This summer was undoubtedly the best we have seen in England in a VERY long time. Every morning throughout the summer we woke up expecting the weather to have faded into the usual grey drizzle we are used to associating with a British summer – but it never came!
We were perfectly content spending the summer attempting to get a tan on our balcony whilst pretending to work but when the chance came up to spend a long weekend in Jersey we couldn't say no. While Chikae was on her diploma course at The Covent Garden Academy of Flowers she made an extremely good friend in a lovely lady called Frances – she often says she's like her second mother! Frances, as well as being a key member of the charity The Floral Angels, is also a keen florist, so when we suggested using her holiday home in Jersey as our base while we shot some beach images for the website she very kindly obliged.
As soon as we decided we were going to do a beach shoot we got very excited about all the things we could do, again Pinterest was our best friend - researching some stunning beach weddings and getting carried away with all the possibilities that a gorgeous backdrop could offer. Once we had all our ideas sorted we then had to face the logistical problem of getting a delivery of flowers to the Channel Islands. As we are still a young company it proved much more difficult than we had anticipated, we had a few options including the local markets when we arrived and even using a local florist's supplier but eventually we found a Dutch wholesaler, Van Vilet, who delivered to the island. We would be doing Van Vilet a disservice if we didn't mention here that they were one of the BEST suppliers we have dealt with so far. Their representatives were so eager to help and upbeat at all times that it was a complete pleasure working with them – we cannot recommend them highly enough.
We decided that we were going to try and keep the shoot relatively simple, sticking to using gorgeous pastel shades with shells to add that seaside feel. We ordered peach and sweet avalanche roses, some pale pink spray roses, blue hydrangeas, white dahlias, cream lisianthus, blue nigella, green celosia, green trick dianthus, white larkspur, green bell, astilbe in pink and cream and some fabulous pink protea. When we arrived we also scavanged some dark pink hydrangeas, wild dill, wheat and massive bracken stems and even some seaweed.
Before we left London we paid a visit to our favourite place, The New Covent Garden Flower Market, to find some suitable accessories and splashed out on some absolutely amazing urchin shells in pinks and greens. Fairly expensive at £18 for twelve from C Best, but we saw them on a weekly basis and every week were tempted to buy them until we convinced each other that they would make all the difference to the bridal bouquets!
We finally arrived in the beautiful island of Jersey after a slight delay (read 5 hour delay due to having to rebook on the next flight as we arrived too late to check in our luggage – woops!) and were delighted to find that the flowers had already been delivered and the fabulous Frances had cut the stems and popped them in water for us. For anyone that hasn't been to Jersey, GO! It is a hidden secret that the people of Jersey clearly try to keep secret from us mainlanders – its coastline is littered with hills and dunes instead of bars, arcades and sun loungers so we didn't have to try hard to find the perfect backdrop for our shoot and it didn't hurt that the weather was a constant 30ºc with blue skies.
While exploring the gorgeous island we did actually manage to find some time to do some work and took some lovely shots of bridal bouquets and head dresses with the help of a couple of beautiful girls who kindly modelled for us. Floral head dresses are becoming more and more popular with the likes of the Kardashians rocking them and there's always a strong head dress presence over the festival scene during the summer. While most celebs opt for artificial ones, nothing beats a fresh flowers for those special occasions. Lots of people worry about the flowers holding up to a long day in the sun but as long as they have had a good drink before, and as long as they are wired properly, you shouldn't have anything to worry about. If you are planning a summer wedding with a lot of time being spent under the hot rays of the sun then it's always best leaving it until the last possible moment to do your wiring and give the finished headdresses a good drenching with Finishing Touch – just to be on the safe side!
One of our favourite bouquets that we made was a lovely natural bunch that looked like it could have been picked straight from the banks of the beach. We used white larkspur, astilbe and green bell and then foraged for some freshly picked wheat and dried grasses. We tied the whole thing with shells threaded on string to give it really natural beachy look. At the end of the day when we asked the model to pick any of the bouquets to take home as a thank you, it was this one that she chose. Another favourite of ours was the arrangement we made in the orange conch shell. Using the peach avalanche roses, green bell, dill and a sliver of oasis Chikae made a gorgeous alternative to a traditional bridal bouquet. We love to think outside the box and encourage our brides to do the same. This arrangement would have been perfect for a surfer or a sea-loving bride and the possibilities are endless when it comes to using props in bridal bouquets.
One of the highlights of the trip was another attempt of a setting worthy of Pinterest. With the sea in the background we set up a romantic beach picnic – complete with floral decoration of course! We used some stunning blue china, and a collection of glass jugs to set the scene. We attracted quite a lot of attention from the local surfers, intrigued to know what we were up to. We also got a visit from the curious lifeguards who left with a cheery warning to watch the tides, which, like the tourists we are, we duly ignored. As we were putting the finishing touches to the picnic we realised that we had about five minutes before the approaching tide swept away all our hard work. Time for a few hurried pictures and then the race was on to get everything packed up and away from the water. The next ten minutes was chaotic, undignified and hilarious all at the same time. Picture two florists manically running back and forth from the beach to the sea wall essentially throwing cutlery and buckets of flower away from the water, fighting a loosing battle against the sea whilst attempting to hastily but carefully repack the delicate wedding china.
Our last evening was spent at a lovely restaurant on the seafront enjoying fresh seafood, more scampi than you've ever seen and watching the sun set over the sea. As we looked through the photographs, and what we'd managed to achieve in the short three days, we realised that there really is no better job in the world.