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by Emma Hla

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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.

What We Do!

Working predominantly within weddings, I offer a very involved service in which the client will only ever work with me, Jay. After the initial consultations, be it in person or online, I invite the client to New Covent Garden Market to ‘meet’ their flowers – hopefully solidifying the flower choices I have already recommended for them. I work closely alongside the client and / or their planner, to ensure the utmost satisfaction from their interrupted vision. That said, I am very fortunate that many of my clients trust me enough to give me a very loose brief and create something magical for them.

If I had to describe Jay Archer Floral Designs in just a few words then it would be evocative, original, inspired and romantic. And very English.

We always endeavour to create schemes that are more than the client could have dreamt of, which satisfy and enchant, and leave both them and their guests speechless. In my experience, when the guests notice and compliment the flowers, it leads to a higher level of satisfaction for all involved. Using old-fashioned, scented English – and often British grown – flowers, creates a feeling of nostalgia and whimsy one might remember from childhood, playing in their Grandmothers garden amongst the roses.

Our Prices

I’m very open with clients on our pricing and try to be as transparent as possible. Our minimum spend starts at £2,000, from which we work comfortably up to high-end 5-figure budgets. I enjoy working with clients closer to the minimum spend, and equally enjoy larger budget which allows more creative freedom.

Our Tips for Brides & Grooms!

Be honest about budget. Being British, we don’t like to discuss money face to face but remember your suppliers, not just florists, are business people and will comfortably guide you through the planning stages often a lot more easily if all cards are laid on the table at the start. It makes it easier for all to know where you stand.

Enjoy the process of planning – if you are finding any aspect uncomfortable or frustrating you probably don’t have the right supplier for that area. Your wedding planning should be easy and enjoyable with the right people on board.

Swing by Wednesday folks for more from Jay Archer Floral Designs – Touched upon briefly above, we’ll be tackling the wedding flower budget and going behind-the-scenes on a floral course with Katrina Otter Weddings!

See you then…

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