I’ve worked with John Paul professionally over the years and I’ve always been a massive fan of his work. His ability to create stunning floral creations never fails to impress me so it isn’t surprising that his work is in high demand for weddings across the country. Recently, I spoke to the expert himself who shares some top tips on choosing wedding flowers, as well as what trends are bloomin’ marvellous this season.
John Paul, tell us about how you got started as a florist & what led to the initiation of the business?
I have always had an interest in flowers and have been arranging them since a very young age. I completed my first wedding at the age of 10 and had my first florist job at 14, working part-time after school. I then went on to study Art and Floristry at college and I have been working with flowers ever since.
I have been fortunate to have worked in Dublin and London, where I had opportunities to complete flowers for high profile clients and events. My time away allowed me to develop my knowledge and skills and in 2010 I returned to Derry to open my own business.
Who or what inspires your creations?
My designs are mostly inspired by the clients that they are being created for. In the case of weddings, this would be the couple getting married. I start with their ideas, theme, colours etc and from there I work with them to design bouquets and arrangements that complement their vision and day.
What makes your creations different from others?
I think my designs differ from other florists because I have my own style which is evident in all of my work. I think my style could be described as quite natural and relaxed. I also have a good eye for detail and I am very particular about the quality and finish in all of my work.
What trends are popular for summer weddings?
There are a few floral trends that are already proving popular for 2019 and 2020 bookings. We are continuing to see a love for gypsophila (baby’s breath) both as solid bouquets as well as mixed with other more solid flowers. Wild and garden flowers such as alstroemaria, bouvardia and spray roses are also very popular.
How can couples use flowers to showcase something different at their wedding?
Flowers can be used in so many different ways at weddings away from your standard bridal bouquets and arrangements. They can be used to showcase your individuality and become a talking point on your big day. We have created large floral letters in the couple’s initials to decorate the venue, as well as floral walls which creates a unique backdrop for photographs.
What is the most unique request you have ever honoured?
Over the years I have had a lot of different requests for wedding flowers. The two that stick most in my mind for being unique would be a bride who made paper origami flowers which I mixed with fresh foliage to create her bouquets, buttonholes and table arrangements. I also had a bride that didn’t want flowers but instead had bouquets made up of fruit and vegetables – she even had corn on the cob for pew-ends. Both these weddings turned out beautifully and were unique, reflecting the individuality of the couples.
Personally, what flowers do you love and why?
My favourite flowers are roses. I love the huge variety of these blooms, which vary in colour, shape and size. The rose also has so many different forms, from the tight closed bud working through to the fully open bloom.
What should couples consider when choosing their flowers?
The biggest things to consider when you are thinking about your wedding flowers would be:
- Think seasonal – flowers are at their best when they are in season. They’ll be bigger, stronger and will cost less.
- Consider the style and texture of your dresses / outfits. If possible bring a picture and fabric swatch with you to allow your florist to help you make the right flower choice.
- Pick durable and long lasting flowers. Remember that flowers are a living things. They will be out of water from the morning of your wedding when they were made, so you want to pick flowers that will last well. They also need to be handled with care as they can bruise and mark if they’re over-handled, bashed or dropped.
- The best tip I can give if you’d like to use your bouquets after your wedding day or if you are looking to have them preserved is to put them back into water once you are at your reception venue. Have somebody on hand who can re-cut the bottom of the stems with a pair of scissors and sit each bouquet in a jar filled with water. You can then sit the jars on your top table or on your cake table where they’ll look beautiful and will be on display for all your guests. By doing this you’ll allow the flowers and foliage in the bouquets to get a drink of water which will ensure they keep their best for you so you can have them preserved or take them home to enjoy for a little longer.
When should couples begin their search for their wedding flowers?
The most important thing to do first is find a florist whose work and style you like. Popular months will book up early so you should look to book your florist as soon as possible, at least 12 months in advance. You should then make a consultation about 6 months before your wedding, once you have your dresses and colours picked so you can discuss ideas and styles. Final choices will need to made around four weeks beforehand so your florist can get your flowers ordered.
For more information on John Paul Florist, check out his website here.