Field Notes / Deciding on Wedding Florals
Whether they be hand foraged, carefully sought or a commissioned wedding florals incarnate a beautiful and fleeting expression of one self. An expression that goes in hand with all the vulnerability, anticipation and magic of that significant day. It’s rare a poise might simply be a handful of roses nowadays. Instead botanical art seems a more apt description of arrangements that are being walked down the aisle. Of course amongst all those decisions to be made the overwhelm at orchestrating foliage and flowers can be rather potent and so to assist; Gold Coast based potter, stylist and floristry maven Cindy Hamrey from Nest & Nettle shares her wisdom for deciding on wedding florals.
Choose flowers seasonally
Just the same as any other living harvest florals have their seasons. Very few are available year round and so depending on your date certain stems mightn't be in bloom. With this in mind the best place to seek advice is your local flower market or florist. They'll have the best ideas for seasonality and availability at any given time. I also like to enquire about species that are grown locally rather than those that might've been transported great distances. It's always prefer to support growers that are a part of your local community.
Flowers live and breath
There are all manner of old wives tales about prolonging the life foliage and florals. Unfortunately they suffer the effects of many factors including sunlight, water quality, ambient temperature and weather conditions so it becomes very difficult to offer general advice. Personally I prefer clean filtered water with nothing else. This should be changed daily and the stems trimmed regularly. If you can it is also wise to keep your florals in a cool well ventilated area. Though I would caution about refrigerating them; residential fridges don't maintain the same conditions as professional floristry refrigeration and they can lend certain species to discolouration and wilting.
Common mistakes to avoid
With the prevalence of social media and the endless inspiration it affords; it can sometimes give rise to unrealistic expectations. There are a lot of beautiful European and American florals online that can be hard to come by or are very expensive in your local area. I think it better to seek inspiration for the tones and colours that you prefer rather than to become fixated on specific species. You'll avoid disappointment and also start to narrow your sense of style that a florist might then help you to develop.
Foraging / markets / florists
I love to use foraging as my base and combine it with feature elements from the market. We're blessed on the Gold Coast to be surrounded by evergreen foliage and so we ought to take full advantage. If you are foraging in your local area though it is always best to make yourself known to whomever might own the greenery and especially if you wish to collect from a private garden. It is also important to keep in mind that some natural foliage isn't suitable for cut stems; they simply don't survive. It's best to test with a few cutting in advance to be sure that they'll stand up as part of an arrangement.
Going at it alone
My strongest piece of advice for anyone wishing to assemble their own floristry is never do so on the day of your wedding. Time naturally runs away from you and it will add undue stress to your preparations. One idea is to have a gathering the day before with your closest friends and make an occasion of the florals. It will make the experience far more enjoyable and give you space to be creative. Native and natural stems are always preferable if you take the self made route. Likewise it's always a good idea to practise beforehand so that you have a clear vision of the work involved. In the end if you do decide to seek professional work be prepared to pay well. As with most creative industries a lot of undercutting exists; though the best is always worth extra investment.