A week in the life of...


‘Ooh, I’d love to do a job like yours!’ is something I hear all the time. And people are right of course…. what could be better than being surrounded by beautiful flowers and creating fabulous arrangements to bring a smile to someone’s face!

Of course the reality is that wedding floristry involves a lot of hard work and sometimes very little sleep, and the bit where I am surrounded by gorgeous blooms is only a fraction of what I do in a typical week. I’m not just selling a product, I’m providing a service – and providing a high quality service so that clients don’t have to worry about their wedding flowers is what my business is all about.

So, for anyone considering a career in wedding floristry; or thinking about doing your own wedding flowers; or just wondering why it costs more than you thought to provide all those lovely designs you have been eyeing up on Pinterest – read on…..

Autumnal wedding table centre

Monday

The week kicks off with answering all the emails that have come in over the weekend while I’ve been busy with weddings (why oh why do I get sent so much spam?). Then it’s time to check if any flower orders need to be sorted and sent to my wholesaler ready for weddings the following week – mustn’t overlook this one! It’s important to think about the delivery times for different flowers as I need them all to be at their best for the big day.

At the start of the week I like to make sure I’m properly organised for all the weddings coming up in the next couple of weeks, so each file is reviewed to make sure I have prepared the lists of flower and equipment requirements; delivery arrangements are checked and confirmed; make up times for every design are calculated so that I know how long each job will take me to complete (my deadlines cannot be moved!); and I must ensure that I have sourced anything a bride has requested that is not part of my normal stock.

Wedding reception at Barnsdale Hall Hotel

Tuesday

Time to focus on the weddings I am doing over the coming weekend. I must get ready all the vases, containers, plinths, tea light holders, mirrors etc. etc. needed for each wedding, as well as all the florist sundries, such as oasis, wires and ribbons. In addition I need to make sure I know how I am going to transport everything to the venues safely (which is why I get a bit upset when my glassware boxes are not returned!). I sort out the make-up schedules covering all the designs for each wedding and work backwards to make certain I will be starting the work early enough, but not so early that the flowers won’t look their very best on the day of the wedding.

No time to put my feet up when that’s all done – there is a good chance I will be seeing a new client for a consultation or meeting up with one of my brides to finalise the designs and arrangements for her big day.

Bridesmaids in lavender blue and lilac

Wednesday

An early start for my trip down to my wholesaler – one of my favourite places! This is a morning when I really am surrounded by beautiful flowers, in all their glorious colours and fabulous scents. I must check the flowers against my order sheets to ensure the quantities and varieties are correct, but then comes the fun bit – I look at all the flowers for each wedding again and decide if the colours work together in the way I anticipated and whether the flower mix will enable me to create the designs that my client has dreamt of. This is where all the notes I take at consultations come in handy, as well as images and material swatches provided by the bride. If necessary I make substitutions until I am happy that I have got things just right.

Then it’s back to the flower room to make sure all the flowers and foliage are properly conditioned, which means stripping and re-cutting stems and placing them in the correct solution of flower food – all flowers and foliage need to have a really good drink before work starts as this can mean the difference between gorgeous fresh flowers, or wilting dismal specimens. I may well be working right into the evening before I am happy that all my flowers have been properly treated – that could be over 12 hours since I set off to the wholesaler in the morning, with nothing more than a short break to walk my dog!

Dog making flower arrangement

Thursday

So if all the preparation work has been done properly, the real floristry can now begin! The chance to get creative is the time I like best. I sort the flower materials first, allocating the very best blooms to the bridal bouquet and other personal flower designs – these flowers need to look perfect for the photographs, although they are of course natural materials so will naturally have the odd blemish or colour variation. I then make up designs in accordance with my work schedule starting with designs in water, such as hand tied table centres, and moving on to designs in floral foam, such as large church displays and centrepieces.

The more work I can safely do on a Thursday the better as it will relieve the time pressure on my delivery schedule. Luckily Nicky often comes along to lend me a hand when I have got several weddings over the weekend – what would I do without her!

Country jugs filled with flowers

Friday

Today I must get all the remaining designs made up and preparation done for any pieces that will require wiring, such as shower bouquets, buttonholes and corsages – I prefer to leave these pieces until the morning of the wedding to give them the best chance of staying fresh through the day.

If I have a Friday wedding then deliveries will need to be made that morning too. And even for Saturday weddings I might be setting up the church flower displays on the Friday afternoon – luckily churches are usually nice and cool so this does not harm the flowers.

All the designs must be loaded into the car in such a way that they will not tip over and crush the delicate flowers while I am on the move. If the evening is cool I like to get this done before I go to bed, but on hot summer nights this must be left until the early hours of the morning. But before there is any chance of bed I look through my checklists again to ensure every design is accounted for and that I am on schedule to make the deliveries at the right times.

Flower pedestal in church

Saturday

If it’s a busy weekend I will probably be getting up very early in the morning only a couple of hours after I went to bed (sometimes I don’t even make it to bed and resort to a quick ‘power nap’ on the sofa!). There will be wiring work to do and bouquets and posies to be wrapped with ribbon before all the personal designs are packed into presentation boxes. I finish loading the car, look at my checklists again, set the sat nav and I’m off!

First stop will be wherever my bride is getting ready for her big day – this might be her home or the reception venue. I love handing over the bouquet and posies and hope that all my effort and attention to detail will mean that the bouquet is even better than she had imagined. Then it’s on to the ceremony and reception venues to set up flower displays and table centres – always ahead of the bride and groom and their guests. If I’m in luck the tables will be set up and ready for the centrepieces to be put in place, but this is not always the case and I might have to wait before I can complete my work or lend a hand to get everything looking perfect – this often means putting the finishing touches, such as table crystals in place.

Brides apricot and lilac bouquet and posies

Eventually I will return home and then the massive clear up commences! It is quite likely that I will have a bride wanting to see me that afternoon as most people prefer to make appointments at the weekend when they are not working. Hopefully there will be a bottle of wine cooling in the fridge ready for when I eventually come off duty…

Sunday

Day of rest?... I don’t think so!

In the busy summer months I need to be ready to hit the ground running on Monday morning, so Sunday is bucket cleaning day – and given that I can sometimes use as many as 40 to 50 buckets over a busy weekend that takes some time. A very tedious task, but a really important one – if buckets are not cleaned out properly you can run the risk of delicate flower stems becoming diseased and wilting.

Then all my equipment must be cleaned and put back in place for the next week, the flower room must be tidy and organised, all the sundry bits and bobs back in their right places in my shed. Proposals and estimates for new clients must be prepared, estimates for weddings coming up in the next few weeks revised and hopefully finalised, and schedules and checklists got ready…

Helen Jane

Oh, and I forgot to mention social media, which is of course an ongoing communication with fans and followers; all sorts of marketing activity to make sure brides to be have heard of me; monthly accounts and costing records; business administration…

Are you still with me? Love it?..... Yes, of course I do! I used to work in financial services, but that’s a whole new story!

Have a good week!

Helen x