May 7, 2013
The groom’s buttonhole of spray roses and jasmine.
Bridal Bouquet of ranunculas, roses, sweet peas, viburnum and lilac
A palette of Spring flowers in ice cream shades filled both the Church and elegant surroundings of Warren House.
Ceremony urn of hydrangeas, tulips, viburnum, roses and stocks.
Scent and texture were important elements for the flower design, so we incorporated perfumed stocks, sweet peas and jasmine and lilac into the arrangements for the ceremony and reception. Incredible ranunculas took centre stage in the bouquet, as well the table arrangements, and zesty green viburnum added a beautiful freshness to the overall look.
Crystal candelabra at Warren House
For the wedding breakfast in the ballroom at Warren House, the tables were dressed with crystal candelabras from Stress Free Hire, which echoed the chandeliers above perfectly. Floral rings, brimming with Spring flowers in shades of soft pink, cream, lilac and green looked enough to eat, as did the cake from Peggy Porschen with its sugar and fresh flower decoration.
Floral Cascade cake by Peggy Porschen
March 18, 2013
The Hospital Club
Winter weddings are always popular, and Hellen and Andys’ was no exception! Loving London as they do, the stylish setting of Covent Garden’s Hospital Club was the natural choice for their December celebrations, captured here by photographer Lloyd Dobbie.
Ceremony in the Forest Room
As it was a winter wedding, Hellen and Andy wanted the atmosphere to feel warm and intimate. Candle light was very important, so we filled the entrance lobby to the Forest Room with storm lanterns and surrounded the sculptural arrangements of white hydrangeas for the ceremony with plenty of tea lights.
The Perfect Reaction!
From the moment we met, Hellen had made it very clear about the flowers she wanted for her bouquet. White anemones bound with red ribbon. That little splash of red to complement her shoes! Every time we deliver a bouquet to a bride we’re always that little bit nervous, but this really was the perfect reaction!
White Anemone Bouquet
Red Anemone Buttonhole
……and another little splash of red for the groom!
You can see more from the wedding on Lloyd’s blog here.
March 13, 2013
When luxury stationery brand, Lovicci launched their latest collection at the Swarovski Crysatllized Lounge, we were delighted to supply the flowers for this very glamorous party.
Complementing the sparkling setting, we added Swarovski crystal and diamante accents to our flowers for extra bling!
Rose Decorated Cake
The icing on the cake (quite literally) was this beautiful cake from G C Couture. What to do with 100 roses and a lot of crystals?!
March 8, 2013
The Art of Flower Arranging
Last night, following their recent refurbishment, the iconic store Heals on Tottenham Court Road opened their doors for an evening of luxurious retail therapy for invited buyers and press. Showcasing their best brands, we were delighted to partner the inspirational glassware company, LSA International.
LSA at Heals
To complement their stunning range of vases, we chose a gorgeous palette of Spring blooms including scented hyacinths, freesia and lilac, and even made a pretty pink flower cake for their Klara cake stand.
Heals Flower Display
The atmosphere in the store was great, with many people commenting that Heals should always have flowers in it! Who are we to disagree with a lovely display like this?!
Euphoric and LSA at Heals
February 25, 2013
A Very Elegant Flower Shop
I always knew that I when I moved to London, I wanted to work for a very smart florist. In those days it didn’t get any smarter than Moyses Stevens. Founded in 1876 and holders of numerous royal warrants, Moyses really were the floral equivalent of haute couture, and I managed to get an interview! Up I came from the shires, slept on someone’s floor the night before, and then headed off to Bruton Street with my portfolio(!) in hand. The terms “high end”, “exclusive” and “luxury” are words nowadays, applied so casually to everything from holidays to ready meals that they have become meaningless. When I arrived for my interview at Moyses Stevens on that Autumn morning more than twenty years ago, I realised that I was walking into an incredibly exclusive and luxurious world, and that I was also completely out of my depth!
Christmas Shopping at Moyses Stevens Flower Shop, Berkeley Square
Moyses Stevens in my day was based on a corner site between Berkeley Square and New Bond Street. Before that however, they had had a shop in Berkeley Square itself, famous for the fact that there was a waterfall in the window.
On the day I arrived for my interview I was early and the shop was breathtaking. Behind the enormous single sheet of plate glass that fronted the pavement stood a colossal classical urn. The staff (who were standing on ladders) were filling it with a jaw droppingly extravagant arrangement of fresh flowers and foliages. Too afraid to go in before my time, I stood outside and watched with a mixture of awe and sheer terror. How could I ever be good enough to do something like that?
When I did eventually cross the threshold, it hit me like a thunderbolt, the smell of a flower shop, a proper flower shop! I stood on a marble tiled floor, in the centre of which stood a circular table with an inlaid marble top, and in the centre of the table stood a towering display of flowers. The only other occupants of the shop were an elegant desk and two chairs, together with two immaculately dressed “vendeuse”. These ladies were not florists, there were no florists IN the shop. These ladies were there simply there to take orders and to pass them TO the florists, who would suddenly appear from the work room, collect the flowers required for an order from the towering display, and then disappear into the work room again. It was a sort of cross between an episode of Mr Ben, “as if by magic, the shopkeeper appeared” and a fitting at Hardy Amies!
There's Nothing Like A Grand Floral Entrance!
My interview was in two parts, a formal seated one with the company accountant(?) and a practical one in the work room, where I had to make a basket arrangement whilst being shadowed by another member of staff. I’ll always remember thinking how wonderful it must be to make arrangements for £100, like the one she was making and use Casablanca lilies at £9 a stem! I did my best and tried to make the spray carnations that I was using look naturalistic, but I knew I wasn’t up to scratch. I didn’t get the job, but I had had a taste of the world in which I wanted to work.
When I did make the move to London, everything happened within a month. I made the decision to go, found somewhere to stay, sent off a whole load of applications and went. I arrived on the Sunday, had an interview on the Monday, got the job and started the Tuesday…..I’d arrived!
My first year as a florist in London was something of a trial by fire. I was flung in at the deep end and scrabbled around, desperately trying to keep my head above water. I worked in a shop which probably had the best selection of flowers in town but also the most eccentric staff. By our boss we were collectively referred to as “waifs and strays” and we probably were! Based just off the Portobello Road, where the seriously wealthy of Holland Park rubbed up against the seriously unwealthy of Notting Hill, I got used to seeing and serving the famous and infamous. Most were charming, usually unassuming and from the ones I didn’t want to serve, it was usually possible to hide behind the huge quantities of flowers that filled the place.
I loved all the flowers and foliages that filled every corner of the shop, and the excitement of creating something new and wonderful every day. I loved the fact that we had an eccentric reputation, and that we were unlike any other flower shop around at the time. I loved the fact that I could get away with wearing lycra shorts to work in the summer, and chat to a customer on Christmas Eve with a glass of champagne in one hand and a cigarette in the other. I didn’t however, love the stress and the uncertainty of knowing whether I was going to be praised or screamed at when I walked through the door every morning. So after a year, the realisation hit me that I couldn’t continue as I was. I left that wonderful shop, which had included such surreal moments as my being flashed at and propositioned, for a calmer daily routine in the West End!
My next floral home, working for a very well known florist, was by complete contrast in a small, dark and dingy little shop just round the corner from Selfridges. This was before their move to more up market premises nearby, but it was a world away from Notting Hill. Although well known by name and reputation, the shop was falling apart at the seams and in desperate need of an overhaul. With very little passing trade, a minimal amount of flowers on display and a very set “style” I was bored. My colleagues were great but they weren’t the waifs and strays I’d been used to. I did however make one very good friend who opened the door to my third flower shop in Covent Garden. Little did he know that that move would eventually lead to my meeting Victoria, who had, on the off chance walked into the shop one day and asked for a job. He couldn’t have known that she had also worked at the same Notting Hill shop two years before that I had, and shared the same experiences. We hit if off instantly, shared (and still do share) the same ridiculous and rude sense of humour and we’ve been friends ever since.
A Euphoric Celebration
While I stayed in Covent Garden for nine years, Victoria went on to do other things, including marriage, starting a family and gaining a diploma in garden design, but our friendship always remained. There’s been a lot of laughter since then and some tears, but our friendship has grown, since we made the momentous decision on Christmas Day 2004 to create Euphoric Flowers, and the story continues……
Elegant Flower Shop tumblr.com
Moyses Stevens museum of london.org.uk
A grand entrance the house that lars built.com
February 20, 2013
Once there was little boy called Simon
…..and he liked flowers! With the benefit of hindsight, I can see now that flowers were always present in some form or other throughout my childhood. Whether it was the wonderfully blousy old chintz on the sofa or a bunch of daffodils on the kitchen table, or the cut glass vase filled with plastic flowers on top of the piano, there were always flowers in the house.
My mother adored flowers, but she didn’t buy them very often. She came from that pre war generation that saw buying flowers as a luxury. In those days flowers were usually bought for specific occasions, namely births, marriages and deaths; or “hatched, matched and dispatched”! Such a luxury were they, that even when she married her first husband in 1943, she didn’t have a wedding bouquet. Following the ceremony, her sister in law ran round the garden and filled her arms with lupins and roses from the borders so that she’d have something for the photographs.
One of my abiding memories as a child was the vase of plastic flowers on top of the piano. Actually it was a Pianola, an upright automatic piano that you fitted with rolls of sheet music like a fair ground organ. The only trouble was that, one of my brothers had long since broken it and rendered it unplayable. So this now useless instrument was used more to display ornaments and the vase of plastic flowers! I wish I still had them because they really were beautiful. My mother had bought them in the 1950′s and they’d been very expensive at the time. They were also French! Of course now, they’d fit perfectly into the vintage category but even then I knew that they were good quality fakes. Deep red peonies, purple lupins and blousy pink roses carelessly arranged in a cut glass vase; very Constance Spry!
Gardening also featured heavily in our family, both my parents loved it, and they’ve passed that love on to me. My father planted a beautiful rambling rose for my mother called Albertine (although Cornwall isn’t the easiest place to grow roses). Its still one of the best roses for scent, with it’s coppery pink blooms and why I have one in my own garden now. When I was five years old I had my own garden chair. I used to love sitting in it, eating Marmite soldiers, watching my parents filling the flower beds that my father had built with marigolds, petunias and trailing lobelia…..the 60′s have a lot to answer for.
As I grew older though, a career in floristry never even occurred to me. It wasn’t until I went to work for the National Trust that the seed was sown. I was fortunate enough to grow up near the Tamar valley in Cornwall. Hidden high above the river lies one of the most beautiful houses in England, Cotehele. When I was nineteen I got a job there as a guide and I loved it. I had first visited the house when I was six and remember standing under the Gunnera (giant rhubarb) in the garden, thinking, “is this where we get the rhubarb for rhubarb and custard at school from”?
Cotehele House, Cornwall
Cotehele is a very ancient house, and there were always flowers in the rooms which came from the wonderful cutting garden. The guides used to volunteer to be on the flower rota, and one day I asked if I could help. Enter Maureen King, head guide and my mentor. Maureen loved flowers just as much as I did and she encouraged me, to the point that we ended up doing all the house flowers between us! We used whatever was in the garden and whatever containers were to hand, whether it was an old brown pot or a cracked 18th century Chinese soup tureen! Today of course, Cotehele is famous for the Christmas garland which decorates the Great Hall of the house every year, and attracts national attention. Of course there was only so far that I could take my floral ambitions at Cotehele but when, one day Maureen said in front of me “Simon needs to be taken in hand by a wild London florist”, something clicked! I’m proud to say that Maureen has followed my career ever since.
The Christmas Garland at Cotehele
Before I made the leap to London though, I knew I needed some formal qualifications. No florist in Plymouth would even look at you on without them, so I enrolled at Plymouth College of Further Education to do my City and Guilds Floristry, parts 1 and 2. I’ll always remember the grounding the course gave me, but the style was something else. For four days a week I did work experience in a shop and one at college. On college days we were each given £10 worth of flowers to work with, usually carnations, spray carnations and chrysanthemums and they had to last us the day. We started by making large arrangements and bouquets, and gradually worked our way down the scale until what was left was only large enough for a buttonhole. We had two tutors, one who talked a lot about “advancing yellow lilies in a dark church”, the other who used to laugh at you if she didn’t like what you were doing. I was laughed at a lot! The first tutor brought in large amounts of greenery from her garden, using the best bits to make her demonstration pieces. This would then be followed by a bun fight with ten students trying to salvage something from the left overs. Her comments were usually along the lines of “well it doesn’t look as good as mine does it”? The second tutor wore unbelievably low cut dresses which she spent a lot of time falling out of.
I always struggled with the course arrangements. At Cotehele we arranged cottage garden flowers in a style that’s now become very popular…..in 1989 it wasn’t! At college we had to make triangular things in plastic dishes “suitable for a hospital bedside locker”. My attempts were usually greeted with, “yes, well we’re florists here, not flower arrangers; I felt crushed! Working in a shop gave me the practical experience that the theory just couldn’t. Having said that, it was nothing like the sort of shop I wanted to work in. Back then, provincial flower shops were a world away from what they are now. Where I worked, my female colleagues wore brown nylon housecoats, ALL arrangements had carnations in them, they were ALWAYS triangular and were not considered complete WITHOUT a bow. There was no real flower market to speak of in Plymouth, but we did get deliveries from the Dutch wholesaler who used to pull up outside the shop. One day my boss got very carried away with her buying and bought flowers and foliages that we never usually sold. I was delighted and used everything I could, but when I asked why we couldn’t have more unusual things more often, the reply came, “Plymothians are too thick to appreciate anything else”!! Its something I’ve never forgotten and know to be untrue, but it was true of the thinking at the time.
Kenneth Turner, the floral godfather
My floral dream was always to make it to London. My hero was Kenneth Turner, the floral godfather who inspired a generation and who worked so lavishly and on a scale that I could only dream of. Many years later I did actually get to sit next to him during breakfast at the flower market, and its the only time I’ve ever been star struck! So how did I make it to London? I finished my City and Guilds, did a stint on a flower stall in Plymouth market (Sweet Williams 60p a bunch, 2 for a pound) before someone said “you should be in London” and something inside said “yes”, and I knew I had take the next step……
Simon on his 3rd birthday – my father
Plastic Peonies Flickr
Albertine Roses Just Tour Pictures
Cotehele House Geograph
Cotehele Garland Dave Upton Photography
February 13, 2013
Urn of spring blossom and stocks. Image from www.lovemydress.net
There’s no doubt that the current economic climate is challenging. Business is tough, belts have been tightened and budgets are becoming increasingly stretched. For those of us in the wedding industry, we’ve noticed that for some time now budgets have been falling but that expectations haven’t, in fact quite the opposite! So when we read this very interesting blog post recently from the excellent Flirty Fleurs blog, it really struck home. Obviously its written with an American readership in mind, so we thought what better time to share our thoughts on the matter, but from a British perspective? The theme is the same though, unrealistic expectations!
The whole process of supplying wedding flowers has changed beyond recognition since we came into the business over twenty years ago. Back then, the bride and her mother would go to a flower shop, look at a commercially produced book of designs, find one they liked and say “I’ll have that one in peach”; it was all very simple then and very uninspiring! There was no talk of large statement arrangements, candelabras, escort card tables, aisles lined with rose petals and garlands cascading down staircases. Wedding bouquets cost £40 and you were lucky if you made a puddingy looking table arrangement that cost more than £15!
Then the internet arrived and a revolution in design began. Suddenly, the stiff formal style of floristry that had been around for so long gave way to a more informal, naturalistic style and new influences began to take hold. That new style which is now fast becoming THE style has come from America. Previously, floristry in the US was much maligned and rightly so. It was stiff, garish and had that “everything but the kitchen sink” quality about it. But that quality has now evolved into something quite remarkable; with incredible American florists producing work of breathtaking beauty and elegance. Of course, with such beauty comes a price tag, and that’s where the problem lies.
Wedding bouquet by Saipua, New York
Most of our prospective clients now come to us with a fairly good idea of what they want in terms of flowers, but not always what they cost. It is rare to have a bride who has absolutely no idea of what she wants. Our brides are internet savvy, they use social media, they bring THEIR Pinterest boards to US! They also read the wedding blogs and the bridal magazines which are chock full of gorgeous American weddings which have been photographed in Californian vineyards or New England gardens. The photographs are always stuffed full of flowers!! The magazine and blog suggested prices are usually wrong!!
Our brides love this romantic, slightly misty round the edges style of floristry. Soft blousy roses and dahlias which look as though they are about to fall apart in blush pinks, apricot, cream and yellow. Really interesting foliages, seed pods and berries that we don’t often use in this country. They bring us their collection of images which we agree is beautiful, they tell us about all the areas of the venue they want dressed with flowers, which we know would look beautiful. They then tell us that they have twenty tables, and £1000 to spend, including VAT!
Its the age old problem of matching expectations, only the expectations are getting higher. We can get all those beautiful flowers and foliages which are becoming so popular, but they do cost more! Peonies, hydrangeas and garden style roses are some of our most requested flowers, but they come at a premium price.
So what is a realistic budget for wedding flowers at a time when wholesale prices are rising and profit margins are being squeezed? We’ve always recommended that a realistic figure to allocate for flowers is 10% of your overall budget. Of course, this will depend very much on how important flowers are to you, the type of flowers you choose, the time of year and the ceremony and reception venues.
Let’s look at this in more detail with a simple, average scenario.
A Central London venue for the ceremony and reception with a total of 80 guests.
Bridal Bouquet – hand tied bouquet £75.00
Bridesmaids x 3 – hand tied bouquets at £35.00 each – £105.00
Buttonholes x 6 at £6.00 each – £36.00
Corsages x 2 at £15.00 each – £30.00
Ceremony Flowers – 2 large vase arrangements – £100.00 each – £200.00
Registrar’s Table – 1 small arrangement – £40.00
Reception Flowers – 8 tables at £60.00 each – £480.00
Cake Flowers – £30.00
Delivery, installation and clearance £100.00
Grand Total – £1295.20
Low table arrangement of hydrangeas, roses and herbs. Image by www.lloyddobbie.com
All the above prices are based on using seasonal flowers (nothing exotic) wherever possible, simple low table arrangements and an average number of guests. At just under £1300, even though this total includes VAT and labour, it is considerably less than the 10% recommendation, given that the average London wedding now costs in the region of £25,000! Its a very reasonable quote, but not if you try and stretch it to 20 tables with crystal candelabras and lavish arrangements! Adding candelabra for instance into a design can add anything from £20 to £60 to the cost of an arrangement depending on size and style. There are always going to be factors that influence what we charge. Certain flowers are always more expensive, more elaborate designs are more labour intensive and there are always the additional costs such as hire items, transport, petrol (a killer), wages and most importantly our time. We can spend many months preparing for a wedding. Months of site visits, design meetings, quotes, re quotes and mock ups of final designs. But it doesn’t end there, our work doesn’t finish when we deliver the bridal bouquet. If we are lucky, we will be allowed to clear a job on a Monday morning, if not it can be a midnight or early Sunday morning call followed by returning all the hire items that are frequently requested.
Sometimes we feel as though we are facing an uphill struggle trying to convince people that what we do is worth it. The perception is that flowers cost pennies and we charge pounds for them, so we must be laughing all the way to the bank; we wish it were true! Actually we don’t, we believe that we should be paid a fair price for a fair product and that we are worth it. Of course, what clients never see are all the day to day running costs that we have to budget for just to keep our businesses going. The rent of a studio or shop, business rates, utilities, fuel and staff wages. We are fortunate that we have a brilliant team of freelance florists that we can call on when we need them, but they don’t come cheap. A good, experienced freelancer will cost at least £15 an hour and we wouldn’t insult a creative professional by offering them anything less. We tread a very fine line between taking a job because its a job (no one wants to turn business away) and walking away from one because it just isn’t cost effective. We learned this lesson some months ago when we walked away from a job that would have left us with virtually no profit at all. The clients wanted the full works but didn’t want to pay for it, even though we knew that the budget was not an issue. We worried if we were doing the right thing, but our gut instinct old us we were. In the end we knew it came down to two things, managing their expectations and our self respect. The self respect won!
February 6, 2013
Autumn Table Tree
All Set For Dinner
What do you do when you get a call from an event planner, asking you to create the flowers for a very glamorous birthday party with a week’s notice? The brief is Autumn, the venue’s in deepest Suffolk and it’s got to have the wow factor! This is exactly what happened when Bernadette Chapman from Dream Occasions called us last October, and asked us to work on this wonderful party.
We adore Autumn with all it’s amazing colours and textures, so it was the perfect opportunity for us to work with some of our favourite flowers and foliages. English garden hydrangeas, blousy roses, sedum, physalis, amaranthus, rosehips, cotinus, oak and a ridiculous amount of mini pumpkins! With two large vans filled to the brim with flowers, foliage, props and our wonderful team of very talented florists, we headed for Suffolk, ready to create floral magic.
For the party, the reception space had been transformed into an indoor marquee. We dressed every table with an Autumnal “tree”, each one 8 feet high and filled with flowers and foliages in shades of rich reds, oranges and chocolate brown. Around the base of every tree, mounds of hydrangeas, roses and sedum sat like gorgeous puddings, surrounded with candle pots, mini pumpkins and birch branch votives.
Candle pots and votives
Mini Pumpkins and Candlelight
English Garden Hydrangea and Piano Roses
We are very grateful to photographer Mark Bothwell for his beautiful images of the event. Thank you!
December 4, 2012
We love Christmas and, here at Euphoric HQ we’re preparing for the festive season with gusto! Our studio is full of pine, berries, cinnamon, cones, dried fruits and sparkle. We’re taking orders for wreaths and garlands, so be sure to place your orders soon to avoid disappointment.
Call our studio on 020 83982599.
November 30, 2012
Image courtesy of Sarah Gawler
This year we’ve seen a trend in wedding flowers which we think will become much bigger in 2013. Gypsophila is making a real come-back after many years in the wilderness!. We think these images from some of our weddings say it all. Light, frothy, delicate and very romantic, gypsophila is fast becoming the flower of choice for many brides. With it’s soft and ethereal quality, gypsophila lends itself beautifully to bridal bouquets, chair decoration and table displays. Keep it on it’s own for maximum effect (no red roses please!) and you can’t go wrong; its also very cost effective, so you really can achieve that wow factor for less. Oh, and it also comes in pink!!