Here is a selection of Q&As from Your Sussex Wedding magazine whether it be about flowers, hair and makeup, fashion, wedding themes, health & beauty, cakes, stationery, legal advice. If you would like your question answered by our experts, please email it to firstname.lastname@example.org
To view more expert advice on a different topic, please select one from the list below.
Q. How can we make our venue flowers less formal to reflect the chilled-out vibe of our day?
A. Steph Willoughby says: You can start by recycling and upcycling containers for your flowers. The choice of design will be super-important. On-trend ideas include everything from using vintage surrounds from old books with the centres removed, to old-fashioned tea canisters, and re-used catering tins. Old board games also make for quirky centrepieces. Use scrabble letters to spell “love” or use the board itself to hold a small bucket, terracotta pot or basket of flowers.
Less formal flowers will include dried and wild blooms, as well as foraged materials. Trestle tables covered in natural elements such as moss look like a beautiful meadow has sprung up looking pretty, and relaxed.
Commercial flowers can be stiff and unyielding, they're grown to be perfect and have straight stems. Ask your florist to use locally grown seasonal blooms and grasses, with lots of movement, which will have unusual shapes, textures, and growing habits.
Steph Willoughby , Chirpee Flowers
Q. What are the best blooms to feature in my autumn bouquet and centrepieces?
A. Steph Willoughby says: - Dahlias are enjoying a revival and are fantastic garden flowers for bouquets and table décor. The range of colours, from blush to magenta, is huge.
- Chrysanthemums are also back in fashion, especially the large single bloom varieties. They last up to three weeks – great if you're gifting your flowers at the end of the day.
- Carthamus is a bright orange thistle-like flower. An unusual choice, but they work beautifully in buttonholes.
- Choose berries to reflect the season. Red rosehips, pink and orange hypernicum (St. John's Wort) and callicarpa, with their stunning purple hue, will look amazing and add texture to your arrangements.
- If you fancy something totally luxurious, now is the best (and the cheapest) time for exotic tropical flowers like purple vanda orchids, cerise and red ginger and flamingo flowers. Ask your florist to create linear table centres using these beauties for a real wow factor.
Q. What's hot in the world of wedding flowers right now?
A. Steph Willoughby says: - This year we've been seeing a rise in bright and colourful wedding flowers – coral, red and pink are all featuring heavily.
- Meadow weddings are really popular – create an aisle full of free standing seasonal blooms to give the impression you're walking through a meadow.
- With the continued popularity of all things crafty and vintage, pressed flowers are making a comeback and there are some amazing companies that will turn your wedding bouquet into a forever picture – don't forget to book early.
- Next year I expect to see a complete turnaround to monochromatic colour schemes and the all-white wedding is starting to look like it will return.
- What's new? Amazing hanging structures from floral chandeliers to platforms to hang above your top table.
- Industrial urban-chic weddings are also popular, and we're creating lots of florals hanging from copper pipe frames with integrated lighting.
- The grooms are finally getting a look in with quirky buttonholes depicting their hobbies – think Star Wars.
- Advice for nearlyweds – don't forget to say a BIG thank you to those that have helped along the way to your big day. Large bouquets of flowers always a great idea.
Q. We want show-stopping flowers but are working to a tight budget. What are your top tips for cost-effective wedding blooms?
A. Bella Timbrell says: - Be prepared to compromise. The flowers you love might be really expensive but there are usually great alternatives. For example, David Austin roses look and smell amazing but there are other garden-style roses that can do the job and will still look fab.
- Choose flowers that are in season and locally grown. Flower farms generally sell blooms by the bucket, which makes them great value, plus you'll get an array of colour that can be styled however you like. Have a look at www.flowersfromthefarm.co.uk to find a local grower.
- Choose your wedding date wisely! Save yourself a fortune by avoiding dates like Valentine›s Day and Mother›s Day, when flowers will be at their most expensive.
- Reuse and recycle. When deciding what arrangements you need, see if you can reuse them. For example, if you have a church wedding can you move the pedestals or aisle markers to the reception venue? I love using jam jars and old teapots for arrangements. They're low in cost, but look fantastic as centrepieces.
Q. Our nuptials will take place in our venue's grounds against the beautiful backdrop of the sea. What can you suggest in terms of flowers to style the area?
A. Bella Timbrell says: When your wedding venue's grounds are already stunning, it's sometimes hard to know how you can add to it. When choosing flowers for a wedding, I always take into consideration the choices of the bride and groom but also look at what's to be found at the venue's location.
For a wedding near the sea, I would think about adding flora like roses, dahlias, daisies, calla lilies, eryngium, succulents, grasses and hypericum berries. The palette being blue, grey, white and green, foliage choices could include eucalyptus, senecio, pittosporum and herbs like sage, lavender and rosemary. It might be worth asking your venue whether your florist can forage for foliage in their grounds – a lot of the greenery for Harry and Meghan's wedding came from the grounds of Windsor. Outside, floral arches and moongates can give you a good focal point for your nuptials, while floral aisles and hanging flowers can add to a dreamy ceremony.
Q. How can my bouquet complement my dress?
A. Steph Willoughby says: It's important for your florist to see a picture of your wedding dress if you're asking for a bespoke bouquet to be made. They'll be able to assess the detail and design of your gown, as well as your proportions, and design a floral display to fit perfectly. Don't be afraid to ask for a sketch of the design they've created.
Imagine – an organza dress is lightweight, usually full of fabric and demands a floating fairytale bouquet with matte textures. On the other hand, a heavy satin gown will look at its best if some of the blooms reflect a little light to complement the texture. Lace always looks incredible with a whimsical vintage-style affair.
Finally, when you're planning your consultation together with your fiancé, if you prefer to keep details of your dress secret, it's best if you email beforehand so you can keep this part of the conversation private and maintain the element of surprise.
Q. How can I add an element of romance into my wedding day?
A. Julian Poole says: With foliage styling becoming ever more popular, living trees and plants – with their structure and textures – can offer verdant backdrops to bright floral arrangements or act as stunning focal points themselves.
The myrtle tree, for example, is said to be sacred to the goddess Venus and thought to inspire everlasting love. What better way to decorate your venue, adding drama and romance?
Q. How can I make my big day seasonal?
A. Bella Timbrell says: I must admit, when I think about winter flowers and foliage I don't always feel very inspired. But actually there's so much you can do to create your very own winter wonderland using a colour palette of red, cream, pink and burgundy. I'm a big fan of seasonal favourites ranunculus and anemomes but also love the romance of roses, especially as they're available all year round. Why not add teasels, rosehips or berries such as viburnum or hypericum? You could even try pine cones for a more rustic style! When it comes to foliage, bring out the silver of those frosty mornings with eucalyptus and senecio and mix with other greens like rosemary, pittosporum and ivy.
Q. How do I avoid disaster on my wedding day?
A. Steph Willoughby says: Flowers are perishable, anything can happen! Extreme temperatures, the wrong colour, the dog has, shall we say, had an accident… you need a plan!
- Where will you put your bouquets when they are delivered? Ideally a cool room, no sunlight and somewhere where the family dog can't pounce on them!
- Colour can be subjective. If you want a specific colour, ensure you have a swatch of fabric or a paint sample that you can give to your florist.
- Check social media, such as Pinterest, for great ideas.
- Don't be disappointed if your beautiful bouquet arrives and it's not the exact colour you had in mind. Colours change with the season and in different light levels. Hardly anyone agrees on a colour, peach and coral being the worst, everyone sees it differently!
- Create your own moodboard showing hues, tints and tones that you love and share with your friends and florist. The florist will love you! A professional should provide you with moodboards showing your chosen colours and even sketches on request.
So, don't forget: Set aside a room, keep the dog away and research your colours.
Q. We're tying the knot in August and, should we have lovely weather, which flowers will hold up well in the heat?
A. Bella Timbrell says: For me, I love cottage-style, slightly wild bouquets but this doesn't always bode well for hot weather. Usually flowers that have thicker, woodier stems will hold up better in heat but whatever style you choose, why not keep a jar/vase of water close by to pop your flowers in – it's a great way to keep them looking fresh throughout the day!
Flowers: Dahlias, zinnias, roses, freesias, jasmine, helianthus, sedum, succulents, ami majus, gypsophillia, spray roses, lisianthus.
Foliage: Rosemary, lavender, eucalyptus, pittosporum.