Choosing your flowers is one of the most exciting parts of wedding planning. But bear in mind it’s not as simple as picking your favourite flowers. You also need to consider picking wedding centrepieces and bouquets that truly fit your wedding style.
I caught up with Sandi Shankster from Willow Bud, a visionary wedding and event florist based in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland to talk all things blooms! Sandi’s floristry journey began in 2010 and has led her down one incredible pathway. She has worked for quite an impressive record of clients across the wedding, corporate and private spaces.
Sandi’s style is modern, moving, textural and feminine inspired design. But with an edge – something romantic, vivid and a little magic. She loves mixing these two ideas, the Feminine and the Magic. Sandi is a beauty inside and out and keep an eye out for her amazing designs that flourish the streets of Noosa and beyond!
- Q: How far in advance should I book a florist? Normally we are fully booked about 6 months in advance, in saying that it is never too late to just send an enquiry as we may have had some date changes with other clients or your wedding may be in the low season. Some brides book about 18 months in advance but I feel the sweet spot is about 12 months in advance so you can also research the flowers that will be in season at the time of your wedding.
- Q: Where should one start to gain inspiration on what their true floral style is for their wedding? If you are feeling completely overwhelmed start pinning on Pinterest on a secret wedding board, write in the note section of what you do and don’t like on the design that you chose, soon, you will see a pattern emerge and your style and vibe will come to life. Brides also love Instagram as well and also from magazines and blogs like Hellow May, The Bride’s Tree and Style Me Pretty. Also, go to your venue and think about what you love about the space and be inspired that way as well.
- Q: My favourite bloom isn’t in season at the time of my wedding, is it possible to find substitutes that achieve the same style? Yes, it is and it is more important now than ever to be flexible and be trusting of your florist. We have seen unprecedented and major shifts in the wedding and flower industry with international borders closing and limited staff in other countries being able to tend the flower crops due to coronavirus. Over 50% of the flowers we use in Australia are imported from other countries and up to 80% over the winter. So right now we are seeing massive supply and demand issues. If you have a particular style in mind for your wedding it is really important to find the right florist based on style and not price and they will have the best access to your favourite varieties of flowers and textural elements.
- Q: I have a limited budget, can you make most designs work within it? OR What is a good floral budget for a wedding? We often find that almost always brides underestimate the cost of wedding flowers are going to be- even if they have a ‘larger’ budget. And we totally ‘get it’ you have never planned a wedding and it is confusing when you see supermarket flowers for $20. Brides don’t often account for the labour involved in creating a vision and the niche skills it takes to bring your vision to life, everything we do is handmade and very time-consuming. Wedding floristry takes a very skilled and professional team to make sure the planning and design, the flower selection and execution of the design comes off without a hitch on the day. It is also important to note that we only use premium products in abundance hence why at first you may think our quote may be more expensive but the old saying goes, you get what you pay for! A good rule of thumb would be to allow 10-15% of your overall wedding budget to floral design if you envisage your wedding flowers to make a visual impact. We do offer 3 levels of service for our floral designs and we have a $1,000 minimum for studio collected floral designs and a minimum of $2,500 for delivered and installed floral designs.
- Q: Where do your flowers come from and do you personally select every client’s wedding flowers? We have wholesalers based in Sydney, Melbourne, Toowoomba, Brisbane as well as local farms. It would be impossible to personally select each bunch each week however we have been working with our suppliers for 8 years now and they know exactly what we are after and the level of quality we expect. We also order our blooms way in advance so we do not pick our bunches off the market floor that other people have touched and potentially bruised. This ensures that the quality is the best it can be for our brides.
- Q: What happens to our ceremony/reception flowers after the wedding? After the ceremony, we try and repurpose what we can as a ‘bonus’ to the reception. Sometimes tight time frames make it logistically impossible to repurpose floral designs and some times the florals are best kept where they are so that your guests can enjoy them during the cocktail party element at the wedding. If we are able to repurpose your design this will be discussed in advance and we either like to use the florals as a backdrop to your bridal table, lounge area or at the bar. It is also mindful to know that many of our flowers have come from cooler and less humid climates as ours so even though our quality is great, we are working with a perishable product and strong hot winds and ceremony setups in the direct sun are not the best for delicate garden picked style blooms. After the wedding if we do a midnight pack down or following morning bum out, we gift wrap any florals that still have longevity in them and dispose of the rest responsibly.
- Q: What information is essential to have prior to the first meeting with a florist? i.e. venue, dress, colour/theme? We really need to know the venue, your guest numbers and if you are intending to have a cocktail style party or a full reception. We also need to know your ballpark budget as it is a complete waste of both of our time if our budgets are not aligned. If you like a handful of colour combinations it is not essential this part is set in stone, we know colour theory like the back of our hands so we can talk about colour combination and styling ideas together.
- Q: As an expert in your field, are there any tips you can share with the brides-to-be to make their floral journey a special one? Do your research and enquire with the florist with who you love the style of. All wedding florists work with different budgets so do not decide on pricing alone. And TRUST us, once we have established a style and colour palette give us creative freedom, you will not be disappointed. You will feel much more relaxed knowing that your vision is in good hands and for us knowing that you trust us we will go above and beyond creatively. Keep feeling inspired along the way and always share any new inspiration discoveries as you see them, the journey planning a wedding is a beautiful one and we love being involved with all of the excitement.
Willow Bud has extensive skills in creating amazing masterpieces for weddings and celebrations and also hosts collaborative workshops for the bride-to-be. Check out Sandi’s work on her website here and inspiration on her instagram and pinterest accounts.