Wedding Flower Designs : A Case Study
The purpose of this piece is to show you how a top wedding florist arrives at the final wedding flower designs. By going through the process in stages we will show you how we make decisions on where to focus the budget and where to ‘cut back’, if required.
Taking a wedding we did in Summer 2015 we can explain how the final wedding flower designs fell into place. The flower budget was around £1000 but with flowers for a large church and country house reception, it required a few ‘chops & changes’ to get what the bride wanted within budget. In an ideal world budgets would be unlimited and every design would be the ‘fairy tale’ wedding all brides dream of…but Hey…this is reality and throughout the planning process difficult decisions have to be made. Our job is to squeeze the maximum ‘wow’ from the budget we are given.
So, onto the wedding in question…..
The ceremony took place at St Bonaventure’s church in Bristol. This posed the usual problems of making a floral impact in a vast empty space. The church has a very wide alter which posed an issue as it would require a particularly large floral design to command attention in the space. While achieving this we had to keep a mindful eye on the overall budget.
The reception was at Berwick Lodge an impressive Estate House and popular wedding venue, set in beautiful private grounds on the northern outskirts of Bristol. The interiors and décor are stunning and naturally lend themselves to elegant, traditional wedding flower designs. And just as a quick aside to any brides looking for a venue… the bridal suites are ‘To die for’….
The Inspiration for the Wedding Flower Designs
At times the design stage can be a long drawn out process with many changes from the first meeting to the final design. In this case the bride had seen one image on our site that she fell in love with. She loved the flower varieties and the colours and asked Claire to produce a whole wedding flower design based on the ingredients in the picture below. From this point, right up to the wedding day, she stepped back and let The Wilde Bunch create.
So with Claire given a free rein how did she turn the ideas in this picture into a complete wedding design within the budget?
The Church Wedding Flower Designs
The size of the church cried out for a ‘statement’ piece. In this instance the width of the alter really required two pieces to properly frame the ceremony and make an impact. This would take a fair ‘bite’ from the budget so it was essential the statement pieces could be used, with equal impact, back at Berwick Lodge . All brides should carefully consider any opportunities to get repeated use from designs to get the maximum from their allotted budget.
The classic Wilde Bunch statement pieces are Crate stacks, feature garlands or a plinth and urn. Crate stacks lend themselves to traditional, rural churches. In this instance St Bonaventure’s is a modern church in an urban location. Most importantly we had to make the statement pieces work with the theme at Berwick Lodge. Everything was pointing to traditional themes at Berwick, so we decided on two traditional plinths for the church.
Having made the focal point for the ceremony a decision had to be made about further church flowers. The width of the church meant window flowers would be so far on the peripheries they risked going unnoticed unless a huge budget was thrown at them. Working to the set budget we decided this was a waste of valuable resources that could be better used back at Berwick Lodge.
The bride decorated the pew ends herself, so for us the wedding flower designs at the church were complete and within budget.
Berwick Lodge Wedding Flower Designs
So, we had two fabulous plinths to bring back as the focal ‘wows’ in the dining room. These were designed with the interiors of Berwick Lodge and the overall wedding theme in mind. As stand alone pieces in the church any design would have worked so it was important to focus the designs on the table centres and the interior décor back at the reception.
With stunning white fluted pillars on the internal doors and elegant, white drape curtains it had to be white fluted urns. In their new surrounds the majority of guests never realise they are the same designs they saw in the church….a double whammy for the budget!!
Now, returning to the candelabra that inspired this whole design we’d already matched the colour palate but we didn’t have candelabra. Candelabra designs on all ten tables would have finished the whole design to perfection but they would have blown the budget ‘out of the water’. So, what to do….
Taking a plinth out of the church design wouldn’t fill that huge space and would look ‘unbalanced’ and we would loose a big ‘wow’ back at Berwick Lodge. So a compromise was called for. We decided on a mix of candelabra and simpler table designs in silver pots using the main ingredients and colours of the theme. This allocation of the budget even left a little over which we put to use with an additional surprise ‘statement’ piece. We used a black iron Torchere standing at around five foot and a perfect accompaniment to the black iron candelabra. This had the same design as the candelabra, but double the dimensions, and pride of place by the lectern where the speeches were delivered.
These are the kind of decisions many brides will have to confront when planning their own wedding flower designs. How to maximise the designs but keep within a budget. Elsewhere on the site we’ve dedicated a whole article to give advice on this difficult subject. In one sentence it’s all about setting ‘flower’ priorities. Usually our advice is to give priority to the table centres. But, in this instance that church alter was just too wide for one design. We justified our decision by the impact created by the two plinths on entering the dining hall. They framed the room to perfection and looked spectacular in their grande setting.
We’ve cheated here because the groom on this wedding really didn’t want buttonhole’s so we didn’t make any specific to the design.
So skipping through our back catalogue of photo’s here are a couple that use elements from the bride’s bouquet and with a few minor adjustments would have been suitable in the overall wedding flower designs.
The Bridal Flowers
It’s not always necessary to follow the wedding theme with bouquets as some brides like to go off on a tangent and there’s nothing wrong with that. In this instance the bride loved that one design so much we had to reproduce something similar for her bouquet.
At silly o’clock on that busy Summer morning with the rest of The Wilde Bunch team rushing around, putting the finishing touches on the day’s wedding work, there was a magical moment when Claire stepped forward with this bouquet. The smile on her face said it all….it was something a bit special, a ‘proper stunner’ and is sure to become a Wilde Bunch ‘classic’. A beautifully balanced colour palate, a host of ingredients giving a real depth of textures and….Oh so wild….Oh so Wilde Bunch!!
- Read our article on setting floral priorities and make sure you know in advance where cuts could be made if the figures start to stray over budget. We’re here to advise our brides on this.
- Be positive and axe one element of the design altogether rather than hacking bits from everywhere. It’s better to have three fabulous elements to a theme than stretching it to four that are all thin on ingredients and mediocre as a result.
- Work closely with your florist as most floral ingredients have a very similar, but less expensive, alternative that could cut the cost and save the whole design.
- And the main advice to ensure your wedding flower designs are the best possible is…..listen to your florist…it’s their job to know what works and what doesn’t. If they are being reticent about the inclusion of certain ‘favourite’ flowers in a design it’s probably because they already know from experience, it’s not going to work!!
- And finally, in terms of The Wilde Bunch, if you can take that ‘Leap of Faith’ and just leave it all to Claire, you too can…’Expect the Unexpected….Something beyond your Wildest Dreams’