Who: Helena Catlow and Jonathan Simms
When: 28th May, 2017
Where: Brackensfield Church, Ashover and the groom’s mothers home
Theme: I’m a graphic designer by trade and in the last few years I have run my own wedding stationery firm – so I’ve seen so many trends I was spoiled for choice. Our wedding reception was being held in a marquee at my mother-in-law’s house so I felt the theme should reflect the setting – an English country garden. I wanted lots of flowers of the season and wildflowers.
Planning: I was at a wedding fair at the Silk Mill in Derby and Avant Garden was at the same event. I got chatting to Laura and thought she was lovely, really down to earth – even though she is really successful. I knew she was the perfect person to do my flowers – but I didn’t give her much to go on! I wanted flowers of every colour and every type. Laura came back to me with flowers of all different kinds and colours and we narrowed it down from there. I didn’t actually see one real flower throughout the process – Laura kept sending me Pinterest pictures (the bible for brides) and she knew exactly what I wanted.
Bouquets: The brief for my bouquet was a bunch of wildflowers that looked as if I’d been wandering through the countryside picking flowers. The bouquet was a complete surprise – I just left Laura too it. And it was absolutely beautiful and exactly what I wanted. The bridemaid’s were wearing sage green so I knew that having a mixture of colours in their bouquets would work. They didn’t believe me when I told them they were having every single colour! They had slightly smaller versions of my bouquet, which were equally gorgeous. The main flowers Laura used were delphiniums, stocks, waxflower, green bell and ranunculus which have intense colours and beautiful, pure shapes. She also used lots of scented foliage such as eucalyptus and rosemary.
Hair: I asked Laura for some additional flowers for my hair and she gave me loads – so I had my hair absolutely covered in blooms and ended up filling the bridesmaids hair too!
The ceremony: I wasn’t able to decorate the church because it was well dressing weekend which meant that there were lots of flowers in the area anyway. Unfortunately, it was a sport theme and the display in the church was a cricket bat! I kept thinking that everyone would think I had arranged it for Jono as he loves cricket!
The reception: My mother-in-law lives in a converted chapel house with a large piece of grass behind it. I wanted absolutely loads of flowers but I still wanted guests to be able to see each other and talk across the table, so I came up with the idea of the ‘trees’, although they weren’t trees at all! Scott created the trunk from a branch which was secured very firmly down and surrounded with greenery. There was a piece of glass on the top and Laura placed the display on that – so they looked like colourful trees! I was absolutely blown away by them; I burst into tears when I saw the marquee. They were the absolute talking point of the day and everyone thought they were stunning.
I was very much aware that marquees can look quite empty so I asked Laura for some greenery so I could decorate other areas. She gave me some advice on how to tack it up with string and I decorated the bar and as many other places as I could! More and more greenery kept turning up and so I just kept pinning it up – I really wanted it to look like the outdoors.
I was devastated the next day when I had to take the ‘trees’ down. I had envisioned just handing out the displays from the top – but they were absolutely massive. No one would have a table big enough! So, I had to split them up and make smaller bouquets to give to the grandparents and parents. The tree trunks have gone back to Avant Garden for other couples to use.
Top tip: Don’t hold back and always follow your instinct. Everyone kept telling me that I was going over the top and ordering far too many flowers. Laura and I knew it would look amazing, but it was almost like no one else could see our vision. Jonathan thought I was going mad – but he would pay it all over again and some because he loved it so much. My mum cried when she walked in the marquee and everyone was overwhelmed. Laura totally understood what I wanted and I just can’t recommend her enough.