White Cotton Peonies

With so much to organise, delegation is a key skill you’ll need to learn pretty quickly when it comes to planning your wedding. My mum was desperate to help and so I assigned finding a florist to her. The brief was english country garden, supported by a Pinterest board that I’d collated with inspiration of the flowers I loved.


She did super well, coming back with a couple of suggestions that I really liked. Mum thought they’d be suitable because they also had Instagram accounts, bless her. Having checked them out along with a couple of others, I completely fell in love with Rachel from The Rose Shed.


Photo Credit: Hannah Duffy Photography

I did my online research, fully stalked her on Instagram and Pinterest and loved the modern ‘undone’ twist that she applied to her flowers. No sooner had I closed her Pinterest page was I firing her an email in hope that she had availability – thankfully for us she did.

We met with her only a week or so later when we were next in Bristol and took her around the venue. She’d actually worked with Hotel du Vin before and so had some idea as to how the space would work. I knew that flowers were going to make up a big part of decorating the venue as I didn’t want something vanilla, therefore a decent amount of our budget went here (with some generous help from mum I hasten to add).

Closer to the time, I was sure to send pictures to Rachel of the church along with rough measurements so that she could figure the size of the space and therefore the proportions of the flowers that we needed. I took my phone everywhere and photographed everything – I found it much easier to visually demonstrate something than to describe it.


Rachel was an absolute dream to work with – she translated my vision into flowers perfectly and was beyond accommodating as our requests changed 100 times in the last few weeks before the wedding. Therefore, I thought that it would be really good to get some tips from her experience as to some things to do/consider to help your florist do the best possible job:


  • Before you consultation, flick through magazines/Pinterest.
  • Look for things you love and equally important hate, these are all concept ideas at first and can be translated into ideas for your own big day.
  • Decide upon your budget.
  • List where you will be needing flowers and for whom?
  • Are there any flowers that you really love? Depending on the season and their availability, your florist may be able to suggest similar alternatives.

Your consultation

  • If possible, bring to the consultation a photo of your dress/bridesmaids fabric swatches as a colour reference.
  • Bring along a copy of your invite or anything that can give your florist an insight into your day and the look/feel you are going for.
  • Discuss budgets. It’s good to be upfront with your budgets, so that your florist can plan accordingly and suggest more cost effective alternatives if required.

The venue

  • How would you like to dress the ceremony?
  • Will you be having a statement piece either side of the altar?
  • Will there be pew ends/chair ends?
  • Will you be using flowers to decorate the entrance?
  • When it comes to the reception, will you be having table pieces?
  • Would you prefer high or low flowers or a mixture of both?
  • Will you be having a cake that needs flowers?
  • Will there be flowers in any other key areas such as the bar or toilets?
  • Are you wanting any statement pieces such as hanging flowers?



  • Think about your priorities and where you want to spend your budget, experience has shown that it’s better to have fewer, more substantial/better designed flowers than lots of little items all over the place.
  • Do your research, each florist will have different price points too, and this will be reflected in their style, flower choice, experience etc.
  • Are there any items that you can transport from the ceremony to the reception?

Our Flowers

When it came to our flowers, we went with a colour scheme of ivory, dusky pink and pale pink with plenty of grey/green foliage such as eucalyptus, fountain grass and senecio to keep things modern. I knew that I loved peonies but with it being September, they’re impossible to get hold of and so Rachel replaced them with blowsy roses along with dahlias, veronica and poppy heads. They were gorgeous.

For the bridesmaids, pew ends and venue decoration, we used masses of Gypsophilia, which I loved. We had massive balls of it hanging from the beams in the venue which looked awesome!

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Other than knowing that I’d need flowers at the reception and for my bouquet, I hadn’t really thought about how we’d be using flowers and so I thought it might be useful to list all of the flowers that we ordered to give you some inspiration:

  • Bridal bouquet (mixed english garden flowers)
  • Bridesmaids hand-tied posy bouquets
  • Hair flowers
  • Tied buttonholes
  • Corsages
  • Altar long and low trailing display to be used on the top table afterwards
  • Pew ends – gyp hand tied
  • Urn arrangements for either side of the altar to be transported to wedding reception afterwards
  • Aisle petals
  • Confetti baskets
  • Twig centrepieces for each table
  • Smaller vases of flowers on top table
  • Rose petals to be scattered on wedding breakfast tables
  • Hanging gyp pomanders to be hung from ceiling beams
  • Mother of the bride and groom bouquets

I really wanted Dickie’s late father to be a part of the day and therefore I bought this charm from www.notonthehighstreet.com which I tied to the flowers to carry with me down the aisle. I thought it’s a really nice touch for loved ones who can’t be with you.


My biggest tip to anybody would be to communicate with your florist as much as possible and to be as honest as you can. The more that they understand about you and your tastes, the more likely they are to produce something that you love.

I hope that you find the above helpful. I’d love to hear about your plans. There’s more to come in this regular series, so be sure to check back next week. You can check out my previous posts on choosing a church and the venue here.

As always, this series is brought to you in conjunction with our awesome photographer Lightbox Studios just because he’s awesome.

M xox

Melanie Kentish

Hi! My name's Mel and I'm a 30 something blogger living in Windsor, UK with my two ginger cats and a rather handsome husband. White Cotton Peonies is the place where you'll find my ramblings on health, fashion, beauty, food and my random adventures as a soon-to-be mum. Enjoy.