Expert advice about flowers & bouquets

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 editor@your-sussex.wedding

 

Underneath the arches

Underneath the arches

Q. We've seen that flower arches are a growing trend. Can you tell us more?

A. Steph Willoughby says: We're making everything from rustic birch arches to amazing hanging floral rings for 2021. It's the pure romance of getting wed surrounded by beautiful blooms that's creating a buzz around floral arches of all shapes and designs. They've never been more popular! There's such a wide choice to tie in with any theme – boho arches dripping with foliage, or full blousy scented blooms for the modern-day princess. Alternatively, how about a moongate full of symbolism, with its shape representing the circle of life and the wedding rings.

To get the very best value from your arch, ask your florist if it can be moved. Then you can reposition as a fabulous photo backdrop for your guests after the ceremony. Many couples like to move it behind the cake or band for fabulous feature shots.

Steph Willoughby,Chirpee Flowers
www.chirpee.net

 

Best of british

Best of british

Q. I'm keen to stick to British blooms for my bouquet and displays to reduce air miles. What domestically grown flowers would you suggest?

A. Arabella Timbrell says: I absolutely love using British-grown flowers, so much so I have started my own micro cutting garden (@woodshillcuttinggarden). Firm favourites include antirrhinums, cosmos, larkspur, ammi majus, daucus carota, calendula, nigella, roses, lavender, sweet peas, scabiosa, dahlias, zinnias, salvias, clary sage, just to name a few. There are local flower growers everywhere, many of whom are florists too, so your best starting point is to head to www.flowersfromthefarm.co.uk to find your nearest and see how they can help.

Arabella Timbrell,Arabella Floral
www.arabellafloral.com

 

How to pick your W-day blooms...

How to pick your W-day blooms...

Q. When it comes to your wedding flowers, think about the season in which your wedding day falls.

A. Sue Sturges says: Try to use flowers and foliage that work well for that time of year. For example, ranunculus and anemones in spring, blousy garden flowers in summer, mixed foliage and berries for autumn and winter.

Give your flowers priority in the planning process. Remember, they'll be seen in many of the photos, so it's important to sit down with your florist to discuss your needs and budget to achieve your desired look. A good starting point is the bouquet, which should reflect you in its style and personality. It can then provide the inspiration for the other floral designs, enabling the same look to run throughout.

Match your flowers to your venue. A relaxed rustic look with garden flowers is ideal for an informal barn wedding, or for a more formal affair in a lavish manor house, you may prefer more structured blooms in high arrangements.

Sue Sturges,Bramble and Belle
www.brambleandbelle.co.uk

 

In bloom

In bloom

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
www.chirpee.net

 

Blooms to berries

Blooms to berries

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.

Steph Willoughby
www.chirpee.net

 

Floral fashions

Floral fashions

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.

Steph Willoughby
www.chirpee.net

 

Blooms on a budget

Blooms on a budget

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.

Bella Timbrell
www.arabellafloral.com

 

A wedding near the sea

A wedding near the sea

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.

Bella Timbrell
www.arabellafloral.com

 

Flower power

Flower power

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.

Steph Willoughby
www.chirpee.net

 

Tree romance

Tree romance

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?

Julian Poole
www.cloudtree.events

 

Bloomin' chilly

Bloomin' chilly

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.

Bella Timbrell
www.arabellafloral.com

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