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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Emmy London’s Flagship Boutique

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Images by Claire Graham Photography.

I’m going to admit I’m a little late to the game with announcing this particular news but sharing is caring and share is exactly what I’m going to do.

When Emmy London opened their gorgeous new flagship boutique last November, I knew it was going to be beautiful. Located on the Fulham Road in the heart of Chelsea, their new space is bigger than ever before and boasts a dedicated ‘Couture Room’ where brides can book appointments with designer Emmy herself to create their very own couture shoes and accessories.

As well as having severe carpet envy, you’ll be wowed by the array of bridal shoes and accessories on offer. It’s a true treasure trove and I dare you not to get over excited. The boutique is luxurious, warm and inviting and once again I could have stayed in Emmy London heaven all day.

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A Modern Day Guide to Wedding Party Roles & Responsibilities

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Feature Image by Mister Phill.

I love today’s planning piece by Katrina Otter – it’s honest, fresh and really quite personal.

Katrina and I both had elements of our day that went against the usual wedding format; For starters my Mum walked me down the aisle. My Dad’s sadly not with us anymore and whilst I know that on the day I missed his presence terribly, I couldn’t think of a better person to have by my side in that moment. She was a legend and steadied me as I made my way towards my future husband. So a big wave to all the amazing Mums out there!

I was also heckled into making a speech. Whilst I’d actually prepared one I felt like one more speech might have sent everyone over the edge a little so I quietly bowed out. I judged the crowd wrong! So yes, I made an off the cuff speech, straight from the heart and I think I did OK.

As for Kat… Well she’s a one-woman-warrior for breaking the wedding party roles! She had her Victorian Bulldog Betty act as her Maid of Honour, she firmly held the microphone and addressed her guests in her own bridal speech and she’s also been a Best Woman for her brother’s wedding at the gorgeous RSA in London.

So folks, it really is up to you to decide what’s right and what’s not quite right when it comes to your own wedding party.

Kat’s here to guide you through it all…

A Modern Day Guide to Wedding Party Roles & Responsibilities

Katrina:

Let me tell you a little story…

Rewind the clocks to the start of 2013 and the boy and I were in the final few months of our wedding planning journey. One evening we were discussing the traditional order of speeches (for those of you who don’t know what that is, it’s the Father of the Bride followed by the Groom and then the Best Man) when the realisation suddenly hit me… Hang on a minute, how are we going to factor in more than one Best Man, when does MY Best Woman talk AND what about me..?

This in turn opened a whole can of worms… Why couldn’t my Victorian Bulldog Betty be my Maid of Honour, why did the Best Men have to be in charge of our wedding rings; they lost their passports on the stag do so why on earth would I entrust them with our rings..?! You get the drift and from that moment on, I picked up the roles and responsibilities rule book, threw it out the window and haven’t picked it up since!

SO, if you were thinking that my latest feature in our collaborative wedding planning series was going to be like any other readily available and easily Google searchable guide on roles and responsibilities then think again!

(BTW if you do want to stick to tradition then there’s nothing wrong with this (I’m just shaking things up a little) but this feature is definitely not for you and you may want to look here instead!)

Even 4 years on from my own wedding, it’s safe to say that wedding party roles and responsibilities are still incredibly traditional. Weddings themselves have changed hugely over the past few years but we’re still working with the same lists and allocation of roles that we have for decades. Now I’m not sure why that is but I am sure that today’s feature is a modern-day guide to roles and responsibilities and I think / hope you’re going to like it!

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Blenheim Palace; A Special Wedding Destination

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Images by Lisa Dawn.

So what does make Blenheim Palace a special wedding destination I hear you ask..? Well funnily enough I have some answers for you. Discover why the Oxfordshire UNESCO World Heritage Site makes such a special, memorable and unique venue for a wedding celebration and civil ceremony!

Happy Friday reading my friends… The fact geeks and true romantics amongst you will be very happy.

  • 300 years of history and counting Blenheim Palace is a privately-owned home and Estate with a hugely diverse history that is still being written. The Dukes of Marlborough have lived here since 1705 and today the Palace is home to the 12th Duke and Duchess of Marlborough and their family. The Estate is a working one and is part of a long, living and lasting heritage.
  • Sir Winston Churchill (who was born in the Palace) once said “My greatest achievement was to persuade my wife to marry me” and he achieved this in The Temple of Diana in the formal gardens here. Churchill proposed to his beloved Clementine as they took shelter from a downpour in summer 1908. The spot is now a romantic must-visit for couples and a popular wedding photo location.
  • ‘The Finest View in England’ Blenheim Palace is surrounded by over 2000 acres of Parkland, and is one of the largest and most impressive projects by Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown, the famous English landscape gardener. The parkland is unrivalled and in 1874 Lord Randolph Churchill (Sir Winston’s father) named the one part of the Park as having “The finest view in England”.
  • UNESCO World Heritage Site There are only a few places across the world given the right to call themselves a World Heritage Site, and Blenheim Palace is one of them. Being awarded its status in 1987, the Blenheim Palace Estate is ‘recognized as being of outstanding international importance and therefore as deserving special protection’, meaning you won’t find a more beautiful or cared-for setting for your big day.

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Finding Peace at GreenAcres Woodland Weddings

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Images by Hannah Duffy Photography.

I don’t think many people would describe me as ‘outdoorsy’. Sure, I like a little alfresco lunch in the summertime, a long dog walk to my fave coffee shop and I did seek out a walled garden wedding venue just to have that outside element to my big day. But ‘outdoorsy’ – no.

So, it was quite the surprise when I found peace in a beautiful woodland just an hour or so down the M25.

GreenAcres Woodland Weddings is a wedding venue with a difference; these ancient woodlands are a place where you can truly celebrate life’s journey. I mean the full cycle people and all the emotions that are entangled in these momentous events that we all experience – new life, the joining of two loved ones and ultimately that time when we must bid farewell.

GreenAcres is the place where all of this and more can be celebrated.

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