We have a great treat for you today, as Wedding Florist in France Lisa Gatenby of French Flower Style, shares with us the process and exactly what goes into the wedding flowers for a destination wedding in France.
It is super interesting to read about and we had no idea that flowers were conditioned. If you are currently looking for a wedding florist of planning your wedding flowers for your wedding over in France, today’s post is a MUST read!
Lisa: “I am a wedding and event florist , I don’t have a shop, I work from a studio at home designing and creating floral displays for couples marrying in France during the “wedding season” from May through to October. The hours are long , the work is physically challenging but I get to travel around beautiful South west France , visiting the most stunning Venues and working with gorgeous flowers…… I wouldn’t swap it for the world!
I wanted to share with you the process of planning the flowers for a typical wedding in France.
Working as a wedding Florist in South west France is completely different to my work as a florist in the UK, the main differences are the weather and the long distances I have to travel, both of these can be very challenging and I have had to change the way I work to accommodate them. It generally means that a lot of work has to be finished on site to ensure that it lasts in the hot french sun , there’s nothing like a touch of stress and a hit of adrenaline to get you through a wedding set up.
Before I even get to touch a flower there is lots of preparation which usually start the year before the wedding date . Meetings, site visits, proposals, quotes , sourcing containers, revisions and then more revisions. Then the planning of the flowers for each and every arrangement, this is the difficult part. Trying to visualise each design , making sure that it fits within the client’s brief and fits within the style of the wedding and then deciding how many of each flower is required for each arrangement , ensuring that each design comes in on budget. I spend on average 8 hours on admin alone for each wedding , so times that by a season’s worth of weddings and that’s a lot of time spent at the computer.
Image by Caught the Light
As the wedding date gets nearer (usually about 1 month before the wedding) I contact the client and finalise the table numbers , and make any necessary changes to the order and also discuss and plan my delivery schedule. It’s at this point that I place my flower order with my supplier.
Most of the flowers I use come via Alsmeer , the world’s largest Flower Auction. Here, you can find almost any variety of flowers from across the world trundling around on huge trolleys. Flowers arrive day and night from far flung places such as Africa, Asia and South America and even from nearer home here in Europe. I always try to use locally grown flowers where I can. The French grow some beautiful blooms, their Peonies, Roses and Lisianthus are always stunning at the height of their season.
Image by Tracy Hunter
Usually three or four days before the event, after a long trip via Road , the flowers for my wedding arrive in my suppliers . This is where the real work begins. I collect and load all of the beautiful blooms into my van, and get them home as fast as possible. Then every flower is conditioned. This means that the flowers are unpacked , the stems are stripped, the ends are cut and they are placed in fresh water. This can be a big job as it’s not uncommon for me to have 1000 plus stems per wedding.
The days before the wedding are spent trying to ensure that the right flowers open the right amount at the right time. Peonies are usually the flower that gives me the most trouble , they are either very stubborn about opening or ping open the minute they hit the water, I have had many a sleepless night worrying about the state of my peonies. Another job which is done a few days before the big day is cleaning / painting / preparing all of the containers , candles, vases that are required for the wedding. Everything needs to be spotless and ready for the flowers.
I usually start the flowers for a wedding 1 or 2 days before the event, depending on the size of the order. I have to create a carefully planned out time schedule, to ensure that I have made enough time to create all of the designs. It’s usually a very tight schedule , so I have to make sure that I have no distractions and that everything around me is organised and ready , so that I can work in the most efficient way possible. I often work very late into the night and am then up very early the next morning finishing of some last minute items.
Image by Caught the Light
Then, early the morning of the wedding everything is loaded onto the van , and we set off to the venue. This is the fun bit , the moment I get to see my designs in the very place they were created to fit. The first job of the day is to see the bride, which is for me the best part of my day . I always have butterflies in my stomach until I hand over the bouquet and she is happy . It’s the best feeling when I have a very happy Bride and I know I have understood what she wanted and have created a bouquet she loves.
Image by Gianluca and Mary Adevasio
Once the Bridal party have their flowers there’s always a flurry of activity with arches, urns and aisle flowers, gorgeous tablescapes of floral arrangements and candles all put into their place. Ready and waiting the guests. Then it’s time to hop into the van and travel home to put my feet up with a nice glass of red.”
Image by Firehorse Photography
Lisa and French Flower Style are available to assist with your wedding flowers throughout the South West of France. To find out more head to French Flower Style website or contact Lisa directly.
Top Image by Peaches and Mint