Wedding florals – top tips from an industry expert
If you’ve been in the depths of wedding planning, attended an event in the Yarra Valley, or simply recognise fabulous, fresh florals for their beauty – there’s every chance you have heard of Sugar Bee Flowers. The talent behind the Yarra-Valley based brand is synonymous with stylish and unstructured floral arrangements, eye-catching installations and breathtakingly beautiful centrepieces to elevate a celebration.
It’s for these reasons and more, we knew Youki was the perfect person to turn to when it came to exploring the options that surround wedding florals, upcoming trends and hints and tips for getting the best out of your styling budget.
From colour palette considerations to floral varieties and seasons, inspiration, education and just a beautiful look into a local business ticking all the boxes, read on here.
Photos: Lost In Love Photography
You are renowned for your talent when it comes to wedding florals, how would you describe the Sugar Bee style?
I’d like to think that Sugar Bee style is soft, light and happy. We have a deep appreciation for the unstructured and organic style, where the flowers are not forced into rigid shapes but instead flow naturally, just as they would in the natural world.
What brings us joy is the combination of colours, textures, and movement in our arrangements, as well as fragrance of seasonal flowers. We love using a range of flowers in our arrangements, not just one or two varieties.
Naturally, being in the wedding industry, we draw some inspiration from the trends, but we always strive to infuse a unique Sugar Bee twist into our florals. This might involve incorporating suitable elements to replicate wild forms, making sure nothing is too dense, using tones that soften contrasts and create a more relaxed feel. As a tiny team of highly skilled, experienced, and adaptable florists who are passionate about flowers and weddings, we have the capability to bring any vision to life for our clients.
Where do you draw inspiration from when it comes to creating your floral designs?
There are so many inspirations out there! I was walking my dog this week and spotted a small round clump of moss growing on a rock, with a little bush of grass growing from the middle, which I thought was incredible and instantly visualised a zen garden style wedding with all the shades of greens and browns.
I am constantly inspired by the flowers I work with as well. I like looking at each flower and placing them where they most shine. We are so lucky that each season brings a wide array of flowers in various colours and it’s always a pleasure to see them, take inspiration and be able to incorporate them into designs.
I also am constantly inspired by my clients. Our obvious main goal is for our clients to feel happy and at ease throughout the planning process and on their wedding day. With that in mind, I attentively listen to their wants, review the provided inspiration pictures to determine the theme and colour scheme, and identify any significant elements in order to create a distinctive style for them. We particularly love it when clients bring in their own traditions and educate us on the cultural meaning behind various elements.
What is the best way for a couple to choose their colour palette when it comes to flowers?
Choosing a colour palette for wedding flowers can be fun and exciting! The best way to go about it is to consider your personalities and the overall theme of the wedding. Take into account the colours of your dress, suits and the attire of your wedding party, as this will help create a cohesive look. It’s also a good idea to think about your signage and stationery choices, colours and textures of the venue and the season, and how the flowers will complement them. Ultimately, there are no hard and fast rules for choosing the perfect colour palette; it’s your special day, so do what you want! Do you want the flowers to add a pop of colour to the wedding? Or would you like them to be subtle, classic and modern to elevate the day? Let your personal style shine through and select the colours that truly speak to you as a couple.
What advice can you give to couples who have no idea what they’d like their wedding flowers to look like?
I think it’s a pretty common feeling when I first start talking to clients. There are so many inspirations out there that it can be overwhelming and confusing. Even though I’m not planning a wedding myself, I can understand how bombarded people can be with numerous options, styles, and colour schemes.
In my opinion, the best approach is to find a florist or vendors whose style you really like and whom you can trust. Once you gather some ideas and create a little board of the style you like, your florist should be able to recognise and name the theme that aligns with your vision and expand on it. It’s actually a good thing that you don’t have a set idea because it allows us to explore different ideas and create something that suits the venue, the tone you want to set, and what’s in season.
What’s one piece of advice you’d give to couples when planning their wedding flowers?
Have fun with it! It shouldn’t be too much of a stressful process. Trust the process, hire a vendor you can trust, and ask questions if you’re not sure about anything.
Sustainability is something you value highly, how do you practice this in your business?
Definitely! We constantly strive to enhance our sustainability efforts, starting with simple things like switching to energy efficient lights and properly separating waste into compostable material and recyclables. We also make conscious choices when purchasing, and avoid using floral foam. We are not perfect though, there are areas where we can improve. For example, we rely on imported roses due to limited local options that match their head size and appearance; it’s a real challenge to eliminate them completely as it will compromise the look that our clients are looking for. However, we regularly review our practices and engage in brainstorming sessions with our staff and industry friends, aiming to be as mindful of Mother Nature as she is kind to us.
What do you recommend for wedding flowers for couples who are on a tight budget?
I recommend selecting flowers that are in season, and don’t be scared to add a touch of greenery. While imported flowers like large-headed roses and orchids can be breathtaking, they can also be quite expensive.
I also suggest focusing your budget in a statement piece. For instance, you might consider having a grand ceremony like an arch or pillars that can be repurposed for the reception. As for table decorations, opting for minimalistic styles or using just candles can be an elegant choice while cutting the costs. Rather than having numerous small details, a memorable centrepiece can make a lasting impression for your special day.
How far in advance should couples be looking into their wedding flowers?
For us, we only book a small number of weddings per week so our team can give full attention to each of the weddings. For this reason, I would suggest getting in touch 12-18 months before the wedding to start the planning process.
In general I believe 12-18 months before your wedding will be a good time to start thinking about how the flowers can add to your day. Remember the flowers are the colours of your wedding that will flow through from the bridal party, ceremony to reception.
What would be your dream wedding brief?
My dream brief will be pastel garden heaven using all the beautiful seasonal flowers. I feel like I have a crush when I dream of all the beautiful pastel flowers – my heart feels like it’s being squeezed! Pretty pinks, peaches, lilac, light blues, creams, soft greens of the vines.. Creating a romantic, flowy arch for the ceremony and a hanging installation over the bridal table, featuring abundance of cupped roses, gorgeous full delphiniums and foxgloves, addition of textures of Andromeda and ranunculus, sweet peas, matricaria, vines and greenery creating movement.. That will be an absolute dream for me!
When it comes to flower trends, what’s hot right now and what do you think we’ll see in the next season?
I’ve been noticing that a meadow look is very popular. This look often involves an airy and etherial mix of small flowers or flowers with less petals like cosmos, matricaria, queen anne’s lace, delphiniums. Nothing too heavy, everything is light and dainty. I’ve been loving discussing these themes with my clients.
I’m also noticing that beautiful light blues are very trendy – whether it be matched with whites, or whites and yellows.
What I’m loving is that couples are choosing to do what they want, and I support that fully. Trends are trends, choose florals that you will still love in 20 years time. I hope to see more of that happening in the next season.
What are some things worth considering when booking weddings across different seasons – eg Summer Vs Winter?
I’m seeing a lot of requests for hydrangeas lately and the best season for them is between December and April, but even within these months the availability of colour tones can shift. If there is any specific seasonal flower you want to incorporate, I would definitely suggest considering having your wedding in those months.
Also keep in mind that weddings in summer can be quite hot! If the ceremony is going to be outdoors in the sun, we consider what flowers can withstand the heat and the sun, prep them well and sometimes may even avoid using some of the weaker flowers if the weather is going to be 35+ degrees, if the brief allows.
Contrary to what people tend to think, there are surprisingly a variety of beautiful flowers around in winter, and imported flowers are available year around.
It’s always nice to keep an open mind to seasonal flowers whichever season you’re getting married in. How lovely it would be to spot a flower that was in your wedding at a florist in a few years time, to remind you of the day.
Wedding venues! Can you share with us some of your favourite local spaces, and what you think couples should look for when creating a focal point that lends itself to great wedding day styling?
We are spoilt for choice in the Yarra Valley! There are so many venues that are just incredible – Stones Of the Yarra Valley, Zonzo Estate, Coombe Yarra Valley, Harriett at Hubert Estate, Immerse Yarra Valley and Acacia Ridge to name a few. They are all different and offer something different. I can’t fault any of them really, we love working at all of these gorgeous venues!
The expertise of an experienced professional like Sugar Bee Flowers is truly invaluable in your wedding planning journey. Contact Youki and the team to get your floral dreams underway here.