Your wedding flowers can transform a venue and give you the finishing touch to your wedding outfit so find out what the trends are in wedding flowers for 2020/2021 weddings as we chat to Meryl from Black Cat Floral Designs …. who really does have a black cat (or two)!
How would you describe your style of floristry?
Our style of floristry is a blend of traditional/vintage inspired and contemporary – having worked in the industry for over 30 years, we’ve taken a little bit out of every style that’s evolved during this time and found a way to make it our own. Having recently gained the Master Florist qualification in 2015, I’m now confident that I can tackle any challenge that our more imaginative clients might suggest, too!
If you could dress a venue for one celebrity or historical couple, who would it be?
If I could dress a venue for a celebrity/historical couple, I’d probably opt for Marie Antoinette! her opulent, lavish taste would’ve dictated lots of heavily perfumed garden roses, peonies & seasonal garden flowers in gorgeous vintage containers, and beautiful fragrance everywhere. Beauty and sensory pleasure would take priority over budget.
What is your favourite flower?
They’re notorious for being unpredictable and only generally seasonally available between May and June, but I’d have to say peonies. Big, blowsy, fragrant and just stunning on their own in a vase. They’re far more challenging to work with in weddings for the above reasons, but it’s always a pleasure to bury my nose in them!
What is your favourite season for flowers?
I’m stuck between spring and summer! Spring heralds in the beautiful, understated simplicity of tulips, narcissi and the fragrant hyacinths. But summer brings in such a broad range of seasonal flowers that makes selecting flowers for a wedding a true delight!
If you were getting married this weekend, what venue would you pick?
I’d probably opt for the beautiful Willington Hall, near Tarporley. It’s classic and understated, the gardens and views are wonderful, and the wedding suites are all versatile, elegant & private, overlooking the gardens.
What is your favourite venue to dress?
Willington Hall is probably my favourite, for the above reasons! There are just so many areas and dressing options available that no two weddings there are ever the same. Simple & understated or dramatic & lavish both seem to work well here.
If a couple booked you to hand deliver to venue dress a venue abroad, which country would you like it to be? Italy!! What a stunning backdrop it would provide for some beautiful, seasonal vintage inspired designs, candies, lanterns and a lot of magic!
How do you manage the expectations of the brides vision to her budget?
We always discuss a range of options at our first meeting – varying from a frugal budget, to an ‘average’ one, and then we discuss more lavish ideas and optional extras where applicable. Our relocation and recycling service really helps to keep the budget in check, too. We pride ourselves on tailoring our work to suit any budget and want our clients to enjoy the whole planning process with us!
What is your favourite colour scheme?
That’s like asking a parent which is their favourite child!! all white/ivory & foliage is lovely in spring, a soft pastel palette of ivory/blush pink/baby blue is lovely in summer, and rich gold/red/burnt orange is lovely in autumn. Rich red/plum is gorgeous in winter. We love experimenting with new colour schemes and have come up with some stunning results over the years.
How and why did you start your business?
I set up Black Cat Floral Design in 2004, after 18 years of working in the industry. I wanted to offer a much more intimate & personal service, where the client & the designer liaise on a one-to-one basis. This builds up a great relationship and ensures that we all understand the taste/budget requirements and can enjoy the planning process… and the clients then ultimately know that they can completely trust us to create their dream wedding on the day. It’s lovely when our customers come back to us years later to arrange flowers for their children’s christenings, anniversaries etc too!
How do you work with couples – do you pick flowers to their colour scheme or budget?
We generally run through a range of portfolios, photos, Pinterest images etc first, to get a sense of our clients taste… then consider factors like the bridesmaids dress colours, the decor at the venue etc. We always offer a ‘sliding scale’ of designs and costs, so that the clients can tailor the ideas to suit their budget. I’d hate to sell an expensive idea to a couple who would then be disappointed that they can’t afford it. We always prefer to offer ‘average’ cost designs first and then offer people an upgrade if they want to go for something a bit more special/showy.
What is your favourite style of wedding ie rustic, vintage, spring etc?
Rustic/vintage seem to be the most popular choices at the moment… they’re great for more informal weddings and the range of design options is vast! … from jam jars to gin bottles, wooden crates to vintage stone urns… we love the flexibility and originality that comes with this style. No two weddings are ever the same.
If you weren’t doing this, what would you do?
Being creative is essential for me, so if I wasn’t doing floristry for a living I’d be doing landscape photography and freelance writing (both of which I already dabble with in my spare time!)
What are you missing the most about the lockdown?
Seeing people! Our face-to-face consultations make all the liaising and wedding planning so much more enjoyable. And I miss seeing & choosing from all the beautiful flowers at our wholesalers!
If the lockdown was fully lifted tomorrow, where is the the first place you would go?
Bodnant Gardens in North Wales. I love witnessing the changing seasons there, and the beautifully landscaped gardens, with the backdrop of the Welsh hills.
Do you actually have a black cat?
Yes, we have two beautiful black cats! Jess lives in Chester with Meryl, and Buttons lives in Knutsford with Pat We chose the company name because we wanted a distinctive logo and the black cat one felt perfect. We don’t have retail premises as all our work is carried out in home workshops… so the logo is an essential part of our identity, and easy to remember!
What are the trends for bouquets and venue dressing for 2020/2021?
Trends for bouquets and venue dressing 2020/21 … the more laid-back vintage trend is showing no signs of abating! Vintage and botanic-inspired designs and containers… wooden slices & props, stepladders, hand-written blackboards, crates, lanterns, birdcages, metal stands and vintage glassware all seem to be the most popular choices out of our rental equipment. We’re filling them with fresh seasonal flowers, lots of English Country Garden style delicate blooms in loose, informal displays.
Do you have a date to re-open your shop and do brides and grooms need to contact you to be added to an appointment list?
As we don’t have a shop, we will be re-opening for face-to-face consultations as soon as the lockdown restrictions ease. We’re doing a lot of online correspondence at the moment via our website, Facebook page, email, WhatsApp etc and are finding that a lot of clients are confident enough from liaising with us like this to reserve their wedding date with a security deposit. We’ll be contacting all our clients to arrange meetings as soon as circumstances improve.
What is the top tip you can give couples for choosing their flowers?
Top tips… check out photos on Pinterest, in bridal magazines and even take some inspiration from the flowers you love in your garden! You want your day to be as unique as you are… talk to us about your taste & style, and we can offer you loads of advice on what will be seasonally available around the time of your wedding. A lot of our clients these days show us Pinterest photos, say “I want my day to look like this” and we set a budget that they’re comfortable with… and they leave all the details re: flower & design selection to the experts! This is a lovely way to get the full impact of the designs on the Big Day in the same way as your wedding guests. We often arrange ‘mock-up’ displays at our wedding fairs, and send ‘wedding preparation’ photos to our clients the night before their wedding, so that they can feel as involved in the process as they like The most important piece of advice I can offer, is this: make sure that you like and trust all of your wedding suppliers! Then you’ll feel comfortable asking them what might sometimes seem like ‘daft’ questions, and your suppliers will hold your hand as much, or as little, as you need through the whole wedding planning process.
And we also asked Meryl, if there is a question they get asked a lot … and here it is:
And some fun fact you may not know about Meryl …
Meryl has learnt to SUP (paddle board) during lockdown and when she is not putting together beautiful bridal bouquets, you can now find her paddling away on the River Dee … now that really does sound like BLISS to us!!
For more info about Black Cat Floral and get in touch, click HERE.