A few weeks ago, I had weddings on a Sunday and then another on the Thursday which left the following Saturday free for some R&R, or so I thought…!
That was until the very lovely Clare of Lilyfee Floral Designs asked if I would like to come and help her set up at a wedding. To be fair I have been nagging her about this for a while as I love my garden and love flowers and I know she despairs of my flowers arranging (that’s a very generous term for the creations I cobble together but hey I can’t be good at everything!), and I wanted to see a master craftswoman in action, in real time!
And so that morning as I drove through the Gloucestershire countryside I marvelled on the exquisite part of the world I live in and also wondered how on earth as a wedding florist you even start the creative process when the sky really is the limit! I asked Clare about this and as you would expect from one of the wedding florists at the top of her game, she told me that it all starts with the all important consultation with her Clients.
A meet and greet is essential. As with all bespoke services they are designed around the Client, their personalities to be reflected, their hopes and dreams and visions for the end look and the wow factor they want to create. The choice of flowers is then steered by season, by colours, and then by the display style. It’s a well thought out process designed to get the real wants and vision of the Client to create a bespoke collection of floral fabulousness just for that couple.
When started the long drive down the tree lined driveway to Sudeley Castle where the wedding reception was being held that day, it brought back some super memories of the photographs I have taken there over the years. The majority of which Clare and I have worked together on as a team.
Clare was already there (she is a stickler for time keeping!) setting up the large arrangements for the table centres. The one thing that struck me was that these stunning table arrangements were constructed off site yet when they arrived onsite it wasn’t a case of just putting them in place, they were then finished on site to ensure that the size and impact was appropriate to the setting and to make sure that every single one was the best it possibly could be. I never knew this and had always assumed that they arrived and were simply put in place, but then again thinking about it how can they be, they need to be absolutely perfect!
Clare has a super cute mini hamper of essentials that she always carries with her. Being super nosy (and of course all in the name of research) I had a look inside to see what these essentials are… Like all good Girl Guides Clare is always prepared for every eventuality including repairing buttonholes that have been damaged by an over enthusiastic guest giving a bear hug before the ceremony has even begun, down to a bride dropping her bouquet with nerves before she’s even reached the ceremony! Along with numerous pairs of scissors which are all for different things there was also different types of wire, several rolls of different types of tape, boxes of pins, tea lights and batteries, and numerous other bits and pieces!
I hadn’t realised before this time on location with Clare at a real time wedding just how physical the job is! You need some serious strength, stamina for all the to-ing and fro-ing with armfuls of flowers, as well as nerves of steel when creating these floral works of art. Clare makes it look effortless usually under time pressures, but then again she has years and years of experience; you can guarantee my efforts would fall short by a long, long way!
Table displays set up, Clare then went to deliver the bouquets to the Bride and her bridal party and they were exquisite. Within the bouquets were peonies, roses, lisianthus, astilbe, delphiniums and clematis.
The vision had been ‘summer colour’ to celebrate the season. The opulence of big blowsy summer flower displays for a wow factor at Sudeley Castle, yet soft with a delicate edge for their village church ceremony.
Quite a tall order but Clare had pulled this off with ease. Her natural ability with flowers and her creative talents and thought process just keeps on giving to her lucky couples.
The preparation for wedding flowers is huge and takes many days before the actual day of the wedding dawns. I’m hoping she might let me come with her to the flower markets one morning and see how she chooses just the right flowers for her creations, although I know that will be an incredibly early start. Maybe if I bring the coffee…!
For more information and to book your appointment with Clare please go to: www.lilyfeefloraldesigns.co.uk
For all enquiries for weddings at Sudeley Castle: www.sudeleycastle.co.uk/weddings