Tips on Wedding Flowers & Styling your wedding venue.

When planning Wedding florals and venue styling with our couples we hear so often “Help…. we have no idea where to start” At Avant Garden Weddings we provide a full wedding flower service from bouquets, buttonholes and centrepieces all the way through to church and venue styling as well as hiring linens, props and more. We have done over 400 weddings, so we like to think we know a thing or two about planning, styling and florals.

Suppliers: The first and most important part of the whole process is finding the right supplier. It is important that you choose a supplier that’s style of work reflects your own style and personality. Look at their body of work, go on Instagram, Facebook, visit their website and see them in person at wedding fayres and venue open days. Do you love what they do? and would you be happy to let them do it for you? If so book an appointment, but don’t leave It too late. Good suppliers book up to 2 years in advance.

Budget:  Before a consultation I always advise our couples to start by giving me a budget. We often meet couples who don’t know their budget and that is totally understandable, who knows what these things cost?? Try looking at weddings on our social media pages or on our website. Ask for a ballpark figure of what that wedding would cost based on your guest numbers.

Venue open days are a great way to see the space dressed and ask the supplier ‘what would this cost?’ I like to be really open with my pricing and I am always happy to provide a start from amount for any wedding or floral arrangement before you come in to see us. An itemised price list is available on our website


Just keep in mind when choosing your décor, if you have picked a design from a magazine or a royal wedding then it costs what it costs. A cheap version of it will be just that. If you bring us a photograph of your dream ceremony arch that will cost £600, but you only have £300 for it in your budget then it won’t be your dream arch, on the day it will be a cheaper version.

Your budget doesn’t have to be set in stone, but it is always a good starting point. Having an indication of your budget will enable us to deliver you the best wedding for the money available to us and help prioritise spaces for decor. It doesn’t matter if you have a little or a lot, but it will be easily wasted if you don’t choose how to spend it wisely.

The venue: So…you’ve arrived at our studio for a consultation. We usually begin a virtual walk around the venue. We start at the front door and create a list of all of the areas that we feel are important to dress. Are there any ugly features? Or any pretty features to accentuate? like a beautiful fire place or a gorgeous window that could be dressed? Most people naturally want to allocate money to hiding ugly features, but I think your budget is better spent accentuating the features that you love. This will detract from any negatives and ensure your guests are drawn to the features that made you fall in love with the venue in the first place.

What is the style of the venue? Why did you choose it? We always encourage our couples to keep in line with the style of the venue. So, if you have picked a grand stately home, then go with it. Its highly likely that a rustic wedding will look seriously out of place in these surroundings. Instead opt for in keeping centrepieces such as candelabras or tall urns and accessorise with charger plates and luxury linens. If you are getting married in a barn, then think milk churns and lots of gorgeous eucalyptus table runners. In a converted industrial space…. think copper and geometric. It’s so easy to pick out the latest Pinterest trends, but if your venue is dominated by a colour or theme that doesn’t match then you are fighting a loosing battle.

Consider which rooms you will be using. You don’t have to necessarily dress every single room, think of where your guests will spend the most time. It is so easy to spread your budget out too thinly by having little bits here and there that can get lost in a big space full of guests. We recommend making displays from the key focal areas. Such as your ceremony area, guest tables, top table and cake table. These areas are viewed throughout the day and will make more of an impact than the odd few flower jars on the drinks tables or bar.

Theme/style: Do you want your wedding day to have a set theme, colour scheme or style? Don’t be too distracted by the latest Pinterest trends. Although it’s great to be on trend, these trends will come and go. We recommend your day reflects you as a couple and your personal style. For example, maths teachers love our geometric themed items and we recently worked with a book worm bride who incorporated our book table numbers into her centrepieces.  

Again, think about the venue, does it have a strong colour scheme?  Think about how everything will all tie in together, and contrary to popular belief…. not everything has to match the bridesmaid’s dresses!! I hear so often “I want pink, but the bridesmaid’s dresses are navy.” The bridesmaids aren’t exactly going to stand next to the napkins all day. So, if the flowers, dresses and general décor colours and styles compliment each other there is no need to worry.

Focal points: It is easy to spread your budget out too thinly by having little bits here and there. These bits can get lost in a big room full of guests. Make striking statement displays out of your ceremony area, your wedding cake table and most importantly your top table. These are the focus areas that guests will go to or look at during the event and most importantly be photographed throughout the day.

Centrepieces are also your chance to stand out and be remembered. Your guests will be sat in front of them for a long time and it is nice to create something memorable that will leave an impression. This doesn’t necessarily mean they have to be big and expensive. We often mix high elaborate centrepieces with low more simplistic ones to give the illusion of height across a large room, without breaking the bank. Really small simple centrepieces can look great on Pinterest but can look lost in the reality of a cluttered table. We always recommend smaller centrepieces are accentuated with tea lights or candle sticks to make them really stand out.

Statement pieces: I am a massive believer in every wedding having at least one statement piece. So, if it’s a beautiful backdrop for your cake table, an entrance archway, a  feature centrepiece for the head table or an isle covered in candles. Save some budget for a statement piece that no one will forget. It will provide a real talking point for your guests and your photographer will absolutely love you for it!

Statement pieces don’t have to cost the earth, never under estimate something as simple as candle light to create a statement. Some of the most beautiful top table displays we have created have been just masses and masses of candle light. we also have a range of gorgeous frames, arches, artificial centrepieces and backdrops that cost as little as £100 to hire.

If the Pinterest backdrop of your dreams looks like it is going to be quite costly, you could consider doubling up its use. For example, most of our props are designed to be able to move. So, your ceremony backdrop could be moved behind the top table, then after the wedding breakfast it could be moved to the evening reception area and used again as a photo backdrop or to frame the cake table.

The most important thing to consider when deciding on florals and décor is how much do you want it? Will you regret not having it for years to come? The event is one day but your photos and memories will last a life time.

Helena & Jonathan’s English Country Garden Inspired Wedding

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. contact us