IT’S music to any florist’s ears when the bride – and her mother – say in no uncertain terms: “We don’t micromanage – work your magic.”
And so it was with Claire Morneau and her mum, Joyce O’Donnell.
Claire and Joyce gave us a colour scheme, some of their favourite flowers and a rough idea of what they wanted for Claire’s wedding to Jonathan at the beautiful Butley Priory in July.
In fact,we didn’t meet either London-based Claire or her mum until the day of the wedding – dealing mainly with Joyce (both on the phone and on email) from her home thousands of miles away in Texas.
We ran with their ideas and suggested a very muted pink and cream colour palette using beautiful vintage roses, blush peonies and more architectural calla lilies to create dramatic candelabra displays, a gorgeous mantel display lit with church candles and more simple posies for vintage glass vases offset with some lovely low candlelight.
It all sounded great on paper and we do wonderful wedding flowers throughout the year for scores of delighted brides but even with such a vote of confidence in what you do, and especially when the family is as lovely as this one, us wedding florists still worry about getting it pitch perfect.
So it was with some trepidation that we rolled up the Butley Priory drive and set to work. Joyce was out to greet us before the van came to a stop and wasn’t going anywhere until we opened up the doors.
Her reaction on seeing the flowers all boxed up for transportation (not the prettiest of sights) was fabulous. We knew we’d got it right straight away and Joyce and Claire, and their whole party of friends and family, were a delight from the minute we arrived.
Claire sent a lovely thank you note earlier in the week and Joyce continues to be the world’s best mother of the bride. In an email (see below) we received last night, entitled “Thank you for performing magic”, she made all the anxiety over getting things just right absolutely worthwhile.
Our vote for magic mother – Joyce O’Donnell
It’s always lovely to get thank you presents – especially large tins brimming with delicious cakes…
But nothing – however calorific or alcohol laden – can beat a thank you card like the one the Tudor Rose team received from one of our favourite couples of the year – the fabulous Emma and Gavin.
The pair got hitched at Hengrave Hall earlier in June and Danny, Jess and Aimee worked their socks off to transform the gorgeous venue into a fairytale setting for their wonderful, relaxed wedding.
Jess brought together a glorious, billowing church arch, while Aimee and Danny were shinning up ladders to decorate the graceful pillars inside with breathtaking garlands.
Over in the hall itself, the tables for the wedding breakfast were finished with tall, elegant martini vases topped with dreamy white clouds of wedding flowers and low, crystal stands cradling displays in the same style.
A stunning frame of flowers in the white wedding theme held the table plan – a design which is rapidly becoming as much a trademark for Tudor Rose as our unrivalled flower arches.
Thanks to some serious pre-planning and preparation in the cellar of our boutique style shop in Hatter Street, Bury St Edmunds, and on-the-day hard graft everything came together beautifully.
But for the team, usually completely drained after big weddings – actually very little in the world of real wedding floristry is anything like the dreamy, flowery world portrayed by the romantics – a thank you like this makes all the hard work totally worthwhile.
Emma and Gavin’s lovely message – attached to the very gratefully received box of cakes – read as follows –
“Dear Danny, James and all the Staff at Tudor Rose. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for all your hard work at Hengrave on June 10th. Every area of Hengrave looked truly stunning and it exceeded all of our expectations. We have had so many messages and all have mentioned how beautiful the flowers were. Thank you for helping make our wedding day so perfect in every single way. Now put your feet up, have a cuppa and enjoy! With love and best wishes, Emma and Gavin (Mr and Mrs Collins) xxx”
We did indeed, Emma and Gavin, thank you so much!
No pressure, no pressure at all.
Get on stage, show off your fantastic floristry skills and wow an audience with your vast knowledge and sparkling wit…Easy!
Well, not quite. Especially when you’re following TV gardening star and garden designer Joe Swift.
But this was the challenge for Danny and the Tudor Rose team at this year’s Bury St Edmunds Whitsun Fayre.
It all sounded so good in the planning – the amazing Jackie Regan, who organised the event for Our Bury St Edmunds, asked if we would like to have a slot on the stage as she knew our floristry to be heavily influenced by nature and gardening – both central planks of the Whitsun event – which was celebrating it’s 20th anniversary.
Innocently, we said yes we’d be very interested and came up with a plan. We thought bringing together a romantic, county wedding table would sit quite nicely with the natural theme and drafted in some tall rustic wrought iron candelabra and centred the flowers on British-grown peonies and sweet peas.
Danny and his team, Jess and Dani, would demonstrate how to decorate the table and the candelabras with gorgeous, flowing displays of English flowers.
But as the crowds gathered to watch the wonderful Joe – who had nothing but an easel and marker pens but still managed to make his hour long slot amazingly entertaining and informative – the Tudor Rose nerves cranked to jangling.
Would we be any good? Would the crowds dissolve into the bank holiday sunset? Would there be an awful moment of realisation that demonstrations on large stages at big events are really not for us.
Well, kicking off with a classic handtied bouquet for a low rustic vase – the trick here is to make it stand up on its own – Danny made his craft look like child’s play. Yes it stood up and looked utterly beautiful. And he managed to explain what he was doing to the audience, answer questions and look quite handsome into the bargain.
Meanwhile Jess set about decorating the lower of the candelabra with a beautifully display of flowers in the cascading, country style. Things were coming together beautifully and Danny – known for his speed – power-housed through the taller candelabra and the whole team put the finishing touches to the stunning wedding banqueting table with great aplomb.
A baptism by fire may be – but the Whitsun Fayre was a great experience.
Perhaps demonstrations are something we will be bringing to our boutique shop in Hatter Street, Bury. Watch this space.
If ever there were two florists less moved by the exotic delights of lilies, the mathematical petal patterns of colourful gerbera and the sharp, dramatic lines of strelitzia, it is our own Jess and Danni.
So it came as no surprise when given the job of decorating the banqueting hall at one of the country’s leading wedding venues for it’s spring open day, they chose an installation of billowing blossom trees to frame the aisle.
Tudor Rose, based in Bury St Edmunds, has been the only florist nearby Hengrave Hall recommends to its couples since it opened several years ago, and we take great pride in the displays we dream up for the open days held there.
For the floor to be covered in debris and us to be still up step ladders when couples start arriving isn’t an option – basically, it has to be right and it has to be on time. The mantra of the professional wedding florists the world over.
So, good as they are, Danni and Jess’s scheme was under serious scrutiny from the start.
They came up with an action plan, costings and timings. Trunks of silver birch were set in concrete and the less than attractive plastic tubs used to hold the base together were covered in moss.
The rest, they assured us, would be plain sailing and knocking up tops of gloriously wild blossom a job of only an hour.
Well, seasoned old hands at the other end of the age scale weren’t so sure and insisted on a dummy run. Arching branches of blackthorn, cherry and plum blossom were brought in from our gardens and some ageing spring flowers were used to test the theory.
To the delight of passers by, the mock up was constructed on the pavement outside our boutique-style shop in Hatter Street, Bury.
And sure enough, the more experienced wedding florists at Tudor Rose were right. It took quite a while to get the look and some serious reworking of the mechanics to achieve the desired effect – proving the benefits of serious planning.
A wedding the day before meant that the basic structures has to be stored in the grounds overnight, but Jess got everything there and the necessary greenery in place the evening before. Buckets of blossom were also stored nearby and the flowers transported early on the day.
Sack barrows, a bit of ageing muscle and only minor strained sinews ensured the silver birch trunks were in place in good time and the two eager, nature loving florists were up the ladders like rats up drainpipes.
Seventh heaven notwithstanding, they set their timers and got to work. And in what seemed like no time, a pair of stunning, billowing blossom trees took shape in front of the dramatic minstrel’s gallery at Hengrave. And the dark wooden panelling showed off the delicate and dreamy creations to breathtaking effect.
This pair of florists, who adore this style, proved just what can be achieved in a strict timescale – albeit with some quite rigorous planning.
Three cheers for Danni and Jess – now back to those gerbera bouquets….
There’s nothing the Tudor Rose team likes more than an artistic challenge.
So when one of our lovely brides walked in and said she wanted a bridal bouquet in the spirit of an old Dutch master, our talented florists were all ears.
The bride, a fine artist herself as well as a keen gardener, wanted the floristry team to take the old Dutch masters as inspiration – using seasonal spring flowers.
Movement and scent were also to be key features so Danny, the head florist at our boutique style shop in Hatter Street, Bury St Edmunds, selected some lovely hellebore, snake’s head fritillaries, ranunculus, anemone, jasmine, roses and lilac.
Using a colour palette of burgundies, blush pinks, steely blues and whites, the stunning bouquet was brought together with lustrous dark plum ribbon.
Buttonholes of burgundy ranunculus and anemones (the petals stripped to reveal the gorgeous steely blue eye to match the groom’s suit) were like little jewels and the bride’s hair flowers of deep plum hellebore and anemones with the velvety blue eye (this time complete with gloriously open white petals) were perfect finishing touches.
The bride was clearly delighted with our interpretation of her dream bouquet when she collected her flowers a few hours before her wedding at the Swan Hotel, Lavenham, which serendipitously is the village where we set up Tudor Rose exactly 15 years ago.
A fitting way to celebrate a little milestone of our own…
Thank you brings back fond memories of classy summer wedding
Just had a great thank you card from one of our lovely couples – Tara and Darren – along with some beautiful photos of the flowers they chose for their wedding at Hengrave Hall at the end of September.
Beautiful Tara went for an elegant and stylish theme and wanted her flowers – put together by Danny and the Tudor Rose event floristry team – to be as gloriously opulent as her fabulous gold sequinned table cloths.
She went for graceful martini vases for the tables – topped with statement displays of massed ivory and blush roses, hydrangea and stocks, finished with sumptuous hanging amaranths to add to the luxury feel.
And wow, the Long Gallery at Hengrave looked almost as stunning as Tara did in her figure-hugging lace bridal gown (groom Darren didn’t scrub up too badly either in a very smart tux).
It’s a real tonic – particularly on a cold January day – to be reminded of amazing wedding floristry created here at our studio/boutique shop in Hatter Street, Bury St Edmunds suffolk, in the soft warmth of late summer of 2016 so thanks Tara and Darren for taking the time to put pen to paper – the talented florists here got a real buzz from your kind words.
Winter wonders – and all grown in the UK…
Each week, from just before Christmas, well into spring, the seemingly impossible happens. A box of gorgeous, UK-grown flowers turns up at Tudor Rose Florist in Bury St Edmunds.
Yes, while our gardens and fields are turned rock hard by frost or swamped in a quagmire from days and days of relentless rain, snow and slush, regular as clockwork – either via boat or plane (depending on the weather) we get a wonderful delivery from Scented Narcissi – our fabulous suppliers in the Scilly Isles.
Over the winter months – when we’re lucky to muster an eggcup of flowers from our own gardens in Suffolk – we have these constant delights to look forward to. The fragrant blooms – dozens of different types as the season goes by – come tightly packed in bunches of 10, from sunshine yellow with egg yolk centres to billowing doubles in cream and white.
It’s a real pleasure to offer such home grown beauties harvested through the winter to our customers.
And the glorious blooms are used in everything – handcrafted gift bouquets – a Tudor Rose trademark, our beautiful funeral tributes and, of course, stunning spring wedding displays.
But it is in tin buckets at the front door of our boutique-style shop, where they are perhaps most conspicuous and welcome – their heady scent filling the Hatter street winter with a blast of springtime.
So we have finally given in to popular demand.
After a break of several years and an onslaught of gentle pressure from our lovely customers we have succumbed.
The famous Tudor Rose Florist Christmas tree is back.
The Narnia-like creation of old tree stumps, bark and contorted hazel has “grown” in a slightly different location this year – near the door of our boutique shop in Hatter Street, Bury St Edmunds, but the usual hallmarks are all there.
Our talented colleague Jess Ashurst created the natural woodland feel with gnarled wood, moss and findings from the forest floor – and the twisted branches reach up as high as they can go and spread out across the ceiling.
Fairy lights and some ingenious backlighting lend some wonderfully atmospheric shadows and the twisted boughs have been laden with beautiful Christmas decorations from gilded baubles to stars, glass snowflakes, stained glass and, of course, cloth elephants and camels.
Ok, I get the camels – wise men etc – but elephants…really?? Naturally enough they’re rapidly becoming our best seller.
The woodland wonder, alongside our gorgeous window displays, has been designed to draw people into the shop where our tables are laid out with Christmas delights and our flower stand stocked with beautiful gift bouquets.
We really hope the return of the Tudor Rose tree goes down a storm – we think it looks as magical as ever.