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And how it can change your mood
Its no secret that I am flower obsessed, even before the weddings started I would always fill my home with whatever I could find, often foraged from walks, raided from my mum’s garden or even a couple of bunches from the super market.
I suppose I have always loved flowers way back to when I would create rose petal perfume for my mum! and fill my dollhouse with mini bunches from the garden. Now I feel very lucky that I get to play with flowers for my job, I love how they create memories at weddings and I really love the look on a brides face when she sees her bouquet for the first time.
Now more than ever bringing nature into the home is vital, it has the power to uplift your mood and make a rainy day feel better. I know lots of you won’t have the option of going out in the garden or being able to forage so we have to be clever. If you are going out to do your weekly shopping or even doing it online then you should definitely slip a couple of you fave bunches into your basket, I consider them to be an essential purchase! Once you have your bunches you can create so many things….
If you treat yourself to a couple of bunches then you can split them up and dot them around the house or create a whole display like this one. Simple jars and bottles can make a stunning effect when used on mass and you can collect these up from general day to day use. I have lots of different vessels now and love to use more unusual pieces too, but don’t be afraid to put flowers in anything that hold water! Old crystal decanters are fab, teapots and even cleaned out tin cans. Be sure to condition your flowers, trim a good inch off the bottom and remove any leaves that might sit below the waterline.
If you want to create more of an arrangement with your flowers, again you can use any vessel, this is a large urn I picked up in a charity shop, always be on the look out for pieces that catch your eye. As florists we are trying to move away from floral foam to create arrangements and so putting chicken wire in the base is a great way to hold your flowers in place but if you don’t have any lying around the house! You can use strips of sticky tape across the top of the vase to create a mesh, this will keep your flowers in place. If you can forage some foliage from the garden or on your daily walk then start with this to form the shape of your arrangement and add the flowers in at different heights, keep holding them up and seeing if it works before snipping to the right length.
If you are lucky enough to have things growing in your garden or even if some happen to be hanging over your side of the fence! Bringing some into the house is a fabulous way to make an impact and the smell of this wisteria above the bed was heavenly. Cut flowers won’t last as long inside obviously but cease the moment I say and put a big smile on your face.
Although it feels like this year disappeared in a flash! It was also my busiest and most successful with loads of fun thrown in for good measure.
January is always a bit of a miserable one I find so I made my mind up years ago to fill it with as many exciting things as possible. This January I met the lovely Tamsyn for lunch at Petersham and we had a much needed catch up. I styled a supper club in Leeds and the next day I was part of a gorgeous shoot at The Ivory Tower in Preston. You can see all of the images here . I also had two features this month too, the beautiful wedding of Tasha & Oli on Festival Brides and our ‘White Shoot’ was featured in Bridal Musings.
I had been thinking about re branding the business for a while so after working with the wonderful Nat at Nats Paper Studio and deliberating for ages!! I finally chose my new logo, all of this fell into place just in time for the UN Wedding Show in Birmingham. I was asked to help style the venue and it was great working with Melissa and meeting so many other amazing suppliers and couples. I was also invited to the stunning Stratton Court Barn with other wedding industry friends and it was lovely to see the venue in the flesh, I hope I get to go back!
My wedding season started in March with 2 beautiful spring weddings and lots of pretty flowers. I worked with the fabulous Becky Tranter again for our Spring shoot at Middleton Hall. This was featured later on in the year in So You’re Getting Married blog. I was also delighted to become the in-house stylist for Boutique Marquees who are brilliant to work with. I was lucky enough to be invited to the opening of a new venue in Worcestershire, Barns & Yard and spend the day with some amazing suppliers experiencing the beautiful surroundings. I am really looking forward to styling my first wedding there in 2021 too!
Ahhh April, my favourite birthday month! The weather was starting to warm up and my beloved foliage hoop was born! I had been looking forward to being back at Hyde House in the Cotswolds and it didn’t disappoint, a gorgeous greenery wedding and the hoop got christened. Later on in the month we headed up to Cumbria, our first visit to style a really lovely wedding and it just so happened to coincide with my birthday so we had a great weekend doing what I love and seeing the sights.
May was a busy one, kicking off with a trip to The Giraffe Shed in Wales. Oh my goodness what a venue!! The guys there kindly asked me to add some styling to their official open day and it was brilliant to see all of their hard work come to fruition. I styled a delightful sweet pea filled wedding at Denton Hall (see image) an intimate twinkly wedding at The Doghouse and ended the month in a tipi for a castle themed, peony filled day at Inkersall Grange. (see image) I worked with some wonderful suppliers on a Scandinavian inspired shoot at The Pumping House in Nottingham which was such a fun day and the images have been featured on Festival Brides.
June saw 5 weddings, all completely different and equally as beautiful. Starting at the gorgeous Stone Barn , then a gin inspired peony filled wedding with stunning bouquets (if I do say so myself!) Then the winners of my New Year competition at the grooms parents house, followed by a lovely small wedding at a pub and then we ended the month on the hottest day of the year in a Boutique Marquee for the wedding of Alice & Adam. In between all of that prep and wedding days I attended a fabulous Pinterest event in London with The Wedding Enthusiast. What a busy month!!
I had a bit of time at the start of July to gather my thoughts and get a really exciting shoot sorted. Myself and Becky had wanted to do a shoot in a swimming pool for ages and we finally brought it all together. It was an amazing experience with some of the best suppliers around and the results speak for themselves, we were honoured that the images were featured on Love my Dress.
The rest of the month saw me style at Kedleston hall for their open evening and then I worked on creating all the details and flowers for Camilla & Rob’s wedding at Trinity Hall in Cambridge. It was a joy to spend the day there with my best friend Sarah by my side surrounded by such history and beauty. Camilla Arnhold was the photographer and the photographs are a wonderful reminder.
I specifically blocked out two weeks in August for our family holiday, it may seem strange to take a holiday in the middle of the busiest season but when your children have school holidays you have to work around them and to be honest I felt like I needed it! I also knew that the minute I touched back down I would be hitting the ground running into the rest of my summer weddings. We got home and the flowers started arriving for the next 3 August weddings. The first at The Heath House, the second at The West Mill in Derby and then down to Lillibrooke Manor in Middlesex. All full on florals and styling and the weather was amazing, sometimes just a little too hot!!
There wasn’t time to stop and take stock when September arrived as I was straight back to London for a stunning wedding at Pembroke Lodge in Richmond Park. I loved working with the flowers and colours for this day and creating the outside ceremony too.
I then popped to Wales/Gloucester for a Brewery wedding, closely followed by another beautiful Boutique Marquee garden wedding in Birmingham where I got to use so many vibrant colours and traditional Indian flowers. I also styled a very cute christening and spent the weekend with Boutique Marquees for their open day at Norton Grounds (which is very lovely by the way) Although I wasn’t planning to start them just yet I also launched my business 1-1 consultations, ‘The Vintage House Consults’ for other small businesses. In September, October and November I spoke to many wonderful people all at different stages of their business journeys who wanted to chat and get some clarification & advice on their next steps. I LOVED IT and will be doing more this year. Link here if you want to know more. I ended September with a beautiful wedding 5 minutes from home at Mythe Barn. Perfect.
I was very excited for October to start as a few weeks earlier Jade from the Instafamous @thedarlings got in touch to see if I could style their ceremony for a very special wedding at The Manor House – Castle Combe. Obviously I was over the moon that I was able to help as Jade and her family are so lovely. I also met the very talented Kathryn Taylor who took the magic shots of the day. It was a very joyous experience.
During the rest of October I was lucky enough to be asked to style the VIP area for The National wedding Show where I met some fantastic couples and suppliers. I styled another wedding at The West Mill Derby and my lovely friend Sara from Whispering Vintage in Denmark came over to help me, it was wonderful to meet her in real life and she was a joy to work with. I was part of a shoot in Hereford – Lyde Court with awesome women and a cute puppy featured on Love My Dress and I ended the month with my last wedding of 2019 in Gordon Ramsey’s Union Street Cafe.
This month saw us put our house on the market! The business has grown so much that I need more space for flowers and props and we also have a growing by the day 13 year old boy! I promise I will keep you updated on our hunting. I spent time doing more 1-1 consultations as well as venue visits for 2020 weddings and getting my ducks in row for my wreath workshops in December. I styled Anthony John Salons for Christmas again and did a few other bits of festive styling.
Wreath workshops, a collaboration with Spode and lots of down time was the perfect way to end the year. Its been my first year without Christmas weddings but it was nice to focus on family and home. It has been a busy and challenging year but so very rewarding. 2020 was already shaping up to be the biggest yet and I can confirm I am pretty much at capacity. With some really exciting venues and designs I honestly can’t wait to get started but first another round of cheese and crackers and a few more pj days before the hard work starts all over again.
Thank you so much if you got to the end of this, wasn’t expecting it to be quite so long!! But also thank you for your continued support and if you have booked me, woohooo!!! Let the fun commence xxx
I get a large proportion of enquiries that start with the comment, “we really love your work but we are not sure what we need or what we can have” Many couples also struggle with knowing what the process is for designing and styling their big day. Well, guess what? Thats ok! and thats my job to guide you through this process and in many cases take the reigns.
I want to just go through the process from start to finish and hopefully help you to understand what to expect from me and your exciting wedding day journey.
From the very first contact, whether that be a message on Instagram, a website enquiry or you have found me on Facebook I will suggest that we have a chat on the phone. Emails and messages are great but you can’t beat a good old chat and you get to know me too. I will extract every bit of information from you! By going through all aspects of the day from ceremony to partying I am able to determine exactly what you need and everything that I can supply for you.
- Ceremony styling
- Table designs including centrepieces
- Table stationery
- Hanging decorations
- Card & gift /guestbook area styling
- Welcome signage and other signage around the venue
- Cake area styling
- Seating plan designs
- Outdoor styling
- Floral styling including bridal party flowers
At this point I have already started to put a concept together in my mind, I have usually stalked your venue’s website and Instagram and have a feel of what you are after. Some couples come to me with a very clear idea & vision and some need a bit more help to decide. For me, your venue, your personalities and the time of year that you are getting married are key to making those decisions.
I will ask you about your other suppliers, do you have a cake sorted? What style is it? Have you booked a florist? What flowers have you chosen? If not I can help to create your dream flowers. Are you getting married in a church or at the venue? What does your dress look like? Do you have any special requirements that you wish to add ? All of these factors help me to put a vision together.
After our initial consultation whether in person or on the phone I can usually put a quote together. Sometimes its necessary at that stage to meet you for a venue visit or it can wait until later on, either way its always lovely to meet you in person and walk the venue with you. Once I have written up your quote I will email it to you so you can discuss it and if you are happy you pay a deposit to secure the date. Absolutely nothing is set in stone at this point though, you might be booking me with 18 months to go so if you change your mind from pink flowers to blue I won’t hold you to it! I will ask you to send me lots of pictures and keep sending them to me as and when you see things you love. I love seeing your ideas.
At this stage I will put a Pinterest board together for you, often using lots of the ideas that you have already pinned but refining it and incorporating my ideas. I will keep adding to this at intervals leading up to the day and obviously you can too. The next step can often be quite a way off, if couples have booked me well in advance then you won’t hear from me in a while! Thats not because I don’t want to talk to you but I have to prioritise the weddings that I have coming up and give every wedding my full attention. You can still send me images and messages as and when, I will always respond and its good for me to look back on. I will contact you 6 months before the day to check that everything is still ok and tweak things if needed. One month before I will get in touch so that we can discuss the finer details, flower options and timings of the day. I always create a bespoke seating plan for you so I will need the seating plan details the week before in case of last minute changes.
On the day
Depending on your venue I can either start setting up the day before or on the morning of the wedding. I will have already put most details together in terms of stationery, flowers, signage and finishing touches so I will spend the time styling every area to perfection. If you are having any sort of hanging decorations I will start on those first. I then move to the ceremony area, then the welcome area, seating plan, drinks station etc. I ensure that all of the tables are styled within an inch of their lives and you will often find me endlessly tweaking, taking pictures and tweaking some more! During this time I don’t expect to see the couple, this is your time to be pampered and sip bubbles, the last thing you or your maids want to be doing is rushing around, putting things out and getting sweaty! leave that glamorous bit to me! I will often stay until I have seen you in all of your gorgeous glory and after the ceremony if anything needs moving I will be on hand to that. My most favourite part of the day and the most nerve-wracking is grabbing you both after the ceremony to go and see the room or the space together. I want you to be happy and ultimately relived that you picked me!!
At that point I will disappear, leave you to have the best day ever with all of your family and friends and then magically reappear the next morning to take it all away. I do love seeing you both the next day if possible to find out how it all went, we have been lucky enough to have been invited to many after party brunches and breakfasts and we get to hear all the stories!
In a nutshell
I am here for you both so that the madness that quite often weddings can cause is lifted from your shoulders. I will design your whole day around you and nothing is too much trouble. Doesn’t that sound like a good plan?
Just why are they so popular? In the last few years Barn weddings have overtaken every other type of venue but what makes them so special and can you only have a certain type of vibe in a barn?
Shustoke Barn ~ Italian Wedding
The concept is easy, there are millions of images, anything you can imagine or wish for is on Pinterest and so therefore putting your wedding scheme together is easy right?
Well another year bites the dust and Its really not until you properly look back that you realise exactly what you have achieved, I urged you all in an Instagram post a few weeks ago to write down your successes, yes we have to look at what didn’t work too but I promise you even the smallest victories will make you feel good. I hope you enjoy catching up with my year and again thank you so much for all of your support this year, it means the world.
I am not a huge fan of putting up the Christmas decs too early but as you know I like to make an entrance! So working with Dobbies Garden Centres was an excellent excuse to make the front door lovely and festive.
I wrote this piece last November for A Life Loved blog. Its all still true and I thought some of you might like to have a read about how The Vintage House That Could came about.
But What About Your Pension?
Some of the very first words uttered to me by several people including my parents when I broke the news that I would be leaving my career of 17 years to go it alone.
In a world where it feels like everyone is trying to reduce their belongings and live a minimal life I am here to tell you that I think more is definitely more!
This is one subject that I get asked a lot about when I meet my couples so I thought I would throw some ideas at you. The options are limitless, your budget is not always! I always encourage my couples to think carefully about their favours, not everyone has them but if you want to offer your guests a gift then it needs to be something that they will want and not discard on the table at the end of the night. Even better if it is something that can be taken home and serves as a lovely memory of your special day.