Ask The Experts – Paula Pryke… Florist Extraordinaire.

Morning you gorgeous lot!, if you are a follower of our Facebook page then you will already know that today in the RMW Ask The Experts column we have Paula Pryke – who is exactly that, a true floral expert. Paula has just published her fourteenth (yes 14th!!) book on all things beautiful and blooming – “Flowers Every Day” and has been running her world renowned flower school since 1994.

Paula will be around today answering any questions you may have on flowers and foliage for W-day, what’s in season, what she recommends….pretty much anything you can think of.

And in the meantime here is some information from Paula on what in terms of floral design she loves in weddings at the moment, as well as some lovely images for you to be inspired by.


Paula Pryke: I have been in the flower business for nearly twenty five years and during that time it has been my pleasure to work on many memorable weddings. My favourite summer weddings are country weddings particularly in a Marquee where you have a blank canvas. I did a great summer wedding last year in an all black nightclub in May! We festooned the ceiling with brightly coloured paper lanterns and the filled the tables with lots of garden flowers in matching colours. It was simple but very effective. Once the tables have all been clothed and flowered it is amazing how much you can transform a space.

I also like quirky venues where the venue is rather faded and has a great history. Wiltons is perfect for a shabby chic wedding. It is a hidden gem and so just finding it is like a big ‘reveal!’Currently country castle weddings are the very much in vogue and so I am often spending our weekends in the splendour of these historic buildings.

Highclere (now more famous for being the setting for Downton Abbey,) is one of my favourite castles, along with Sudeley, Leeds and Belvior. British floristry has always had a tradition of using foliage and the recent Royal wedding was an example of how dear greenery is to us here. I prefer arrangements with some greenery and I am particularly in love with silver foliages at the moment, Dusty Miller, Senecio, Eucalyptus are very popular over here and also in the States.

Most of my wedding designs this year are also including a succulent or two! This trend came from California but I am just back from the East Coast of America and the flower markets are full of cut supplements there too! The other silver plant of the moment are air-plants and of course spanish moss.

I have had the pleasure to travel overseas to design wedding flowers and Italy is my favourite place. There is something so romantic about a wedding in Venice and it is logistically challenging to move all the flowers by boat! The Venetians love weddings and so you always are warmly received when you have ‘Fiori!’ in your arms. The Italian lakes and also Portofino are other wonderful backdrops for a wedding and I also adore Umbria and Tuscany. I have one event in Rome this year and I am hoping to use lots of herbs, lemons and brown sunflowers and Dahlias. I adore the mix of colour in the Dahlia family and this will be very eye-catching. The climate and the venue are very important to the choice of colour for a wedding but I always advise my Brides to have a bouquet that suits their personality and dress.

Don’t feel the need to theme everything!

Currently, wedding style, like fashion is being influenced by the 1920’s and the 1950’s. Glamour and elegance are key and we are going back to more traditional wired wedding work. With regard to trends in the colour of wedding flowers white and green are perennially popular although in recent years we have noticed a growing trend towards antique and pastel colours to match the shabby chic trend. Small flower heads and more natural flowers are making a huge comeback and I think the ‘all one type of flower’ maybe waining in popularity.

I have a few Brides with the Great Gatsby as a theme and I am sure by the time the re-make is out on release that will influence a few more Brides to take that path! It is one of my favourite books so it does not take much to talk me into working with that as an inspiration!

Pink has been the dominant wedding choice for the last three years and it seems to be the same for 2012 although we are seeing a lot more mixed coloured weddings!

The decorations trend in the UK is to have hanging decorations rather than plinths and pedestals of flowers. We have designed many weddings around a giant floral chandelier or placed hanging floral decorations above individual tables. This kind of decoration is really suited to a marquee or a beamed venue where you have lots of potential for hanging flowers.

At the moment this is my favourite wedding decoration. We have hung individual rafts of horizontal willow over each individual table as well as making giant ones to fit over bars and dance floors!

So then lovelies – ask away (and I really want that bouquet with the small peachy pink rose and muscari…dreamy)

You can see more of Paula, her books and floral designs on her website –

Big Blooming Love

Charlotte xxx

Author: Charlotte O’Shea
Purveyor of short shorts. Make-up junkie. Hopes to grow old disgracefully.

99 thoughts on “Ask The Experts – Paula Pryke… Florist Extraordinaire.

  1. Hi Paula!

    I was wondering how far in advance I should look at booking my florist, if my wedding is at 1pm (not confirmed yet!) what time would the florist start decorating the Church usually? I then have a reception venue a couple of miles away where I would want centre pieces etc


  2. Morning Paula,
    i want to make my own bouquet and was just wondering when would be the best time to make it. My mother in law to be has said the day before is best and then to keep them in the fridge overnight, is this right?

  3. Hi Paula! I have two of your books 🙂

    I am getting married in August 2013 and want a bouquet of hydrangea and anemones but I have heard these both wilt quite easily in the hot weather? Do you think they would keep for the day and if not could you recommend any alternatives that would look similar?

    Louise X

  4. Hi Paula, brilliant post & really helpful! We are getting married in Southern Tuscany next May & will be having a small, relaxed family affair at a beautiful rustic farmhouse. Please could you recommend any local, seasonal flowers that might fit this vibe? We love sunflowers so were thinking of arrangements of sunflowers for the dining tables but I’m trying to find something for a ‘just picked’ bouquet. I love wildflowers & prefer things that aren’t too ‘done’. Thank you!!

  5. Hi Paula,

    Wow – good timing RMW, me and the Big C are off for a meeting with our florist tomorrow…really, really excited!

    I’m pretty much sorted with my bouquet, bridesmaids, button holes, table flowers at venue etc….

    But, I am struggling with the church…we don’t have a limitless budget…but it’s a pretty large church….and I want it to look super pretty and whimsical…

    Going for David Austin Juliet, Kiera and Norma Jean roses for the bridal party but obviously can’t fill a church with those…

    Any suggestions? I was thinking four candelabras – one at each corner of the aisle would look nice on photos and then maybe gyp garlands round the pillars…

    Suggestions would be very welcome!

  6. Hi Paula

    I am getting married on September 21st and have just been told that light blue hydrangeas will be a no go as they will be ‘turning’.

    I need a light blue flower for my bouquet and for the centre pieces to go with cream roses and green foliage.

    Any suggestions?

    Many thanks!

  7. Morning Paula!

    I have a seasonal question… My wedding is almost a year away (25th May 2013), and in a couple of weeks my Mum and I are heading to a flower farm and are going to try and get creative… What flowers are in season? (I particularly love poppies), and has this season’s ‘crop’ been affected due to the incredibly rainy April?


  8. Hi Paula,

    Gorgeous inspiration – thank you! I am really struggling with flowers our big day in September this year….the bridesmaids are in dark “cadbury” purple dresses so I was thinking white hydrangea bouquets for them in contrast to their dresses. But what do I do for my bouquet?! And any ideas or details of purple/lilac flowers that will be in season in September would be much appreciated!

    I was planning on doing the table centre arrangements myself but not sure if thats a crazy idea given how much else will be going on in the day or two before!

    Any advice?! Thank you! x

  9. Hi Paula,

    Thanks so much for answering our questions this morning!

    We are getting married in just over a month (!!) and are going to be DIYing our bouquets. I’m planning a combination of either peonies or roses, with lots of gyp! I was just wondering about numbers of stems of the different varieties? I have six bridesmaids, and we don’t feel we need large bouquets!

    Looking forward to hearing your views, so many good questions this morning!!

    Thanks, Verena

  10. Hi Paula, your post was great and full of really good tips – thank you! (And thank you Rock My Wedding for the immense timing of this post as we’re just starting to think about flowers).

    My question is…
    Our wedding is on 30 May 2013, and I love love love big fluffy looking pink peonies. But I have spoken to a few florists who have tried to dissuade me from those, saying that the season is too short and they’re too hard to get hold of!

    Can you also advise whether peonies would work in a mixed bouquet maybe with smaller flowers? I want something that looks a bit country-fied, with a bit of greenery thrown in too.

    Thank you! 😀 x

  11. Hi Paula,

    SO excited to get to quiz you, the photos of your work are fab!

    My dad and I are both keen gardeners, and so we’re growing flowers to decorate the barn where I’m having my reception this summer – all sorts of things in blues, purples and pink – honeywort, mallow, penstemon, candytuft, sea holly and other lovely things. However, while we both love growing plants, we’re both total novices about flower arranging – could you suggest some simple arrangements that’d be in keeping with a barn? Not tracked down any vases, jugs, containers yet so could be anything! Thank you very much! x

  12. Hi Paula

    So glad you’re here! My wedding is a year today and I’m planning seasonal spring flowers in yellow, cream and sky blue. I’m really keen to have craspedia globosa among my flowers, but I’m wondering whether they will be available in May as it seems they grow June-Aug? We’re growing most of my wedding flowers form bulbs and plugs, if we were to seed craspedia globosa now, would they flower this year so maybe we could preserve them? Or is there a wholesaler who could supply them this time of year?


  13. Morning lovelies! loving all of your questions!

    Paula has just rang as her power has been cut off – she is having a bit of a panic as you can imagine!

    Anyway she is going to go to a friends house to be able to answer your queries so keep them coming and hang on in there – she will be over ASAP!

    Charlotte xxx

  14. Hi Paula,

    We (well, I…) have decided on sunflowers as our main flowers, but do you have any words of wisdom on using them as buttonholes? They look amazing in bouquet and centrepieces, but I’m worried about Mr H looking a bit ‘clowny’ – any tips on how to make it work, or maybe on an alternative?

    Thank you!

  15. @Philippa Aw thanks! Our barn is in Appletreewick, just north of Skipton – it’s a thatched cruck barn attached to a lovely pub – it’s so bonny, we didnt even look at any other places for our party! Where’s your barn? When’s the do?! x

  16. Dear Sarah
    Thank you for your mail.I would advise looking at flowers the year before your wedding so as to see the seasonal varieties available, if there is time of course! Failing that a good florist will be able to advise you on which flowers are at their best. Regarding the church it very much relies on the scale of flowers and if they need to be made on site and also of course the access times allowed by the church due to services. Your centre pieces for your venue would probably be placed whilst you were at the church and having photographs. Hope this is helpful and good luck! yours Paula

  17. Hi John
    Looking forward to seeing you soon. My flower order will come some day!
    What a day for a power cut!!! send remotely from an I phone on a hill in suffolk. Thank you

  18. Hi Lisa
    This very much depends on whether the bouquet is wired or on natural stems. If you are going to attempt wiring then your Mother in Law is correct. The fridge needs to be between 6 and 12 centigrade – no lower or higher. Natural stems will be fine in a cool spot in water and will be fine to be made the day before. Best wishes Paula

  19. Dear Louise, thank you for buying my books.
    The hydrangea will be no problem at all but you would be lucky to get anemones. Commercially grown hydrangea is post harvest treated and should easily stand up to the day. I am not sure what colour scheme you are going for but it might be possible to use some autumnal flowering Japanese anemones which you may have to grow yourself as they are not widely available as a commercial flower. Personally I love garden roses or spray roses with hydrangea. I may be able to advise further if you could let me know your colour scheme. Yours Paula

  20. Oh one more question please, Paula (sorry to be greedy!) What is the variety of anemone called that is white with the black centre? I’m struggling to find seeds or a supplier anywhere as I don’t know their name!

    Thank you

    @Sarri we’re looking to use a barn at our local livestock farm – it’s going to be hard work getting it wedding-worthy but hopefully worth it!

  21. Hi Oonagh
    What a wonderful place to get married. By the time August comes there are lots of berries and fruits around that might help with the wild flower look. The Italians grow a lot of herbs and they also grow cut blackberries that look fabulous in wild flower posies. If I were you I would think along the lines of using bay, rosemary, sage, blackberries, viburnum berries, crab apples, carthamus, eryngium, achilea, millet grass etc. From my experience this will be hard to find in your local flower shop in South Tuscany but I am available! Good luck, Paula

  22. @Pamela Hi love, I have just read your question about church decor and you suggested candelabras.. I hire out a set of heart candelabras which look stunning in church… Let me know if you would like me to send you a picture.
    Paula, these flowers are immense!! X

  23. Dear Pamela
    Sounds beautiful, lovely idea, love the candelabras. Gyp garlands will not make a lot of impact on the columns so I might steer away from that. Flowers at eye level always give more impact than flowers above or below. Although Gyp is beautiful it needs to be used in large quantities to create the wow factor. Pew ends would give more impact and would be less expensive than garlanding. Best wishes, Paula

  24. Hi Paula, what a great post, v helpful 🙂 My question is this – I’m getting married next November and I’m thinking about having sweet avalanche roses for my bouquet however I haven’t managed to get a straight answer as to whether they would be available! Can you clear this up for me? Also are there other flowers that would look good along side the roses or would they hold their own??
    Many thanks

  25. Hi Paula, just dropped in as I’m really excited about my wedding flowers (wedding is on May 26th ’12)!
    I’m having a hand-tied round posy of ‘Aqua’ roses, ranunculus, freesias, carnations, waxflowers, lavender, all in mid-pinks and soft purples. I’m very petite so didn’t want anything too big. I’m also having diamante pins in the roses and pearl sprays to match the detail on my dress.
    My 5 year old daughter will have her choice of a wicker basket filled with the same (her dress is also ivory/cream, but with little pink flowers printed on).
    What do you think? I’m sorry I haven’t time to hang around right now but will hopefully catch up this evening!
    Warmest regards, Debra

  26. I’m planning to arrange my reception flowers myself – should I buy them from a florist, market, supermarket? Unfortunately my gardening efforts were rubbish last year so I’ve no confidence in growing my own. Thanks

  27. Hi Paula, I am going to do my own flowers for the bouquets and have a vintage theme I would like to use hydrangeas and roses for an early october wedding. Can you suggest any fillers or alternatives for the bridesmaids? I’ve tried to research early october flowers but can’t find anything in the vintage dusky colour schemes as they all seem to be autumn golds etc.


  28. @Sarah that’s a great question, as I’m thinking of doing the same! Look forward to the verdict (I have no garden so can’t grow my own…)

  29. Hi Paula,
    All your arrangements are stunning- thank you for answering our questions!
    I am getting married this September in Edinburgh and we have a very small flower budget so I wanted to try to do them myself but I’m not sure what is in season and as we only got engaged in Feb, I can’t look to see what blooms in September for myself as it will be too late!
    I am particularly interested in blue/white flowers- is Jasmine available by the way? I saw that blue hydrangeas are. I’m not fixed on the colours, and I would love anything that smells beautiful and even better if I can pick it myself!
    Thank you very much,

  30. Mimi
    Hi I am back on line and with the power now! Sorry about that everyone! Blue hydrangeas are around practically all of the year. They are expensive at times but in September you are in the prime production! It is true in the garden they will be on the turn but that should not be a problem? Where are you thinking of buying your flowers or are you using a florist? Scabious is also a lovely said of blue and that has some production in September too! Delphinium is also around so I think you have a lot of options in pale blue!
    All the best

  31. Hi Verena

    Thanks for your reply! I think peonies and roses will be a good DIY flower? Have you seen the Nursery Fresh site? They supply fresh cut flowers for DIY weddings and they will also give you advice on how many stems to use etc? Hope that helps!

  32. Hello

    I’m getting married in November which is not an awfully floral month I suspect. I have been thinking about something based around Grand Prix roses as I want that really deep red together with imperial purple accent flowers. But are red roses a cliche? And how could you have a decent buttonhole to tie in that didn’t look like a relic from the late 70s/early 80s? Finally, I love tulips but have heard that they are not robust enough for a bouquet – is that right?

    Many thanks

  33. Hi Sama
    That sounds like fun and I am glad you are thinking about this ahead of time. We all adore poppies but they are notoriously difficult as a cut flower. There are always some in May, mine in the garden are about to pop but we only get about two wraps a year from the huge flower markets in Aalsmeer! When I use poppies it is mostly Italian poppies which are really the Californian type. These Papaver orientale are sent over from San Remo but mostly in Spring. You may find some as plants which you could use in May but not as a cut flower. The Papaver somniferum is more often sold for its green pod than with a flower and that is one other way you could include poppies? Sorry that I cannot be more positive than that about this wonderful and beautiful flower! May is my most favourite time of year for flowers and there are so many to chose from it is hard to pick. Alliums, Sweet Peas, Delphiniums, Foxgloves, Solomen’s Seal, Peonies are just a few! Good Luck with you plans! Paula

  34. Hi Annie
    Sorry for the delay! Avalanche is a beautiful rose.It started out first as a white rose and then went to pink which is the Sweet Avalanche variety. Peach Avalanche is also now available and so is Sorbet Avalanche which is a another pink variety! These roses are available all year round and so you should not have ANY trouble at all at getting the pink Sweet Avalanche. In November, strange as it might seem you could use it with all the spring flowers as they are also all available. Anemones, Tulips, Ranunculus have all started again by then. If you want to make the look more pastel then I would use the spring flower root, it you want it too look autumnal then I would add some berries and hips? Hope this helps with you plans! Best wishes Paula

  35. Hi Debra
    Hope you have had a good day! That all sounds lovely to me? Not sure if you are having a wired bouquet? If you want the bouquet to be light and neat, then I would recommend that. If you are having a tied bouquet then, you seem to have a lot of varieties in the bouquet so I can’t imagine that it will be too petite. The basket sounds perfect for your 5 year old daughter.
    Have a great day! Lovely time to get married. My very best wishes
    Paula xx

  36. Hi Sarah,
    Not sure where you are from? So at the risk of sounding like an advert for Nursery Fresh I would look at their website? They specialise in helping Brides do their own flowers and they can courier them onto you? They offer some advice and are very experienced so I think that would be a good place to plan your DIY wedding.
    Most wholesale flower markets are open to the public but they can be very daunting if you are not used to buying? Growing your own flowers is a romantic idea but not practical! I’ve been trying for years to have a wonderful cutting garden and every year the experience is different! Good Luck and enjoy!

  37. Hi Becky, Sounds lovely, I love that vintage look. I would try to use some Astrantia or dill. Something fluffy that looks very natural.
    The pink Veronica is sweet and also the dusty pink Lisianthus. There is a brown dill called Daucas carota which I adore and also you could think about adding some heritage Dahlias at that time of year.
    Amnesia, Hynose and Dark Hypnose are all brown/taupe roses that we open use when going down the vintage route. Pink Snowberries are divine and also you could fill with herbs such as Rosemary and Bay. They grey foliages also make a more vintage look so go for Eucalptus, Senecio, Arthchokes, Succulents.

  38. Hi Paula, thanks for all the advice above. I’d like some advice on colours and flower types for venue decoration. I’m getting married in November, we have 2 gorgeous venues. A stone built tower for cermony and country hotel for reception. The hotel dining room is quite busy with yellowy walls and patterned carpet. I’m a bit unsure on what type of colours to go for. The reception venue is quite vintagey so tempted to paler colours so as no to detract.bridemaids dresses are a mid blue but again not sure what to go for.any advice would be appreciated! Thanks muchly vicky

  39. @Philippa Eek sounds like your barn will need a bit more work that ours, mine’s not used for livestock! Good luck with it all, hope you’ll be able to get some decorating tips too!

  40. Hi Paula,

    I am interested in having pale yellow and dark blue flowers. The yellow is easy, the blue not so much! Other than delphiniums is there anything you can suggest?


  41. Paula – you are a star, thank you.

    I have met with one florist who told me all the reasons I didn’t want what I wanted so I am meeting with another florist soon – she sounds lovely and has some fresh modern ideas.

    I haven’t a clue as to where to get hydrangeas from (I need about 50 stems) but hopefully she will help – and I won’t need to remove all the hydrangea illustrations from invites/order of service etc!

    Thank you again for your informative and positive answer!

  42. Paula,

    Thank you so much for your post. We are getting married at the end of may next year and I am really keen on blues and whites. I also want it to look very un structured and simple with perhaps just groups of similar flowers in vases… and simple bouquets.

    Any suggestions on fowers at that time of year and simple style ideas which could work?


  43. Even though I’m already married I’m loving reading about all your stunning sounding flowers! I still have my bouquet picture as my screensaver on my phone as I loved it so much!! (sorry hubby!!!)

    I just wanted to second what Paula said about Nursery Fresh. They supplied flowers for us to use to decorate the church at our wedding and were very helpful in advising on varities in season and were so easy to use, the flowers turned up exactly as planned by courier and were really good quality!

  44. Hi Ali

    I think with the purple you either have to go wild mix colour and I do love fushia pink, purple and lime green or go with the white route as planned? For you own bouquet you could go for a very sophisticated look with purple Vanda orchids or you could use lialc roses such as Coolwater or Ocean Song. There are lots of other purples around at that time such as Lisianthus and Asters.

    Doing you own reception flowers will be fun but I think you have decide whether you would rather be in a Spa relaxing or you are really the hand-on creative type? If you are going for a laid back natural wedding then, go for it? If you are going to work yourself into a panic and if breaking a nail is going to spoil your big day…then don’t go there!

    If you go ahead…
    Pick a simple design, don’t overdo anything and make sure you have ordered exactly the right combination to make the arrangements work. Remember that simple is best? Using a mass of one flower will be easier than a mix!

    Good Luck!

  45. HI Kitty
    Sorry about the delay! Peonies are a good choice they will still be around although each year the season does get longer. You could also think about English roses and particularly peony roses? Sweet peas are also ways lovely with peonies and I love Astrantia, Astilbe, Dill and the green filler Alchemilla Mollis.

    The peony season for florists has started about a month ago and the will still be available in June. They do get more expensive at the end of the season so that might also be why you are being advised against them. May and June are fantastic months for flowers and you can have you pick of some many wonderful flowers. Stocks, Phlox, Erygium, Echinops and there are also lots of grasses to get a more natural feel!

    My latest book Everyday Flowers has some seasonal flower ideas listed and so you could take a look at that!

    With best wishes


  46. Thanks Paula – I’m based on the Warwickshire / north oxfordshire border. I’ll check out the website.

  47. Hi Sari, That sounds like my dream wedding! I love the idea of growing all those natural flowers and arranging them in a barn!
    Can I come and help? You are going to need to buy some filler possibly unless you have a lot of foliage to cut from too?

    Well … you could try one of my books? Or a flower class? Or you could book some personal tuition? There are some sites where you can hire props etc.

    Jam jars covered with double sided tape and leaves take some beating! I’ve been doing arrangement in these for decades and they still look good.

    Terracotta pots are also inexpensive and good looking!

  48. Hi Sari, That sounds like my dream wedding! I love the idea of growing all those natural flowers and arranging them in a barn!
    Can I come and help? You are going to need to buy some filler possibly unless you have a lot of foliage to cut from too?

    Well … you could try one of my books? Or a flower class? Or you could book some personal tuition? There are some sites where you can hire props etc. Jam jars covered with double sided tape and leaves take some beating! I’ve been doing arrangement in these for decades and they still look good.

    Terracotta pots are also inexpensive and good looking!

  49. Peridot Hello!
    Sorry for the delay! I love Grand Prix roses and colour is seasonal and so we are drawn to red at that time of year! I would love to use Naomi roses with Black Bacarra roses and Red Sensation spray roses. I think you might like Burgundy Ranunculus as well! Claret Dahlias mixed with herbs and roses would be gorgeous! Tulips are no problem in November, they are abundant and in many colours. There are some wonderful dark reds and purples so this may be the way to go.

    All good wishes

  50. Hi Ali,
    Love the idea of the white hydrangea with the Cadbury purple. The purples and lilacs available in September for your bridal bouquet are calla lilies, lisianthus, freesias, vanda orchids (which are particularly striking) lilac hydrangea, ocean song and blue pacific roses. with regards to your table decorations I would suggest that you design one and let an assistant do the work! as I am sure you will have plenty to do!! Good luck and have a great day. Paula

  51. Dear Kitty, The end of May is still Peony season and they are looking fabulous at that time and are readily available. A bridal bouquet with peonies, roses, alchemilla mollis and sweet peas would be stunning and there are some fabulous early summer foliages around at the time. I hope this is helpful. with best wishes, Paula

  52. Hi Philippa, Craspedia are available at the moment at Covent Garden Flower Market as the cultivated crops tend to bloom earlier than home grown varieties so you should be able to get them from your florist this time next year. Planting seeds at present would probably not work for a crop this year as it is a little late. They are certainly better fresh rather than preserved. Yours Paula

  53. Thank you very much Paula!

    Just checking that would all work in a hand tied bouquet? Also, what would you suggest to complement that in the way of bridesmaid bouquets?

    Thanks again, Kitty x

  54. Hi Lara, there are some lovely flowers available in September, in the blue range we have scabious, cornflowers, hydrangeas and eryngium, unfortunately there are not too many scented flowers available at this time although you could incorporate sweet peas into your designs to give fragrance. Jasmine is not available although you could substitute with Stephanotis plants which you can unwind in trails and snip off. Snowberries are available as are dahlias and roses. I hope this helps with your plans. Best wishes, Paula

  55. @Charlotte – the lady with the heart candleabras…oooo yes, would love to see a photo – let me have your email address, I shall drop you a line!

  56. Dear Peridot, Grand Prix is a classic romantic rose and always looks stunning especially when mixed with black Bacarra roses that are a couple of shades darker with red skimmia and dark purple lisianthus. The Groom and Grooms Men could then have buttonholes of Black Bacarra Rose with sprigs of Skimmia which would look velvety and masculine. Tulips are fine for a bridal bouquet at that time of the year but are best on their own rather than mixed as they tend to grow after cutting and can change the shape of the bouquet. Yours Paula

  57. Dear Grace, I am guessing that you are talking seasonally about summer as you are mentioning Delphinium. Other blue flowers available at this time are Bluebee, Agapanthus, Eryngium and Hydrangea. I hope this helps. Best wishes, Paula

  58. Paula

    Thanks to you I have been in touch with Nursery Fresh and they have already been in touch saying that although light coloured hydrangeas are difficult at that time of year, they should be able to get some for me…and at a price I can afford.

    You have made my day!

  59. Dear Paula,

    Yes I forgot to say, for the beginning of July! Eryngium is one I have been trying to find out the name of!! I keep saying ‘…its like a thistle’ which doesn’t sound very attractive or practical!

    Thank you

  60. Dear Emily, I agree that the sunflower buttonhole may be a step to far! you could try using a small yellow calla which will be in keeping with your colour scheme but more structural and masculine for Mr H. with best wishes, Paula

  61. Hi Paula,
    Thank you so much for the information- I had a quick look at the flowers I didn’t know (Stephanotis and Eryngium) and they are all great suggestions.
    Best wishes,

  62. Hi Joss
    May is a wonderful time to get married and you have lots of choice for unstructured flowers in blue and white. Blue flowers could be Cornflowers, Veronica, Echinops, Erygium,
    Scabious! White flowers could be sweet peas, ox-eye daisies, phlox, stocks, etc.

    I think a collection of vases all with one flower in each and grouped together looks good or a mix in a jam jar or simple jug.

    Hope that helps!

  63. Vicky, It is tricky to advise for venues without seeing the actual place. November is a hard time for flowers as we all naturally want warmer colours and the day is short that you want something vibrant in the poor light? Depending on your budget I would recommend going seasonal! Berries, malus, hydrangea and roses. If you like the blue and yellow route you would have to start to think about the spring flowers that are available at that time but it does not sound like that really suits your venue choice? I think a rich or striking palette would be best. Yours

  64. Hi Paula,

    We are getting married in October this year and our colour scheme includes burnished autumnal colours. My bridesmaids dressed are quite a dark red and I wanted a flower to tie in with this. I find most of the red roses too deep a colour and dark calla lillies too gothic looking. Do you have any suggestions. I’m quite interested on incorporating berries, succulents or herbs into the mix too!

  65. Hi Becky
    Sorry I think I started your email and then got distracted so if you get too please let me know! Astrania is a good filler! I adore autumnal Hydrangea and also a brown cow parsley called Daucas. There are some wonderful taupe roses called Hpynose and Amnesia so I would include some of those! Try and also get hold of some spray roses as they also make the theme more vintage. Use some Viburnum berries and maybe some ornamental cabbages with a few crab apples to give a wild theme. One filler I adore at that time of year is the pink snowberry and there are also all the evergreen herbs which would work well. Don’t overlook Dahlias – the ultimate vintage and retro flower and still in bloom at that time. Good Luck! Paula

  66. Peridot
    If you like BB roses you will love Claret Dahlias and also maybe some black calla lilies? There is also a dyed Grand Prix rose which has been given blue dye which makes it look very theatrical! It maybe a bit to Halloween for a wedding but it does have an beetroot glow! Have a great day! Paula

  67. Grace
    Erygium and Echinops which is the thistle that is globular in shape? Veronica is pretty and also scabious? There are lovely garden roses around! Have you seen Country Roses site? Or the Real Flower Company? Please do not forget Lavendar – it would make such a great addition to your wedding! Best wishes Paula

  68. Thanks so much Paula. After a quick google of the vanda orchids I think I may have found the inspiration I needed for my bouquet 🙂 Thank you!

  69. Hi Louise
    One other suggestion which came from the Nursery Fresh team was small Gerbera called Germini with a black eye or Arabian Chinch whose Latin name is Ornithogalum arabicum.
    That can look very stylish! I know there is nothing quite like an anemone with a black centre. Anemone ‘Galil Wit’ is available from late Nov to April usually although you may just be lucky! All good wishes and fingers crossed from Paula

  70. Gemma
    Thanks for that tip! I am working with Sally and John Waddington from Nursery Fresh on the Flower Festival at the Cathedral! I have know John for zillions of years as he has been in the industry for ages and Sally his wife is doing a great job working with Brides on their wedding flowers. It is a unique service and they give a lot of advice so I recommend it to those who want to get involved in doing their own wedding flowers! Paula

  71. Hi Ali
    I feel guilty now as they are stunning but not the cheapest of flowers! They are very beautiful and work well in shower bouquets.
    In September you can still get sweet peas too but the purple vanda are around all year round and since you sound like me, that you are into purple…there is no flower finer! There should be quite a lot of bouquets on the internet with Vanda but have a look at Fushion Flowers site as that has a wedding mag. as well Wishing you all the best!

  72. Hi Sama
    My pleasure! Have a look at my book Everday flowers but also take at look at Sarah Raven’s Cutting Garden website? There are lots of natural garden flowers on that site and she loves bright colours like I do! You word list will be huge! In the end you probably don’t need more than 9 varieties unless you want it to look very wild! And please don’t forget the foliage! The more varieties the better! Think some lime green and also some grey! Avoid variegated as it messes with the colours!
    Have a great weekend – making you list!

  73. Lara
    I think I posted this already but I can’t see it now? These people have a wholesale company in Edinburgh? Not sure if you can buy direct from them but it is worth a call?

    Otherwise… think about using plants more than cut flowers in your decoration as they are always cheaper and can be very effective.
    Use Jasmine candles and trailing Jasmine without the flowers to give the same effect?

    Have a great weekend!

  74. Hi Paula, I hope I haven’t left it too late. We are having our reception in a field with a large marquee and we are collecting blue glass vases and bottles to put a few stems in as we are having long treacle tables rather than round tables with big centrepieces. I want them to look natural and wild with some greenery and herbage but not too obviously hand made! And there will only be room for a few stems in each jar/vase. What do you recommend in the way of foliage/flowers for such arrangements? Thanks x

  75. Hi Paula,

    Thanks so much for your reply, again! Yes I had thought of Lavender, and I won’t forget it! You’ve given me a great starting point to work with, lots of blue flowers, thank you so much!

  76. Thanks for the advice Paula. I’m not too set on any colour schemes but more wanted to blend with the yellow and not fight against it. This is a link to the venue if that helps!?
    Would there be any particular colours you’d suggest?

    many thanks again

  77. Mimi, You are quite close to Nursery Fresh so you can go down and have a chat with them.

    They may be able to get Scabious and also Iris in a pale blue but that also has some yellow on it too! Erygium thistle is always around and that gives a blue hue. I love the blue hydrangea when it starts to turn anyway so consider that too! Best wishes!
    Winchester is a lovely town to get married in! Yours Paula

  78. Vicky
    I would go for rich colour for Ballanthiel House Hotel. Berries and autumnal colours. You could still incorporate some blues if you like. I am thinking burgundy, reds, bright pinks and some orange. Colour will work best espeicially as it is winter! Hope that helps. Take a look at the autumnal section of my latest book or my wedding book? If you want to include blue, maybe have burgundy, blue, red and purple. That is also a rich and lovely autumnal combo!
    Have fun! Paula

  79. Hi Emma
    That sounds lovely! I love the idea of the bottles down the long table! Are you planning blue flowers as well? Whatever the colour you need to have different shapes when approaching this type of look. I like all one type of flower in each bottle best. So say 3 or 5 stems in each bootle. Veronica, Erygium, Dill, Alchemilla Mollis, Sweet Pea, Cornflowers, Stocks, Phlox are the type of flowers that work well! Roses can work too but I prefer garden or spray roses with this look. Good Luck! Paula

  80. Hi Paula,

    My mother and sister will be doing our church flowers, my colours are pale pastel colours particularly lilac (bridesmaid dresses). I have planned stocks on the pew ends but have no idea how to tie onto the pews any tips? Also I have a florist attaching a foliage arch to the church porch and wanted my mum to add pale blue hydrangeas can you recommend any other flowers to go with the hydrangeas would stocks look odd in an arch?



  81. Hi Laura
    Stocks will be fine! Usually there is away to anchor some ribbon around the pew end or you will have to use a hook? There are some metal hooks that are made to go over doors to hold wreathes that you could try.

    Regarding the arch? Take a look in my wedding book. Page 87 has a garland around a church door in Northamptshire. We used Hydrangeas and lots of hops, wheat, erygium thistle, and just lilies.
    Large headed flowers will be better that stocks? Also we like to use flowers in water phials or tubes so that they last? Stocks can go over very quickly too so I would try and find something more robust. Even roses would last better and they could also be put into water tubes?

    Hope this helps and all the best! Paula

  82. Thanks so much Paula, I have your wedding flower book so I will take a look at the arch. I would never have thought to put them in water tubes – great idea.


  83. Hi Laura

    Check out

    You can poke them into the greenery and the flowers will keep fresh! I hope to see a picture on my FB site! Good Luck!
    All the best!

  84. A fabulous blog entry! Reading one of Paula’s books was one of the reasons that made me take a course and start my business. A real hero of mine! x

    Always perfect and always inspirational.

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