Geometric, Copper and Rose Gold Trends

(Calke Abbey, Riding School)

This season we are getting more and more requests for geometric designs – a theme that can carry across wedding flowers, cakes, ceremony backdrops and table settings.


(White Hart,Moorwood moor)

Accessories such as geometric lanterns, look elegant lining the aisle, Golden geometric centrepieces, Hanging geometric floral arrangements, Terraniums – little geometric glass containers – are also really popular, especially filled with succulents, air plants and  floral arrangements


(The Pumping House)

Succulents are available year round, so they don’t present any seasonal concerns for your wedding and these hardy little plants are a refreshing alternative to flowers.

They come in a surprising variety of colours, ranging from shades of green and grey to soft pink and purple, they look great painted in copper and golds too. Succulents  are especially great for summer weddings since they can stand up to the heat and won’t wilt.

Best of all, they’re eco-friendly and can be replanted at home after the wedding; they make lovely little gifts for your guests.

(Calke Abbey)

But this season it’s  all about geometrics, copper, gold and my personal favourite rose gold, Silver step aside—there’s a new metallic taking over.

Copper, Gold and Rose Gold are the colours of the moment and it’s hard to go wrong with sleek, shiny and simple base metal accessories, especially when you want to balance flowers with something a little more structured. This look feels classic and on-trend all at once.


Rose gold sequin runners and table cloths mixed with Geometric lantern centrepieces, place names, tealight holders make your wedding breakfast table scape ooze luxury. Hollywood Love letters and statement back drops add focal points to your venue.

Statement pieces are hugely popular, hanging floral arrangements, ceremony and wedding breakfast back drops, floral pedestal arrangements and towering floral centrepieces that wow your guests.

The best part is, this metal meshes well with any wedding style: polished copper can look glamorous and elegant, but matte or aged copper accents lend a rustic or vintage feel. It’s a thoroughly versatile look that is sure to make your wedding day shine!


Industrial Into The Wild Photo shoot- Wedding Flower Inspiration

Those of you busy wedding planning today will be over the moon to view these inspirational and ruddy well beautiful images, I am certain. If you are lacking in ideas for décor, florals or outfits, I have all three covered. Don’t say I don’t treat you now lovelies.

There were the most lavish, opulent and striking floral arrangements ever. Think flower installations everywhere, from adorned hanging hoops to a floral packed top table and whimsical bouquets. Oh my! Then there was the lovely styling on the tables, complete with botanical stationery, pretty tableware and a show stopper of a cake. The bride and groom looked so on trend in their perfect outfits and bridal hair and make up look. Wow wee.

Many thanks goes to Ivory Fayre for sharing these sensational shots.


“When we all set out to create this shoot we wanted to make something super dreamy with a fashion feel – something that was edgy and yet absolutely beautiful all in one.

We chose The Pumping House as our venue for the shoot because it has this incredible mix of old and new – beautiful, original windows with contemporary flooring and styling. It also boasts some pretty incredible grounds so we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to make use of them. We really liked the idea of creating pairing unusual things together -and so the theme ‘Into the Wild’ was born!

The shoot was to feature heavy greenery and foliage with slight accents of muted pinks, blues and greys. This meant the use of bright smoke bombs really worked – again creating that juxtaposition that we were looking for.

The flowers were supplied by Avant Garden – Laura and Scott really worked their magic on the ‘Into the Wild’ theme! We had heavily foliaged hoops, overhead hanging flower arrangements and the most incredible bouquets.

When we got out into the woods Save the Date Event Stylists provided us with a beautiful chandelier hanging from the trees and some gorgeous gilded frames which were adorned with flowers from Avant Garden. There’s something beautiful about the clash of those items out in the woods.

Hair (Cherry from Nashwhite) and Makeup (Josephine Way) wanted to use the colours and textures from the surroundings to really pull everything together. Josephine Way created a dark smokey eye to add intensity and kept the rest of the makeup fresh and in keeping with the muted colours of the shoot.

Cherry created fabulous messy up do’s which really fitted with the ‘into the wild’ theme. Rachel Ash provided a selection of dreamy dresses which were topped off with beautiful crystal accessories from Annaliese Rivers. Cherry also added some flower headpieces which looked gorgeous with the backdrop of the woods….”

Many thanks to Louise Baltruschat Hollis of

Behind the scenes of a wedding florist

People often comment that I have a lovely job – and I have! But I don’t think many brides and grooms really understand how much work goes into making their floral dreams come true. Here’s a behind the scenes glimpse into the life of a wedding florist…

First meeting:

The first time I meet with clients I start by getting the kettle on. Then we talk about their basic requirements – what they want and how many of each. Some brides have Pinterest boards and cuttings from magazines, while others simply haven’t a clue where to start. At this point I will give the bride a quote to take away with them, or if their design is a bit unusual – say it involves a flower I’m not used to – I might have to email a quote over.

After booking, and we take a 25% deposit at this stage, it all tends to go quiet. Sometimes I need to do a venue visit and I’ll always try to pull this in during the quieter months. If the venue is somewhere I haven’t worked before, or if it’s a particularly big wedding, I will need to check if my flowers will fit the area they are planned for or see if anything needs moving.

Three months to go:

Around three months before the big day we meet again for a final consultation. By now bridesmaid dresses, colour schemes and groom’s suits have all been decided on and these usually have a bearing on the flowers.

At this stage I often find that brides have changed their minds completely – which is absolutely fine!  Some brides will have booked me two years in advance, so of course trends will have completely changed by then.

Three weeks to go:

We talk again to confirm the final details and numbers. Between the very first meeting and actually starting to work on their flowers I’ve usually spent about 10 hours on the booking. This is confirming arrangements and numbers, designing their flowers and double checking – it’s a time consuming process and we haven’t even ordered a flower yet!

Tuesday before the big day:

If the wedding is on a Saturday I have to collect the flowers the Tuesday before, which is when they arrive from Holland. Some more unusual flowers need to be collected 10 days before, some only 2 days before, so for one wedding I might be back and forth to the wholesalers in Derby 4 or 5 times. The flowers are imported into Holland from all over the world and distributed across Europe from there. This means that European events. such as Mother’s Day in France, will have an impact on the price of the flowers in Holland. And, of course, Brexit has had a huge impact on the cost too.

Once I’ve collected the flowers I bring them back to the shop and start conditioning them – every single stem needs attention. I give them flower food, remove dead leaves and strip every single rose stem of thorns – which must be done by hand. The flowers are given a day to drink because they are usually really thirsty after the time spent travelling. Some flowers need special chemicals to rehydrate them and it takes a full day, with the air conditioning on, to prepare them. My hands are usually really sore from the cold and wet.

Wednesday before:

I start greening the bases and containers – the foliage always goes in first and this lasts well in the foam. All the greenery is prepared today, so we just have the flowers to work with nearer the time.

Thursday and Friday before:

My team and I begin making the flowers up. If I need some roses to remain closed up in tight buds I keep them chilled, and if I want them to open up I have to warm them. I always joke that you aren’t a real florist until you have sat staring at a bucket of peonies willing them to open! Certain flowers, such as gerbera, won’t support their own weight so they have to be wired.

Wedding Day:

My day begins at 3.30am when I begin making corsages and buttonholes. Because they are wired and taped they can’t be kept in water once they have been created. It can take a couple of hours to make these and then I start packaging everything up. Bouquets go in a special box with holes in it and cellophane full of water underneath. Everything is packed into the van with tender loving care – we strap everything in with bungee cords and use non-slip mats – and in delivery order. Many venues are up tiny country lanes so we have to negotiate hills, cattle grids and traffic. Scott delivers the bouquets and I go to the venue, but I can never settle until I’ve heard that the bride is happy with her bouquet.

We follow the order of the day and deliver to the church or marriage venue, then the reception venue. Sometimes displays have to be made in situ – an archway of flowers, for example, has to be done on the spot. So I have to carry bags of flowers and sheets to cover the floor.

Sometimes brides pay us to stay and move the flowers from the church to the venue – which is absolutely fine. It’s a mad dash to grab the flowers from the church – usually out of the back door so we don’t ruin the photographs – and to the venue before everyone else arrives. This means liaising with the vicar to use a discreet entrance and finding somewhere to park the van so it’s not spoiling the pictures.

Once we’ve made the venue beautiful we go back to the shop and start clearing up. We clean the van and bleach the flower buckets – we don’t want any bacteria in them. By 2pm we have already done an 11 hour day! And we won’t have had chance for a drink or anything to eat.

Day after the wedding:

We go back to the venue and start clearing away. We usually aim to get there before the guests are even out of bed. We take the flowers out of our containers and wrap them in tin foil so that they don’t drip water everywhere and bring all the props back to the shop to clean them and put them back in storage.

Often I’ll take an hour now to ensure I’m prepared for first meetings on Monday – when the whole process starts all over again! It’s hard work – but I love it. And I wouldn’t have it any other way!

Laura & Ryans Shottle Hall Wedding

Who: Laura Heathcote and Ryan Ludlam

: May 29th, 2016

: Shottle Hall, Belper

: I wanted a very relaxed wedding day and I loved the idea of a garden party. I didn͛t want a particular colour theme, I just wanted the whole day to be bright and cheery and as colourful as
possible. I loved the idea of being outside and of everything being very natural and laid back.

: This was a real Pinterest wedding – I had tonnes of pictures of all the things I wanted.

During my first meeting with Laura and Scott I ended up thinking that I would never be able to afford everything as my list went on and on. Luckily, I really felt they both understood exactly what I
wanted and from the outset I had complete faith that they both really ͚got͛ the look I was trying to create. Laura seemed genuinely excited too, which was really infectious. When I was waiting for the quote I thought it would be really expensive and I was already deciding in my head what I would have  to trim off the list to save money. I was amazed when Laura emailed me and it wasn͛t as expensive as I was expecting. In fact, I was able to add some things so I was completely thrilled. The night before the wedding Laura put a post on Facebook with a picture of all these wonderful flowers. I messaged her to ask if they were mine and I was thrilled when she said that they were. Honestly, the next day I was more excited to see what she had created than I was about getting married! 


I knew I wanted sunflowers because I love their cheerful bright shape and colour and
they make such a beautiful and happy addition to any big day. I have always thought that
sunflowers have personality and are bold enough to create a statement. They just give that feeling of happiness and fun – which was exactly how I wanted the day to be. I also asked for lots of
wildflowers – I didn͛t mind which ones as long as they were as bright as possible. My bouquet was so beautiful I nearly cried when I saw it – it was just what I had imagined. The bridesmaids carried
handtied arrangements of sunflowers and greenery which were stunning too. The groomsmen all had a sunflower buttonhole and the mums and my grandma had wildflower corsages.

The ceremony

I really wanted to get married outside and luckily the weather allowed for it – so we held our ceremony in Shottle Hall͛s outdoor pavilion. Laura had made me the most stunning
sunflower archway which I was thrilled with. And on either side of the pavilion she͛d made a display out of wooden crates with jam jars and bottles filled with wildflowers and a huge milk churn with a display similar to my bouquet. I also had little buckets dotted down the aisle which were filled with water and had sunflower heads and candles floating on the top. They were really pretty. I had to
walk through the marquee before going down the aisle and I was so distracted looking around the room at all the pretty tables I didn͛t have time to panic about the big moment!

The reception

We had a BBQ rather than a formal meal, but people were invited to eat in the
marquee and we still had a top table and speeches. I had hessian table runners which were tied with a little gerbera in the middle. And on each table I had tree trunk slices with lots of jars of different sizes filled with wildflowers. The seats had hessian and lace bows and I wanted them tied as roughly as possibly which apparently nearly killed Scott as he is such a perfectionist! On the top table we had a similar look along with milk churns for me and the bridesmaids to put our bouquets in.

decorated the whole venue for me, we had jam jars of flowers on the bar and she even put some flowers on the welsh dresser outside the toilets. We also had some jugs filled with really pretty flowers on the stone pillars in the main marquee, leading into the bar.
Evening do: We invited our evening guests quite early and so the night do kicked off at 6.30pm. We had bacon and sausage cobs, which I͛m told were delicious but neither of us got round to trying any! We hired an American-style mailbox for guests to put their wedding cards in and the staff at Shottle moved the milk churn and crates from the outdoor pavilion and created another display with those. I also really wanted an easel with a blackboard so we could write the order of the day on it. Laura didn͛t have one of those but she sourced one for us – which was amazing.
Happy ever after: Our honeymoon was wonderful, we had five days touring Sri Lanka and then
seven days in the Maldives. I felt a bit emotional about leaving all my flowers and the fact that our big day was over – it had been months in the planning and I didn͛t know what I was going to do with myself! I can͛t thank Laura and Scott enough for helping make my wedding dream a reality. They completely grasped my vision and brought it to life.


I͛d recommend them to anyone

A special thanks to Laura, Ryan and  to Matt from

Making dreams come true


Welcome to our very first blog!

If you have just begun planning your wedding – congratulations, you’re embarking on a wonderful journey and have many exciting months ahead of you.

Here at Avant Garden we are absolutely passionate about weddings and everything that goes with them; from bouquets to buttonholes and candelabras to cake stands.

In fact, we love weddings so much we sold everything we own – including our home and our possessions – to launch our business. It means that we have one of the widest ranges of wedding props in Derbyshire and a beautiful showroom for customers to look around.

We love nothing more than making dreams come true for brides and grooms, not least because Avant Garden itself is a dream come true for me.

Years ago, when I was studying Criminology and Law at the University of Derby, I dreamed of being a florist. It was a world away from the classroom or a court – but nothing appealed to me more.

So, with the support of my amazing partner Scott, I decided to follow my dream. I signed up for a part-time floristry course and went on to have a market stall in Rowsley – selling flowers, plants and gifts.

I soon found I was spending more and more of my time working with brides-to-be and the idea for Avant Garden was born. At first we offered wedding flowers only; dressing bridal parties and venues with the freshest and sweetest arrangements possible.

But soon we were being asked for vases, bowls and jam jars or birdcages, candelabras and crates. It made sense to build up our stock – which was when our house and home went up for sale!

Today we have multiples of most props and our offering means we can dress the whole wedding. Our clients like it because it means they have to explain their vision to just one person – and we like it because it’s such a beautiful job.

We feel absolutely privileged to work in some of the loveliest wedding venues in Derbyshire, including Shottle Hall, Makeney Hall, Hassop Hall and West Mills.

And we get to be part of a bride and groom’s special day, helping to make their dream become a reality. And no one understands how important that is than us!