Fiona Perry is an incredibly talented florist based in Gloucestershire. I have been lucky enough to photograph her stunning work whist collaborating on styled shoots as well as weddings.
Flowers is one of those daunting areas where you really need an expert for guidance – ideas, availability, colours, seasons and cost. Where do you even start?! Even I have learnt things in this Q&A session with Fiona Perry!
How would you describe your style?
My work is very natural, flowing, textural, calm, elegant, sophisticated and unpretentious. I’m always looking to add some flower, seed or foliage that is unexpected.
Where do you take inspiration from for your floral designs?
I’m inspired by everything around me, the countryside, garden, seasons, buildings, materials, metals, art exhibitions, trade fairs, fashion shows and other floral designers. My work is constantly evolving. I’m a big fan of continuous learning, so I try to go on as many floral workshops as I can fit in over the year. Here I can pick up new techniques and network with other florists – it’s great to share information.
What stage of the planning process do you like to meet the bride?
I ideally like to meet the couple once they have chosen the location for the wedding and have a date. If they are having a marquee wedding then being able to meet them at the site with a plan of the marquee is fantastic. Sometimes as we walk and talk through the plans for the day I can pick up on some small details for the flowers and marquee decoration that might not have been thought of already. This can lead us into some very exciting new territory.
I’m a big fan of building on to a couples ideas/dreams. It’s such an exciting process, helping them turn a dream into a reality.
Are there any key questions that you feel a bride should ask their florist?
- Do you have a minimum price?
- Are you happy to work to a budget?
With the often unrealistic budgets that Pinterest teases you with, it’s really helpful for you to know your budget or have a vague ideas when enquiring with your florist so they can really guide you.
Is there a resource brides can use to find out what flowers are in season for their wedding date?
I like to use the Flower Book app. It’s a great resource that shows availability by colour and season.
Do you find that brides come to you interested in very specific flower varieties? Or are they more concerned about a particular colour palatte?
Couples tend to come with a colour scheme which we look at together, and can then discuss what flowers/foliage will be in season. I have a lot of requests for peonies out of season. The Dutch peonies tend to come in earlier, followed by English grown ones. The extent of the English grown peony season will depend on the weather. The Dutch peonies will be available for a longer period, but the prices may go up and/or the quality will be compromised.
My advise, when it comes to seasonal flowers, is to trust your florist and let them guide you. The flower market is a movable feast dependant on weather, supply and demand, growing conditions and many other factors. A good florist will be watching the flower markets and the growers to see what is available and is good quality on a weekly basis.
What notice do you need or when should a bride enquire?
Six months to a year is always good, having said that, we worked on a large scale wedding recently with only two months notice, which was great! To secure a booking in high season though it’s definitely worth enquiring early to make sure the date is kept free.
How do you work on the day? Do you prep the majority before?
I love doing as much pre prep work as possible. My previous job was in TV commercial production, so I like to be really organised. We get up very early on the morning of the wedding to make bouquets, buttonholes, corsages, hair flowers and anything that needs to be wired. We deliver the bridal flowers on the morning of the wedding and then set the tables with the flowers and check over any large arrangements or church flowers before leaving the site.
Do you provide vases and rentals or do the couple need to source these?
We do have a range of vases and containers for hire, or we are happy to provide couples with containers they can buy so they can give them to gusts after the wedding (with the flowers) as a gift. I also like to hire in more unusual props if a specific brief calls for something different.
What advice do you have for a bride to find a bouquet that suits her dress?
It’s great if I can have a photo of the bride in her wedding dress taken at the fitting. I’m able to use this to sketch out a couple of bouquet design options using tracing paper as an overlay. At the first meeting with the bride I will note her measurements and build, hair colour, skin tone as well as look at the style and detail of the dress. We will chat about the weight of the bouquet, the stems lengths and various finishing touches. I will chat through the various pros and cons of each design.
The final choice of the bouquet is based on team work. Wherever possible I would suggest the bride sees and holds a mock up, but if you do this, be prepared to pay the full cost for this service.
Do you like it when couples have a Pinterest board, or do you find it detrimental/unrealistic?
I love seeing a Pinterest board, it’s a great way to see what floats a couples boat. Do they like neat and tidy or wild and messy? Do they tend to like symmetrical designs or asymmetrical? Our job is to advise people, if some of the images are going to be very expensive to replicate, it may be possible to encapsulate the feel they are trying to achieve another way (that is more budget friendly).
What are some of the biggest wedding trends and floral themes among your clients lately?
Pantone green this year, which is really exciting. Looser, bigger, more natural style bouquets. I am dying to make an extra long wild wired bouquet that trails to the ground and beyond – very decadent, loose and ethereal…
Who is your ideal client? Do you ask your brides to have an open mind or some ideas?
All my clients are ideal, if we click we work together. It’s great when my clients come with images of flowers they like and dislike. We do a lot of talking (allow at least one hour for the first meet up), and it’s about me listening to them, their ideas, their plans for the day…and building on that and developing a trust. I’m not a prescriptive florist, if I see something the day before the wedding that I think will work and add that extra something, I’ll put it in.
If your bride gave you free reins to use any colour combinations you wished, what would you choose?
This changes with the seasons, but my all time favourite colour that I always get drawn back to is deep, dark plum/almost black. Ranunculus cloni Nerone, with the palest of pinks, greys and silvers.
I love using foliage in addition, and will always try to find something different that we can’t buy from the traditional wholesaler.
Contact Fiona Perry