Collection & Conditioning
Around 2 weeks/10 days before your wedding I will place my flower order with suppliers, local wholesalers and growers.
If your wedding is on a Saturday for example I will generally collect your flowers on the Wednesday morning of that week, (or if your wedding falls mid-week, on a Wednesday I will collect your order on the Sunday before).
Most of your flowers and foilage will come boxed, wrapped and bound together so the first day is spent unwrapping the bunches, quality checking to ensure there are no dead heads, petal bruising etc. On occasion, around 5-10% of your order can 'be bad' so to speak and therefore those stems need replaced with an alternative or if there's time, replacements for the same sent.
Once all the flowers & foilage have been quality checked, leaves and any thorns are removed and every stem is cut at an angle so as they can drink as much water as possible to re-hydrate after their (sometimes long!) journey to the studio.
There are ways and means to get your flowers to open quicker and but I prefer to leave them to hydrate naturally and use that time to reflex any roses. Reflex'ing means turning the petals down so as they look more open, fluffy and super gorgy! See pic below of a 'flex'd rose for reference:
This early prep stage generally takes around 6-8 hours for x1 person.
Day two (or Thursday) is spent making arrangements, mainly the ones that will be in water such as bowls, urns, troughs & vases. All vessels will have been cleaned in advance (or if the bride is providing her own I recommend these are cleaned down and are free of any labels/tags etc).
It's important to prep your vessels with flower frogs and chicken wire and then secured with floral tape before adding any water.
The day before your wedding has arrived! This is spent making other arrangements such as bouquets, buttonholes and corsages plus wiring any hair combs.
Some arrangements may need to be made on site, think floral arch/pillars or overhead installs for example. The flowers for these displays will need re-conditioned and also sorted into different buckets & labelled. This makes it easier on the day because I know which allocation belongs to what install.
Later that afternoon/evening, delivery boxes are made-up and secured to ensure safe delivery, silk ribbons are smoothed out (ironed under a fresh tea towel), my tool box gets organised (extra pins, chicken wire, cable ties & snips) and the van is packed where possible. It's getting all of your ducks in a row for loading the van early the next morning. If you're not a morning person or it takes you a while to waken fully this helps relieve any stress that you might have forgotten something too!
Today is usually an early start, 4 or 5am depending on your venue location. I have to load my van with any pre-made arrangements that have been keeping pretty in the studio, any buckets of foilage and flowers required for installs on site and last but not least, usually bottled water, fruit and a sandwich for a break at some stage.
If you are having your ceremony in a church or chapel then my first call once I set off would be to your home or a hotel where the bridal party is getting their glam on. This is always a nervous walk as I hand over your flowers (crossing everything that your face lights up!). I will show you which way is best to hold your bouquet depending on shape and size.
It's then onwards to the church where I will place any arrangements and decorate your floral arch or pillars. It's always around the time when i'm cleaning up and fixing those last few stems that the groom and his men will arrive all suited and booted. I prefer to pin their buttonholes on here at this stage (rather than deliver to the house or hotel they are getting ready in) because from my experience they're not confident in how to put them on plus it helps avoid any seat-belt mishaps on their way there!
During the ceremony I will take this opportunity to get a quick lunch break in the van and quickly prepare the van for re-loading of the arrangements that need moved onto the reception.
The Day After
Depending on the arrangements, you or a family member may return vessels and urns back to me. It is important these are packed carefully so please bring some empty boxes or crates and old tea towels with you in the boot of your car (to the wedding) so they can be used for separating these the day after.
If you have chosen to have a large install then it's likely I will need to come back to your reception venue the following morning to dismantle this. There will be a number of flowers from your install still looking great to take home so these can be gathered up and made into hand-tied posies for guests (that have stayed overnight) or I can put them into a few buckets of water for you to bring home.
Once everything is dismantled, I will head back home to the studio, empty the van, clean down any vessels and give everywhere a good tidy in preparation for the next wedding.