Real Wedding – Hassop Hall, Derbyshire


Who: Sally Adlen and James Miller

When: September 24, 2016

Where: Bakewell Methodist Church followed by a reception at Hassop Hall

Theme: I didn’t really have a set theme, but because Hassop Hall has a very distinctive style I decided to work with that look, rather than chose something completely different. Hassop is a stately home, which is grand and splendid, but it is also has quite a relaxed, country gentleman feel to it. So we decided to work with its grand fireplaces, traditional furnishings and plush country atmosphere to create a very English look. The groomsmen were in navy tails and the bridesmaids wore burgundy and gold.

I didn’t originally want to get married at Hassop because it is the place where I have celebrated lots of milestones in my life, for example I had my 18th and 21st birthday celebrations there. But when I saw Hassop’s ballroom I changed my mind because it was simply stunning.

Planning: My sister went to Avant Garden for her wedding so I had seen Laura and Scott’s work first hand. With that in mind, it was a no brainer – I always knew I would go to them. At my initial meeting I didn’t have loads of specific ideas, but I knew that I didn’t want anything tight and formal. I took quite a few photographs of things I liked and left it to Laura to put all the ideas together. One option Laura offers is the opportunity to have your bouquets made in advance of the big day, so you can see exactly what they are going to be like and make amendments if there are things you aren’t so keen on. This was absolutely invaluable to me. I had two bouquets made – mine and a bridesmaids – and an example of a buttonhole. I got to take them home and see what they looked like against my dress and the fabric for the bridesmaid’s dresses. It also set my mind at ease, since I knew that Laura had completely understood my vision. I was also able to make a few tweaks at this stage – for example there were dark red roses in my bouquet which I decided against.

Bouquets: My bouquet was absolutely beautiful. It was cascading, rather than a posy and it was full of dahlias which was one of the flowers I really wanted because my mum has always grown dahlias and I absolutely love them. I also had astilbees – which are also called false goat’s beard – and really added texture to the bouquet, as well as astrantia and ameranthus which are catkin-like long floral tassels which make quite a bold statement. Vebernam and lots of greenery completed the bouquet. The bridesmaid’s bouquets were similar but had more pops of orange and red in them. The overall look was quite autumnal, which is my favourite season too.

Buttonholes: I really wanted dark purple dahlias for the groom, best man, ushers and fathers, but they are very heavy flowers so Laura had to tie them quite carefully. She came up with lots of different options and I plumped for twine which looked great because James had a tweed waistcoat and it tied it with that English gentleman look. The mums had corsages in cream colours so that they matched whatever they wore.

Reception: I knew I wanted lots of greenery and Laura decorated the windowsills with ivy and edged the seating plan with it too. Laura and scott did all of the table centres at the reception – there were 12 in total. These were large gold bowls with flowers and greenery to match the bouquets. They were all lovely and loose; spilling out over the edges and on to the table. They then also provided small gold tealight holders and tealights to provide lots of extra sparkle.


Laura also did a ‘cake topper’ for our wedding cake. My mother-in-law made the wedding cake, which was gorgeous and simple, and Laura made up a little floral topper to finish it off.


Happy Ever After: We went to the Amalfi Coast and had a wonderful time. I was thrilled with everything on my wedding day, but flowers are very important to me and I was really thrilled that Laura understood my vision and lovingly brought it to life.


Shottle Hall Blog A brand new Wedding Marquee for Derbyshire

Written by Sarah Davis | 14-Jul-2017 10:07:00

When Abbie and Stuart booked Shottle Hall for their wedding it was two years before their big day. So, they were delighted to discover that our wedding marquee had been replaced with a brand new permanent structure – and they were among the first couples to use it.

WHO: Abbie Cunningham (28) who works for Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service and Stuart Smith (32), an Apprentice Trainer for Toyota and Lexus.

WHEN: May 20th 2017

FIRST MET: We met in a Chinese restaurant in Ilkeston after a night out. My friend and I were in there having a meal and Stuart came in to get a takeaway. We got chatting and the rest is history!

PROPOSAL: We went to New York for Stuart’s 30th birthday. He had planned to propose on Central Park’s boating lake but it was a really cold April and they hadn’t opened it that year. So, he proposed on Brooklyn Bridge at night, with the whole of Manhattan lit up in the background. I wasn’t expecting it at all and it was a magical setting.

WHY SHOTTLE HALL: We visited a few venues but as soon as we walked into the marquee at Shottle Hall we knew it would be perfect. I really wanted an outdoor ceremony but Stuart wasn’t so keen because we aren’t very lucky with the weather. So, the marquee was perfect – we could get married outside if the weather was nice, or we had the coach house if it wasn’t so good. But the marquee has wonderfully big windows, which allows the light to flood in and provides a backdrop of rolling hills and countryside – it’s just stunning and that’s what decided it for us.

PACKAGE: We went for the full estate package because we wanted the bedrooms too. It meant that we could get married in the coach house, then we moved over to the house for drinks, then we went back to the marquee for the wedding breakfast and evening do. It felt like Shottle was ours for the day – we had the free run of the place and it meant that there was something for every member of the group, with quiet spaces for the people who didn’t want to listen to the band.

CEREMONY: This was in the coach house and Sarah our wedding coordinator made sure everything went beautifully to plan. There were quite a few laughs, I couldn’t get Stuart’s ring on his finger! And one of my bridesmaids started crying and it set everyone off.

MARQUEE: We had the wedding breakfast and evening do in the marquee which was brand new and stunning. It’s such a nice space with proper doors and windows, so there were no drafts because it can be quite chilly in May. Behind the top table was the most spectacular view and loads of people have commented on that, it has to be one of the best views in Derbyshire. There were little fairy lights all over the ceiling, underneath the netting, which twinkle like the stars. Although we had a DJ and a band in the evening and everyone was in the Marquee we still had plenty of space, it was a great atmosphere without feeling too crowded. We also absolutely loved the new bar with all the two pence pieces – it’s a real talking point.

DRESSES: I went to three wedding dress shops before going into Rococo in Melbourne where I found a beautiful lace fitted Pronovias dress. I tried on six dresses, but when you know – you know. When I put the veil on everyone started crying so I knew I’d found my dress. I added a belt to it too for a bit of sparkle. I felt amazing in it and it had five different layers, it was so beautiful. Mind you, it’s quite muddy now!

BRIDESMAIDS: I had three bridesmaids – two friends from primary school and my cousin. Their dresses were actually from Dorothy Perkins and I found them when a friend wore one to races. All three bridesmaids were quite different shapes and I was worried about finding something suitable for all of them. But these dresses ticked all the boxes and they were in the sale.

CENTREPIECES: I had spent about a year on Pinterest – I had a board full of pictures but I wasn’t entirely sure what I wanted. Luckily, I went to Avant Garden, in Belper, and they knew straight away what I wanted – Laura just instantly got it. We hired quite a few bits from her including crates which I used for my table plan, a beer barrel for cards and she put fairy lights around the beams in the coach house. We had milk churns on the top table that we put our bouquets in and jars of gyp down the aisle.

FLOWERS: I told Avant Garden that I wanted a bouquet that looked as if I had run through a wild meadow and picked a bunch of flowers. And that’s exactly what she did – and I loved it.
CAKE: My friend made my cake and favours – which were bags of homemade fudge – as my wedding gift. Stuart and I are both big chocolate lovers so it was a three-tier naked chocolate sponge with vanilla buttercream and white chocolate ganache. Shottle provided berries and cream to serve with it as a dessert.
ENTERTAINMENT: We had Spirit’s High all day, so he provided the music during the ceremony and while we were eating. We also had a live band in the evening called Brotherhood. During the first dance – to U2’s With or Without You – Stuart gave me an envelope which had tickets to see U2 at Twickenham. I’d suggested he got me tickets for my birthday but he’d said we couldn’t afford to go with paying for the wedding. So, I was absolutely thrilled.

PHOTOGRAPHY: We used Mark Averill Photography and we were really pleased with our photographs – they are fantastic. Mark was a joy to work with and he captured the day so perfectly.
BEST MOMENT: My dad arranged for our dog to join us for a bit as Shottle allows dogs. That made me cry! And just seeing everyone up on the dance floor and having such a good time.
ANY ADVICE: Definitely enlist the help of your family and friends. People are always asking if there is anything they can do to help – and they are only too happy to get involved. It becomes a team effort then and it’s really nice to experience it together.

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!