Wedding bouquets can be more than just flowers as Charlotte Pearson discovers in Odiham.
It is fair to say Jay Archer has seen it all when it comes to weddings. After all, as a florist she is surrounded by it every day.
So when it came to her own she knew she wanted to do things differently.
“I always want to stand out from the crowd,” she explains. “I love being bright and bold, which is why I went with a green wedding dress.”
This dress was inspired by English actor Helena Bonham Carter, while for her bouquet she simply picked flowers she liked.
“I think your wedding should represent you,” Jay smiles. “People always comment that they aren’t their job but I really feel as if I am and wanted to incorporate what I do into my big day.”
Describing the Jay Archer Floral Design style as ‘English romantic’, doing something a bit different not only applied to her wedding but is something Jay always does.
“I don’t like mushroom shaped bouquets – mine are abundant,” she reveals.
“I like messy, overgrown pieces featuring things that you would find in the wild or in a hedge. I also grow my own flowers.
“If people want Gerberas, carnations or lilies with diamantes I will recommend someone who does these types of bouquets.
“I feel you have to have someone working on your wedding that feels as passionately about it as you do.”
Although she had worked on a number of weddings before getting married in September 2014, Jay says her big day opened her eyes to being a bride.
“Before I got married I never understood when brides got in a tiz about little details in their wedding,” Jay reveals. “But now I have got married I completely get it.
“I have more empathy now. I was really surprised I felt like that but I now understand how important every little detail is.”
Jay also likes to add her own little details, including growing a blue pumpkin for one bride and adding an aubergine to a purple bouquet.
“I do like to include fruit and veg,” she laughs. “I want people to look at their bouquet and look again and say ‘yes, that is aubergine’.
“My bouquets are multi-sensory, I create ones that you want to touch.”
Constantly learning from each display she does, Jay admits she has to rein it in sometimes.
“Otherwise it would go too big,” she adds. “It depends on what the bride wants.
“I have some that will say ‘here is my colour scheme, do what you want,’ but if the mother-in-law or mother of the bride is paying they sometimes want something more traditional.
“I can add little details though, so if they are Scottish I can add their family tartan or have a locket with a picture of their nan.”
Brides that pick Jay get her full attention and she ensures she only does one wedding a day.
“I think if people have paid for a service they deserve to have me working on only their flowers,” she enthuses.
“When I got married on September 27 I worked on my wedding and had one on the 20th and another on October 11. I may see one or two brides a week to go through things.”
Ensuring the bride gets the best, Jay works on the bouquets, buttonholes and bridesmaid’s flowers herself and employs freelancers to do the centre pieces – but only after she has created the first one.
“I am a bit OCD,” Jay laughs. “I like to do things properly and at the end of the day it is my reputation.”
Doing things properly also saw Jay work for six years before setting up the business officially in 2011.
“I only do weddings and events,” she explains. “I enjoy big things as it means I can dedicate my time to it and really get my teeth into it.”
Jay is also planning on opening a flower school later this year.
“I want to teach people what I know,” she reveals. “There will be a career course and an amateur one. It is something I am really passionate about.”
Talking to Jay you cannot help but become excited about flowers, and this could be why brides want her for their special day.
“I really love what I do,” she beams.
Maybe it is time to take a leaf out of Jay’s book and do things a bit differently.
For more information, visit www.jayarcherfloraldesign.com
Jay’s tips for 2015
There is a lot of blue and white.
Vintage is still big. Using peonies and roses in a pink palate.
A lot more colour will be used this year, with a lot of corals.
People are using red clashing with bright pinks as well which I haven’t done since I started.