Allium Design Company
...simply stylish flowers... and a little event planning...
@ Northfield farmhouse, Great Shefford, RG17 7DQ T.01488 648142
I love you... you're wonderful... marry me... thank you... I'll never forget you... FLOWERS speak for us even when we are lost for words.
Hello festive flower lovers
We've had a bit of a fun day at allium, having been asked to make a wreath on air with BBC radio Berkshire, not sure how this was going to pan out, we agreed anyway.. So arriving at the studio armed with scented foliages.. a 'here's one we made earlier' and the necessary for Sarah Walker to make her own creation... the result was a fun chat with much laughter whilst we created the beginnings of her festive masterpiece between songs and the news and weather!.
I came away wondering if the listeners had managed to glean any tricks of the trade at all and moreover had been inspired to get out into their gardens this coming weekend and get snipping??
We have adorned ourselves and our belongings with wreaths and garlands since Roman times, if you Google wreaths and I have... there are lots of mythical and religious connotations relating to them... but it was the Victorians who took the Christmas door wreath as a must and made it their own. Wreaths were made from twigs that were bent and twisted to form a circle and foliage was bound with twine many times over to make more or less the natural wreaths we have today. They decorated them with fruit and bird feathers and hung them on their doors with a strip of fabric for a bow.
below I have listed a few garden foliages to look out for, you can use the branches from the base of your newly purchased Christmas tree... the one you insisted was the right size and now your hubby is sawing off three feet to get it into the room! the nobilis foliage is great for a base but you can use conifer from the garden if you don't have pine.
I have to have rosemary, sage and thyme in my wreaths its a bit of a tradition with us. It smells totally delicious.
We used an oasis foam ring in the studio today, great for the notice florist as so easy to work with and will last four to six weeks if you water and tend. You just take them off the door and water with a jug onto the top side of your arrangement, let it soak in and then hang back on the door. You can buy oasis rings from some high street stores or a good florist. Follow the initial instructions to get it wet by allowing it to sink into the water naturally and you shouldn't get any airlocks. If you use oasis remember to cut stems on the slant for the most surface area and clean the foliage from the bottom 3cms, if you don't as the leaves die the hole that you have made in the oasis will become too large and your foliage will fall out! Remember to go for a natural look, don't put foliage all facing the same way, make a crisscross pattern as you place stems in the oasis as interlocking will bind everything together. Start with larger foliages and look for different leaf shapes and textures as you build up your 'garden like' circle. Finish off with any flora or fauna you choose... cones, whole or sliced fruit, feathers and berries are all perfect.
I am hosting workshops this year at the Watermill theatre and at client's homes. For details please call the studio on 01488 648142.
Anyway... enough, here are the general instructions for a real Festive wreath.. take it slowly, get the children involved and you will find yourself feeling very festive as you proudly hang the finished article on your front door.
PS accept all compliments graciously!
The first thoughts of winter in the garden are perhaps a bit limited, bare branches and colourless borders. But once you start to look, there are all sorts of unexpected and unusual plants to be found and make use of. From bright pink berries of the spindle bush to the shiny black ones of a dogwood, there is a whole spectrum of ingredients to choose from.
Always start looking out for materials to use from around mid November, and you too can get to know the bushes with a good crop.
Look out for:
Try drying elements from the garden such as hydrangea, roses, lavender, heather, squashes, apples and pears.
Making your wreath.
The real secret of Christmas decorations is to squirrel away bits and pieces from your garden throughout the year, so seed heads and leaves, flowers and foliage can be dried, spray-painted and then stored for the festive season. Save seeds of Nigella (love-in-a-mist), poppies and Lunaria annua (honesty).
Have fun, I'd love to see your creations - you can share them with me on instagram #festivealliumflorist
Hello flower lovers, where has the summer gone... suddenly it's dark in the mornings again and I'm feeling autumnal. I had a site visit for a coming wedding yesterday and we viewed her garden, the lavender is done and all is about to turn. We hatched a plan so add lanterns and jars of flowers strung on fence posts and bring a late summer look to her later September wedding day. In my garden, there are still so many autumn flower choices. I love mixing it up a bit, denisboden is my absolute fav. with it's green grey tones and delicate white feathery tips. I love heather with its muted lilac hue, for me it says September/October more than any of the rusty shades - I save those for November. For now, it's sedum, dare, purple sage, flowing mint, blackberries, echinacea.. the verbena and dahlia are amazing and my hydrangea are about to take centre stage and steal the show.
Allium has had a catalyst of a summer, we've grown, new members to the team, more hands make light work and all that.. but in reality more keen eyes and flower lovers to make our events the ones that leave guests talking about the flowers every time.
I have lost count of the number of events and weddings, some large, some small but everyone different, contemporary or country, our relaxed style just blends.
A big part of the work here is wedding days, I want to say thank you to our brides, who come armed with images and snipings from 'Brides' the internet and paint charts as colour samples! you know who you are :).. they always inspire us and they leave I hope buzzing with scents and flowers that they have discovered. The more info about a wedding day - the better, it can really help create the picture of the day and helps us to suggest seasonal blooms that will work.. why see a florist and tell them what you want? pick our brains and find out what's really out there for you to use.. Ever seen a water lily bouquet?? we're doing one this weekend.. a rustic, woodland wedding with white flowers, bracken and herbs and lots of scent.
This is a blog more than a website, I’ve set up an instagram account to fill with flower images... see alliumflorist and follow me xx
here we are February.. the month when we all look to our beloved for a declaration of their love.. buying Valentine's flowers can be a bit of a minefield.. here are a few tips with love x
Not a red rose in sight..
There are so many fabulous flowers at the flower market in February that it’s a shame to send the usual bouquet of red roses (with heaven forbid sprigs of baby’s breath in it!) Sending flowers on Valentine’s Day can be expensive as flower prices are often almost double at this time of year. Look at a gorgeous bouquet of spring flowers in all shades of pale pinks or a classic bunch of white parrot tulips?
Know which flowers your Valentine likes
Sure to score lots of brownie points! do they adore ranunculus? or are tulips a favourite bloom? play detective and find out.
Order flowers from a florist whose work you like and trust
we've already said that blooms are all expensive at this time of year. These costs originate back to the grower and are due to the demand. So, order flowers from a florist whose work you like and trust or one who’s been recommended to you by a friend or relative.
Ordering in advance is key
Ordering before the big day avoids that awkward last minute supermarket scramble on the way home from work. Supermarket flowers say anything but ‘I love you’…especially as you frantically peel the price tag off the cellophane seconds before you hand them over.
Happy New Year to all of our family and friends, especially to our 2014 brides and grooms! It's going be a great year, I can feel it, it seems as soon as January arrived my brides who are marrying this year got in touch wanting to come and chat flower over a cuppa :) I'm sure the log burner has something to do with it? all seem to love the unhurried debate that eventually results in boxes ticked and flowers decided.
January is a great take stock month for me although now I look after a prestigious local venue or two, work has continued at much the same pace with the post Christmas clear up leaving me wanting a day when I can finally get out into the cutting garden for a massive sort out. So much was still alive into December I couldn't part with the statement and structure the herbaceous plants make, even this morning with a heavy frost the spidery shapes glistened in the morning sun. Jack Frost had worked his magic, making webs look like intricate lace on the garden gate.
well... feeling festive? I wasn't at all but making a gorgeous garland this am has changed that... it's amazing what a few red roses, some herbs and cinnamon can do. I was amazed last week to be in local department stores that are decked and ready somehow this year Christmas has come around all too quickly. I've had such a great autumn season with some of the best weddings. fabulous autumn leaf in abundance.. haven't the colours in the hedgerows been spectacular? bright reds and rusts, golds and burnt oranges, sometimes just to take five as we go about our daily routine and really look at our seasons is so worthwhile. It certainly makes me love our countryside all the more.
Memories from my year.. I love this image of the bride and her daughter who wore a wonderful bracelet of woven flower.. the bride carried a handbag of flower.. bouquets were not her thing..
Sometimes brides don't want traditional autumnal colours, mixing it up a bit brings out my most creative :) weddings can be hues of the forest in another way, heather's lilacs and purples, soft lavender tones that mix with silver grey foliage.
2013 brought me a festival wedding. It was a celebration of food with flowers and styling bringing the room together. When I first started talking to my bride I just knew we had something special brewing, but I had no idea we would be creating a fusion of eastern promise meets Woodstock!
My couple were foodies but with a love of the 1950's, their enthusiasm for the day was infectious and I found my self space planning for them and organising more props and staging to really make this all work for them. Four food sections with eclectic seating between, a Moroccan extravaganza with low seating and lanterns and bowls of floating flowers.. a 1950's seaside oyster bar with beach hut and 'kiss me quick' stand behind poster board.. a veggie section with grass cubes for seating and low tables, growing herbs in pots and flowers in wellies :) Lastly, a farmers market with a quirky vintage pub feel, hops and beer barrels as poseur tables, picket fences and country flowers in vintage kitchen cookware... I will add some snaps I took... remember I'm not a photographer and I was busy loving the day so much for them as it unfolded.
The lovely Hope and Alex.. great to work with, vintage country style, corn florals, gyp in jars - hundreds of candles.. such a special day and I met the lovely Mary, such a nice lady to chat with.
Kimberley and Nathan...
so sorry I have been away from the laptop with barn chat for ages.. I have you will be pleased to hear been as busy as ever, I have met some amazing photographers of late that have inspired this post and I really wanted to share their passion for their craft.
For once this is visual, not wordy, just a gorgeous images
The Berkshire downs in June.. introducing the very talented Kat Hill photography. This wedding was all about family, a low key garden day with friends and their nearest and dearest. Lots of seasonal flowers, sweet peas, stocks, delphiniums and garden roses in white, ivory tones with just a hint of peach.. for the most elegant of brides, such a kind and gentle couple.. tons of love as they walk into their future..
and this is Paul Chervill photography... more used to taking images of music celebrities.. this guy has such an edgy eye.. he sent me a few sneaky peaks of a wedding we worked on and I love them.. Great couple, jam jar flowers, meters and meters of bunting, lots of the styling and detail I adore.
Visits to Covent Garden are a real must, watching the season bring the late English garden flowers to the market, peony are everywhere this week, from purest white through the pink tonal ranges, apricots shades and deep reds.. I love the foliage guys, always something different, I bought green blackberries this am to dot into the bucket flowers for my wedding tomorrow.
more to follow...
what's with the weather?...
rain and more rain, I've had a flooded cellar for weeks, we affectionately call it the indoor pool... I'm just waiting for the boat to be launched with a child aboard...
But this is good old England and no storm, whether it be rain or sleet will spoil a wonderful wedding :) last weekend was personal and a labour of love, an orange range rover... and orange ranunculus... an orange chill out room... orange was big and beautiful and brightened the dull wet day.. really looking forward to sharing the memories..
Happy New Year everyone xx
thank goodness the rain is passing in way of some cold weather... I just love the crisp clear mornings and can't wait to walk and forage next week... Jan and Feb are peak booking times for summer/autumn 2013 the brides and I have been seeing some great ideas and changing trends for flowers and styling... definitely seasonal flowers, more over the arm bouquets to compliemt the 1920's dresses. Lots of lace again and this year hair flowers are really popular. There are some great bright colour choices, but ivory and green is still top with purple tones a close second.
I just want to share a photograph I received today from one of my Christmas weddings.. how lovely is the holly and wax flower in her hair?
Amazing photo's from the launch of new Caroline Parkes collection at Mrs Jones bridal, the dresses are fabulous... I so loved making the leaf circlet (it looked like a funky fringe!) and willow bouquet with dried hydrangea flowers and leaves to complement them and our woodland setting... we are all feeling so festive, it seems an age ago but wanted to share them whilst I have a moment between clients and decorating wreaths, tables and mantles. The whole barn smells of pine, oranges and eucalyptus, it really is time to get my own house in order and a wreath on the door, I use fresh flowers in mine so usually leave it until a week before Christmas to pop it up... someone mentioned peacock feathers in a wreath... now there's an idea.. watch this space x
Watermill Theatre, Bagnor, Newbury
Monday 10thDecember – wonderful wreaths
Tuesday 11thDecember – gorgeous garlands
Wednesday 12th December - wonderful wreaths
Christmas Wreath Making Course - back due to popular demand!
and a gorgeous garland workshop added this year too!
Come and join us at the Watermill and learn how to create your own Christmas wreath using foliage from gardens and hedgerows.
Timetable: – The course will run from 10.00am untill approximately 12.00pm and afternoon workshop 1pm to 3pm with pre workshop coffee 30 mins before for both.
Venue: – Watermill, Newbury - Contact the Watermill booking office on 01635 46044
Cost: – £35.00 per person which includes all your materials and yummy homemade refreshments!
Come and join us at the Watermill and learn how to create your own Christmas garland on rope using foliage from gardens and hedgerows.
Timetable: - The course will run from 10am until 1pm with an afternoon workshop from 2pm until 5pm with pre workshop coffee 30 mins before for both.
Venue - Watermill, Newbury - contact the Watermill booking office on 01635 46044
Cost: – £45.00 per person which includes all your materials and yummy homemade refreshments!
Come and join us at the Watermill and learn how to create your own Christmas wreath using foliage from gardens and hedgerows.
Timetable: – The course will run from 10.00am untill approximately 12.00pm and afternoon workshop 1pm to 3pm with pre workshop coffee 30 mins before for both.
Venue: – Watermill, Newbury - Contact the Watermill booking office on 01635 46044
Cost: – £35.00 per person which includes all your materials and yummy homemade refreshments!
more November news...
I am so loving these two photographs by the very talented Donna Sawtell, these are my two absolute faves of the day. I know not a flower in sight... but you have captured so much here - thanks so much for sharing Donna and your time collating our piece.
Buzz is OUT!
The latest edition of Buzz is in Waitrose and other local retailers; this edition has a new feature of a local wedding on the 'wedding wisdoms' page I share. The venue is the Old Mill, Aldermaston, the gardens are just beautiful, owned and run by a family, so home from home, you really feel it's yours when your there. The featured wedding had lots of the vintage style I so love helping with. Georgie and Alec are a great couple, I could go on but I will just say that some people come into your life for a reason, I knew from the moment we met we were on the same page.
If you want to see the most amazing wedding shoes! take a look at www.localbuzzmagazine.com/west-berkshire xx here are a couple of extra shots by Phillip Nash with a big thank you xx
Autumn Photo shoot, Hermitage, Newbury
I'm loving all of the autumn colour, I guess being an outdoor girl and an October birthday it's just my favourite time of year. There's nothing quite like the turning of leaves before a harsh winter in the North American states and I'm not sure if it's just me but our autumnal season seems more defined here in dear old blighty! I worked on a photo shoot just outside Newbury, here in Berkshire with Mrs Jones (and Mr Jones too... we would have starved without you..) from Mrs Jones bridal boutique and Lesley Pattinson photography a couple of weeks ago, for the launch of a new bridal collection. It was a crisp, cold morning but the sunlight through the trees in the woods was amazing. Our model, Sophie was a trooper... wrapped like a Christmas parcel in layers of warm clothing and ugg boots between shots... didn't complain once, a true pro. Having seen the shots that are under wraps themselves at the moment, she looks amazing, the light is erethral but for now here are the worksers... oh and the 'allium' family pumpkin modelling the leaf crown that Sophie wore in the shoot. PS Pumpkin carved by my almost 12 year old... xx
Autumn weddings have been so popular this year.. no grey area with the weather, you know it's going to be a little chilly and you can plan for a cosy indoor event.
Rich burgundy and berries with dare carota being one of my favourite and oh so versatile blooms. I love rich orange tones too and they are big next year with succulents and grey foliage. Use oak leaf, it's plentiful and seasonal and mix with some herb and berried ivy for little cost. The dahlias have been amazing, perfect for a garden look if you want an outside in for a barn venue, although they can look equally sophisticated at a stylish contemporary day. I have made lots of the heart below for a real wow factor, some with flower, some just scented all different and bespoke, each one loved.
I am thinking of four pages added to this little site with seasonal flowers and suggestions... watch this space xx
Christmas?... not quite :)
are we all feeling festive yet??? the clocks go back this weekend, there has been a cold north wind today and the autumn leaves are falling fast.. having busied myself with ordering Christmas trees.... yes I said Christmas trees! today I was actually feeling just a little festive.. I do love a Christmas wedding and Allium has several this year, late marriages with Churches full of candles, pathways lit with lanterns and hundreds of votives twinkling at venues while friends party the night away. Today I saw Amanda, the bride to be who won the'Don't tell the Groom' win a wedding competition... She and her beloved Simon, have a date in May next year, a venue booked and this afternoon we worked out a flora plan, there really are some great ideas brewing.. Thanks for bringing Molly, she was a joy and I hope daddy was impressed by the new found skill! (Molly aged 1 year and 1 week stood unaided today!) a real red letter day.... x
Hi everyone, I just had to show you these photographs that arrived just last eve of one of my September brides, she loved flowers, she came to see me over a year ago armed with some snippings from magazines of some bouquets she loved, but none were quite right... it was a bit of this and a bit of that??? it had to be creams and greens... "flowers should smell too" she said... the first thing we all do when we see a beautiful bloom is check it's scent... how often are we disappointed?? we finally decided on freesia, stock, veronica, antirrhinum, ivory roses and sweet peas, her face when I gave it to her said it all for me... it's why I love my job... "Perfect" she said.... "just perfect" and she looked just perfect too, I'll think you'll agree.... thanks to the lovely Rosie Cutbill, so much detail to this wedding, it was a wedding that was all about family and friends and you told the story of the whole day.... it's that word again... perfectly... thanks for sharing these Rosie x x x
Last Friday I was at Lains barn providing flora for a wedding full of vintage detail, the bride had a great eye... she carried a bouquet of pastel gems and shiny stones to compliment a 1950's dress and birdcage veil. We mirrored her treasure bouquet in flower for her bridesmaid and a Cath Kidston stickered bucket for the beautiful flowergirl full of the smallest spray roses. A dark church full of candles follwed by a vintage tea at the barn. It was a rainy day and hundreds of candle flames flickered and danced shapes over the barn walls. It was pure romance... and the flowers.... all gentle tones of dusty pink, lilac, palest green petals, creamy ivory and beige... congratulations to Kerry and John, you looked so very happy xxx can't wait to see some of the official photgraphs.
I'm trying to be good and add to the page with a few more photos of what I've been busying myself with...
the last couple of weeks I have been tootling about the Wiltshire and Oxfordshire countryside, heading off to Rockley Manor, near Marlborough for one, a real gem of a venue... a secret garden and an amazing house. My stunning bride had a dance troop of gorgeous bridesmaids; the Church and marquee were stunning. I know the family of the bride, so you can imagine how thrilled I was to be involved with this wedding, the sun shone and all had just the best day...
We've also been to Wellington barn... if you haven't discovered it yet, take a drive out to Manton near Marlborough, the views are amazing, my bride stopped at Silsbury Hill with the lovely Rosie Cutbill... waving her magic over her lense... I am lucky enough to have had a sneaky peek at the photos, two have really stayed with me... stunning shots of the bride with her country flower bouquet... it was heavily scented freesia, rose,
stocks, veronica, rosemary, mint and thyme. I was blown away on the day by how much she loved her flowers and this just captures that moment for me.
It was a great wedding. lots of details... I cant wait to share Rosie's gem if she'll let me... x
Allium prepared a 'green' wedding at Newbury Manor, my couple were so in to cooking and their garden, perfect for me, vintage glass bowls with living herb table centres, hyssop, purple sage, rosemary, lavender, mint, lemon verbena, cat mint and basil with jewel coloured lace and ribbon decorated jars... the ballroom became a garden.. the bride loved cornflowers, so they played a huge part in her colour and flower choices... she carried lilac roses with clematis, delphinium and astrantia with herbs and brocolli... yes I did say that... sorry I think that was supposed to be a secret... my son Will said she could eat it if she got peckish! so made me smile, hope Peru was the best.. Thanks guys.
loved the bridesmaids dresses and posies and the bride... how happy does she look? x
Well what a summer.. come rain or shine wonderful weddings. The Allium barn has been bursting with flowers and I have a few new favourite blooms this season. My garden, my inspiration is having a late flourish.. tall echinacea and verbena bobbing in the breeze but the air is scented with late lavender as I sit to write and share this.
but where do I begin? I want this page to give inspiration. Anyone who knows me will say that flowers are my world and I am lucky enough to share this passion. Most of my work revolves around weddings, the happiest of times - when families and friends come together to celebrate two people in love.
Earlier this year; a friend’s parents celebrated their diamond wedding.. how wonderful to share a love and a life for all of those years. Liz asked that I reconstruct the bouquet that her Mother had carried, a 1940's tumble of wired flower, mostly roses with a sprinkle of lily of the valley, lots of asparagus fern and garden foliage. Its scent was divine. Can you imagine being married during war time? a home-made parachute silk dress and wedding celebration from shared ration cards? I can almost hear a Glen Miller track playing... She was thrilled with the result and they shared a wonderful day remembering. The power of the scent of flower is something I share with all my brides to be.
(photo to follow) x
The latest autumn edition of Buzz is out in Waitrose and local stores. I have written a shared article with the lovely Laura from Mrs Jones bridal boutique and now Kate from Katie B cakes... 'something borrowed something blue' on our wedding wisdoms page, modern twists on a traditional wedding custom.
musings of favourite moments this season x
Lakie and Jez wedding...
Emma and Mark's wedding,a touch of the vintage styling i love...
such a great couple... be happy x
my flora wedding dress in Mrs Jones Bridal boutique for the 'don't tell the groom competition! loved the Blue Peter moment.... x
thanks for a great photo Roise (Rosie Cutbill Photography)
The wedding season has begun.. I know this because I am surrounded by peonies as I write this, tight fists of flower that will explode in the next day or so to reveal their inner beauty to the world. Working in the barn listening to the rain patter on the roof.. I shouldn't complain as our gardens need this rain and as I've planted up the vegetable plot. I am now on garden watch to see the first green shoots appear..
Just a quick update to say I'm looking forward to my first 'floral hen party' with Toni, her bridesmaids and friends this Thursday, we will be putting together her table flowers in vintage jars, vases and pressed glass perfume bottles for an eclectic country mix of camomile, peony, bupleurum, guelder rose, ammi and ranuculus with herbs. It's going to look stunning and great to be able to share some special time with them.
The Watermill workshops were brilliant, so many lovely ladies came to spend some time with me enjoying flowers and hopefully learning a few secrets of the florists’ world too. A big thank you to them and also to Sally who was my very lovely assistant, I had the best day with you all.
I was thrilled to be asked to work with R&J photography on the Rock the Frock shoot at Chichley Hall, it was such a fab day, thanks so much to Emma and Sian the models who loved my flowers and of course to Renira and Jane who took the most fabulous photos that I just can't wait to see!
How gorgeous??? x
Congratulations to my brides of the last two weeks, Michelle and Jason who married in Lambourn. I loved your dress, so worth the hunt.... gorgeous soft pinks and beige flower choices for your flowers Michelle were just perfect... and I loved your tables too. Emma and Peter, wow... a 1950's party - you looked stunning Emma! they married in Marlborough and then partied until the early hours in a local barn styled as a village fete with vintage tins of flowers finishing off the country look.
I'm helping with an amazing private party this week and with five weddings in the next week and a half to come.. there will certainly be lots of flowers and plants at the barn..
back soon, K x
Floral workshop at the Watermill theatre on 27th March 2012
see watermill.org.uk or call the box office on 01635 46044.
There's lots going on at the Allium barn.. all this sunny weather has given me untold energy and big smile! this week I have the workshop at the Watermill, I love to share my knowledge and aim is to inspire and encourage budding florists. I will take photographs this time! I promise..
Next weekend is Marlborough Spring fair, a fabulous day out and I shall be there with Allium selling living plant and bulbs together with vases, votives,candles and biodegradeable oasis product.
Check out the new edition of Buzz from Waitrose in Newbury for my latest article on new wedding flower trends and wedding glamour.
Also Bucks Berks and Oxon wedding mag.. with my wedding agony aunt feature.
Thanks to all of the brides that stopped to talk flowers at Lains Barn last Sunday. I'm looking forward to lots of cups of tea with brides and some wedding flower inspiration over the coming weeks. I met some fantastic suppliers too, take a look at Renira & Jane photographers, their work is gorgeous, they can tell a story in a lover's glance... fun and vivacious they don't miss a single detail and they adore flowers too!(reniraandjanephotography.co.uk)
To celebrate 2012 being a leap year when traditionally women may propose, the lovely Mrs Jones of Mrs Jones Bridal Boutique is offering one lucky bride to be the chance to win her dream wedding worth over £5000 with fantastic partner suppliers.
1. Mrs Jones Bridal Boutique are offering a wedding dress up to the value of £1,000.With a wide range of styles and sizes, we would love to help you find your dream dress and what’s more, offer up to the value of £1000 on us.
2 . £750 worth of wedding photography from Adam Hillier Photography.Adam and his team are local photographers who specialise in wedding and portrait photography. Adam’s enthusiasm and passion is clear when you meet him – he just loves photography and weddings! His style is relaxed and professional – check out his work at his website or pop in and see him at his studio.
Tel Studio: 01635 766066
3. £520 Sonoma touch of Bliss spa break for 2:
Donnington Valley Hotel & Spa is a privately owned 4 star country retreat that is situated in the very heart of the Berkshire. It’s Spa and Health Club is one of the top rated spas in the country with luxurious facilities including an 18m swimming pool, sauna, steam and aromatherapy rooms plus a state of the art gym and dance studio.
The prize includes a cleansing and exfoliating foot ritual with either a refresh body reviver (including a full body massage with warm poultices using Sicilian lemon and basil oil) or Real luxury body indulgence (full body hot stone massage with lavender, jasmine and Brazilian rosewood). A relaxing facial pressure point massage and scalp massage ends the treatment. Follow the treatments with full use of the health club facilities, 3 course evening meal from our seasonal market menu, accommodation in an Executive room and Full English breakfast the following morning.
Karen at Allium is a perfectionist. She loves talking about flowers and has some ingenious ideas to suit all budgets. Her style is chic and individual - a total professional and has fantastic ideas for props and styling. She really listens to what her clients want and helps them create the look of their specification.
5. A cake worth £500 from Cakes by Katie B.
Fun and unique Katie B has a personality to match her cakes. She can create (almost) anything and can offer advice and tips whether you want a more traditional fruit cake or even Oreo cupcakes! Her cakes are absolutely delicious and as she says ” tasting is believing
Very generously, the team at Newbury have donated money into a savings account to help start the gift list. With £500 for starters, you can invite your guests to donate money into the fund to save for that dream honeymoon, brand new kitchen, new household items, or a TV and cinema system. You get to spend the money your way.
7. £400 towards grooms wear hire at Suits Newbury.
A neighbour in Weavers Walk, Mark Fish and his team at Suits Newbury are the leading independent formal menswear specialists and have a range of suits for any occasion – from top hat and tails to a fantastic tailored suit, you can ensure your groom won’t let you down on the day!
8. £400 towards bespoke design and print stationery from Apple Print.
Apple Print offers a range of services including creative design, web and print. Having just celebrated their 25th year they can help you design your invites your way and printed to a very high standard.
9. £300 voucher for Jacques Vert at Camp Hopson
Take your Mum shopping at Camp Hopson and treat her to an outfit at Jacques Vert- with their range of occasion wear – with some fabulous hats! Camp Hopson is Newbury’s oldest department store and has recently won the accolade as Britain’s Best Independent Department Store!
The new Jacques Vert collection is led by smart, feminine and elegant occasion wear complete with co-ordinating accessories, all designed with weddings, race days, parties and special occasions in mind. Light layering pieces and stylish summer dresses complete the collection for a gorgeous summer wardrobe in sizes 10 – 24.
10. £200 towards your honeymoon at Charter Travel and 5% discount off your holiday!
Planning your honeymoon can be one of the most exciting parts of wedding planning and the team at Charter Travel will help guide you through the process.
Charter Travel 74 Hambridge Road, Newbury, Berkshire RG14 5TA. Tel: 0163 55 10 11
How would you like to arrive in a brand new frost blue Jaguar XF? John Bustin knows all about weddings and cars. A retired wedding photographer, he knows all about punctuality, presentation and peace of mind. Enjoy being chauffeured in style with a glass of bubbly to relax!
Wow, this is a really great prize and to enter all you need to do is answer a really simple question and tell us about your proposal story.
So, if you are engaged to be married, what are you waiting for – £5000 is a great value prize to ease the budget and if you are thinking about proposing to your partner – what better excuse do you need!
Hi everyone, hope you had a fantastic Valentine’s Day? with some seasonal flowers or maybe a rose or two.. I had a busy week with some private commissions and I put one of my signature hearts in Mrs Jones Bridal boutique (www.mrsjonesbridal.co.uk) in Weavers Walk, Newbury - see her face book page for an amazing photograph that I'd love to share with you..
We have a date for the floral workshop at the Watermill theatre on 27th March 2012 - book at the box office on 01635 46044.
I had a great day at The Hotel du Vin at Winchester, I love their 'I du vin' brochure.. an amazing place to stay and get married, I met some very lovely brides to be. As always the hotel staff were brilliant, thanks for great day Alex x
I went to the designer wedding show at Battersea with Katie B, (Cakes by Katie B) she really makes the most delicious cakes I have ever tasted and I'm not saying that because she's a dear friend... they are a party in your mouth so I heard a client of hers say! we went to see what the London scene were offering... and sample a few cakes it was a great day, a gathering of amazing venues, and all wedding related suppliers, we both came away inspired, having seen some gorgeous things.
Congratulations to Zoe and Simon, I have been wanting to add a photograph of their fabulous Moroccan wedding for a while.. with thanks to Ansa from Illume photography - a fabulous portrait photographer and friend of the bride.
Happy happy new year to all x
Before I tell you my news... these are the Wedding Shows I'll be at over the coming weeks with sample flowers and bouquets, please come and say hello x
Donnington Grove - 22nd January 2012 - 11am until 3.30pm
Wokefield Park Open Day - 19th February 2012 - 1pm until 5pm
Hotel du Vin - Winchester - 19th February 2012 - 2pm until 5pm
Deanwood Park - 26th February 2012
Trunkwell Mansion 26th February 2012 - I'm excited to be providing small posies and bouquets for the fashion show
Newbury Manor - 11th March - 11am until 3.30pm
Lains Barn - Wantage - 25th March 2012 - 11am until 3pm
Hilton Newbury - 1st April 2012 - with Cakes by Katie B and Adam Hillier Photography - co suppliers in the 'Win an Wedding' Competition - and lots of other suppliers - 11am until 3.30pm
I can't believe we are into 2012 already, the run up to Christmas was so busy, I had four weddings between the 17th and 23rd December, all gorgeous and each one hoping for snow... we had a heavy frost and rain for one but it was still the most magical afternoon, a late wedding with candle filled church and a Narnia themed reception.. twenty five rooted silver birch trees at the venue decorated with pea lights, vintage lustres and fake snow! gas lamps, Christmas trees, frosted twigs and barked candles, lots of sustainable decor that I love. I can't wait to let you see some photographs.
The feedback from the festive wreath workshops has been brilliant - we are looking at an Easter class.. a Easter table with simple ideas for decorating at home using flowers and bulbs in your own everyday containers.
The new edition of 'Buzz' magazine is out with another wedding wisdoms article from myself, the lovely Laura from Mrs Jones Bridal Boutique and Lesley from Memories Thru a Lens - the focus being winter weddings.. below is my little section...
A winter wedding… the thought makes you warm and cosy like hot chocolate and chestnuts!
Once you have chosen your winter date and your venue take your florist along to see what she can suggest for your floral décor and personal touches.. In winter time flowers are expensive so you need to be little inventive with the details of your wedding day. Maybe try sustainable snowdrops, bulbs in rustic or contemporary containers, hyacinth pips like snow on the tables with a heady scent... silver birch twigs with glass lustres, fairy lights and as days are short - candles by the box full... oh and mistletoe if it’s Christmas what could be more romantic? It doesn’t need to take lots of blooms to make an impact.
Make use of evergreen foliage, ivy with black berries is freely available, mix with blue spruce, eucalyptus, rosemary and white eringium for the smell of winter…
However, a wedding wouldn’t be a wedding without some gorgeous flowers... a bouquet of white orchids is a cost effective option, lots of flower heads per stem for your florist to work with. They last well so make great table centres too or perhaps if your dress is a straight elegant style – full blown Amaryllis cut short in length and bound with ribbon for a wonderful ‘white Christmas’ look.
Above all have fun with your detail and a wonderful winter wedding day…
Before I go - congratulations to Nadia and Glen who married last Saturday, my first bride of 2012 - she had the most beautiful dress and carried dark burgundy and milky ivory spray and tea roses with herbs and winter foliage bound in vintage lace with pearl and diamante pins. She was great to work with and I loved her special touches to her country wedding. I can't wait to see photographs of her flower girl with shoulder length natural blonde ringlets in a burgundy dress with a scented herb and burgundy rose ball.. absolutely, gorgeous...
The Wedding fair season... I spent yesterday at a wedding fair and had a chance to catch up with fellow suppliers.. I was next to the lovely Mrs Jones from Mrs Jones bridal boutique in Newbury.. she had just a taste of some of the gorgeous dresses she has at the store... they were all so beautiful, you can look online at www.mrsjonesbridal.co.uk or go and take a look if you haven't found the perfect 'one'...
Thank you to all the 'brides to be' that came to say hello.. it was also great to meet so many just starting the path to their wedding day, I wrote in the last issue of 'Buzz' magazine that it can be a long journey from 'I will to I do' I seemed to hear myself saying the same thing again yesterday.. so much choice is partly the problem.. I think the message must be.. be true to yourself, have the wedding that you and your beloved want to share, set a budget, be relaxed and enjoy planning your very special wedding day..
Late September.... where has the summer gone? the nights suddenly seem to be drawing in and we are talking of winter weddings.. I am writing pieces for magazines on snowy scenes! I seem to have neglected the paperwork over clients, weekly weddings and the family gatherings that are so important...
It's been a busy summer with sixteen weddings since June, a golden wedding, some charity events and a swift trip to France since I last posted some flower news.. here are a few favourites, I have loved them all for different reasons and will upload some memories very soon..
Last weekend was a favourite bouquet.. a country setting with a wonderful Church set deep in Savernake Forest.. I can't wait to see some photographs of the beautiful bride.. but here are her gorgeous flowers.. Congratulations Emma and Ben..
The week before the lovely Clare, so kind and generous in nature that you wanted her to have just the best day ever. I loved working with her - she wanted sustainable and living plant so that they could live on well after the wedding day for almost all but her bridal flowers.. She carried a scented seasonal hand tie which smelt and looked divine.. the church at Ashford Hill was full of candles and heady smell of buckets of lavender, repeated at the wedding breakfast with white heather and herbs..
Another favourite because it was she was so elegant... Sarah and Perran, Ogbourne St Andrew, she wanted lily.. tall colombe de la paix, avalanche and crystal blush. Tall vases reached up toward the marquee canvas, the lily framed by the black twinkling drape that covered the stage and dance floor... but there was a country twist with bridesmaids of blue hydrangea, roses, veronica and dark blue eringium and ivy leaves.. together with eringium buttonholes each wrapped in navy blue ribbon.. see them on the Wonderful Weddings page..
Bonnie and Kieran with five bridesmaids and a flower girl you kept me very busy.. I loved your Church flowers softest pink roses with pale green and pink hydrangea that worked so well.. Thank you for your very kind words and telling me you could not bring yourself to throw your bouquet so you threw a bridesmaids..
Debs and Gav... an amazing couple so into their garden and flowers that they are creating a wedding flower border, such a great idea. I don't think I have seen such a gathering of cool looking guests... the bridal party chaps with pale blue suits, white shoes and trilby hats! and only fitting for such a stunning bride.. Deb you looked amazing and I so loved your hair.... I adored your flowers, it was a pleasure to create them, sustainable and gorgeous garden herbs in whitewashed planters with candles and petals to scent the barn.. bridal flowers of lily, dahlia and garden roses of ivory, burgundy and vintage beige wrapped in twine and pearl buttons.. a scented arch of herbs and roses and tall twisted willow in urns with gladioli, dahlia, Scabious, veronica and herbs.. unique.. very now.. very English country garden.
.....and my beautiful friend Sarah and her lovely Jeff, Wokefield Park, a very hot day in August with elegant and vintage running through the day, little touches of the palest pink... the Titanic pew ends... they will understand! buckets wrapped in ribbon at the beautiful Church in Douai Abbey.. twenty or so small children waving pink heart shaped balloons (Sarah is a teacher) that added something very special to their day. An open top car and the most beautiful setting... Pressed 1950's glass plates with English garden roses and herbs with candles centres.. scented rose petals and a hundred or so votives that sparkled under a huge chandelier in a pale grey georgian room..and as dusk fell a hundred glass lanterns lit up the terrace and brought a whole new vista to the grounds. It was a wonderful day that I and my beloved were so priviledged to share...
Until next time
22nd June 2011...
It's been too long... I have been away from my page for far too long - I have watched more of my brides have special days that I feel priviledged to have shared with them...
18th June – Claire and Tim, all pale greens and creams, seasonal and little scented but I may be allergic to the flowers was my brief!! After a trial run with a small bucket from the barn and thankfully no reaction to our collection I used sweet peas with lily of the valley, white peony and roses with the palest green hydrangea, ammi, veronica and antirrhinum, elegant country... a flower girl basket of white peonies and roses with tiny rose buds in her hair.. Beautiful bridesmaids in long sage green dresses, her lovely Mum looked radiant in vintage pink, large pedestals at the church and a huge flower arch at the barn of ivory roses and hydrangea with herbs, it was all in the detail and it was truly wonderful..
11th June - Tara and Matt, a horse and carriage and the very beautiful St Mary’s Church in Kintbury. Deep reds, roses and peonies complimented with green hydrangea with red tips and ivory roses and antirrhinums in country buckets for a marquee setting in the grounds of a beautiful home. Thank you for your kind words and I would love to see the preserved bouquet!
4th June - Heather, my wonderful Yattendon bride who grew her own flowers... both passionate about their garden, Heather and Tim wanted to have their own flowers at their wedding, together with the armfuls of foxgloves from the estate that they collected for me to add to the milk churns at the Church, we had baskets of roses and herbs and vintage tins of garden flowers - a just picked look.. Bridal flowers tied with twine and finished with a pearl button of peony, mint, rosemary, rose, lily of the valley. I used her home grown ‘Granny’s rose for all the boutonnières and in her bouquet, it was such a pleasure and a privilege to work with them in this way to create their wedding flowers.
29th May - Mary and Ian at a country house in Gloucestershire, a wonderfully setting with rolling fields the view from every window, grand rooms with high ceilings and wonderful wooden panelling, a gorgeous bride who carried the last of the white lilac of the spring season, peony, calla lily and roses with a touch of the palest blue hydrangea for her beautiful twin boys. Fabulous tall vases of flowers in blue and white tones with hydrangea petals, an amazing tower of individually iced mini wedding cakes.. oh and a helicopter display that was amazing!!
21st May - Sarah and Jonathan, a private elegant affair, all ivory roses, her favourite, his favourite, quietly understated glamour.. one flower with serious impact and the first of the scented roses this season.. Congratulations again..
14th May - Vicki and her Phil married at Great Shefford Church, an Irish affair with hundreds of candles and deep red romantic roses with crimson peonies so full blown like frilly petticoats, a touch of Moulin Rouge chic, a pure deep flash of colour against a beautiful and elegant dress.. a barn dressed with the scent of the rose petals that were everywhere, lots of personal detail, buckets of flowers with wire hearts... a fabulous day..9th May 2011...
The last three weeks have been a blur.. four weddings and a wedding show to organise.. plus the Royal wedding of course! How beautiful was Kate and I just loved her flowers, I always try and include lily of the valley into my bridal bouquets - pure indulgence of the scent.. my absolute favourite. My bride last Saturday, an equally beautiful Kate carried vintage roses, palest pink peonies, lilac, stocks and lily of the valley infused with rosemary and thyme - the smell was amazing, it was a lovely wedding - a family affair, a marquee at the top of a field with the a fabulous vista of the Berkshire countryside as they love the outdoors, Bridesmaids in gorgeous dresses with wellies as they walked the line of crooks adorned with pale green buckets of county flowers and lanterns that would lead the way home hours later when a serious party had been enjoyed by all.
I become attached to all of my brides, I felt particularly privileged to have a wedding actually at Bucklebury Church on 30th April. As I prepared the flowers on the Friday evening, a succession of visitors some from the village tea party and others just sightseeing the village and Church stopped by... The gorgeous Victoria married her beloved James on a welcome sunny day with an Honour Guard. The flowers were a vivid cobalt blue of delphinium and mid tone lilac Starlight with ivory stocks and roses, herbs and hydrangea- tall spires of magnificent flowers that echoed the colours of the amazing leaded window behind the main alter. St Mary's is the most beautiful Grade 1 listed building that has been there for nearly a 1000 years.
My garden is calling me today, but I have quotes and brides to email with updates and flower suggestions... maybe an hour or two later....
pop back soon xx
The 2011 Wedding seasion has begun... April 11th 2011...
It seems an age since I last wrote on my page, but soon I will have a blog and more regular posts on my new website so come back and see the new Allium page very soon. The warm weather is making us all think of the outdoors and our gardens that are turning greener daily.. and my beautiful brides have been smiling, full of love and happy to walk in the sunshine in their beautiful wedding dresses..
Last weekend I was florist at a wedding at Templars Barn, one of my favourite venues, it was the most beautiful day with my gorgeous bride and her beloved. Rosie Cutbill spent the day taking photographs, I have just looked at her website, please take a look too at rosiecutbillphotography.co.uk as she did the most amazing job and captured the romance of a spring day perfectly. The flowers were seasonal, simple spring arrangements, tulips, hyacinths, muscari and herbs with some stock and snowflake spray roses with herbs... rosemary and thyme in coir baskets and eau de nil buckets, the heat of the sun made the scent in the barn fabulous. We planted urns with growing bulbs that could be planted in the garden afterwards to flower next year.. what better way to bring back precious memories.
Spring is coming and LOVE is in the air...
I am starting to feel that the Royal Wedding will uplift us all - when in town last week I saw the first of the cups, plates and tea towels (somehow I have managed to miss them until now!) with Kate and William written across them - some more tasteful than others but I found myself smiling - why is that? Perhaps being a hopeless romantic it makes me feel warm inside that two people can meet - fall in love and start a life together. I so love my job, I meet couples like this all of the time and share with them the preparations for their special day. The journey to your wedding day should be magical and I want to make choosing the wedding flowers a very personal and memorable experience.
I have seen so many brides since the beginning of January and I have loved my time with each one, each consultation lasts about two hours, I make a pot of tea and if it's cold I light the fire too! I ask brides to bring dress fabric samples and any photographs they have collected that help me to understand the style they want for their wedding. Some come with a mood board, others just a general idea and draw on my expertise as we put together a picture. We take flowers from the barn and make posies of flowers in their chosen colours which each bride takes home as a gift from our meeting.
HOT OFF THE PRESS! I am working with Catherine Parry from Templars Barn who is hosting the West Berkshire Wedding Show on April 17th 2011 - this is only the second year that the barn has opened it's doors to wedding suppliers. The response from local business has been tremendous and we already have over 30 tables. Please put the date in your diary, come and have a glass of champagne and sample some yummy food whilst meeting some great people, all chosen because they provide quality and service.
See our website www.westberkshireweddingshow.co.uk for more detail.
Please email me if you have read this page - I'd love to hear from you and all feedback is good
Welcome to The Allium Design Company - Specialist Event Florist - Karen Sopp
I love you... you're wonderful... marry me... thank you... I'll never forget you...
FLOWERS speak for us even when we are lost for words.
As a little girl I always wanted to have a flower shop, rows of cream buckets filled with flowers; piled high making a statement for the season - like fashion only with nature taking centre stage... It took some years, a career in law and a dabble in horticulture to make my love of flowers, particularly a passion for our English garden herbs and scented roses... allow me realise there was no other career for me. I am inspired by flowers, they are my retail therapy, my designs are informal, taking hedgerow foliage and herbs and mixing them to feed your senses.
Thank you for taking a look through the shop window... don't hesitate to give call me for advice and any assistance.
A little bit about The Allium Design Company.....
Allium creates floral designs for the intimate and informal country wedding to the grandest of gatherings. We believe all wedding flowers should be special and unique. Whatever the size of your wedding from my studio we will create the most elegant and eye-catching wedding flowers that will be completely tailored to the theme and colours of your special day. Utilising our vast knowledge of wedding venues in Berkshire, Oxfordshire and Wiltshire we are able to advise you on exquisite floral displays that will compliment your venues surroundings. We always have several meetings with brides over the course of the build up to your wedding, through this bespoke 'getting to know you' service we can develop ideas together and design something completely unique.
We really believe that detail is everything - from the blooms we use to the containers we place them in. We have a wonderful selection of beautiful vases and containers that really compliment the flowers and the surroundings that they are placed in. From vintage pieces such as cake stands, tea cups, painted buckets, birdcages to hurricane lamps of various shapes and sizes and silvered bowls that give a magical speckled glow with candle light. We have plinths and unusual pedestals that transform floral displays to a truly memorable part of your wedding day.
Whether your style is country, vintage, traditional or contemporary. We will advise and guide you and will create the most stylish wedding flowers for your budget.
Allium also offers unique and personal floral services for all types of events. Our consultation time will ensure that your floral arrangements will be the ones your guests and clients will never forget. There is a caring personal at home service for sympathy flowers; to assist at a difficult time with attention always given to the very smallest detail.
Contact us for a free and informal consultation at:
The Studio +44 1488 648142
Karen's Mobile +44 789 990 8703
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