Top tips for your wedding flowers by Mat Hepplestone, Red Floral Architecture
PUBLISHED: 00:00 24 September 2014 | UPDATED: 10:19 24 September 2014
Mat Hepplestone has created blooms for the Commonwealth Games and the wedding of dress designer, Charlotte Balbier. Here, he shares tips on finding the perfect wedding flowers for your big day
How did you get into wedding floristry?
My interest in the industry started from an early age when my family moved house and our new next door neighbours had a florist shop. I was asked to help out. At 14 I ran my own dried flower business from the cellar of the house, I did dried flower parties in the evenings and sold my wares to the school teachers.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
Fashion. Looking at the season’s catwalk trends influences the colour choices I produce for the season. I research what is happening across the world to keep our style innovative and at the forefront of design.
Tell us about some of the recent weddings you have enjoyed working on?
We were creating traditional grandeur at The Monastery at Gorton and worked on creating a life-size enchanted forest in Liverpool. The more outrageous the request the more buzz we get.
We recently did the flowers for Charlotte Balbier’s wedding. Her company logo is gold and pink and her wedding flowers were very much based on this. All the colours used mirrored her signature style. The arrangements were nudes, blush, peach, pink and ivory coloured blooms to create a real wow factor. We did all the styling to complement the overall theme of the wedding.
We transformed her marquee into a magical wonderland with chandeliers adorned with flowers, as well as walls of mirrors and hundreds of candles. Having so many props amongst the wedding flowers can enhance the overall theme. Charlotte’s guests were speechless as they entered her marquee. The flowers made a great impression.
How should a bride choose the colours for her wedding flowers?
Choosing the colour scheme is a starting point but do not think everything has to be in those exact colours. Speak to your florist about tones and contrasts. Introducing paler or darker shades from the same palette will give the wedding flowers impact and interest and stop the whole look becoming predictable, tired and dated.
A bride’s bouquet created in strong colours will always become the dominant factor in a photograph. If you want your dress to shine and be the centre of attention, then work the bouquet so it enhances the colours of the bridal gown.
What blooms and scents work well?
Brides are often scared off by more expensive flowers like Phalaenopsis orchids and peonies. These flowers, albeit more expensive, are striking in minimal numbers and are guaranteed to give a luxury look at any wedding regardless of volume.
I advise against choosing highly aromatic flowers for weddings. It might be a romantic idea but the smell may drive your guests utterly insane especially if they suffer from hay fever. Roses are always a good choice as fragrance is minimal.
What are the upcoming trends?
Nude has dominated the colour trends in flowers throughout 2014 and will continue way into 2015. Hinted with peaches and pinks it provides a classic look and wedding photographs that will not date. The all white look will always be at the forefront of bridal floral design as its timeless elegance speaks volumes.
There are so many creative ways to make a bouquet too. You can have a simple strand of white flowers and decorate it with lace and pearls or a huge overflowing bouquet of flowers with strands billowing down to floor-length. The upcoming looks will be back to basics with the tight compact style taking a back seat and much more natural shapes and sizes.
I am a huge fan of white Phaleonopsis orchids and sparkling clear acrylic. This look is clean and glamorous and is a great way for brides to create a distinct wedding look which is really on trend.
How can you make a big impact with flowers?
You can use them en masse but to increase effect you can place the flowers in varying heights in decorative vases. Also enhance the look with grand props such as vases and candles. You want something which is going to wow your guests for the whole day.
If your budget is limited using candelabras and other props can add a luxury look to your room without masses of floral. Layer your look with candles which you can easily source yourself. This will create an incredible impact as the sun sets and the look of the room changes.
What advice can you give to a bride when working with a florist?
Be aware that your wedding florist is the person who is solely responsible for creating the desired look for your wedding and stamping the luxury throughout the day. Make sure you select a florist who can communicate your vision, your likes and dislikes.
Brides often book the florist last which is a mistake. You need to get an idea of what everything costs and your budget. It’s good to look at your florist’s portfolio and lots of pictures to get ideas of what you’d like your floral design to look like. Also pick a florist with a mass portfolio of weddings as they’re more likely to help you.
Mat Hepplestone is the owner of the award-winning Red Floral Architecture in Gee Cross.