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Meet Lizzie and Latoyah, co-founders of London floral design studio Early Hours...
What's your favourite season and why?
I like early Autumn the season change brings with it the most beautiful array of foliage shades. There isn't the same abundance of flower bloom varieties as the Summer months, which quite frankly can be pretty overwhelming for couples to choose from. In Autumn, some of my seasonal flower favourites are hydrangea and dahlia, which are simply stunning and most importantly British-grown.
For many couples who have had to postpone their wedding, they are facing a change in season. What advice can you offer for adapting or totally changing your floral plans?
Our team completely appreciate that there are many issues that arise from changing your wedding date but we want to reassure couples that the wedding flowers are not something that should cause too much worry regardless of the postponement date. There will always be a wealth of flowers available no matter the season such as the ever-popular rose. Even if there is a particular variety of fresh flower that isn't available you can always feature it in faux flower and save any compromises to your floral design plan. Working with a mix of exquisite faux and real flowers is an Early Hours team speciality and the quality of faux flowers available now is just amazing. The trick is to mix faux amongst fresh so your guests will be none the wiser.
What are your favourite flowers for each season?
Where possible we always prefer to work with British-grown, seasonal blooms. In September for example, English hydrangea is hard to beat, available in a veritable rainbow of colour choices it can also mottle beautifully for an almost antique look. Looking across the seasons...
Summer - Delphiniums are my favourite statement flower which always looks knock-out in any arrangement and there are shades of blue delphinium that you just cannot get in from any other flower type.
Winter - white amaryllis is such a powerful-looking flower. They are fun to work with as you really don't need many to make a statement.
Autumn - British-grown hydrangea and dahlia are simply stunning.
Spring - I adore any of the seasonal bulb related flowers such as daffodils, hyacinth or tulips.
All these seasonal flowers are reasonably priced so your budget can go a long way to creating something show-stopping.
Any similar flowers you would recommend for seasonal swaps?
There are heaps of flower varieties that have similar flower friends, for example, delphinium with its tall spikey structure could be substituted for various orchids, which will create the same shape within an arrangement. The same is also true for gladioli, another strong tall flower swap. If you are having to adapt a floral design to suit a new wedding date and want to keep a focus on eco-conscious seasonality, my advice is to maintain the colourway choices you've made (as these will be across your whole wedding design plan) but just swap to seasonal flowers.
Although peonies are a perennial favourite, they are actually only available for a very small window of time each year. As a big-headed, blousy bloom, florists will often have to replace with roses or even dahlias, they may have a slightly different structure to a peony but they are still going to give the same blousy and frilly effect.
Another swap example is delphiniums or gladioli often used in tall centrepieces or urn arrangements. You can substitute and achieve the same height and shaped display with tall cymbidium orchids or amaryllis and even certain types of lillies.
If couples are having to change their wedding dramatically, and perhaps changing their budget also, how do you recommend maximising the flower budget?
Cut anything from the wedding that's a small floral feature and just focus on large scale pieces that will command attention. Think of where your guests' eyes will be focused, for example, they are more likely to remember a beautiful showstopping backdrop than any pew ends or urns they've passed on the way into the ceremony space. Key areas to consider are typically the ceremony backdrop, behind the top table or around where you will be seated for dinner and arrival doorways or entrance halls at your venue. Focusing your floral budget here will not only have maximum effect for your guests but also hugely pay off in your wedding images, as these are the most photographed moments and areas.
I appreciate it's hard as there's a sense that you have to have certain flowery things to have a wedding, but if you're trying to maximise a budget, question whether you really need everything. An awful lot of flowers (and therefore spend) goes into the wedding party pieces like bouquets, flower crowns and buttonholes. Yes, you want them, but aside from the number of flowers, the cost is also derived from the amount of time, skill and craftsmanship that goes into these smaller pieces. By opting for simpler style bouquets and buttonholes, a scattering of individual flowers through the hair and single stems for flower girls you will save budget.
Another thing to consider is that these items are more often than not squished (blame all those congratulatory hugs) and easily lost once the ceremony is over and the fizz is poured!
Specifically for couples postponing their Summer wedding to a Winter date what is your expert florist advice for winter weddings?
Winter weddings are brilliant, it is such a wonderful time to get married as everyone is in a good mood given the exciting season. Make the most of the sublime Winter foliage available to create stunning wedding displays with impact. Combine an abundance of foliage with lots of candles and fairylights for a design that's magically atmospheric and truly romantic. Out of season, fairylights and heaps of candles can be difficult to pull off, but in Winter it's a fabulous look and very cost-effective allowing you to really go to town with your budget.
What new trends do you predict for 2021?
I personally think that after what has been a very testing 2020, people will focus more on flowers for their home and for weddings also more awareness around seasonality, sustainability and therefore locally grown flowers. We have all fallen back in love with our homes as they have been our sanctuary throughout this crisis and I know from firsthand experience that I've spent time and money improving our little nest.
I imagine more people may choose to get married at home or a family member's home if it's possible. As such I think there will be more decoration of the home and the entrances to wedding venues. At Early Hours we have already seen a rise in requests for doorway floral installations but we think they'll only continue to get more creative.
If you're planning an intimate wedding how can flowers be used to still create wow factor?
I would really go to town with the ceremony backdrop. A 3D immersive display with flowers encasing you both as you share your vows will be the focus of many of your wedding photos and after the ceremony a beautiful photo opportunity for your close friends and family attending too. You might also choose to have cake cutting here or a sweetheart table for dinner. When you're not having to splash out lots of your budget on table decorations, urns or similar to dress a huge space you can afford to make a smaller space really enchanting and just a super special area to be gathered and photographed in.
If you decide to just have a small city elopement, what are your floral tips?
Cover yourself in flowers! Regardless of the type of wedding, you will never have an opportunity again to carry a huge bouquet of flowers, wear flowers in your hair or lapel.
For more, head to www.earlyhours.co.uk