We thought it would be nice for our TAE community to get to know our employees a little better and what led them to working for TAE! We’ve delved into the mind of our Head Florist, Zoe, to give you an insight into her passion for floristry, what inspires her as we move into Autumn, and where it all began back in her hometown of London! Get the satisfaction when you need it at this site. Enjoy x
What are your favourite colour palettes for events in Autumn?
As the seasons change and we all get that little bit colder, it’s funny how nature in Autumn moves into a palette that’s awash with reds, golds, burgundies and rusts – all colours that we generally associate with warmth. It only seems natural then, that we, as florists, lean towards the colour palette that nature provides us. The trick is to look around you and match back to nature’s colours. Be it the pale greys and creams of a cloudy day, or the oily blues and blacks of a path after it rains. If you stick with that routine when styling your wedding, you won’t go wrong.
What flowers are you looking forward to working with in Autumn?
I LOVE Autumn foliage. Some of the leaves take on an appearance of being painted by watercolours. It’s so wondrous, and never ceases to amaze me. As the leaves fall there becomes the introduction of all the autumn fruits such apples, persimmons, pomegranates, figs and berries. It’s so nice to add these more solid textures into florals. It gives such depth and a sense of scale.
Fruit branches are always pounced upon at market and we are often cooing over other florists’ finds and trying to get some of the same. Along with this, all the normal contenders still make an appearance. The hydrangeas, garden roses, and the last of the dahlias still feature heavily in everyones trollies. But everything seems that much better with a little Autumn hue to it.
What tip would you give brides when deciding on their wedding flowers?
The Wedding Industry is MASSIVE now. Whereas before, there were only a few key places to source inspiration from, nowadays future brides are spoilt for choice. I think it can be a little overwhelming for many couples saturated with ideas as to what to do. It helps to work on it in a methodical manner. Choose a venue first, then choose flowers to suit. If your venue is modern, rustic garden flowers may look slightly out of place. Similarly, if your reception is in a barn or an outdoor garden setting, structured and clean cut arrangements may not suit.
Most couples know before they get married what “feel” they want to go with. The rest should just fall into place.
If you have a favourite flower that you want to use, try and get married in the season that it’s around! If you don’t know, and have the luxury of time on your hands, walk into your local florist around the time of your wedding the year before and take note of what’s around. Talk to your florist. They love sharing all their knowledge… most of the time!
What inspires you / where do you draw inspiration from?
That’s a hard one. A good florist shouldn’t imitate but I acknowledge it’s very hard – especially with Pinterest and Instagram. Of course, I have my fan girl moment of florists here in Melbourne and Overseas…but I always refer back to nature. There are always trends that inevitably are followed, but you tend to find your flow as you grow in floristry and learn to just go with it.
I have been incredibly lucky to work with different companies in the past which are practically the polar opposites of each other in terms of style. Such experience was invaluable in developing my skills. This means I find it fairly easy to transition from one style to another and pull that into the rest of the design.
If you’re working with a clean and open brief, inspiration will always come from, in the end, the flowers. Walking around colours and blooms will inspire and guide you. It sounds cliché but for me it rings true. If I’m given a “go ahead and make what you want moment”, I’ll often take a while just walking around the market and seeing what takes my fancy. Choose a main flower and then choose others to suit it.
Brides who allow you to play with colour and trust you in your experience are always fun as the sky’s the limit… It’s a surprise for both of you as to what is eventually created! This goes back to my previous advice of using the venue as your guide to what sits well in the space. It becomes quite an organic process once you are at the starting point. Wherever that may be.
What attracted you to doing floristry?
When I was little, I had three DREAM careers. To be a Marine Biologist and study whales and dolphins (but only in glamorous and tropical locations and not the green slurry of the Thames in London or the freezing cold waters around the UK). A Model ( again LOL ). And a Florist.
My mother had (and still does have) the most amazing gardens I have ever seen. Whether it was in the suburbs of London where our fish pond was filled to the brim with waterlilies, to the house in the English countryside where it looked like it belonged on a chocolate box painting, to her current home in the foothills of France. She has an incredible talent to make things grow.
Growing up, I remember as the seasons changed, how the flowers evolved in the garden and how Mum would make us look at a leaf closely when it fell, or press a flower in a book to hold onto its beauty. I have memories of often taking a book from the shelf and have crispy petals fall out, or coming across a page where a particularly juicy number didn’t make the pressed flower choice and had ended up rotting. She would tell us that mushroom circles growing in fields were where flower fairies had meetings and that each flower had a fairy to match it. It was quite dreamy for a little girl.
I was always interested in colour and design in school. I loved painting and photography and studied both until my twenties – so always had an eye for composition, texture and detail. Whilst working in a chain of restaurants in London, I began to take note of the floral displays that came in, and often thought ‘Pfft I could do that’. However, it was only after moving to Indonesia to work, that I really began to get my hands dirty.
I began to make flower arrangements for the restaurants I worked for. My Thai boss allowed me to ferry to Singapore and bring back boxes and boxes of flowers through Indonesian Customs for the weekly use. She, like me, LOVED flowers.
We decided that we could market weddings for the venue on the Island and created a photo shoot on the beach with probably the worst bouquet that was ever created. I remember it having roses and baby’s breath, but it was the early “noughties”, so I have forgiven myself.
Upon moving to New Zealand, I decided to take floristry up as a “day off job” from my other job and gradually, floristry became the only job I wanted. When I finally moved to Australia, I walked into a fancy restaurant to apply to for a management position, walked out, and walked straight into a florist to apply for a juniors position.
I was offered both but knew where my heart belonged and decided to pursue floristry full time. I was incredibly lucky and my new boss was so open to taking me onboard as a newbie. She was so talented and inspiring. I watched all of the other florists who worked there like a hawk and would replicate their work (sometimes much to their annoyance). I was a fast learner and my brain was on heavenly saturation mode.
That was 10 years ago. After a few cuts and bruises along the way I still hold myself lucky that I get to be surrounded by such beauty every day and that my only work goal is to make someone else happy with what I create. You never give flowers to make someone cross… that would be a weird trend!