Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Why Do We Bother?

I truly love my job, I can't imagine not being a florist. I am one of those nauseating people that you sometime meet at parties and who say things like "I have the best job in the world"!! However, today I want to bang my head against a brick wall. Why do I want to do this? I've just read Deborah Joseph's article in the Guardian Online that's why!
It's not the article itself that has irritated me so much, even though I do think it is the journalistic equivalent of candyfloss; rather than the many comments written in response. Virtually every one seems to condemn the wedding industry for being money grabbing and exploitative. Judging by the response, the article has really struck a nerve with readers, who now seem only too happy to let loose a stream of vitriol against the whole business and, in some cases the institution of marriage itself. Its all VERY one sided and there is obviously an appalling lack of knowledge about what we do, so why is this?
For a bride and groom the whole business of getting married is an absolute minefield. You hope that you're only going to do it once, you're completely out of your comfort zone and you don't know where to start. I'm having my civil partnership next year: we're only having 25 guests and I'm marrying a wedding planner and it's still stressful!! I cannot imagine having a do with 150 guests, I don't KNOW 150 people and, being the centre of that much attention would have me heading for the hills. But, whether you have a "fairy tale" wedding in a castle for 200 or lunch for 20 in a pub it can still be a miserable experience. I've been to a very lavish wedding which was badly thought through (a standing reception for 300 with no chance of being able to sit down is no fun) and an intimate lunch for 6, where the happy couple decided to skip dessert in order to catch their honeymoon flight! Whatever you do to celebrate your wedding, your wedding is what you make it. Spending £1000 or £100,000 is entirely a matter of choice, doesn't guarantee success and, being blamed for being extravagant is hardly something new. In fact it actually smacks of jealousy more than anything else. Why is spending several thousand pounds on a wedding dress such a bad thing? I'd spend that much on a bespoke suit if I could!

In reality, we should be celebrating an industry which is worth more than £5 billion a year to the UK economy, provides employment for thousands of people and, unusually is supported mostly by small businesses. Unfortunately for those small businesses, there seems to be a shocking lack of support from within the industry itself. An industry which seems to be more concerned with promoting it's high paying advertisers than the little people who are the back-bone of the wedding world. We have found out the hard way that, trying to promote your business to the people that matter and being met with a "who are you"? attitude can make you want to give up. Unless you've the capital to promote yourself as the next big thing, no one wants to know. It takes hard slog to survive in weddings and, if that isn't bad enough, a recent comment by the editor of a wedding magazine who said that, as soon as venues and suppliers hear the word wedding, they add a nought to the quote, is like a slap in the face. Of all the accusations laid against us, this is the one which angers me more than any other.

Sometimes we feel that trying to make the general public understand that what we do has a commercial value, is like wading through treacle! How do you make someone understand that your work IS worth what you charge? The term "rip-off merchants" seems to be a very popular term when referring to the wedding business. Those reputable suppliers in the business should perhaps come up with a term to describe the "bridezillas" who sometimes make our jobs so difficult. The ones who give you a budget and then slash it by two thirds. The ones that demand a full design brief with their quote and, who then tell you that a friend of the family is going to do the flowers, based on our ideas and our quote. The ones who want to pay cash because they don't want to pay the VAT! The ones who think that just because you have a mobile, they can call you at ll o'clock at night!

Reading so many negative comments in response to Deborah Joseph's article saddened me deeply. However, we know that we always do the very best for our clients and always will. Let me leave you with this, from the parents of a recent bride.

"I don't think that your incredible design for my daughter's wedding has quite sunk in - even now. You did a fabulous job at translating their ideas and wishes into a reality which was absolutely stunning. We cannot thank you enough for making such a terrific contribution to an unforgettable event".

More Blue Hydrangea

Hot on the heels of last week's hydrangea blog, here's another offering that we did for Natalia and Alex on a VERY hot in July. The wedding took place in the Mappin Pavilion at London Zoo and on such a glorious day, the soft blue colour scheme worked perfectly.
Natalia carried a bouquet of white calla lilies with florets of pale blue hydrangea, whilst her bridesmaids carried posies of hydrangea, scabious and flowering mint.
For the ceremony, elegant vases of hyrangeas and delphiniums flanked the registrar's table.
While the drinks reception took place on the terrace outside the pavilion, the room was transformed for the wedding breakfast. For the flowers, conntemporary met country with sleek fishbowl vases containing informal arrangements of swirled scabious and lisianthus. Perfect summer flowers on a perfect summer day.

Friday, 20 August 2010

New York Style

A couple of weeks ago we were back to back with weddings and, this one was a real show stopper! This was high style for a very savvy pair of New Yorkers. White and green was the order of the day but NOT in the usual sense! The green came in the form of 1800 limes (that's 300lbs!!!) but all the lifting and shifting was worth it.

Once we get the proper shots from Lloyd Dobbie we'll show you the day in all it's glory. In the meantime take a look at Lloyds blog for a taster.

English Blue

Blue is an enduringly popular colour for summer weddings. Let's face it, it's a popular colour throughout the year; but if it's blue you want and hydrangea you want, then August is the perfect month. Last week we were at The Dairy at Waddesdon Manor for the wedding of Natalie and Mark and, we were able to take full advantage of the most amazing english hydrangea, which we had sent up to us from a grower in Devon. Waddesdon really is the most perfect setting for a wedding and, it's hard to believe that the dairy was once home to probably the most pampered herd of cows in the country!
The ceremony took place in the beautiful Winter Garden, where we fulled the enormous urn with delphiniums, palm leaves and hydrangeas. As the bride carried a bouquet of white calla lilies, the buttonholes complemented her with an added touch of hydrangea.

The wedding breakfast took place in the West Hall and, in such a long room we alternated high and low table arrangements of hydrangeas and calla lilies to create interest and impact.

Natalie's attention to detail was spot on and, her choice of an elegantly simple wedding cake, finished with navy blue ribbon was perfect. What more could we do, except a little more hydrangea?!

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Sunshine Yellow Wedding

Yellow is a colour we are hardly EVER asked to do for a wedding! In fact in the last five years, we've only used it as an accent colour so this burst of citrus is a real treat! When we were at college, we were always told about using yellow in a dark church because it is an advancing colour. Well for this recent wedding, there was no dark church, just the beautiful lakeside setting of Stoke Place in Buckinghamshire.
We were delighted to be working with Amanda Sherlock from Giles Sherlock Event Design who co-ordinated the wedding with her usual style a flair and, who gave the event a distinctly american twist, for the elegant outdoor ceremony.
When it came to designing the table arangements for the wedding breakfast, we were guided by the presentation of the food itself. As keen foodies, the bride and groom chose a real feast of flavours and cultures in their cuisine. Large sharing platters were brought out for each of the many courses, so whatever we did flowerwise had to accomodate these.
We came up with the idea of contained arrangements which would act as a base for the serving platters, without the need to remove the flowers at each course. Mini chrysanthemum balls, neat rows of roses and textural achillea nestled opposite cubes of whole lemons and floating candles.
The very sculptural ceremony arrangements of achillea and hydrangea were re-used behind the top table and the windowsills glowed with the light from storm lanterns in shades of ivory, vanilla and buttermilk. Sunshine on a sunny day!