The complete video interview for this transcript can be found here.
In this interview, Andrew from Impact Images takes on the role of a prospective bride looking to book Tanya from Angel Bloom Florist for his wedding. Andrew asks all the questions any bride would ask before making a booking including how to choose the right florist, the best height for table decorations at a reception, what colours to choose, who gets the button hole flowers, the best way to choose the right bouquet and the all important one – cost.
Tanya was chosen as she is one of a small handful of leading wedding florists on the Central Coast plus she services the wider area of Newcastle ant the Hunter Valley Vineyards as well as Sydney. Tanya has an amazing reputation with so many Central Coast brides that have used her creative talents, eye for detail and amazing service over the years.
Enjoy the transcript but if you really want to m’meet’ Tanya, jump over to the video and see her in action here.
Andrew: Hi Tanya
Andrew: Thanks for doing this today. Before we start, can you tell me about your business? How long you have been going for? And a little bit of about yourself in line with your company.
Tanya: Yes. Well, I started floristry when I was in high school, just doing it Saturdays and learning on the job. Following that, I decided to go full-time. With a couple of years experience I was very much thrown in the deep end being a junior florist. The senior florist used to take off at about 2 o’clock in the afternoon and leave me to pack up and do everything by myself. So as stressful as that was, I had to learn really quickly how to do things on my own which was a good thing in hind sight.
I had the responsibility that I should not have had but I had to cope with it. I found, after a few years of working for other people and doing the market runs for them when they were away on holidays that I can do this myself – as a young and naive nineteen year old.
Andrew: So you went out on your own at nineteen?
Tanya: Yes, so I opened Enchanted Rose in Narrabeen on Sydney’s Northern Beaches when I was nineteen and I had that shop for 8 years. When I sold it, I was doing ten weddings each weekend, which was huge in the wedding industry there.
I sold that business because I wanted to have kids and I knew I couldn’t keep that up with the kids. So I took the children option and was a stay at home mum for a few years and then missed playing with flowers, missed having my own identity, missed having something to do other than watching baby videos.
So I started Angel Blooms from my home. I organized my cool room and all my other equipment and I just found it a joy. A joy to work from home and not have all the stress of staff and everything associated with a shop front. I can just focus on what I love doing and do that well. I have had that running now for about nine years.
Andrew: That’s great. Well, today, I just wanted to, I guess, play the part of a bide that doesn’t know anything about organizing flowers for her wedding – which I don’t. I will be asking questions to get an idea of what I should know before I came to see you and just get a general feel of what’s involved in ordering flowers for my wedding.
Tanya: Yeah. No problem.
Andrew: Okay. Let’s go. What’s the first thing that girls ask when they come and see you?
Tanya: Well, most of the time they ask me what they are meant to do? Because most brides have no idea where to start. So I will start by asking them their rough requirements. Like how many bridesmaid. What color are you looking at? For me, bridesmaid dresses determine everything for color, the bride is usually in white. So it’s usually based on the bridesmaid dress because they have to match.
Andrew: Suppose the girls ask you what colour they should have or what if they say, well I am having light blue bridesmaid dresses and I want yellow flowers?
Tanya: Well that goes together, so that would work.
Andrew: Okay, what if you don’t think it’s going to work – then you’ll say look I think… and make a suggestion?
Tanya: Yes, make suggestions. Sometimes people have really strong ideas of what they want. I always do trial bouquets before the wedding so I get the girls to bring the dresses in and I’ll show them what it looks like because flowers are very visual and sometimes they’ll sort of have an idea that they think will work and I show them. If then, when they see it, they might go okay that doesn’t work.
Then, I’ll always have back up flowers of what I think will make it work better or might work in with their ideas because it’s all visual for me. Sometimes we might try something and I don’t get a confident YES, which to me says I haven’t got the right combination. So I’ll just try other things and say what if we put this in with that or we put that in and just keep going until she says yes, I love it.
Andrew: If I come to you a year before the wedding or six months before the wedding you obviously have not got those flowers on hand so you just know what to show or do use photos and pictures from magazines?
Tanya: Usually what I do is we write down the colors. We go through my albums and I’ll get an idea of the type of flowers they like whether they like really soft garden pretty flowers, whether they like tropical bold things. I don’t actually to do a set order the first time they come and see me. We just do the run through…
Andrew: Sorry, what’s a set order?
Tanya: Where we actually finalize exactly what flowers they are going to use.
Andrew: Okay is it more like a consult.
Tanya: Yeah. So to start with, we just write down the list of what they need, the colors that they are looking at that they like and the types of flowers that they like.
Tanya: And then I always get the bride to come in and see me a couple of weeks before the wedding when the flowers are out and then I turn it into the florist shop here and I try and get a whole lot of stock within a week or so. So I have a lot of flowers to show all my brides.
Andrew: So the bride may not have finalised her flowers until a few weeks before the wedding.
Andrew: They may have an idea but they really didn’t know until a few weeks before the wedding?
Andrew: Wow! So that’s the normal way to do this?
Tanya: Yes, that’s the way I work because flowers are very seasonal and they will change and so that they can actually see the combination together. I mean sometimes they’ll pick a photo and they will say I just want this and they are happy with that photo. But I still get them to come in because I show them the size of the bouquet on them to make sure that’s the right size for them.
Andrew: Okay the size of bouquet.
Tanya: Yeah, the size of bouquet. So I still make it up regardless of whether they have brought in a photograph or not, because sometimes it’s a photo of a bouquet where the bride is not holding it. So they still need to make sure they are happy with the physical size. So yeah I have plenty of flowers here and we do different combinations.
Andrew: This is a few weeks before the wedding.
Tanya: Yes, a few weeks before the wedding. And then we hold them up against the dresses. I’m very — I have gotten to know people really well. So when people go ‘oh yeah’ I know it’s not right.
Andrew: You know they are not happy.
Tanya: Yeah, because I don’t want to turn up on the day and not have them excited. I want to turn up on the day and LOVE their flowers and excitedly say – they’re perfect!
Andrew: Okay. So what about the buttonhole flowers. From what I’m seeing it is the same flower that goes in the bouquet, is that right?
Tanya: Usually we pick the bouquet flowers first and then pick a flower out of the bouquet.
Andrew: Okay, and mostly all white?
Tanya: Yeah most of the time. They usually have a white. Usually the groom in white and do the groom’s men to match the bridesmaids color so they can differentiate. Normally fathers and mothers would just go white so they match with anything.
Andrew: Wh else gets button holes – grandparents?
Tanya: Grandparents, sometimes brothers. It just depends again on personal preference how far people want to go. Some people do the MC, some the ushers and the grandparents and everyone. Other people will just do fathers, other people will do the groom, and grooms men and fathers.
Andrew: Okay. And with flower girls they often have little basket?
Tanya: Basket. I hardly ever do baskets any more.
Andrew: Oh really?
Andrew: Now you’re making me sound old fashioned. My wedding on the weekend had baskets.
Tanya: They still do baskets. But I find the majority will do it a cute little posy.
Tanya: Sometimes I’ll suggest silks – depending on how old the flower girl is?
Andrew: Okay, because they tend to trash them if they are too young?
Tanya: Yes tend to trash them. Roses are good because you can do them tight packed so they’ll take a little bit of bashing, which reminds me of my own niece in December when she decided to have a little tantrum with and it still held together and then that bouquet actually came home and went for a swim in the swimming pool and had a drink out of the dog drinking bowl. So that bouquet had a big life that day.
Andrew: Pretty robust then?
Tanya: Yes – but if it’s a single lily that flower will be terrible. If the flower girl touches or anything like that then silk is the best option.
Andrew: After the wedding, what does the bride usually do with their bouquet? Do they dry them?
Tanya: No, most people don’t dry them anymore. In the nineties when I my shop…
Andrew: You’re making me sound old fashion again!
Tanya: A lot of people did the freeze drying and had them mounted. But at that stage everyone had very country style houses. They had the cottage style kitchen, they had timber, they had garlic reeds hanging and you know that was very in. So people would actually put one of those timber framed bouquets on the wall. That was very normal.
Whereas now, the bride would say to me – do you know someone that can dry the flowers? And my question back to them is normally are you going to hang that on the wall in the house, will that suit your house and they kind of go… nah.
And it’s very expensive because they have to take a picture of the flowers and pull it all apart and then recreate it. So it’s usually about three times the cost of the bouquet was originally to do. So I normally say, ask the photographer to get a good close up of the flowers because they look awesome on a big canvass on your wall. Modern clean lines. So usually that what people do now.
Andrew: I’ll definitely support the idea of a large canvas print.
Tanya: Yeah. Exactly. And the canvass is much cheaper than getting it dried. And the canvass is going to look good and modern in a house rather than a timber frame with some dried up flowers in it. Which doesn’t suit most houses these days.
Tanya: And it’s really expensive. So usually people would take them home, cut them off (the stems) and keep them for a few days. Most brides would give it to their mum or something like that because they are going on honeymoon or they use it for the throw away posy.
Andrew: Beautiful. Okay. So with the centerpieces, that is obviously part of the flower order.
Andrew: So how do the girls choose what to do, do you advise them? Do you give them ideas?
Tanya: Well again, usually we’ll look at what I have used in the bouquets and try and carry those flowers through into the reception displays.
Tanya: Or a cheaper option, depending on budget is something that is going to match that may be a cheaper flower. It comes down to stock that I have because I have lots of different vases and T-lights and candelabras and all such things.
Andrew: Oh do you supply that with the flowers?
Tanya: Yeah. Yeah. I put a lot of stock in the last few years. I never used to have that I just had the flowers but I found that I know what vases work with my flowers. When they get purchased or hired from somewhere else, sometimes I wouldn’t be able to make the flowers fit in that container properly. Or it would be the wrong height, so I have ended up buying a whole lot of different vases that I know the flowers are good and work really well.
So usually I find that when they come and look at all my things certain options will appeal to them and I’ll put them on the table and we will try a few different arrangements. Again, I’ll do up different displays, we’ll try different things. We put down a mirror and we will say do you want it this way or that way? With petals on the bottom or without petals with this and that and we just play and find a combination that they like.
Andrew: And what about heights for center pieces? Every reception I go to, there is something different? How do the girls choose and what is the best way to choose?
Tanya: Well, my rule of thumb is under 30cm or above 60cm so that there is nothing at eye height that will hide faces. So you can still talk across the table.
Andrew: Yeah. Sure.
Tanya: I think it does depend on the venue too, whether they have a low ceiling or a high ceiling. That can impact because if you’ve got a low ceiling then I would stick to low centerpieces. But if you go to the Hunter Valley for your wedding, there are lots of really big open rooms where huge tall things will look really good. So you have to look to the venue as well.
Andrew: Okay. And you work with them to sort out what looks good and what doesn’t.
Andrew: Ok – obviously there will be people seeing this video that don’t live in Australia. They could be in the States or in Europe they have to choose a different florist because they can’t have you?
Andrew: What should they do to work out who is good, who is not, how do they distinguish a bad florist from a good one?
Tanya: Firstly ask them. Ask how experienced they are? It takes a long time to get to know flowers. The different opening times, what you need to do to keep them lasting well. All that comes with years of experience. Definitely check whether they wire the flowers or not.
Andrew: Okay. So when you said wiring the flowers, you mean to just hold the bunch together?
Tanya: Yeah. Every flower should be individually wired.
Andrew: Sorry, every single flower in bouquet has a bit of wire attached to the stem.
Andrew: Every single flower.
Tanya: Every single flower.
Andrew: Right. So do all florists do that?
Tanya: Well, all florists should do that. Sometimes if they are getting a cheaper quote it can be because they don’t do that. So you should always question and ask.
Andrew: So if you see a photo of the florist’s flowers and they look good – you can’t really tell if they are wired or not. That photo could have been taken early in the day?
Andrew: So you have to ask.
Tanya: You have to ask.
Andrew: Ask anyway because you can’t see the wire, can you?
Tanya: No you can’t see the wire. Well, if you look at the back of the bouquet you can see if it is wired or not.
Andrew: If it is just a picture.
Tanya: If it is just a picture. No. But definitely ask if they wire them because it does make a difference. It does make them last longer.
Andrew: So what does the wire do? At the end of the day will that bouquet look different to one that wasn’t wired?
Tanya: Yes. If you had flowers with a soft stem – after hours of photographing them, they can be falling at the sides and drooping. Whereas after hours of photographing flowers that have been wired, they will be still up right. The flowers might have gone soft at the top but they will still be upright and looking good.
Andrew: I have actually photographed flowers that have been done by the bride or at home and at the end of the day there were snipping flowers off the or holding them higher on the stems and it just doesn’t work.
Tanya: Yes exactly and that’s what a lot of people don’t understand. They look at the cost, they will see the flowers are $30 a bunch, there are three bunches so it should only cost $90 instead of $120 or something to that effect.
Tanya: They don’t understand that I’ve got to wire them all and pay for the cost of the wires and putting them all together. And for me, a posy will take me half an hour minimum up to say three quarters an hour for each one. So if you have bridesmaids, flower girls and the bride, it’s hours and hours of work to wire all those flowers and to put all of those bouquets together.
Andrew: Right. Okay. So you are saying check experience, number of weddings or how often they do weddings and how long they have been a florist, when choosing a florist for their wedding?
Andrew: I think you mentioned to me another time when I was talking to you about how often you go to the markets – it is not necessarily the day before the wedding to get the flowers?
Tanya: No. Different flowers take different amount of time to open up so you’ve got to know the market. You’ve got to be keeping an eye on the flowers, seeing how tight they are at the market. Over winter for example, lilies are very tight. They can take up to a week to open. In summer you are buying them on Wednesday to have them open for a Saturday wedding.
Then you’ve got your roses where some varieties you need to buy on Wednesday because they take a few days to open. Others varieties you buy on Friday because they will ‘blow’ straight open. So you can be doing different market trips and buying different flowers on different days all to get them at the perfect stage you want them for your bouquets on Saturday.
Andrew: Right. So, say for one bride, if she has two or three different varieties of flower in a bouquet you might have to do three separate trips to the market for that one bouquet to look good on Saturday.
Tanya: Yes. Yeah. That’s right.
Andrew: So without experience you don’t know that.
Tanya: No you don’t.
Andrew: Or you are going to get into trouble.
Tanya: Yeah you are. And I mean, even with the years and years that I have been doing this – 20 years now for myself, I can still buy lilies on a Wednesday and the weather can turn freezing cold and I can have them upstairs in my bathroom under heat lamps with the shower steaming up the bathroom on a Friday night pulling them open by hand just to get them open.
Then you can have the opposite where the weather has turned so hot that they’ll be open for me how I want them on Thursday night. Then they have to go in my cool room because I don’t want them to open any further. So I would work with my cool room, I work with my bathroom.(interrupted as mobile phone starts to ring).
Andrew: The reason I asked you about frangipanis is they are one of the only flowers I know – them and roses. What about the guys, do they get involved with choosing flowers at all?
Tanya: I have to say I have had lots of grooms coming with brides lately. Which has been really cool because it used to be pretty much a girls domain. The guys wouldn’t come in, but I have had some grooms just in the last twelve months they have been really into it.
Andrew: Do you want to name names and we will put them on them video.
Tanya: It’s kind of an interesting having the guys receptive as well because the girls are very, you know, have all these ideas where the guys are very practical. So I find the girls might say, can we do this and this and this and the guys would respond with, do you think we need the display a little bit lower so people can see over it. The guys are coming from the practical point of view.
Andrew: They don’t mean colors and style they are practical.
Tanya: Yeah. Yeah. They are looking at practicality and how I think we need a low vase and we need this and that. And it’s been quite good because they pick things while the bride is on her ‘pretty’ tangent and they bring it down to the practical level. When you combine the two, it works really well together. Because I have do be practical as well and I have my little ‘it has to be less than 30 centimeters or over 60 centimeters’ when we are doing table decorations that is my rule.
Andrew: So you do the bouquets for the bridal party and then buttonhole flowers and then all the reception and possibly the ceremonies aisles?
Tanya: Ceremonies. Yeah
Andrew: Okay. With the ceremony flowers they usually go from the ceremony to the reception don’t they?
Tanya: It depends what they are having. I mean if they are just pew flowers or something like that, they normally just stay at the church. But if you have something big, normally they will take it – unless the church requires that you leave it there. Depends on the church rules.
Andrew: I think I had to do that at my wedding. So we went halves with another couple getting married before us or after us. My wife Linda had to work out with the other bride what color they are having. Yeah it was ridiculous.
Tanya: Usually stick to white, that will work with everybody even if you are going halves. A lot of churches you are paying money to get married there and then you have to leave your flowers there in the venue.
It’s usually worse in Sydney, on the Central Coast they usually allow you to take your flowers but some Sydney churches don’t even let your own florist in. You have to use their flower ladies and you have to pay them a certain amount too!
Andrew: And they call it a “donation” and they will set the price for the donation.
Tanya: That’s right.
Andrew: Funny. Coming back to the actual bouquets again just quickly. Obviously brides are going be asking about price, does the price just depend on the rarity of the flower or the size of the bouquet?
Tanya: The size of the bouquet yes, and with my pricing most flowers are to the $20 to $30 a bunch. That’s pretty standard. And most bridesmaid would use three bunches of flowers. Most brides will use four. If you want a smaller size it’s two for bridesmaid and three for bride. And that can start looking a little bit too small just having two bunches of flowers. But then if you go larger you like four for the bridesmaids and five for the bride. And that can be — so usually that 3:4 combination is pretty much what 97% of my brides always go with size wise.
Tanya: So on my price guide I price to the three four. I also have a smaller price and a larger price, but I say it for budgeting, budget to the three four and then that’s pretty much spot on all the time.
Andrew: Alright, then – do the people spend more money on the bouquets for the bridal party or on the reception side things?
Tanya: There is no — weddings are so all over the place these days. A lot of people like just the little simple bouquets and they want to spend lots of money on the reception because they are going to be there for hours. Other people think well look, my bouquets are going to be in my photography forever – so that’s what we are going to spend all the money and we don’t really care about the reception we’ll just do little decorations.
It is so individual. I have a lot of people ask me about package prices and things like that, but I just can’t do that — there is no package because I have one wedding that has eight bridesmaids these days and two flower girls. And another wedding that has two bridesmaids and one that wants to throw away posy and one that doesn’t, and one that needs ceremony and reception and one that doesn’t. So it’s very — it has to be individual.
Andrew: Okay. I have seen some flowers and not so much the one’s that you have done where they start to get brown or droopy – so why is that happening at the end of a wedding day or the end of the photo shoot?
Tanya: Maybe because of they’ve been delivered hours before they needed to be delivered, that would be my biggest call on that one.
Andrew: Okay. So when do you deliver your flowers to the bride?
Tanya: When the photographers due, because you don’t need them before then.
Andrew: Right, awesome.
Tanya: So it would be better off in my cool room. So I aim to walk in the door with you guys and then you can start taking the photos.
Andrew: And they are looking their best. And they should last.
Tanya: And they will last their best and even if I have a wedding, say, in the Hunter Valley, I’ll keep the flowers in the cool room till the second I’m leaving and then I’ll put it in foam boxes with ice bricks so it keeps them really cool.
Andrew: Okay. So if say a bride is doing everything on a tight budget and cannot afford to have your flowers or use a new florist or a friend and they get their flowers three hours before the wedding what should they do with them?
Tanya: Try and put them in a fridge or try and put the bottoms of the stems in some water.
Andrew: In water in the fridge?
Tanya: Even better but you have limited space in the fridge and they may not be able to stand up. The bouquets on an average fridge shelf probably have to sit in the shelves.
Andrew: If you can’t get them into the fridge the coldest room in the house. Should they be trimming the bottom of the stems off?
Tanya: If they can but usually the florist won’t have that much stem left after the ribbon. They don’t want to put them into the water and get the ribbon wet. If you do have enough stem to cut and then put them in water – perfect.
Andrew: Yeah. Okay. How strong are the flowers? Can you touch the flowers?
Tanya: You’re better off not touching them, there’s usually no need.
Andrew: What about when laying them down? Is there a better way to lay them down so they look better at the end of the day?
Tanya: Well, I always make them with a flat back so that you know which way the back is and you always lay them that way so that you are never turning them the other way, because if you turn them the other way you are going to squash those flowers and that’s going to be your front.
Tanya: If you don’t have that, you can’t tell a definite back, my suggestion would be tie a little bit of string on or put a clip on it, stick a pin in the ribbon so that you make it your spot that you always put it down that way. So then you always have one side of the bouquet that is not getting put down. Then hold them to show the front. If you keep putting it down on a different spot you can end up gradually crushing all those flowers and you can’t hold them up and you’re going to see those crushed flowers.
Andrew: So I know that when you come into the brides place before the ceremony, the first thing you show them this is the back, this is how to hold them to keep them looking fantastic.
Andrew: Okay. So that’s why you do that.
Tanya: That’s why I do that. So they know.
Andrew: And you’re experienced.
Tanya: That’s right.
Andrew: Today, when I walked in, I expected to see flowers everywhere. Instead I can see jewelry, there are feathers, parasols as well. Lots of accessories. So you obviously sell those as well?
Tanya: Yes. I do. I just saw a gap in the market where there is a lot of this sort of cheap flare jewelry around that I particularly can’t wear because it gives me allergies. I need to have sterling silver, iridium or white gold. So it’s good quality. It doesn’t give you ear infections.
So, I sourced suppliers and manufactures and designers themselves, so they are unusual and they are not what you are going to see everywhere and they are also really good price wise and good quality. So I’m very happy with the range of both.
Andrew: Can the girls just see the range when they come to see you about the flowers?
Tanya: Yeah. And they can try them on which is something you can’t do in a jewelry shop because I will disinfect them afterwards. Jewelry shops don’t let you try them on.
You really need to see earrings on because sometimes you pick up a pair and think that will suit you and it doesn’t suit your neck or how long you want it to fall. So I tend to line them up trying different pairs of jewelry, earrings – and see what they look like.
Andrew: That’s excellent. Thanks a lot Tanya. If there’s anyone on the Central Coast, I guess you service Newcastle the Hunter Valley and Sydney as well, is that right?
Tanya: Yes, all those areas.
Andrew: Girls or the couples that want to get in contact with you – do you have a website?
Andrew: Which is?
Andrew: Okay. And the best way to contact you is through the website, is there a contact form?
Tanya: Well, there’s my contact details. They are quite welcome to give me a call. I tend to find most people these days don’t send you an email. And we go from there?
Andrew: Great perfect. Okay. Thanks again, it’s been great.