One of the most beautiful things on show at a wedding, are the flowers, it never ceases to amaze me the amount of thought, time and effort that goes into making them.
I have the pleasure today of being able to interview a professional Florist who runs her own business in Chippenham.
I asked Judy Ward from Blooming Chic if she would share her experience in the industry, as well as what her business has to offer clients.
Q – Hi Judy, thank you for taking the time to allow me to spend some time with you, and show me around your workshop and design studio. The first question I have is how long have you been trading as Blooming Chic?
A – I opened Blooming Chic in September 2014, but I have been involved in Floristry since I was 19.
Q – How did you first get into Floristry?
A – In my late teens, I initially looked through the Yellow Pages and applied to every florist for a trainee job, and eventually got a job working in Teddington, Middlesex. I then worked for other florists in Berkshire and Devon.
Q – Have you ever undertaken any qualifications to be a Florist?
A – I attended the Norwood Hall Agriculture College when I was younger, but I keep up to date by attending different workshops each year.
Q – Have you ever arranged flowers for any Celebrities?
A – I was lucky enough to make some buttonholes for the Morecambe and Wise show, as well as a presentation Bouquet for Petula Clark at the Talk of the Town.
Q – Have you ever won any Awards for your flower arrangements?
A – I won a Silver award from Bridebook two years running, also I was nominated as a finalist for both Muddy Stilettos and Guides for Brides.
Q – What area of the UK do you cover?
A – I do not limit myself to set areas, but most of my business comes from the Wiltshire, Gloucester, Somerset and the Cotswolds areas.
Q – How far in advance of the wedding day do you normally get enquiries from potential clients?
A – Normally I get contacted around a year before, however it can be much closer to the wedding. I would recommend, once you have set your heart on your chosen florist, to plan your flowers 9-12 months in advance of your wedding, to ensure that you are able to get the flowers you want, and any additional hireable items.
Q – How does a typical consultation work?
A – I will meet up with the client and have a cuppa and a chat, then I will show them around my workshop and design studio. We will then discuss their likes and dislikes, what the colour scheme will be, I will show them previous examples of my work to get an idea of what they are looking for. We will look at any ideas they have put together and discuss any hireable items I can offer (e.g. flower arches). From this I will then send a quotation to the client and put together a flower board based on the discussions we had.
Q – What flower arrangements would be purchased for a Wedding?
A – I will normally do flowers for the bridal party, the groomsmen (buttonholes) which have included flowers made into pocket handkerchiefs, venues, churches. I have even made flower crowns for dogs.
Q – Does the time of year affect your advice on flowers?
A – If I see a client up to a year in advance, I can show them the types of flowers that will be available around the time of their wedding. However, as flowers are seasonal, this can’t always be the case. I have a good array of suppliers in both the UK and abroad, so in some cases I can get the flowers that are out of season in the UK from abroad. Obviously, this costs a bit more money, so it will need to be allowed for within the couple’s budget.
Q – How much do the couple rely on you for ideas?
A – The client will come to me with their own ideas, generally from places like Pinterest. I then sit down and have a chat with them, to find out their personality (likes and dislikes). From this I will then offer advice on what flowers would suit their personality as well as their chosen colour scheme.
Q – Do you charge for a consultation?
A – I do not charge anything for a consultation, there may be a small charge if the client would like a gift sized version of any of her flowers made.
Q – What are the qualities a couple should look for in their florist?
A – They should get on with their florist and feel comfortable talking to them. As I try to treat them like a friend, I have ended up having so many invites to the wedding itself.
Q – What is the most bizarre flower arrangement you have ever done?
A – I did the flowers for a Star Wars themed wedding which were lovely, but the most bizarre would be a wedding at Arnos Vale Cemetery where I hung a wedding dress from a tree and wrapped it in flowers, then wrapped some trees in flowers. What was lovely about this was when you caught the wedding dress at a certain angle, the trees looked like her bridesmaids walking in front of her.
Q – Do you offer a contract, or how does this work once you have taken a client on?
A – I do offer a contract, this is put in place as soon as the client chooses me to do their flowers, I ask for an initial deposit, and then the remainder is paid before the wedding day. I am also fully insured.
Q – How do you deal with the ecological impact your company has on the environment?
A – This is an important aspect of my business, and I am almost plastic free, I am currently running at 95% plastic free. However, for my funeral flowers, everything used is biodegradable.
Q – Do you just do Wedding Flowers?
A – No, I also do gifts and special occasions, and I hold workshops to cover a number of arrangements, and of course funerals. Particularly specialising in natural funerals.
Q – Tell us about the Workshops, that sounds interesting?
A – It is, and can be fun, these can either be at my workshop, or at a client’s home. These can range from hen parties, Xmas parties. Some of the items we look to make can be seasonal flower arrangements, botanical jewellery and Xmas wreaths. I do advertise these every so often, so please look out for these on my website.
Q – How does your typical wedding day go?
A – I will initially deliver to the bride and instruct them on how to hold the flowers. I will then deliver to the groom and help them pin the buttonholes on. I will set-up the venue and the church. In some cases, the flowers used in the church will then be moved to the venue, so once the ceremony has finished, I will quickly take the flowers over to the venue. Once everything is set-up, I will then come back and clean up everything the following day.
Q – How key are testimonials/referrals to your business?
A – I believe that they are crucial to any business, I get lots of referrals from previous clients and it shows that you have done a good job when they pass your details onto friends and family.
Q – If you had one piece of advice to give to a client what would it be?
A – I would say to be honest and upfront with your florist about your budget. There could be a lot of time spent planning ideas for certain flowers and arrangements to find out that the costs are way outside of the budget set. If the budget is known from the start, it is much easier to plan the best flowers available.
I hope that the advice shared by Judy will help you in your search for a florist for your special day.
I have published Judy’s business details below, should you wish to contact her. I have also put together a short video on my YouTube channel showcasing some of her work. Please click here to watch the video.
01249 248317 and 07813 886801
If you are a wedding vendor or you know of any vendors who would like to contribute a post, please get in touch with me through my contact page.
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