Georgina & Dan… Smedmore House… Purbecks…

This week Georgina tell’s me all about her holidays in the beautiful Purbeck countryside, being proposed to on Swanage beach, and planning their dream wedding with coastal views…

I’m oh so very lucky to be a wedding florist in such a stunning location… Most people think, poor you, having to get up so early every weekend to set up couples wedding flowers… Are you kidding! Early rising in the summer months is bliss… the sun is out, the birds are tweeting, there’s no traffic and I have the roads to myself, flying along with the windows down and the wind in my hair! The South coast has some of the best scenery, best country side and best wedding venues, and I get to see it all… A Purbeck wedding, is the perfect wedding!

Why did you choose Smedmore House as your wedding venue… Dan & I have always loved Swanage and holiday there 3 or 4 times a year at his parents holiday home. After the Swanage proposal there was no other option apart from a Perbeck wedding! We wanted a venue by the sea and after the first visit we knew Smedmore was the one. The drive into Kimmeridge village alone is idyllic with stunning views of the bay below… to Access this side of the Purbecks you need to climb a steep winding road which opens up to panoramic views of the coast… then you wind back down towards Smedmore house which is tucked away amongst a few hills, and again, with views of the see. With Smedmore you get to hire the whole place for the weekend, it’s great as all your family and close friends can stay all under one roof…

Tell me about your dress buying journey… Buying the dress was super easy, I knew I wanted a Boho look, something that was comfortable and chic, and super easy to wear…I’d found ‘Rembo’ Styling and knew this was the designer for me… I  tried on a couple of styles then went away to sleep on it… off the cuff, one day after work, I went in on my own, picked one and it was purchased in 10 minutes! For my bridesmaids I knew l wanted something summery & vibrant, something to compliment my vision of wild vibrant flowers…  I stumbled across the ‘last one on the rack’ and found these beautiful coral dresses… Coral literally goes with every colour, so that was that, stress free, decision made, boho dresses were sorted!

How excited were you about the flowers… So flowers were one of the most important things on my list…when I came to thinking about this I was so excited!!! I wanted bright, bold and wild!! And that’s what I got. After looking on your website and instagram, your style was just what I was after… I was able to get some real inspiration, and start to visualise how everything would look… you created the perfect wild flower combination for my bouquet… and the marquee was the wild flower statement we’d been dreaming of… The floral chandeliers were the main feature and brought our sailcloth tent to life…  

What was the best part of the days… Speeches, they made me laugh and cry… photos at Kimmeridge Bay with just me and Dan, and dancing the night away under your beautiful flowers!
I want you to know just how grateful we are for your hard work, putting together the most wonderful summer flowers we could of ask for. Not to mention the flower crown which was awesome!! We have had so many great comments from guests about the flowers, saying they were the most beautiful they’ve ever seen!

Venue… Smedmore House

Images… Courtenay Photography

Sail Cloth Tent … Coastal Tents

Sian & Martyn… Burley Manor

This weeks blog is all about the midlands girl who fell in love with the forest…

Sian and Martyn took the plunge and moved down south from the midlands last year, I know how nerve wracking this can be being a northern girl myself. However neither these guys or myself have ever looked back, embracing all what beautiful Dorset has to offer… I asked Sian why she chose Burley Manor, and this is what she had to say… It was a must for me to get married in the New Forest… when I moved to the South from the Midlands and drove into the forest for the first time it quite literally took my breath away. I wanted all my friends and family from home to experience this, feel the same way I did and be wowed by the Dorset country side. It was a no brainer for me… when Martyn and I drove down the drive to Burley Manor and saw the beautiful house set in fields of deer, I just knew this had to be the place! 

Once I’d booked the venue of my dreams, the next thing on my list was “The Dress”… my dress buying journey was fairly easy, although I did watch a fair few episodes of “say yes to the dress UK!!”… I’d had my eye on a beautiful little boutique in Leamington Spa called Tilly Trotters, I tried on a few, all different styles just be sure, but I new in the back of my mind I wanted something classic. When I came out of the dressing room to show my best friend she cried, and she isn’t a crier, so that sealed the deal! 

The next priority was my florist and stylists… I’d already found Linen and Lace on instagram and fallen in love with their styling… you popped up on their feed and your work was exactly the style I’d been pinning on Pinterest, so I hurried to book an appointment with you both… not only was your work what I wanted, you were very communicative, which is very important to me. I knew as soon as we started emailing, and your response to my ideas, that you were the florist for us. your attention to detail throughout was fantastic.

Yes, I am huge Pinterest  fan… I used it to help build ideas for the wedding, and it really helped with flower inspiration. There were two things I just had to have… I love peonies, these were a must. I also love red lipstick, I wouldn’t feel me without my red lips! so this vibrant colour also had to feature in the wedding… the boys had cherry red ties and you created a wonderful floral pallet of sunset oranges, pops of red and aubergine,  mixed with my favourite foliage, eucalyptus.

My favourite part of the day was without a doubt the ceremony. Seeing my friends and family all happy for us, and of course seeing Martyn at the end of the aisle… The flowers and the styling, it was far more than i’d ever pictured in my head and made the ceremony room feel cosy… The wedding ceremony itself, although very relaxed, was emotional, upbeat and funny, it was amazing!! I love looking back through the images, reliving the moment with a smile. 

Walking into the reception room ahead of all my guests was pretty wow too, all those candles twinkling across the room was just so magical, the flowers brought everything together… I loved it all!

Images by – Hayley Savage photography

Styling by – Linen & Lace

Venue – Burley Manor


How much do wedding flowers cost…

How much do wedding flowers cost? What is the average spend for wedding flowers? How do I know if my budget is enough?
These are all questions prospective brides will be asking themselves. Understandably most people don’t know about the cost of such things, budgeting for all aspects of a wedding can quite quickly become overwhelming, so I’ve written a guide to help you all plan…

First thing’s first, write a wish list prioritising what are the absolute musts and things you simply have to have. These are usually…
Bridal bouquet – bridesmaids bouquets – buttonholes and table centrepieces.
Then if budget allows…
Ceremony flowers – extra venue flowers at entrances, chill out areas and outside areas – candle light styling – cake flowers and thank you bouquets.
If you have a large budget you can start to think about all the extras such as…
Venue styling – gift table flowers and table plan flowers – lighting and prop hire – hanging floral installations – tree hire – throw away bouquet and so on…
Once you’ve done this I’d browse the internet looking for wedding florists in your local area and check out the price lists on their website to give you an idea of how much all of the items on your wish list will cost… Most florist will have a basic price list for such things, however bespoke items or unusual requests are always hard to give an average price for, so allow for this in your planning.  Below is the price list from my website to give you an idea…
Bridal bouquet from… £100.00
Bridesmaid bouquet from…£70.00
Flower girl bouquet/hoop from…£40.00
Buttonhole/Lapel corsage from…£7.50
Wrist Corsage from…£20.00
Floral Crowns from… three quarter/full…£35.00/50.00
Floral jam jars from…£25.00
Cake flowers from…£45.00
Thank you bouquet from…£60.00
Short table centrepiece from…125.00
Medium tall table centrepiece from…£175.00
Large tall table centrepiece from…£250.00
Milk churn arrangement from…£200.00
Large urn/pedestal arrangement from…£250.00
Birch wood arch… Foliage/Flower from…£400.00/£600.00
Moon gate… Foliage/Flower from…£600.00/£1000.00
Floral Columns… Foliage/Flower from…£400.00/£600.00
Floral swings… Foliage/Flower from…£400.00/£600.00
Chandeliers… Foliage/flower from….£400.00/£600.00

So using your checklist add up all the items, starting with your must haves and see how much this comes to… If you’re surprised that the amount is less than you thought, then fantastic, skip over to your other lists and start prioritising, adding elements you know you can afford…

To give you an idea of one of my clients average spend, here’s a basic check lists with costs…
Bridal bouquet – £100
4 x bridesmaids bouquets – £280.00
8 x buttonholes (groom, best man, 4 ushers, 2 dads) £45
10 x table centrepieces at an average spend of £175.00 – £1750
Set up and delivery – average £250.00
Collection of hired items the following day – average £100.00
Total – £2525.00

A top tip of mine… if you want wow factor table centrepieces and don’t quite have the budget… go for 3-4 show stoppers, creating that ultimate statement look, then choose smaller cheaper arrangements for all the other tables, or perhaps just an eclectic mass candlesticks and tea lights, this always looks really cool. It’s a great cost effective way to get the look you’re after, without spending your entire life savings… Another top tip is to use all of the table centrepieces for your ceremony flowers first. This really makes the most of every penny you spend, and there’s no going with out or compromise!

One thing you’ll find when you’re scouring the internet, is that florists price lists will vary from one to another… now this isn’t simply because one florist will charge more for an item than the other, look closely at the designs on their website, how luxurious are they? how big are they? flower content? foliage content? and please don’t think that by using lots of foliage items will inevitably be cheaper, this is not the case, foliage can be very expensive and you’d be surprised how much goes into each design. You’ll find that cheaper florists will use less flowers and foliage, lower grade/basic range flowers, and perhaps even smaller designs.

I recommend using Pinterest as a source of inspiration too,  find a florist you like with prices within your reach, then start the wonderful journey of choosing and designing your wedding flowers with a florist you connect with and trust.

Happy wedding planning guys!

Ally & Jo…. Sopley Mill garden inspired wedding…

Ally & Jo had the most relaxed wedding at Sopley Mill a few weeks back… They went for this uber rustic, natural vibe, with textures, plants and a home grown flower feel… I chatted with Ally about her dress buying struggle, wedding planning, and their big day…

Tell me about your dress buying journey? – I always imagined my Mum would make my wedding dress, having made her own, plus several cousins and friends over the years. I imagined fabric shopping and designing my dress together. Unfortunately after loosing my mum three years ago, this couldn’t happen. So looking for the ‘perfect’ dress seemed like a daunting and impossible task. I didn’t know what what would suit me. I decided to go it alone, thinking if mum can’t do this with me then no one else will match up to the task. I started looking online for ideas, not sure what I’d end up with. After several Pinterest albums and a few designers I liked the look of, I looked for a stockist locally that had the designers I liked . I went with open eyes and tried some on. These dresses didn’t feel quite right. After a few dress shops and about 10 dresses, I decided to give it a rest for a while. I then came across Minster Brides and went to see them in November 2018. As soon as I started trying on the dresses in there, I just knew I’d find a dress that I’d love and that my Mum would have too. I narrowed it down to 2 dresses there, I loved them both. I admired the detail, felt the fabric and they both looked as close to perfect as I could imagine. I knew I couldn’t make the decision between them on my own. I wanted someone to share this moment with me after all. So I called upon my maid of honour, Naomi. We went back to Minster Brides two weeks later and I tried them both on for her. I knew it would be a special moment and it really was. As soon as she saw me in ‘The’ dress, she cried. We knew it would be that one! Everything about the dress was ‘Me’. The details, the fit, the design, the colour…EVERYTHING! I didn’t want to take it off. I felt the same on my wedding day.

How important were the flowers to you? – Flowers were always going to be important to us. Both sides of my family are keen gardeners and we all appreciate flowers and nature. Jo and I are from the countryside, surrounded by nature, natural and raw were how we wanted it. We didn’t want any colour as such,  just simple, raw and natural…nothing formal, we wanted texture combined with wild simplicity!

How did you choose your wedding flower theme and florist? – I searched for local florists and had several Pinterest ideas for flowers. I had come across Clair and when I saw her work, I knew straight away it was meant to be! When we spoke on the phone, Clair just got it and I had complete faith she would deliver exactly what we imagined. Freesias needed to play a part in our wedding flowers, these were my mums favourite flowers and are now mine. I grow them in my garden every year in her memory, the scent makes me think of her and how lucky I was to have a mother like her. We wanted them nestled amongst a variety of other flowers to create that raw, natural, country feel. We also then found out that Jo’s dads favourite flowers were freesias and roses… guess what… theses also featured in our flowers. Perfect!

Tell me about choosing your venue? – As we are both from the countryside, we knew we wanted a wedding that was at a venue with outdoor space and lots of open areas, with no other buildings around it. We didn’t have a particular place in mind, so being so lucky to live in Southbourne, so near to the new forest and so many other open spaces we started looking for ideas online. We started with a few places in the New Forest. We went to Sopley Mill, it was our first venue viewing. We both loved it. Everything about it and could imagine ourselves, family and friends there. We didn’t want to rule out anywhere else, so we visited three more venues. But Sopley Mill had already captured our hearts and we started planning the day in our heads. It was a joy, simple and easy and the beauty of it is that you can choose everything yourself so you are not tied to any particular supplier. It meant we could use all our own ideas and make it a wedding with lots of touches that were personal to us.

What was your favourite part of the day? – Too many favourite parts. Seeing my Dad and hearing him tell me how beautiful I looked when he first saw me in my dress and ready to marry Jo, the tears in his eyes as we looked at each other, the proudness I felt from him. The moment I saw Jo as I walked down the aisle, as he turned and we caught each others eye. The moment my dad gave me away, how my heart filled up as the two most important men in my life stood either side of me, safe in the knowledge that these two men love each other too, they are pals, friends, buddies and that in itself is enough for me to know that Jo is welcome in our family and that he loves my dad as I do. Seeing all the hard work over the past 12 months all come together, in perfect harmony. Each and every touch was perfect and the wedding had ‘Ally & Jo’ all over it. The freesias, the music, the honey, the seeds… the hidden touches, that were there for our missed loved ones.

Images by – White Chalet Studio

Georgina and Michael’s tea party wedding at Sopley Mill…

Dress buying story is a goodun actually! So I was showing Michael some fishtail/mermaid style wedding dresses on Pinterest and he said he didn’t really like them. So I asked him to show me a dress that he liked or what he could imagine me in… so he found a dress, Maggie Sottero named Deidre and I loved it. I did a bit of research and thought that being on Pinterest it’s probably American. Anyways it turned out to be in the bridal shop 10 min walk from our house in Hitchin!!! So I went and tried it on and instantly I knew it was the one. He never knew… however when I asked if he recognised it after the ceremony he didn’t have a clue hahaha. I mean it was 2 years before the wedding that he showed it to me so I let him off.

To be completely honest we were on a budget for flowers. At first we wanted to be able to grow our own wild flowers and use them for the wedding to save money, however the season wasn’t correct and we lived in a flat at this point with no garden! So we met with a different florist and I gave a brief about wanting wild flowers, boho theme etc.. but when they showed me the ideas it was all too pristine and perfect? I wanted more WILD. So then luckily I met you! Saw your amazing work on Instagram.
Clair you completely changed my perception of how important the flowers were. The ideas that you gave us, the colours, the flowers, the arrangements were all perfect. The flowers then became the main focus of the wedding …. I chose my bridesmaid dress colours to match the colours of the bouquet. The orange bow ties were to match the ranunculus. (Hence why they were so important to me! Haha)
We did still have some of our own picked flowers on the day.. the year before myself and the bridesmaids went lavender picking. I dried them out and put them in jars around the venue and used them in the chair sashes down the aisle.
I even went to a Jo Malone shop to get a personalised scent for the wedding day so that every time I smelt it, it would remind me of the wedding day. My scents were wild flowers too being ‘wild bluebell’ and ‘honeysuckle and davana’.
Even our cake had multicoloured edible petals on it…. So thanks to you Clair the wedding revolved around your beautiful flower design.

Our wedding was definitely a Pinterest wedding. We did all the decor ourselves, making little drink me bottle favours and eat me flags. (I have a slight obsession with Alice and wonderland). Made hangers for the bridesmaid dresses etc..

Sopley was the first venue we viewed, having travelled 2.5 hours for a day of wedding venue viewing. Michael wasn’t keen on it when I showed him online but as soon as we got in the car after the viewing he said “cancel the rest of the viewings”. We did end up visiting one more but our hearts were already set on Sopley.. how can you not fall in love with it. It also fitted in really nicely with the fact we wanted to do all of the decor and designing ourselves as were hiring the venue itself.

The weather could have been better… for some reason I attract storms. So when me and my maid of honour came to Dorset for my hair and make up trial last November. Storm Deirdre happened which was the exact same name as my dress!!! Creepy. Then during our engagement photo shoot we had a hail storm so it got cut short… then the same bloody thing happened during the group shot of our wedding didn’t it… HAIL AGAIN!!? there’s a pic of the bridesmaids holding something over me to keep me dry.. we had to all leg it in the mill which was a laugh.. then we managed to get the picture again later with every single guest in which is special.

Gosh the day just went so so quickly. Favourite part is a tricky one. I did like the afternoon tea a lot because I was sat in the corner of the room and looked at everyone feeling so appreciative that all these people had travelled to Dorset for us. We had family come from New Zealand and Greece! I felt so blessed. But probably our all time favourite bit was the evening as Michael had booked a band as a surprise! He sold a load of his DJ equipment to fund it which was ever so sweet of him. I’ve never seen him dance to much in the 11 years of us being together haha.

Images by – Margesson Photography

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!

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.

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!