In the Daily Telegraph on Friday they featured an article about DIY brides, essentially cutting the cost of weddings. It seems the cost of the average wedding is now £24,000!!
In fact most of the brides I work with enjoy making and planning things for their own weddings, it makes it all more personal I feel.
As the article mentioned in order to save costs you can buy buckets of flowers from local growers and arrange your own flowers. Brides that do this often like their bouquets, headcirclets and buttonholes made for them. It can be very stressful as these things have to be made at the last minute and require some skill and experience to get right. I call this my buckets and bouquets option. Locally grown flowers are usually (but not necessarily) cheaper, particularly if you buy blooms that are in season. There are a lot of other good reasons to buy them of course! I also find I can do a lot with single stems given the right containers.
Talking of containers I buy a lot of vases from charity shops along with filling jam jars and bottles. This can save tremendously on cost, as vases can be very expensive. Some florists will also hire them to you.(I have a small range). The only issue that can arise with hire is that obviously breakages have to be paid for but also you will have to return the vases and this can be a hassle after the wedding is over.
Buying other items preloved can also help, even the dress! Above I have some pictures of the Big C shop in Norwich which sells second hand wedding dresses, shoes, hats and lots more.
The largest cost is usually the venue for the reception along with food. If you go DIY for this, you can make large savings. Having the reception at home or in a village hall, friends and family making the food, buying in your own drink etc...My brides can be very enterprising buying in wine and beer as offers present and stock piling. Decorating village halls and DIY marquees with green leaves and bunting ( My daughter makes wonderful bunting which will be available on our site shortly). I will also help decorate if you have your own materials but don't know what to do ( I charge an hourly rate for this).
Taking your own photographs...well asking friends and family to! This has been made so much easier with digital technology although it is always best to make sure a nominated person is responsible as otherwise everyone thinks someone else is doing it and you may end up without snaps!
Most real weddings are not money no object affairs and they decide which aspects of the wedding are the most important to them and spend their money accordingly. The most important thing of all being the gathering of friends and family to witness the marriage.
Just a small note if you are planning a wedding in 2015 and already know your date and think you might want my flowers please contact me, it is not too early, I already have some bookings and I don't want you to be disappointed if I can't fit you in!!
These fabulous bridal bouquets were designed by Claire from Thrive Bury st Edmunds and made using flowers grown in my garden and also at Somerleyton Hall. They were produced during a demonstration at Flowers at Oxford and displayed in the Wedding Marquee. Flowers at Oxford is on this weekend and is an international floral conference being held at Lady Margaret Hall in Oxford. This event was started two years ago by Judith Blacklock and Fleur Creatif.
I was there on Friday with some friends I did my floristry training with, along with fellow florists and growers from Flowers From the Farm. British grown wedding flowers were on display in the Wedding Marquee having been used in designs by some top florists and wedding flower designers. I certainly learnt new things and gained lots of inspiration for my own wedding work. We stayed the night at Christchurch College and had our breakfast in the Great Hall, which was an amazing experience. Then a full day of flowers. I came home armed with twigs, corn, wool, tape.....plus a magazine subscription to Fleur Creatif (a Belgian floral design magazine) and lots of ideas.
The Dahlias in my cutting patch are really coming out in full colour now. I have a great mix of vibrant colours but next year I plan more whites and pastel shades as late summer/ early autumn is a very popular time for weddings. I also plan to grow some smaller pom pom varieties.
Last week we took a last minute holiday which was a wonderful rest after such a busy year of planting, growing, cutting, arranging but I did return to evidence of some stormy weather on the plot. I did some dead heading and a lot of staking this morning!
Talking about varieties I have Chat Noir, Karma Naomi, Chocolate and Fiesta, Peaches, David Howard, Haloween, Sam Hopkins, White Swan, Cafe au Lait, Wittiman's Red, Blue Boy, Ambition, Gerrie Hoek...
They do require some attention by way of watering, feeding and staking but repay in buckets of flowers. I find they are very versatile for arrangements and bouquets. The newer varieties also last longer in the vase which is very helpful and cope in floral foam for wedding arrangements and church flowers. Single varieties don't in general last as well in my experience, so doubles are best especially cactus, pom pom and waterlily types or anything starting with the name Karma!!
This week my flowers are going to the big florist's conference in Oxford and Dahlias will certainly be featuring, I hope to have pictures to show you at the weekend of some of the displays there....WATCH THIS SPACE!!
This Saturday I arranged flowers for a wedding in our village church. St Margaret's Reydon. It is in the process of a wonderful new reordering which involves the old dark wood choir stalls and the heavy organ being removed letting in space and light. I was so lucky that some of this has already started amd so I could use the space to fill with flowers! The couple had asked for the church to be full of seasonal flowers on a pink, white and blue theme as the bridesmaid's dresses were navy blue. So on Thursday I set to work. I met Karen who grows in Essex near Layer Marney Towers early in the morning to collect pickings from her including Gladiolus, Scabiosa Black Cat, Myrtle, Snapdragons,Roses and more. Then I went to Somerleyton Hall for Hydrangeas, Dahlia Karma Chocolate, Rose buds and Pink Achillea. Whilst out a delivery from Clowances of powder blue Cornish Scabiosa, White Gladiolus and Alstromeria arrived. I cut from my own patch on Thursday evening and Friday morning including Roses, Zinnias, Dahlias, Larkspur, Salvias. Verbena Bonariensis, Cosmos, Nigella seedheads, Lavender, Gladiolus, Fennel, Orlaya.....Last but not Least on Friday morning a trip to Mr Perkins allotment for some show stopping Dahlias.
Thursday evening my daughter and I started making pedestals, four in total, plus 2 candle arrangements.....then Friday the crack team of florists I trained with arrived and we made 58 jam jar posies and 5 large vase arrangements. The marquee for the reception was overlooking the estuary at Reydon and had stunning views. One of the things people don't tell you about being a florist other than the hard work...is that you get to work in beautiful places. I love working in churches in the evenings and early mornings so peaceful. Friday afternoon/early evening we were working at the marquee on a table outside and it was amazing. The jam jars were used along the church window sills as well as the large vases and then more jam jars on the tables at the reception. Friday evening we all ate fish and chips on the run and then started making bouquets for bride and 4 bridesmaids. Finally Saturday morning 4 head circlets and 12 buttonholes were wired. Everything delivered at 12 just leaving time to check the church and marquee before rushing back to the church to see the bride go into the service. Her bouquet contained David Austen's Rose for the Royal Wedding, William and Catherine, Dahlia Peaches, Achillea in an antique pink, Scabiosa ( powder blue), Orlaya and white Cosmos
It was a truely beautful wedding. The Bride and Bridesmaids looked stunning. I wish the couple every happiness in the future.
I had some wonderful feedback about the flowers and St Margaret's have put some more pictures on the church facebook page. This is such a lovely place to get married and with the new changes in the church even better.
.All the flowers used were British most of them grown in Suffolk, that is special!
My story in flowers started as a child growing a tiny patch of London Pride Saxifraga...also known as Whimsey or Look Up and Kiss Me! Fast forward to 8 years ago when I started a City and Guilds training in floristry. I qualified as a florist and then to deepen my growing knowledge and skills I trained in horticulture as well. I trained under a WRAGS scheme at Darsham Nurseries and at Somerleyton Hall. Developing a passion for both growing and designing/arranging British garden flowers, I planted a cutting garden. Having become increasingly concerned about where and how flowers are grown, coupled with a love of British grown flowers. and natural styling, I now specialise in growing and using beautiful British grown flowers to make romantic natural designs. for weddings, events, gifts and much more.