How to make the most out of your wedding flower budget…

How to make the most out of your wedding flower budget…This must be the one hundred thousand dollar questions on every couples mind…
I’ve had people in the past say, “but the flowers are just for one day”… well let me tell you something – everything is, the cake, the dress, the food… so go for it, flowers make a wedding, without them your photographs and venues just wouldn’t look the same! Here are my top tips how, if you’re on a budget!

Ceremonies… I just adore ceremonies and I love to dress them too. Understandably people feel it’s not worth spending lots of money on such a small part of the day, some ceremonies only last 20 minutes, so what’s the point?… Well I felt so nauseous before walking down the aisle, I couldn’t concentrate on anything else! but to my great surprise I loved every second, beaming from ear to ear saying hello to everyone as I walked past. It was awesome! And I love looking back at the images with all the flowers and people I love…
My advice is, no matter how great or small your budget, flower up your ceremony… Floral jars hung from chairs down the aisle is such a simple, but effective way to add a floral touch… floor standing lanterns and chunky candles with foliage wove in between is another perfect way to add extra decor to your aisle… All of which can be reused after the ceremony… Floral jars and foliage could be used to decorate the front of your top table with candlesticks and tea lights in between. Or you could dot them around the base of tall table centrepieces really finishing the look. Another area which always cries out for a floral touch is the bar and chill out areas for your evening reception… floral jars could be dotted here and there on tables, along with the floor standing lanterns.

If you have a larger budget and can stretch to large floral arrangements, go for large pedestal arrangements, floral arches and moongates… these would first be used to decorate the ceremony area, framing you as you say your vows, creating a wow factor statement all of you couples seek… again it’s all reusable after the ceremony relocating items to reception room entrances, or marquee entrances, behind the top table is always a great place to reuse items as they’ll feature in every image. My moongate has also been reused as a photobooth backdrop, which is really getting value for money!

Let’s talk about bridesmaids bouquets… Of course your best gals have to have some flowers, and you guys look awesome all huddled together, posing for the perfect shot. These bad boys are not cheap, and I strongly recommend you use them as extra decoration after your drinks reception… Best place is the top table… You’ve quite likely spent a lot already on your table centrepieces, so it’s nice to no you’ve got your top table covered and paid for already… Just add some finishing touches such as, table runners, ruched fabric or foliage, along with candlesticks, tea lights and flower heads, perfect, job done!

After bouquets and ceremony flowers, your biggest expense will be your table centrepieces, potentially eating up a third of your budget, especially if you have over a 100 guests! So if money is tight I always suggest going for a few show stopper tall floral arrangements, simplifying the rest being super budget friendly… For example… these wow factor arrangements on gold stands create such an impact, and you only need 3… the rest of the tables have simple styling using gold lanterns with florals dotted around the base on ruched fabric, along with groups of candlesticks and tea lights finishing the look, bringing a luxurious feel to everything.
Going back to your ceremony, these tall table centrepieces could also be used here first, framing the ceremony area and aisle, I’ve done this plenty of times, moving them over to your reception tables whilst you and guests sip champagne elsewhere.

Making the most of your money always feels good and I’m all for achieving people’s dreams by being clever with the flowers, but there’s one thing you have to do… be open and honest with your florist about your budget so we can advise you where best to spend your money. I want it to look just as good as you do, helping you make the most out of everything you pay for.

My Top Tips To Walking Down The Aisle…

So I can now class myself as a pro in this situation… I got married 3 years ago and the thought of walking down the aisle with all eyes on me was quite frankly terrifying. I know I’m not the only one that felt this way, and I’m sure everyone who reads this will be feeling the same way too… Fear not my men and women out there, its not as bad as you think, in fact it’s fantastic! Sit back… I’m going to tell you all about mine, and other peoples experiences…

The run up to the wedding, and on the morning of the wedding, all I wanted was the ceremony part to be over so I could relax and start to enjoy the day. I suppose it’s the same for anyone who’s doing a speech. I remember the hours ticking by on the run up to the ceremony with waves of butterflies exploding in my stomach. I think I made life difficult for the photographer as I kept pulling silly I’m scared faces when ever she tried to take a picture of me. The time finally came when everyone left me and it was just my brother and I waiting to go and see the registrar. I remember pacing the room hyperventilating! The walk  from the room where I was getting ready to the ceremony room, was, and still is a blur. I answered questions the registrars was asking me, and have no recollection of what she asked. I was ridiculously nervous!

I’m waiting and waiting, my brother in one arm, my bouquet in the other… I hear the music and I’m off like a sprinter at the start line, racing to get to the finish. Thankfully my Brother and I had had a dress rehearsal the evening before, it was quite a short aisle and I wanted everyone to hear the music we had chosen. I remember him tugging at my arm, holding me back. Then I looked up and saw everyone with heads turned looking our way. Instead of blushing and looking away, I started to smile and greet everyone as I was walking past, after all these are your closest friends and family, its so special to have all of the people you love in your life, all in one room together. I was happy beyond belief, all of a sudden I was feeling as light as air, almost wafting down the aisle. I don’t really remember looking at my husband to be until I got by his side, I was so engrossed in my guests, saying hello to everyone.

Now guys, I can’t stress this enough… Look at the one you’re marrying and not the one who’s marrying you. I’ve been to so many weddings where the couples are so nervous they forget to look at each other. These vows are important, they’re life binding, and do you know what, its over in a flash so pay attention. I was so scared I was going to mess up my lines and say it all back to front. Don’t sweat it, honestly. How many of us have been to a ceremony where someone has fluffed up their turn to speak, or just not spoken at all! See it as giving your guests a little light entertainment prior to the big I do. Yes people will giggle but that’s a good thing, it breaks the tension. I remember holding hands with my husband and we were both just smiling at each other. We didn’t fluff our lines, we were actually quite good. Then before I knew it I had a ring on my finger and I said it… I DO! We hugged and kissed and it was done.

Another part you all may be nervous about is the signing of the register. I was nervous about spelling my own name wrong! Don’t be, you’re guided step by step, its fool proof. looking up at a room full of people almost shoving each other out of the way to get a good picture is also not as embarrassing as you think. By that point you’ve done what you thought was the hard bit and you’re just sat, chilled, soaking up what’s just happened. So smile and beam away.

My second big tip… once you’re up and out of that chair, ready to walk back up the aisle again, hold that bouquet of yours down. I’ve tutored so many brides where the best place is to hold the flowers… holding it in both hands with your forearms resting on your hips is the most comfortable, and natural place. What did I do… I had it all up in my face, waving it around. Be cool with your flowers, you wear them and not the other way around. I remember my photographer miming to me to lower my bouquet, which I guiltily did in a flash!

My overall summery of my wedding ceremony was… it was the best part of the day, honestly it was. Since having done it myself I’ve spoken with so many other people who felt the same way prior, and came away with it being the best moment of their life… My last top tip is… trust me, you’re going to love it!

Phoebe & Stephen… New Forest Summer Wedding

Phoebe will always be one of those brides that’s sticks out in my mind for many years to come. Her style was just that little bit different, she had the cutest little dress, and her flower choices were vibrant with eclectic styling, everything verged on the vintage side of things…

When I asked her why this dress, I smiled when so told me she chose diamonds over her dress! no brainer if you ask me… “I didn’t like the thought of spending lots of money on a dress as I love jewellery and Stephen agreed to buy me some diamond earrings if my dress wasn’t too much. I knew that I wanted a luxurious fabric such as pure silk and something timeless, sweet and simple. I think that something big and puffy wouldn’t have matched the simple wedding! I was looking online on Christmas eve and ordered this one for £200 on a whim. When it arrived my mum and I knew it was right so I never needed to go into a dress shop, I may have missed out on that experience but I did have a lot of fun choosing my veil and getting that embroidered with our initials and wedding date”.

What was your theme?…”I chose this theme as I think that people look prettiest surrounded by warm colours – I wanted sunset type colours as I think they are really flattering, with a splash of blue from my favourite, delphinium! The flower headband was the answer to my hair and veil issues and really went with my dress. I loved how my sister looked with hers on too. All of the foliage in the flowers was amazing and I loved that it was fragrant too (although the rosemary in my floral crown did prompt my Granny to say I smelt like a roast lamb). It also tied in with getting married in such a foresty, green place. I have always loved blue and white china and loved the contrast of the jugs and the flowers. There wasn’t really a theme for our wedding – just relaxed and simple but getting the flowers right was a huge priority as I knew they would bring the whole thing together!”

What was the most important thing to you?…”Flowers and photography were my absolute priorities! I was able to budget for other aspects but flowers make the photos look incredible and the photos are what lasts forever! I knew I wanted special flowers with lots of texture and someone who  was able to create the style in my mind without any fuss. I met with a couple of florists and felt disheartened but as soon as I found your website I knew I had to book you! I am so happy I did and seeing the back of your van on the morning of the wedding, when I was feeling so nervous, was just wonderful as they were such perfect flowers and I knew it would all fall into place.”

What was your favourite part of the day?…”I loved our ceremony! walking into the church I felt so much love coming from everyone there. The roof of the lovely old church that we were meant to get married in collapsed a few weeks before the wedding and so the other church was much bigger than we had planned for, I was so worried about this and the last minute changed gave me a bit of a wobble. However Clair’s flowers bought it all together, standing at the alter between the amazing flowers I felt very cosy in the big open church. Apart from actually getting married, my favourite part of the day was going off for a while with Stephen and the photographer for some portraits but also to relax and enjoy what we had just done. I also loved the ceilidh dance and looking around the room and seeing our families mixing and school friends dancing with newer friends, it was surreal and wonderful. I’d do it all again tomorrow!”

Photographer… Martin Beddall

Alisa & Daniels Barn Wedding, Berkshire…

Alisa is a wedding photographer, we became friends on Instagram, little did I realise she was stalking me to do her wedding flowers! I’ve got to admit, It’s always an honour when another wedding professional asks me to do their wedding flowers. You think to yourself, gosh I must be doing something right if they think i’m good enough!

Alisa and I chatted after the wedding, one of my burning questions was… what was it like being on the side of the camera?… To be honest I thought it was going to be really weird as I know all the little things I would say and do to make my couples feel relaxed! However I trusted Paul, he’s a great guys, and I just relaxed into it, letting him do his thing. He must have been a bit nervy too! Truthfully, after a while I forgot he was there, I was too busy enjoying the whole experience.

Why the dress?… I wanted something that was sleek with a wow factor and this dress ticked those boxes and more. It was so comfortable to walk in and I loved the detail around the neckline and the train was just stunning. I felt amazing in it and paired with the classic veil it was just perfect.

Why the venue?… Being a wedding photographer I wanted to find a venue that I hadn’t photographed so took to instagram… and that is where I came across Wasing Park. The venue is just stunning, from the grounds, the rooms, the staff and the general feel of the place. Our biggest priorities for a venue was food, onsite accommodation and a bar in the same room as the dance floor and Wasing ticked all of those boxes and more.

How did you choose your bridesmaids?… I am fortunate to have so many amazing friends in my life and if I could I would have had an army but I decided to have my sister Amelia, my two cousins Yazmin and Leyli and my oldest dearest friend Charlotte. I did however encourage my friends to wear a shade of green to compliment the colour scheme.

What did you love most about the flowers?… WOW… the flowers were just so incredible and I knew they would be amazing, but seeing them on the day it was like a dream come true. I love flowers and Clair delivered ten fold! I absolutely loved the textures, the shades of green and the sheer size of the centrepieces. My bouquet was UNBELIEVABLE, so beautiful, so wow and everything I could have ever wanted. I can’t stop looking at all the images!

Favourite part of the day?
I am not sure that I could say just one part of the day being my favourite but if I could pick two moments it would be during the ceremony when Daniel and I exchanged our own vows and the evening when we were all dancing and I looked around and every single person had the biggest smile on their faces. It really was the best day of my life and better than I could have ever imagined and hoped, I married my best friend and love of my life and I am still smiling about it now.

Clair….you are a legend and I cannot thank you enough for making my wedding look as stunning as it did alongside the epic team at Linen and Lace. It was a dream come true. Thank you so much. xx

Photographer… Paul Gregory

Wedding stylist… Linen & Lace

Top tips to planning your wedding flowers…

I’ve had many brides say to me during their consultation, their wedding flowers are ultimately the most important thing to them… Eek… no pressure! So planning is oh so very important. With so many varieties, themes and seemingly endless inspiration to choose from, it can quickly become overwhelming, so here’s some tips…

1. Inspiration…
I highly recommend a pinterest board… i’ll always ask a bride to provided one so I can get a real vibe for the day… You can pin and find endless sources of inspiration on pinterest and google searches… Most of you tend to have a pretty solid theme or look you’re interested in so be careful not to get side tracked and deviate from your original plan, I’ve seen many confusing mood boards! Once you’ve got a decent amount pined, edit down your preferences to focus on detail and finer touches.
2. flowers…
Don’t get yourself all stressed out thinking you now need to start learning Latin and memorising all the flowers names… I find it’s best to let your theme and the season choose your flowers for you… I usually ask couples if they have any ultimate favourite flowers they’d dearly love to be included, there’s always one or two. Then I tend to find out what kind of shapes and textures you like… some like the big blousy look with thousands of petals and layers, others prefer the dainty wildflower look… It’s then over to me to create mood boards and suggestions, based on your likes, making the whole process stress free!
3. Dresses…
Super important that your flowers complement your dress and bridesmaids dresses… even if you haven’t found your perfect dress yet, or started to look for bridesmaids dresses! Have a rough idea of the colours you’ll likely go for and potential style for yourself so I can highlight any colours or styles I think will clash… It’s not always the case though, I once had a bride who had the biggest patterned floral dress with sparkly all star pumps… she kept saying to me ‘Clair, I think my bouquet should all be one colour!’… I managed to convince her that mixing the colours picking out all the shades in her dress would look awesome… she put her faith in me and it looked totally amazing, she loved it.

4. Location
Your venue will always have a strong influence on choices and styles…Ideally, you want an element of fluidity running through your flowers and venue… I find a lot of couple really like to embrace nature and often want to bring the outside in going for wild natural looks with lots of textured foliage and complementing blooms… barn weddings are often nice to incorporate rustic elements such as milk churns, bricks, and rustic wooden crates… you might think ‘brick!’… picture those beautiful old dusty type bricks with a half melted chunky pillar candle.. This kind of simple styling looks very cool and really embraces a vibe.

5. Budget
Budgets are all to often a taboo, I find it so difficult to advise my couples when they haven’t decided on what they can afford… My job is interpret your dreams and visions for the day alongside your budget, offering suitable suggestions that fit within… I strongly advise you have a rough idea… understandably, most of you haven’t a clue about the cost of floral designs, however you’ll find most florist will have a basic price list on their website, I’d check as many of these out as possible and figure out a budget from here. If you’re still not sure let you florist know what you consider to be a lot of money, what you don’t want is your florist making lots of suggestions that are going to be unsuitable.

So then guys, I hope you’ve found this helpful and are now fully armed with all the info you’ll need to start planning your wedding flowers, your florist will love you if you’re this organised. If any of you have any questions, hop on over to the contact page and ping me an email… Good luck x

Very responsive and flexible

Clair is extremely passionate about what she does, which is highly infectious... She knows her craft and is very responsive and flexible to additional ideas... Everyone commented that they were the most stunning wedding flowers they'd ever seen!

An excellent creator of floral masterpieces

Clair instinctively knew what flowers to use based upon my brief... She is calm, relaxed, professional and discrete... An excellent creator of floral masterpieces which brought tears of joy to my eyes.

Exactly what every bride needs

Clair is knowledgeable & friendly which is exactly what every bride needs. Her work looks like it's out of an East London photoshoot with oodles of style... All of my bridesmaids want Clair to be there florist. She is exceptional!