Wedding Mayhem

The wedding season never really ends, every week brings a different array of flowers, a different wedding venue, a different couple and different challenges.

Wedding flowers are often agreed upon over a year in advance, shortly after the venue is booked, but for some reason most brides coming to the The Flower Shop, Pulborough are either in a desperate rush to get married or simply trust little ol’ me (less of the old please) to create the perfect wedding design in a very short time.

The shortest notice I’ve been given was 1 DAY!

Floral designs for weddings are challenging, but great fun and extremely rewarding. There are four regular florists in the shop, including myself, three who specialise in wedding flowers. Each of us, have our own particular style and areas of expertise and between us we are always able to come up with something, seasonable that will delight and wow every couple and their guests.

Last week we were looking forward to delivering on the biggest wedding we have done this year. This wedding had actually been booked in for over a year, but it was a big job that required a lot of planning, having floral displays throughout the wedding barn, leading outside to a lawned garden area, that required lots of floral adornment.

The week started well, but mother nature had a different plan in mind. The weather forecast was for heavy rain, leading up to and specifically on the very day of the wedding. The outside area needed a major rethink and the bride decided that having an outside marquee adjoining the wedding barn was the only way forward. This meant having to double our internal flower designs, ensuring a natural, seamless flow of flowers leading out from the barn into the marquee.

Don’t worry! It’ll all be fine! No need to panic!

I kept saying this, over and over, trying to convince myself more than the bride and my fellow florists. After all we had two whole days to go.

What on earth were we going to do?

After I’d finished running up and down Lower Street, waving my arms in the air, my ample chest desperately trying to escape the confines of my apron, giving myself a stitch and scaring the butcher next door who thought I had a live piglet up my jumper, I walked calmly back into the shop, readjusted my clothing and got planning. Secretly, I’m great in crisis, revel in quandary and love a challenge.

The whole team pulled together, we had a plan. The initial flower order was arriving on Wednesday, I could do an urgent dash to Southampton flower market at the crack of dawn Thursday for all the additional flowers and everyone cleared their diaries so they could help out.

Wednesday. Like the week, the day started well, until… a huge tractor, towing a long trailer decided to spill gallons of hydraulic fluid all over the street, right in front to the shop!!!

The road was like an ice rink, there were police and firemen everywhere and the road was CLOSED for the whole day.

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No flowers!

The main delivery was on route but couldn’t be delivered. I was assured that they would arrive the next day, but this was cutting it fine and we were going to lose a day’s preparation. I said I was good in a crisis, but this was testing even for me.

Don’t worry! It’ll all be fine! No need to panic!

 Thursday 4am. The alarm goes off, it’s still dark and I can hear the rain beating on the window. As the sun rises I’m heading back to the shop with the van packed with flowers and foliage, all of which needs to be designed and beautifully assembled.

It’s 7.30 am and I’m back at the shop and soon the whole team are there awaiting instructions. I take two florists with me to the venue, where we start creating the main features, phoning the shop almost continuously with additional requests and instructions. The team left in the shop were not only dealing with everything I was throwing at them, but dealing with an extra busy day following the previous day’s challenge of getting in and out of the village.

It’s 5pm, most our staff should have be home by now, but they’re still here making sure everything is ready and organised, not only for the wedding but ready for a normally busy Friday.

Then, as if by magic, the chap from Hennings, the wine merchant next door, pops his head round the door. “Anyone fancy a little tipple?” he asks.

“I’ll just fetch a bucket” I reply.

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