Let me start this piece with a huge apology. One of my favourite people in this industry, the ever helpful and kind Tracey Campbell took the time to send me this piece and, with the events of the last few weeks, I let it sit unpublished when it deserves to be read! Having realised my error this morning, I decided to make it an immediate priority and give it the attention it deserves! So here it is, the latest instalment of Florist’s Corner. Ever wanted to go to a wedding fayre but had no idea what to ask suppliers? Tracey gives us the lowdown on the most important questions to ask a florist at a wedding fayre! Over to Tracey:
Photography credits in this post: Rees Adams and Alison Fawcett respectively. Photos are of Tracey’s work
Wedding fayres are increasingly popular as a way of giving a bride the chance to look over a venue and meet a number of suppliers in one convenient space. However, they can be a bit hectic, and for those who have never been to one before, a little daunting. I recently had a stand at a wedding fayre and couldn’t help noticing that quite a number of brides were a little shy in coming forward and chatting about flowers, so I thought it might be helpful to offer some tips and advice about what to expect and ask to get the most out of your visit.
Most florists will do their best to ‘put on a show’ to try and give you some idea of what they can do. They will spend a good deal of time planning what they will make and will order carefully chosen, interesting, beautiful flower materials to work with. Designing and making up will take a good part of the day before, with an early start on the actual day to finish off and check over designs. A good florist will showcase examples of a full range of their wedding work and will typically include the following:
♥ A large, creative, often technically demanding showpiece such as a candelabra, pedestal arrangement or focal table decoration.
♥ Several Bridal bouquets, usually in different styles such as hand tieds, shower bouquets, waterfall bouquets or structured bouquets.
♥ A couple of Bridesmaids’ bouquets and one or two novelty items which might include a circlet, Alice Band, basket, wand etc (the possibilites are endless!)
♥ Corsages, wrist corsages and buttonholes
♥ A range of small, medium and large table decorations
Don’t be nervous about approaching and talking to the florist, after all she or he might be nervous too – a good florist will put their heart and soul into their designs and are very aware that not everyone will be polite or like them! A good starting point is to talk about the venue you have chosen to get married in and discuss the style, theme and any chosen colours of your wedding. That should get the conversation started nicely!
Some brides are attracted to a particular design and often will want to talk about that. The florist should be helpful, friendly and knowledgeable and you will know very quickly whether or not she or he ‘gets’ you. Ask about seasonal availablilty particularly if you are at a wedding fayre in spring but getting married in December, again the florist should be able to guide and advise you on the right flowers for your colours.
The main thing is to have a nice, informal chat and if you feel you like the person and they’re not too pushy, then take their details or, if you know you love their work, book a consultation there and then.
What to look for in a florist
Look carefully at the style of design – does it feel right? Will it work with your theme? If the overall table looks very ‘corporate’ then it might not work with your boho wedding.
♥ Don’t be put off if you don’t see your exact colour scheme, remember the table is only 6ft and the designs only represent an idea of what he/she can do! If you can imagine the designs you see in a different colour-way then you’ll be fine.
♥ Ask to see their portfolio (they should have it with them) and check there are plenty of photographs of ‘real’ weddings. It’s very easy to make-up a portfolio full of designs which haven’t actually been ordered. Or even, horror of horrors, copy and paste a photo of someone else’s work. Make sure there are lots of pictures of happy brides!
♥ Check how the designs are finished, has thought gone into the details such as carefully co-ordinated ribbon on the bouquets? Is everything in tip top condition and well put together? Does everything say good quality to you?
♥ And finally, bear in mind that unlike photographers, accessories designers and many other suppliers at wedding fayres, florists have to pay not only for their stand, but also for their perishable flowers. The event will cost them at least £100 more than everyone else there, not to mention the time they spend making the designs. So, if you like what they do – please let them know, you can always book a consultation after you’ve had a chance to check out their website.
At my last wedding fayre I had one bride come over and in answer to my question ‘Is there anything in particular that you like?’ replied ‘Yes, everything!’ (you know who you are Kirsti!). Your feedback means a lot but make sure you’re happy with what you see – it’s your big day after all!
After an epiphany at Chelsea Flower Show over 10 years ago, Tracey decided to forgo the world of Advertising and Marketing and retrain as a florist. Since that time, her love of all things flowery has led her through jobs in retail floristry and a stint teaching at local colleges, to starting her own business – Campbell’s Flowers.
Concentrating on good old-fashioned care and attention to detail, Tracey’s business is fast becoming one of the most talked about florists in Sheffield. Her design style focusses on using beautiful flowers in stylish simplicity, used naturally and as romantically as possible. She is a friendly soul whose main strengths lie in wedding flowers and workshops. Her delightful little workroom was recently described by one as her brides as a ‘girl cave’! To have a chat with Tracey or for a more in depth look at some of her most recent designs, you can find her on: