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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Wedding Flowers Part I: The Budget

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Images by Hannah Duffy Photography.

It’s Katrina here (resident wedding planner for Coco Wedding Venues), taking over the introduction reigns from Emma and stepping away from my usual features about budgets, timelines and my love of all things schedule related!

Today, I have the pleasure of introducing the first of a practical and pretty three-part series about wedding flowers and all in collaboration with one of my biggest wedding supplier crushes – the phenomenal, inspirational, award-winning Jay Archer Floral Design.

As a Wedding Planner, I think it’s vital that I’m constantly learning new skills and fully understanding the industry that I work in. In previous years, I’ve freelanced for caterers and worked back-of-house as well as stepping in to support venues with their on-the-day management. Last year, as I stood outside a Church desperately trying to construct an emergency button hole for one of my Groom’s, I realised that it was about time that I added wedding flowers to the learning agenda!

Jay Archer and her Floral Design Flower School was the obvious place to start so off I headed on a road trip to Hampshire (alongside the lovely Hannah Duffy who was there to capture the experience) to expand my horizons and learn more about the ins and outs of wedding flowers.

The result is a three-part ESSENTIAL series breaking down wedding flowers and hopefully shining a light on an area of wedding planning that isn’t often fully understood, especially when it comes to today’s feature – wedding flower budgets (you know I said I was stepping away from my usual features about budgets well, I lied!).

The reason why today’s feature is so vitally important is because very few people understand the true cost of wedding flowers and as a result, allocations for flowers within wedding budgets is very rarely realistic. SO, if you’re in the throes of pulling together your budget or allocating your expenditure then reading the below first is a wedding planning MUST!

Just as a heads up… Part II is all about seasonality and colour palettes and in Part III I get to tackle the practical side of bouquets and buttonholes!)

Your Wedding Flower Budget

Jay:

The flower budget… ‘’do we even have one?!’’ Ugh… where to start.

As a wedding florist, I meet couples everyday who come to me for advice on their wedding flowers – what to have, what’s in season and, more importantly, what it will all cost…?

I try to be as helpful as I can right from the off, giving people advice on typical spends for marquees and, say, the church. But the thing is, and here’s the bit where people think I am being evasive or difficult, there really isn’t an average. There are so many variable factors when thinking about your flowers.

Hopefully, if I do my job right, I’ll wipe out some of the myths with this post and actually provide some information that’s useful for the couple planning their wedding.

Here goes!

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Flowers for Weddings with Jay Archer Floral Design

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Images by Ria Mishaal Photography.

I’ve had a bit of a girl crush on today’s Loved by Coco subject for quite a while. It’s therefore such a ridiculous privilege to have the talented Jay Archer with us for not one, not two but three floral features all for your planning pleasure.

When it comes to flowers, you kind of know you need them for a wedding but if you’re anything like me, when I went to the first meeting with my florist I was a little clueless. I knew what I wanted, but I didn’t know what it would cost and I had no idea what I could and couldn’t have. I was that Bride who asked for Peonies in August. Yep, guilty.

So with this in mind, Jay is going to be guiding us through topics such as budgeting and seasonality but before we delve into these meaty subjects, I thought we’d all get to know each other.

Over to Jay!

Notes from Jay Archer Floral Designs

Jay:

After 6 years unofficially, I have now run Jay Archer Floral Design from my Hampshire based workshop for just over 5 years, working on about 500+ events and weddings. Weddings are at the heart of what we do and I like to say I create flowers for weddings, not wedding flowers.

Last April 2015 saw us launch the JAFD Flower School, and we’ve seen students travel from around the world including from America, Italy, Germany and Chile. I teach all classes myself and offer a range of courses to amateurs and professionals.

Throughout all of our work, I favour using British-sourced flowers and foliage which come from all over the country – some very local in Guildford and Dummer, others further afield from Cornwall and Lincolnshire.

I have a large team available to travel with me – we mainly cover the South East and London but work regularly in Dorset, Kent and the Cotswolds.

Why Weddings…?

Like most, I fell into it. I knew I wanted to work with flowers and was trialling different avenues – retail and otherwise. A friend asked me to do her wedding and that was it, I knew that was my niche.

I continued to build my business within the wedding industry mainly due to the people I have met – clients and suppliers alike. I enjoy meeting new people and bringing their ideas to life in different venues across the South East (although we are available to travel nationwide, and have worked in Devon, Cornwall, Chester and Scotland).

Weddings are high-pressure, and having been a bride myself in recent years I understand the emotion, desire and journey behind that ‘one’ day. To work in a constantly evolving industry with ever-changing clients, be self-employed and satisfy my creative cravings all at the same time is a fortunate, and often enviable, place to be.

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Meadowsweet at Pennard House

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Images by Lucky Malone Photography.

We’re venturing to one of my favourite venues today… The utterly beautiful Pennard House. This styled shoot takes it’s inspiration from the wilds of Somerset’s stunning countryside and the sheer romance of this English setting.

It’s always a pleasure introducing our venues to the best suppliers and when B.LOVED blog Founder and stylist, Louise, along with floral designer Jay Archer and Lucky Malone Photography came together I knew there was only one location for them to create a bit of magic…

“The colour palette of muted golds, grey and the palest blush along with loose and abundant floral design and simple details echo the beauty and colours of the natural surroundings; from the stone building to fields of golden grass and wildflower meadows…” says Louise.

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Wedding Planning Excellence at Millbridge Court

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Images by Hannah Duffy Photography.

Weddings are our focus, but every now and again we get to help people source beautiful venues for other celebrations; such as birthdays & naming ceremonies, corporate dinners & charity galas, through to industry workshops.

We’re happy to play matchmaker for all of the above so when the UKAWP (UK Alliance of Wedding Planners) approached us regarding their upcoming Wedding Planning Excellence course I absolutely wanted to be a part of it in some small way.

Instantly one venue came to mind for this two-day event and as you’ll see, it was utterly perfect. We have two renowned planners from UKAWP – Always Andri & Katrina Otter Weddings – telling us a little about the day and the event. There’s stunning styling from Jay Archer Floral Design, delicious feasts by in-house caterers Kalm Kitchen and beautiful images by Hannah Duffy Photography.

Notes from the Wedding Planning Excellence

Andri & Katrina:

The inspiration behind the styling

Millbridge Court’s fusion of rustic barn qualities with elegant contemporary design provided the perfect backdrop for styling the WPE. Working with the neutral colour palette, vaulted ceilings and glass walls of Millbridge, the other main styling influences came in the form of the UKAWP branding, combined with the vision of award winning wedding florist Jay Archer.

Using a combination of seasonal flowers (including ranunculus, anemone, eucalyptus, ivy berries, moss, snapdragon, clematis, astrantia, senecio, parvi, pampas, olive, spray roses and scabious) Jay worked with the aesthetics of the venue and logistics of the day to enhance the spaces and provide the most beautiful of settings for the WPE.

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