Jamie started his career volunteering for a small flower shop in his home city Canterbury at the age of 21, working for 10 weeks learning all of the names of the flowers and basic skills. After enrolling on a career course with a London florist he quickly picked up the more fashionable way of arranging flowers.
Jamie worked in London for three years at a high end London flower shop, he also spent time working in New York and Tokyo. In 2005, three years after arriving in London and at the age of 24, Jamie set up Jamie Aston ltd and in 2006 he wrote his first book, opened two stores within Selfridges and set up the Jamie Aston Flower School in London.
Jamie is heavily involved in the running of his business, teaching the majority of the career courses and dealing with almost every bride and event personally. Jamie also spends time travelling across Europe and the Far East demonstrating and teaching his unique philosophy.
Jamie’s high profile clients include Lulu, Madonna, Rob Low, Jonathan Ross, Gordon Ramsay, Will Young, Kylie, Elton John and Celine Dion to name but a few! Jamie now passes on his tips and advice to The Wedding Girl….
I know you will think I’m slightly biased but great flowers really do make a wedding! They can create an enormous impact and even if you don’t have the biggest budget, by being clever and creative you can achieve superb results and a reception look everyone will remember.
Deciding on your flowers with the right florist will be enjoyable and inspiring, you just need to find the florist for you who understands exactly what you want.
Have a blooming marvelous day!
- Subscribe to the wedding magazines and look for inspiration
- Use seasonal flowers wherever you can
- Burn a scented candle at the venue to give the illusion of scented flowers
- Get a quote from two or three florists
- Re-use large focal displays and church flowers if you can
- Napkin flowers are a great finishing touch
- Make sure the flowers are not in your eye view on the tables when seated
- Be brave with colour
- Use hydrangea petals rather than rose petals for a difference
- Always request to see a sample of the main table displays before the wedding
- Be as clear and open with your florist as possible especially regarding budgets
- Put most of your budget and attention into the table centres
Working with a budget
Every bride has a budget, small or large it’s incredibly important that you inform your florist on your budget. You should trust them to advise you on the most cost effective way to utilise your budget. I really believe there is no reason for any bride not to have beautiful reception flowers. At the very least you can buy flowering plants like Hydrangeas or roses and simply cover the plastic pots with moss, bark or even fabric.
Floating flowers in large glass fishbowls or low glass bowls are available from Ikea or other equally cost effective high street stores. If you are working on a budget always use seasonal flowers! This will give you the best quality at the best price.
Don’t be shy!! If you like bright and bold colours then have them! It’s your wedding. Nobody wants to court disaster especially on your wedding day so it’s important to discuss colour with your florists and take their advice. Sticking to the rules of the colour wheel will help you keep things in check and steer you away from garish! Or, if you do happen to like clashing colours… then go for it, a few combinations that work well are:
Red and Hot pink, Orange and hot pink, Orange and yellow, Purple and Red, Lime green and Orange or hot pink. If you go for multi coloured displays try to keep white out of it! White always stands out too much against other strong colours, it really only works well with soft tones and pastels.
Every bride asks me if I think it’s important to keep a theme running through the whole day with the flowers. Should the church or ceremony flowers be the same as the reception flowers? And should my bridal flowers co-ordinate with the rest of the flowers?
I always say that your bridal flowers should be personal to you and co-ordinate with your dress and the bridesmaids dresses. These flowers are like a fashion accessory, treat them as such. The ceremony or church flowers can be different to the reception flowers. I quite like it when a bride has a typical pure white look at the church and then shocks her guests with a slight variation or complete different look at the reception, it makes the day more interesting. The only point to consider here would be if you are planning on re-using the flowers from the ceremony or church later in the day at the reception, in this case the flowers would all need to co-ordinate.
Choosing your florist and preparation for meeting with them
Selecting the right florist for your wedding should not be too difficult; there are so many creative florists out there. Most florists will have a house style but this does not mean that they can not or will not create displays in the style you are looking for. It’s great if you can find florists who just get what you are looking for and can really understand what you are trying to achieve.
Prepare yourself for your initial meeting with your florists by taking along a folder of tear sheets from magazines or pictures from the internet of flower displays/styles that you love and also hate. In doing this you will be able to show your florist exactly what you are looking for.
Always take along a picture of your dress; you should always have this before you visit your florist! A few pictures of the venue and any colour swatches or fabric swatches you may have are also helpful.
You can get your hands on just about any flower all through the year these days if you are prepared to pay for them!! But I always suggest that brides stick to seasonal flowers that are at their best quality when in season. This always helps with the budget and really gives the wedding a seasonal feel, so every year on your anniversary, those flowers come into season again it’s a present reminder.
Personally I think April is a fantastic time to get married because of the amazing blossom that is around and then May through to September for all of the summer flowers and beautiful Hydrangeas.
Flowers and venues
Naturally you should always consider your venue when it comes to the flowers but never let this completely overrule the flower or colour choices. If you are not looking to match the interior of your venue then simply try to compliment it. Some venues can have horrid carpets and sometimes nasty red or gold chairs but you just need to think that once the guests are all sat down the chairs are no longer visible and the carpet is hardly ever seen once the room is fully set. Always be careful with marquees some of them are not completely white but more of a cream, this can lead to the sun shining through and making white flowers look golden/yellow!!
At the minimum you require a large front facing focal display at the front of the church and possibly a few pew ends on every other pew just to frame the aisle. Think about the photography here and how the flowers will look in the background of your pictures.
A typical wedding will have two focal displays on clear Perspex plinths at the front of the church, pew ends and maybe hurricane lamps down the aisle and if they are going to town a full floral archway at the entrance.
Church archways create great photo opportunities outside the church after the wedding but can be expensive. Topiary tree hire with flower heads poked into the trees can be a more cost effective way of dressing the entrance to a church.
My personal favourite reception look
I see so many amazing schemes and themes, but the one that strikes a cord with me the most has to be vintage Silvers, matt greys and dusky blues. Ideally an open sided pure white pitched roof marquee with hanging balls of silver Dusty Miller foliage suspended from the ceiling at different heights. Tables would be square and dressed with full length grey cloths with silver and grey chairs. Then the flowers would be at two levels! Always important when you want to create maximum impact and fill a room with flowers at every possible level. Tall silver flute vases with a massed perfect loose ball of pale blue hydrangea and silver dusty miller foliage on top would create the height and low vintage silver bowls with the same display would provide flowers at seated eye level. Very simple yet completely ethereal when you sit down to eat at sundown.
You can find out more about Jamie and The Jamie Aston Flower School at www.jamieaston.com