Question: How do we use English flowers in weddings?

Answer: Don't

What? I hear you cry? Isn't that what you all about?, haven't you just filled the shop with Locally grown outdoor delphiniums?

Yes, but when it comes to weddings be very careful.

I get a lot of wedding enquiries, it is a big part of what we do, so that is a good thing. Of these brides many say that they want to use English, Seasonal flowers.

Then they say that they want a colour scheme of whites and greens and that they want roses, and they are getting married in November.

You can see from the above pictures, that a palette of white and green, is something a little difficult to achieve, white is grown but as much as colour ,growers are still of the belief that everybody wants something bright and colourful and mixed, it's a historical thing. As for roses? Well yes fancy people grow those, for a limited time only, the rest of the time your beloved English roses are coming in from Africa, and Ecuador...read the small print.

Winter is also a tricky time, there ain't no flowers.

We do weddings with English flowers, i use them a lot, it has taken years to learn what i will and will not be able to get, and then we have a winter like we had and everything is 2 weeks behind...

Or to discover that somebody has sold their entire field to a supermarket, good on them, a guaranteed customer is something to be courted, why not cash in on the supermarkets current fad of being able to stick the Union Jack on everything. It is a little annoying if you thought you could use them for a wedding though.

Then there is distribution, I can order flowers from Holland, and have them in my shop 18 hours later, the same cannot be said for English flowers, there is no central warehouse sending out boxes to flower shops.

English flowers for the wedding florist are a luxury, there are no guarantees, and managing a brides expectations is a huge part of what we do. When you get one that understands it is a joy.

After all that, use them, you can't beat them, but arm yourself with gin, they certainly aren't the easy option.


Jane said...

I had looked at using UK grown flowers but found them really tricksy & with roses apt to be substituted with Kenyan grown with 2 days notice.
That is why I decided to be ridiculously hardcore in only using flowers from my cutting garden- hence I do few weddings, I only choose to work with particular couples, and it is only a small part of a bigger business.
I think it is important to be honest & to explain why you chose to do. Certainly I am not in favour of many of the UK greenhouse grown flowers that are stuffed into gaudy bunches for a union jack provenence.
J x

Miss Pickering said...

I admire your hardcore ways, you are the only person i know of who does it.

I however am in favour of the union jack bunches, growers need scale to suceed, and the supermarkets however much we agree with their marketing or ethics provide an income for a lot of flower growers that would otherwise not suceed. Selling 50 stems here or there to florists does not a business make.

I will email you in the week about something i have in mind.

If you son't get swept away before then...

Sarah said...

This issue has been on my mind a lot recently. I'm doing the wedding flowers for a friend very soon. She wants them to be very relaxed and informal, as much british / home grown as possible and she isn't a colour-scheme sort of bride. So that should work shouldn't it?

At home I have plenty of dahlias and annuals to pick (I'm a Sarah Raven disciple) But I fear my currently blooming roses will have faded by then and really would like to order 50 stems of english grown roses. This seems to be incredibly difficult as an amateur (perhaps you would have better contacts - i just have google!). I have decided to take a trip to the wholesalers and place my order for airfreighted flowers.

So what we need is some sort of centralised, british flower trading, web based thing? I'd use it!

PS. Am new to reading your blog but LOVE it and have almost finished reading it all the way back to 2008. Thankyou for all the loveliness!

Becca said...

As a non professional, interest only which stemmed from a 'my something new per month' back in November, hopefully one day a Miss P bride, type of person I'm realistic in what I can expect. I'd never use a florist I didn't trust so would put my faith in our Miss P to provide me with flowers from a supplier she trusted, wherever they be based.

And I'd bring cake

Jane said...

Back now! - Should have qualified my Union Jack comment by saying that there seem to be a lot of unseasonal flowers - chrysanths in May - padding out the seasonal bunches in the supermarkets now; I know that they are easy to grow all year in greenhouses but, to me, they spoil the whole bunch.
Obv. properly seasonal UK grown flowers - bring them on.
J x