Wedding Flowers Part III: Emergency Floral Tips

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Images by Hannah Duffy Photography.

I’m back (it’s Katrina, resident wedding planner for Coco Wedding Venues BTW!) and taking over the introduction reigns again from Emma as today marks the third and final part of our practical and pretty three-part series about wedding flowers in collaboration with the inspirational, honest, creative and award-winning Jay Archer Floral Design.

In Part I, Jay provided an essential guide to wedding flower budgets (a MUST read for anyone planning a wedding or involved in wedding planning!) and in Part II Jay once again dished up a healthy dose of planning advice with another meaty topic – seasonality.

If you haven’t already done so, then both Part I and Part II are well worth a read and whilst you’re at it, don’t forget to pin the relevant bookmarks so that you can return at a later planning date.

Today’s topic, emergency bouquets and buttonholes (wrist corsages also get a shout out too!) is actually the main reason why this series even exists.

You see, a couple of years ago now I was providing on-the-day support for a marquee wedding in the peak of Summer and when I say peak, I mean no breeze, no shade, sticky skin, excessive sweat… nice! As the Groom approached the Church with his boys I noticed that their buttholes had wilted in the heat and in all honesty I had absolutely no idea how to resolve the situation other than delving into my emergency wedding kit and propping them back up with a healthy covering of sticky tape and safety pins.  At the time, it worked, but it also made me realise that I really should learn what the more professional solution was, just in case that situation ever arose again.

Cue my road trip to the Jay Archer Floral Design Flower School (alongside the lovely Hannah Duffy who was there to capture the experience – pretty pics from the day (apologies for my concentration face!) above / below) to expand my horizons, learn more about wedding flowers and most importantly, what to do if I was ever faced with a similar situation again.

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Your Emergency Wedding Kit

Image by Guy Collier Photography.

Kat:

Morning! Kat here from Katrina Otter Weddings. That’ll be me (the planner, not the bride!) in today’s feature header.

So I’m going to start off today’s post by being totally honest with you…

No matter what stage of the planning process you’re at, but especially the initial few months of engagement and wedding planning excitement (you know, the stage before the reality of wedmin hits!), the title and subject matter of the latest feature in our collaborative wedding planning series is probably going to register quite highly on your trés dull meter!  Probably as highly as this total, but essential, snooze-athon?!

BUT before you click on another jam packed inspirational feature then please STOP and take a moment to consider the “what ifs”, the potential consequences and the added layer of stress as a result of not reading on (or at least bookmarking this feature) and therefore not having a wedding day emergency kit…

WHAT IF there’s a mini heatwave like there was a couple of weeks ago and you / your wedding party / your guests are prone to a little burn..?

WHAT IF a guest accidentally steps on your dress and tears the hem? The zip or buttons break? OR even worse, there’s a rogue wine spillage..?

WHAT IF your flowers wilt due to the weather (stay tuned for even more pro-emergency floral tips as part of our three-part series with Jay Archer Floral Design)..?

WHAT IF you’re prone to hayfever and your photographer finds the most idyllic patch of tall billowy grass for your couple shots..?

… you get the drift!

So, let’s start off with the question you’re probably now asking yourself… do you really need an emergency kit..?

Well, if you’re still reading on and those “what ifs” made you sit up and take notice then I think you already know the answer is YES, right..?!  Wedding day emergency kits are a must-have for many reasons.

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Picking the Perfect Wedding Weekend Venue

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Image by Matt Willis Photography.

We know our couples are always looking for more when it comes to their wedding venue – more flexibility, more details, more intimacy, more personal touches and more of an experience for their guests. With the latter point in mind, we’re focusing on wedding weekends; where to host and how to plan a weekend-long celebration.

Helen Hopkins owner of Pudding Bridge specialises in design-led country house weddings filled with creative details. She’s passionate about organising epic extended celebrations and she says “why limit yourselves to one day when the party could last an entire weekend?!”

We wholeheartedly agree, so Helen has some top tips for picking the perfect wedding weekend venue!

Notes from Pudding Bridge

Helen:

I love a good wedding and in the industry, we are seeing more and more couples who want not one day but an entire weekend celebration. Extending your wedding means that you get to spend so much more time with your guests and really enjoy every minute.

The most common comment from couples after their big day is that it that the day went way too fast! By hiring a venue from Friday until Sunday you can fully maximize your time celebrating.

I love a country house wedding but there are so many options of venues that allow you to be there for the entire weekend. Perhaps a farm with glamping on site..? Or even a city celebration..? So if you’re planning a wedding weekend, here are a few areas to consider when picking your venue.

Location

When you are planning a wedding which takes place on just one day, often couples want to find a venue in a certain area. Perhaps where they live or where they grew up.

The beauty of picking a space which is used over an entire weekend is that it can be anywhere. In fact, I recommend that it is somewhere that’s new to many or most of your guests. You don’t want people checking emails or dashing off to pick up the kids, you want your guests to totally relax and see it as a weekend getaway.

Think about picking somewhere you have spent a holiday or just somewhere you love!

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Wedding Flowers Part II: Which Flowers Are In Season?

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Images by Rebecca Goddard Photography.

If you missed the first instalment of this three-part floral series then it’s a definite must-read and you can find it here. I urge you to take a peek if you want to learn all about wedding flower budgets! It’s an eye-opening piece and one I wished I had read when planning my own floral story.

Jay Archer is the author of this series and she’s beyond incredible in so many ways. Honest, creative and just a little bit magic, I had the pleasure of working with this lady at Pynes House last month on our latest editorial and it was such a joy witnessing this floral genius in action. What Jay doesn’t know about flowers probably isn’t worth knowing!

But what is worth knowing is today’s meaty topic – seasonality.  What do the seasons actually mean to florists and how will this influence your choice as a bride…? Read on to find out, oh and don’t forget to pin the relevant seasonal bookmarks so you can return at a later planning date.

Notes from Jay Archer Floral Design

Jay:

Seasonal does not mean British grown or local, nor does it mean cheaper. That is the biggest misconception when it comes to wedding flowers – all flowers I suppose.

Using seasonal quite simply means something is in ‘season’ – it is at it’s best now. English grown roses, for example, are at their best June – September whilst Peonies thrive in May – early July.

You can get most flowers out of season nowadays; Norway grows and stores peonies in snow but they definitely won’t look their best! These flowers will be poorer quality and probably won’t smell quite as beautiful. It’s like strawberries at Christmas which are often grown in Peru or Spain – they cost more and just don’t taste like a sweet, sticky, delicious strawberry so why would you..?!

Being clever with your budget means you can watch the pennies and have seasonal produce at the same time. If you love roses but cannot afford to use them throughout your scheme (at £3 per stem and up to £5 for David Austin’s) then consider using these in just your bridal bouquet.

Before seeing your florist, you need to work out what’s important to you. Write a list of your must-haves and nice-to-haves, work with the seasons and ensure your floral ideas are complimentary to their natural surroundings and the choice of wedding venue. Being clear about your budget will mean your florist will recommend the right flowers for you.

British flowers are generally sold in smaller ‘wraps’ or individual stems, so if your florist doesn’t use British grown then this might mean they’ll be buying your flowers in bulk. Imports can come in ‘wraps’ of of up to 50, for example ranunuculus and anemones are always sold in large quantities so this will have an impact on your budget as you will need to pay for the full ‘wraps’ rather than just one or two stems.

Buying flowers in bulk can be cost effective when they’re in season – Spring bulbs, autumn foliage, aummer cornflowers/scabious, winter branches and amaryllis are all good, purse friendly options. So have a chat with your florist and make sure you’re armed with all the questions you might want to ask.

So, what’s is in season when..?

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Spring

Ah, Spring – the most scented month! Think striking little spears of pale blue and ice white muscari, multi-tonal almost pearlescent hellebore and the tiny nodding heady scented bells of lily of the valley! This particular specimen is one of the most desirable wedding flowers and available all year from a chap in Holland at about £2 per stem!

Also in Spring:

  • Blossom – apple, quince, cherry, magnolia, prunus, spirea and others.
  • Tulips – French tulips are a real treat, with their long stems and peachy heads. Parrot tulips and English tulips are available in every colour you can imagine!
  • Wallflowers – available from local growers only usually. Their petals have the most amazing colour variations which remind me of a Turner sky!
  • Ranunculus – peonies are not quite about yet so ranunculus are the next best thing and beautiful in their own right.
  • Anemones – the much-desired navy eyed variety are more expensive than their white centred counterparts. I think the white ones are pure and classic.
  • Narcissi and paper whites – The scent of these little flowery fireworks is quite something! Strong and heady, they can be overwhelming when used in table centres but good for bouquets.
  • Forget-me-nots – tiny, delicate dots of sky blue. Dreamy.
  • Fritillaries – beautiful little nodding heads of dusky purple with a chequered pattern.

Working to a palette of pastel pinks, creamy whites, vintage dusky pinks and soft blues, I’d suggest mixing spring flowers with catkins, twigs and senecio foliage.

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A Guide to Planning a Marquee Wedding

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Feature Image by Katie Mitchell Photography.

We’re busting the myths and sharing our top tips on the marquee wedding today!

Marquee weddings aren’t what they used to be as couples now have some seriously stylish options available. But not one for style over substance, we still want to arm you with all the considerations behind this outdoor wedding choice.

Katrina Otter, resident planning expert here at Coco Wedding Venues, is back with her thoughts on all the practical elements you need to consider if you fancy celebrating under canvas.

A Guide to Planning a Marquee Wedding

Katrina:

Marquee weddings hold a very special place in my heart. Firstly, there’s something really rather charming and romantic about the concept of creating your own wedding venue, to your own specifications and making it a real reflection of your own style and personalities.

Secondly, with my wedding planning hat on, there are various logistical and planning considerations that need to be taken into account when organising a marquee wedding and as anyone that’s read any of my previous features in our collaborative wedding planning series will know, I LOVE a good logistical wedding!

Thirdly, as I’m based in the countryside, marquee weddings equate to roughly 40% of the weddings I plan every year and to date I’ve organised wedding in tipis, traditional canvas marquees, contemporary clear span frame marquees, yurts, Sperry tents and unique Pearl Tents.

And finally, the main reason – on 18th May 2013 (how has it been four years already!) I held my own elegant English country garden wedding reception in a marquee.

In today’s feature, I’ll therefore be sharing my love for all things marquees and imparting my knowledge, experience and some logistical top tips for those of you planning or considering a marquee wedding.

Before I start, a few words of caution! As much as I love a logistical wedding, not everyone feels the same way as me, so if you’re not a fan of operational challenges then please go into planning a marquee wedding with your eyes open – there is, on average, A LOT more work involved and A LOT to consider. Marquee weddings also aren’t always the cheap option (this BTW is one of the most common wedding misconceptions). You’re basically creating your own wedding venue and that includes building the venue, filling and staffing the venue and then clearing the venue away after the party is over.

So… with those little notes of caution out of the way, shall we get on with the planning..?

The first thing to find is the site. Where are you going to hold your marquee wedding..?  Some wedding venues (you can find an extensive list of marquee and tipi friendly venues via the Coco Venue Finder) allow you to put up a marquee on their lawns whilst still being able to use the main house for your ceremony and accommodation, whilst others will let you use their land only, with the buildings themselves forming the perfect backdrop.

Obviously, there’s likely to be a cost consideration here too but the good news is that you’ve got options.

(On a side note there are also venues that already have permanent or semi-permanent marquees, which in turn eliminates some of those word of warning operational challenges and cost considerations mentioned above and below!)   

Of course, some couples also opt for a marquee wedding so that they can make use of their own gardens or land. This is a wonderfully personal option but please be aware that you’re going to have a week or so of comings and goings in the run up to your wedding and in the days afterwards too, so please be sure that everyone that this will affect is happy about this!

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