, the varieties, all the details, of their floral choices have been much discussed and carefully planned. 

Fortunately, I have my ways and means, and my plan B’s. In spite of the Channel Tunnel problems everything has worked out fine (so far!) this summer. And I was lucky in the timing of one wedding in particular during the worst of the disruption. Kyle and Hazel’s nuptials in mid-July were based on a country ‘picked from the hedgerow’ theme. Phew! Depending as it did on a choice of local varieties, that was one event which helped me get a few good night’s sleeps that week!