Here is a selection of Q&As from Your Hampshire and Dorset Wedding magazine whether it be about flowers, hair and makeup, fashion, wedding themes, health & beauty, cakes, stationery, legal advice. If you would like your question answered by our experts, please email it to email@example.com
To view more expert advice on a different topic, please select one from the list below.
Pick of the bunch
Q. We got engaged during lockdown and haven't even thought about setting the date yet. I know I want masses of lovely flowers, especially peonies as they're my favourite. I've no idea what type of blooms are available at different times of the year though. Can you help?
A. Nicola Waddilove says: Nicola says: Brides often set their heart on a particular flower only to find it's out of season for the time of year they're getting married. The peony is the queen of bridal flowers, with stunning layers of delicate petals, beautiful form and colours ranging from cream to blush pink and coral, it really does steal the show. The peony has a fairly short season though from May through to the beginning of July and once they're gone, they're gone!!
Late summer through to autumn brings the dahlia, which in my opinion is just as stunning as the peony. It comes in more than 400 different types in all shapes, sizes and colours, including many brides' favourite the café au lait variety. It has lots of petals and beautiful soft warm tones ranging from cream to pink and apricot. It will blend and complement any of the blush colour palettes and is available from August through to the first frosts in late October early November.
Spring provides us with the stunning ranunculus, another popular choice for weddings as it has lots of similar features to the peony, but on a much smaller scale. With very delicate layered petals, there are many different shades to suit most colour schemes and it's available from early January through to April.
These are three very popular varieties all very great for weddings and with very distinct seasons. So even if you can't have peonies if you decide to get married in September, don't worry as there's always a lovely alternative to take its place.
Nicola Waddilove,Petals and Posies
Q. What should we look for in our wedding flowers in order to reduce the carbon footprint of our day?
A. Jo Hicks says: Jo says: We use biodegradable floral foam in arrangements where ever possible and other planet-friendly practices like recycling plastics and having floral trays and dishes returned to be used again. Looking to the future, it may even be worth florists introducing incentives, especially for weddings, by giving people an allowance on plastic items returned for re-use. We also use long-burning candles more than once and offer discounts to customers who are keen to minimise waste. There are a number of other things you can look out for including:
- Reduced packaging
- Paper and tissue wrappings instead of cellophane
- Cardboard boxes for display and sending out wedding bouquets
- Locally grown flowers to reduce travel miles from grower to supplier
- Simple swaps back to more traditional techniques such as avoiding plastic bouquet holders
- Blooms without any artificial dyes or paints
Make a statement
Q. We want the flowers to add wow factor to our big day but don't know where to start. What's set to be big for the year ahead?
A. Louise Avery says: Louise says: It looks like time to say goodbye flower walls, hello large statement decorations. 2020 will continue with big impressive arches, think Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry's royal wedding. Demand for hanging decorations will also continue to gain momentum particularly in the form of foliage or floral chandeliers. Both of the large designs (pictured) are made without nonbiodegradable floral foam, another really big choice for sustainable, plastic-free and ethical wedding flowers and decorations.
Q. We're getting married next October. Will there still be the range of flowers and colours available as there would be if we were getting married in the summer?
A. Aaron Gilpin says: Nia says: Go with the season and look outside for your inspiration. You might think autumn is all very brown and orange but these colours come in so many wonderful shades and there's plenty of lovely yellow, green and pink tones too.
Here are some of my top tips to help:
- Take advantage of anywhere you or your florist can forage for branches with leaves that are turning colour. These can be used in church windows with candles, in larger displays and down the centre of banquet tables.
- Team with berries, fruits and grasses, or even nuts and don't forget pumpkins which also come in many colours and don't have to look like it's halloween.
- Typical autumn blooms include chrysanthemums and dahlias which come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Calla lilies, leucaspurnum, physalis and fox tail lilies are also around in abundance as well as hydrangeas, roses and orchids.
- As with all seasons, try and have one large display as a focal point at the reception for maximum impact, rather than dotting decorations all around.
- For the tables, make sure your centrepieces don't block your guests' view when they're sitting down.
- Bare branches are great for adding height.
- Autumn doesn't have to mean rustic. The use of glass and paler tones can create a city-chic look.
Q. I'm always looking for ways to change my shopping habits with the environment in mind. How can I reflect this in my choice of wedding flowers?
A. Sarah Diligent says: If you haven't already set the date, choose the season when your favourite flowers are in bloom. If you love roses, beautiful home-grown varieties are available from May to October, if peonies make you weak at the knees, May and June are the ideal months to get married, or for sweet peas from April to August is ideal. Think of the difference between imported strawberries from a supermarket chiller in February compared to those harvested by hand at a pick-your-own farm in the summer – the same product but completely different! Every season is special, and each one brings with it new and gorgeous combinations. I suggest:
- Check out Claire Brown's The British Flowers Book (www.thebritishflowersbook.co.uk), it's a really useful guide to when different blooms are available throughout the year.
- Seasonal British flowers will have the smallest carbon footprint and you can find growers near you by using the Flowers From The Farm Map (www.flowersfromthefarm.co.uk).
- Ask your florist not to use floral foam in any of your designs, it's a single-use plastic which isn't biodegradable and although it's been the norm in the floristry business for the last 70 years, things are changing and there are many alternatives.
- Have your bouquets delivered in vases or jars with water rather than plastic aqua packs.