An Interview with… Flowers by Kirsty
As you may well know by now I’m a little bit in love with all things floral. It’s probably one of my favourite parts of wedding day prep, seeing the wedding floral elements all come together.
I met the lovely ladies of Flowers by Kirsty a few years again when researching South Oxfordshire florists for a client and we just clicked. They are always such a pleasure to work with both in the planning stages and on the day. We interviewed them to find out a little but more about them, their fav wedding flowers and their top tip are for couples looking for a florist.
Tell us a bit about you
Kirsty (me)… founder of Flowers by Kirsty, also known as the blonde one! I started the business nearly 8 years ago after a brilliant career as a radio breakfast producer. My sister Bex (the brunette one!) joined me on my flowery path a couple of years ago. Bex has a real passion for organising, especially me and has superb customer service skills and helps to style the wedding and events alongside me. We also have an incredible team of freelance florists that we’d be lost without in the busy wedding season.
Our workshop ‘The Old Dairy’ is based in the beautiful village of Ardington and it’s such a magical place. Every time I step into the building I feel like a very lucky florist! It’s honestly a lovely place to work.
What made you want to become a florist?
I was a bit an arty kid at school and was always creating gifts for friends. I would pick flowers from our parents garden and made home made perfume (i think most kids did in the 80’s right before iPads etc?!). Bex and I both then got involved with friends wedding flowers and styled their tables and made their bouquets. We got hooked and talked about doing it for real for so long. I took the plunge and started working from my kitchen table. Bex joined a few years later as the business grew and got busier for just me to run. Fast forward to now and I couldn’t be more proud of what my sis and I have achieved so far.
What is a typical day for you?
Depends if it is a wedding day or prep day but let’s talk you through a prep day first. These can be so varied depending on what we are creating for a couple. An EARLY start (always an early start!) and a team meeting about the schedule. We start by conditioning the flowers straight away (remove leaves and cut stems etc) Coffee is essential and then we crack on with making the arrangements, building the structures for any large installations we need and creating bouquets and the finer details like hair garlands and button holes.
A typical wedding day mean an even earlier start than a prep day. We normally set up at the venue ceremony space or church first – installing a flower arch or large aisle arrangements etc. We then visit the Bride and her party. Delivering her bouquet, Bridesmaids and other items etc (thats the best bit which I just love!) and then its onto the reception venue to style this area. It’s a full on day, everything has to be timed to perfection and so a lot of planning goes into this to make sure we deliver the perfect day for the couple.
What’s your favourite flower – both year-round and currently in bloom?
I shouldn’t have favourites as I love what the seasons have to offer. However I do LOVE a coral sunset peony as it starts as a vibrate deep pinky coral colour and as it opens up it fades to the most stunning paper like pale cream. Totally stunning. Bex is a keen gardener and loves the fragrance of an English garden rose, the Winchester Cathedral is just lush! We both love greenery too and you can’t go wrong with a bunch of eucalyptus and English seasonal wild foliage.
Are there any particular floral trends for wedding flowers this year?
We are being very environmentally conscious, as are most of our bridal couples. Choosing eco friendly options for table centres, favours and wedding flower installations. We use chicken wire and reusable containers rather than oasis as its really bad for the environment and allow the arrangements to be more natural and flow better than using the green stuff. Dried flowers are still trending and mixed with real flowers look stunning. We love doing this as it’s all about textures for me. Think pampas grass, ferns and dried dyed grasses. Living trees or plants which you can hire or purchase afterwards, can be given away to guests or planted in the bridal couples garden as a lovely reminder of their day.
Installations – so think floor, wall arrangements or clouds suspended from the ceilings or chandeliers we love making. If I’m up a ladder then I’m happy! Also floral aisle meadows and table garlands are still popular too.
Where do you buy your flowers from? Can couples request UK grown to reduce carbon footprint?
We buy from local wholesalers and flower farms in the UK for seasonal British flowers and greenery and we also buy from Holland.
What is the most unusual wedding floral request to date?
We love random requests that challenge us. The more unusual the better! We’ve made things like floral collars for a horses and dogs who have been ring bearers and we also covered a toddlers walker with flowers so she could walk down the aisle as a flower girl. It was so super cute! I’ve also placed flowers into an empty shotgun bullet to make buttonholes as the Groom was from a big farming family. I love making arrangements that really mean something to the couple.
What advice would you offer for couples planning their florals for their wedding?
Go with what you love, are there any flowers or images of flowers that have sentimental memories? A particular favourite flower or fragrance? Think about the overall look, not so much a theme but the vibe of your wedding day. Also IT’S YOUR DAY…if you want to do something, then go for it. Do not let friends or family influence you in a negative way. I have seen on a few occasions this happening and I try to protect my couples as much as possible and remind them that they can do whatever they like and not to think they have to go for something as it’s seen as ’traditional’ (i’m not a fan of that word at all!)
Is there anything that you’d love to do for a wedding that you haven’t yet?
We are so lucky that we have done so many different types of weddings and have loved working will every couple. However I wouldn’t say no to a lovely wedding in a tropical country right now. More than happy to pack my bags and florist scissors for a destination wedding!
What are you top three tips for couples when looking for a florist?
- Check out the florist’s instagram and website pages. This gives a good idea of the florists style and if you see lots of images of florals that make you smile and that you love then maybe this is the florist for you.
- Have they worked at your venue before? Thats not always entirely important BUT if they are recommended at your wedding venue they will know the ins and outs and have worked with the team many times.
- Chat to the florist and meet them (if you can) or do a Zoom call – you will instantly know if you will get on with them and that they are listening to your needs and ideas. You really do need to have a connect as you will be working alongside each other to create your flowers for a while. We are so thrilled that ex couples have now become our friends and keep in touch. Its a very sociable career and one Bex and I just love.
Tell us more about your Bringing you the Blooms’ service
This is our exciting new venture that was born during lockdown 2020. It’s something we’ve always wanted to do, but have never had the time to start it up as we have focused on weddings and events. We are delivering bouquets and plants all around Oxfordshire and surrounding counties. It is so lovely to be creating again and amongst the flowers and of course meeting so many new people. It’s certainly a service we will continue to offer once weddings properly start up again. I’ve really enjoyed offering this service and it’s proved popular. We also have an exciting new venture to announce soon so watch this space. It’s something that Bex and I have a real passion for and I’m just bursting to shout about. More to come on that!
How can people find out more about what you do?
Check out our Instagram and Facebook pages ‘Flowers by Kirsty’ and also our website flowersbykirsty.com where you can find our webshop too.
Where is your favourite place to visit in the UK?
Bex adores Kew Gardens in London – that’s her happy place and Studland Bay for sea therapy.
We live is such a beautiful part of the country so any of the walks in the Shire are just stunning. I have a VW camper van so I just love exploring in that. Last year my partner Matt and I with our daughter Edie (who was 5 months at the time) went on a road trip for 10 nights up to Scotland. We ended up on the Isle of Mull and honestly it’s just the most stunning island. We created the best memories. I’m in my happy place when I’m in the camper with my family…even when its pouring outside.
Photos in the above gallery were taken by: Matthew Pattimore Photography, Alexandra Jane Photography, Verman Photography, Weddings by Nicola and Glen and Photography by Bea.