Earlier this year I wrote an article for Places & Faces magazine all about choosing your wedding flowers. Check out pages 41-47 of the January issue http://issuu.com/placesandfaces/docs/issue_33_issuu#
Here’s the article:
There’s one element of a wedding that can make a massive difference to the look and feel of the entire day – flowers. As soon as you fill a church, hotel or venue with beautiful floral displays it is transformed. Wedding trends come and go over the years but flowers will always feature very heavily.
One of my favourite wedding designers is Preston Bailey, based in New York. Preston’s vision and transformation of venues using flowers are simply breath taking, I have seen him take a very industrial looking space and completely transform it with large beautiful floral displays.
There are many places at a wedding that flowers can make a real difference, the church or civil ceremony room, table centrepieces and bridal party bouquets. Don’t forget that arrangements can be moved, so if you have pedestal arrangements in the church or civil ceremony room, why not move them to the reception room, or place them near the dance floor for the evening party. Ask your florist if they are able to move arrangements for you on the wedding day.
If you have no other flowers at your wedding, you will probably have bouquets and buttonholes for the bridal party. There are many different styles of bouquets, from a handtied posy, to a draped bouquet, to a single stem tied with ribbon. Your florist will need to see a sketch or image of your dress to be able to advise you on a bouquet design that will accompany your dress perfectly. You could also use flowers for hair decorations or perhaps as wrist corsages for the bridesmaids. When it comes to buttonholes for the groomsmen, you will often find a slightly larger arrangement for the groom and complementary versions for the rest of the groomsmen.
So when it comes to selecting flowers for your wedding, how do you begin? A good place to start is to pick your favourite flowers, or favourite colours. Look through bridal magazines, gardening magazines and visit your local florist to see what you like. Is there a particular theme or colour scheme for the wedding, if so, this can be echoed in the floral arrangements.
Seasons are important when it comes to flowers. A lot of flowers are now available all year round but are often more expensive if they are out of season and the quality can be sacrificed. Flowers will always be more expensive around valentine’s day and mother’s day simply because of the increased demand at that time of year. Be honest with your florist about your budget for flowers, they will be able to advise you on what flowers are in season and most affordable.
When it comes to table centrepieces, think about what will work with the venue. If you have a larger venue and high ceilings, then big grand centrepieces may work better. If you want a more intimate feel to the wedding breakfast, consider smaller arrangements. Whatever you decide, it’s important to ensure that arrangements do not sit at eye level for you guests, they will need to be able to see each other and to see you across the room.
If you will be eating a meal, consider the fragrance – if you are using a flower that is particularly fragrant you may want to avoid it in table centrepieces so it does not interfere with the food. Don’t ignore foliage, it can make a massive difference to the way an arrangement looks and is a very cost effective way of making floral displays larger. Think about the vases or glassware you are using as well. It doesn’t have to be a traditional vase, choose something that goes with your wedding theme. How about using a tiered cake stand, a selection of smaller glass vases or perhaps some mis-matched vintage crockery. At a recent photo shoot I curated, the flowers were displayed in old trophies, to complement the ‘Very English Affair’ theme.
Flowers are a great way to add a finishing touch to shoes, hair clips, a wrist corsage, floral headband, flower girl wand, the bridesmaids or mums handbags, or even the wedding cake or dessert table. Floral wreaths can look beautiful on the entrance door to a venue, or even hung on the back of the bride and grooms chairs for the wedding breakfast.
I think it goes without saying that flowers are the one wedding trend that will never go out of fashion.
If you would like help choosing your flowers or even planning your wedding, visit www.carolinegouldweddings.co.uk to find out how I can help.
I’m delighted to be hosting The Truly Marvellous Forum at this years Truly Marvellous Wedding and Bottom Drawer Fair on Sunday 4th May 2014 at Kenton Hall Estate. Here’s the full schedule of what’s on at the fair:
All forums are free to attend, but make sure you arrive early to get a seat. If you would like to book one of the wine tasting sessions with the fabulous Cellar 27, just email the team at firstname.lastname@example.org
Finally, here’s my top tips for getting the most our of the fair and making it a ‘truly marvellous’ day out!
10am – arrive at Kenton Hall Estate and familiarise yourselves with where everything is, take a look around the marquee at some of our fabulous exhibitors – make sure you visit Cellar27 to book your place at a wine tasting
11.15am – head to The Forum to see the hair and make-up from day to night demonstration
12pm – grab a well deserved cuppa and delicious slice of cake in the Woodland Tea Room
1pm – make your way to The Forum for the Fashion Showcase
2.15pm – head to the Cellar 27 stand for a wine tasting session (make sure you book in advance)
End your day by grabbing a quick treat from one of our fabulous ‘Eat Street’ food vendors.
Harriet called me just two weeks before her wedding! She was having a church ceremony and private marquee reception in her dad’s back garden, and had suddenly realised that she needed someone to be ‘in charge’ on the wedding day. We got together that very evening at Harriet and Nick’s home to talk though all the details and discuss my On the Day Co-ordination service. Luckily they had already hired some great suppliers that I had worked with before so I was confident it would be a great day. I visited the venue on the day before and worked with Harriet to put together the schedule for the day. I was there first thing on the wedding day to assist with the final set-up in the marquee – so that Harriet could concentrate on getting ready and relax and enjoy the morning. I was then there for the entire day up until their first dance to liaise with all suppliers and oversee everything and make sure it all went to plan. I’m pleased to say it did! Here’s a few images from the day and some very kind words from Harriet & Nick.
It’s Mother’s Day and to celebrate I thought i’d share with you some wedding images from my family…
The first is of my parents who married in 1972, my mum even made her own wedding dress!
This one is me age 4 wearing my mum’s veil.
This is my own wedding to Mat in 2005 (still wearing mum’s veil)!
Finally, this is my daughter Darcey wearing my mums (Darcey’s Grandmas) wedding dress and veil!
I wonder if she will wear the same veil on her wedding day…?
Happy Mother’s Day!
Regular readers will know that before setting up my wedding planning business I worked as a Wedding Co-ordinator at a venue. So the opinions in this post come from my experience in both roles.
Don’t get me wrong, I think venue co-ordinators do a fantastic job, they know everything there is to know about their venue and can recommend the suppliers they regularly work with. What they don’t do is provide a personal, bespoke service that is specifically tailored to you.
My heart sinks when a couple tell me they don’t need a wedding planner because they have one at the venue. What these couples don’t realise is that although there will be someone from the venue co-ordinating their day – they are most definitely NOT a wedding planner. It may not even be the person they have spent so long talking through the plans with. When I worked at a venue, my role was Monday to Friday 9am-5pm which meant I was very rarely there on the wedding day. An important question you should ask your venue co-ordinator is if they will be there on your day. If they won’t be there, ask to meet the person who will be! A wedding planner will be with you throughout the entire day from the moment you put on your dress, usually until your first dance but often later. A wedding planner will liaise with all of the suppliers involved in the wedding meaning you can relax and enjoy the day. If anything does come up, you only need to speak to your wedding planner and they will deal with it for you.
Simply put, a venue co-ordinator works for the venue, a wedding planner works for YOU!
One of the things I do for my clients is to help them choose a theme for their wedding. I’m not necessarily talking about a full on themed wedding for example a historical theme with horse drawn carriage, medieval food and guests in fancy dress – however that is absolutely fine if you like that! I think every single wedding has a theme of some sort. It may be a particular colour that is present on the invitations, the bridesmaid dresses, right through to the flowers. It may be a word like ‘love’, or the bride and grooms initials intertwined, or a symbol like a butterfly or heart. As long as it’s something that has meaning to the bride and groom, it will work. A wedding invitation should set the scene for the wedding day and be representative of the bride and groom. It is the first hint your guests will see of the overall wedding theme.
Often when I ask a bride and groom what style/design their wedding will be the response is a rather blank look. You may think you don’t know what you want, but you do! The best way to start choosing your theme is to look at bridal magazines and on the internet, there are some fantastic and very inspiring wedding blogs out there with lots of real wedding features. Start collecting pictures of the things you like, don’t worry whether they match or not. Start a file with cakes you like, dresses you like, flowers you like, colours you like etc. One you have started to build a collection a theme will soon naturally emerge. You could think about making a display with your collection of cuttings.
Something I do with all of my full planning clients is to put together a design board. A design board is a collation of all the things you like – it really helps to pull together the theme and it’s also a lovely keepsake. There is now a way to do this online using Pinterest. Pinterest is an online pin board, you can set-up as many boards as you like and pin photographs that you find anywhere on the internet or on Pinterest itself. You can also share your pin boards with other users (maybe your wedding party) so that they can add ideas too. You can even share it with your suppliers so they know exactly what you are looking for. Visit my Pinterest page for some ideas of where to start.
The overall style of the wedding should represent you, the bride and groom, try not to get hung up on traditions or etiquette – if that’s just not you then it won’t work on your wedding day.
You can expect to spend around 40% of your budget on your reception so finding the right venue is an important choice – here are a few things to consider:
How many guests? – It will be difficult to book a venue (and ultimately set a date) if you don’t know how many people will be attending. Some venues will only be licensed up to a certain number and you don’t want to cram all of your guests in. Likewise, you wouldn’t want your 60 guests to be lost in a room big enough for 300. Some venues are more suitable for spending lots of time outside, likewise there are venues that have a beautiful interior that you will want to enjoy. When looking around venues, be sure to ask what the alternatives are to outside spaces if the weather is bad.
Do you want the ceremony and reception to be in the same location? – Most venues have a civil ceremony licence so the choice for your ceremony location is very wide. If you wish to marry in a church then it’s unlikely that you will have a reception venue within walking distance. However, there are some venues that have a church within their grounds.
Where are guests coming from? – Locations that are closer to home are much easier to liaise with. If your venue is an hour’s drive from home, you will need to factor that in to your ‘getting ready’ time on the day. If a lot of your guests are based far away from the venue it may be prudent to provide some transport.
Is accommodation available? – You may want to stay at the venue on the wedding night or even get ready there on the day, ask to see the honeymoon suite so you know what to expect. If accommodation is available for guests, find out if you can hold a number of rooms to ensure your guests get the accommodation they need.
What style is the venue? – Is it a country house, stately home, or a modern hotel? The style of the venue needs to complement the overall style of the wedding. A vintage style wedding would be much better suited to a country house or marquee venue than a modern hotel.
Are there in-house caterers? – Venues often have in-house caterers that you will have to use. However some venues allow you to bring in your own caterer. Bear in mind that this means you will need to choose yet another supplier!
Bear in mind that popular venues and popular dates (i.e. Saturdays in the Summer) can get booked up to 2 years in advance so the sooner you start looking the better.