Wedding Suppliers: Profile

Little Black Book: Wildflower Cakes

December is the time of year for indulgence, right? In that case we're right on track thinking about cake, cake, cake. For today's Little Black Book interview we're chatting to the lovely Arianna from Wildflower Cakes in London. Arianna has provided some amazing bakes for us at recent shoots (which you can see here) and we really wanted her to let us in on her secrets. So over to her!

ARIANNA, HELLO! TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT WILDFLOWER CAKES AND HOW YOU GOT STARTED?

www.wildflowercakes.co.uk Minimalist Silver Cake.jpg

Hello! I was brought up doing lots of baking and experimenting in cake decorating with my mum and grandma. I only considered it as a career after I had left university and felt a bit lost. I started reading a lot of decorating and cake blogs and decided to study patisserie at Le Cordon Bleu, it was a wonderful experience. I then worked for many high-end cake companies in London before starting my own. I wanted to make sure I was confident in my skills and knew what to do if things went wrong!

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR STYLE OF CAKES?

I love flowers and nature, so the focal point of my designs is usually the sugar flowers. I adore modern, simplicity and believe less is more. A cake that has been beautifully executed with flawless icing and delicate sugar flowers is always going to be a show-stopper. I am definitely partial to metallics and usually can't resist adding a bit of gold or silver on there.

WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR INSPIRATION FOR YOUR NEW DESIGNS?

Quite a variety of places, I find Pinterest is a great place to be inspired. I often look at art, textures, patterns, colour palettes and real flowers.

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HOW DO YOU COME UP WITH YOUR NEW FLAVOURS, AND DO YOU HAVE ANY FAVOURITES?

I am a massive chocoholic and love anything with chocolate. My recent favourite is a cake I made for my Dad inspired by the "cherry ripe" chocolate bar, which isn't sold in this country but is very popular in Australia where he was born. It had a rich chocolate sponge, a coconut sponge and roasted cherry buttercream. I don't usually get to eat the cakes I make, so this was a proper treat!

WHAT DO YOU GET UP TO WHEN YOU'RE NOT BAKING?

I enjoy reading classics, Jane Eyre being my favourite. I have a long list that I'm working my way through. I also really enjoy eating out, I used to be a very picky eater and I'm now super adventurous and always try to order something that I have never tried before.

WHAT TIPS DO YOU HAVE FOR COUPLES WHO AREN'T REALLY SURE WHAT KIND OF CAKE THEY WANT, HOW DO YOU START, AND WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO TAKE INTO CONSIDERATION?

I think the best way to start is to book a consultation and bring along a Pinterest/mood board you have put together of the ideas you have for your whole day. The cake maker can then see your personal taste, an idea of colours and the feel you are looking for, to then put together a design.

It's useful for the cake decorator to know how many people you are looking to serve to calculate how many tiers you will need. It is also important to consider where the cake will be displayed in the room, as some are designed to have a front angle and sit well against a wall, while some will sit beautifully in the centre of the room and look good from all angles. The taste is very important, so make sure to try a variety of samples.

ANY TIPS FOR COUPLES WHO WANT THEIR CAKE TO MAKE AN IMPACT ON A BUDGET?

You could consider having faux tiers to boost the height of your cake, which usually comes with a small reduction in price compared to having the whole thing as real cake. Displaying the cake on a high pedestal cake stand will also create more height and impact, most cake makers have these available to rent for the day. It looks beautiful to style the table the cake will be on, even just some candles or flowers surrounding can really add to making the cake a focal point.

Check out more of Arianna's gorgeous cakes on her website and prepare to drool. 

Wedding Suppliers: Profile

Little Black Book: Mary Jane Vaughan

For so many couples, flowers are really the cornerstone of their wedding decor. Florals are a way to tie a theme together, to style a venue the way you want it and really put a creative stamp on your day. You really can do anything you dream up with flowers, you've just got to take a quick swipe of Pinterest to tell you that. But with Pinterest dreaming comes the harsh reality of wedding budgets - flowers are usually way more expensive than you think. But fear not! We spoke to the lovely Tove at Mary Jane Vaughan Flowers - absolute floral geniuses - and asked her for some bridal tips and advice for budgeting for your wedding blooms.

A close-up by Xander & Thea of MJV's gorgeous arrangement for our botanical styled shoot at Middle Temple Hall

A close-up by Xander & Thea of MJV's gorgeous arrangement for our botanical styled shoot at Middle Temple Hall

So, Tove, we know it's impossible to say what the average wedding budget is because it's essentially asking how long a piece of string is. But for those couples just starting to put their budget together, what might give them an idea of where they should be pitching their flower spend?

You're totally right, wedding budgets can vary so much it really is so difficult to suggest a rule of thumb percentage of your budget or a flat figure. But, there are a few things that might give you an idea. The first is your venue - if you have already chosen one or have a style in mind that you know is going to need a lot of decoration, it's safe to say your flower budget might be higher than others. Some couples don't consider headcount in their flower budget, but there's a big difference between 10 and 25 tables when it comes to centrepieces. If you do have a large wedding and still want to create an impact, consider larger tables or a different configuration which lowers the number you need.

Does it worry you when bridal magazines are suggesting to couples that average spends on flowers are so much lower than is realistic?

The disconnect between Pinterest and bridal magazines is what may be slightly confusing for brides. Bridal magazines may suggest that the average cost is £2000, but on Pinterest (where most of our brides go nowadays for inspiration) the centrepieces are overflowing with flowers, and the bouquets huge, as these are the designs that photograph very well – but these designs will push up the costs as they are so full of flowers.

Saying that, if a couple comes to us with a certain budget and a look to achieve, we will try our hardest to achieve it for them within budget! It may mean choosing the items that are the most important and concentrating on those.

So if budgets are tight, how can couples be smarter with your budget when it comes to wedding flowers?

Concentrate on the most important things – the bride’s bouquet, and the centrepieces. Those are the things that you and your guests will remember and will be in most of the photographs. 

Take your florist’s advice on what’s seasonal and go with that, there are beautiful choices in every season. If a flower is very important to you, get married at the right time of year so it doesn’t have to be imported at great cost. You may be obsessed with peonies but if you're not getting married in May or June, you'll struggle to stay within budget to have them!

You can create a lot of atmosphere with candlelight and amazing vases. If budget is tight use night lights, hurricane lamps and candlesticks and perhaps some rose petals, to decorate the less focal areas such as the drinks reception. On the table-centres themselves, a lot can be achieved with gorgeous vases and statement flowers, arranged with simplicity, or in a clever way, and highlighted with more candlelight!

What are some of the costs couples forget to factor in for their wedding flowers?

 At the budgeting stage, some couples don’t think to factor in setting up and dismantling. Many venues need to be cleared that same night. If the ceremony is in a different place it may need a different team so will incur a separate cost.

VAT will usually need to be added, so if you aren’t sure it’s best to double check so you don't get a nasty surprise!

Do you have any other rules of thumb when it comes to how much flowers will likely cost? 

Our prices usually run at around £4.50 + VAT for a buttonhole, a bridal posy bouquet can run at £90 + VAT, a stunning low centrepiece can be between £80 and £150 + VAT, with taller ones going up to £400 + VAT. But we will always work hard within your budget, whatever it may be!

Any other hints and tips for couples putting together their wedding flower budget?

 Be open minded! It is so helpful to know what you want going in to your initial flower consultation, but if your budget won’t stretch to recreating what you had in mind, a good florist will suggest alternatives. There may be compromise involved, but flowers are so beautiful that there will always be a solution! 

 

Wedding Suppliers: Most Curious Wedding Fair

Behind the Scenes at the Most Curious Wedding Fair

When you've spent a long time in the wedding world like we have, wedding shows and fairs become pretty much par for the course and it can take a lot to really impress you.

But when we were invited to the press preview of the London edition of a Most Curious Wedding Fair this weekend, we knew we'd stumbled onto something really different.

The show has recently exploded in popularity with many couples finding the laid-back, stylish vibe of the event truly refreshing.

Based at East London's truly cool Truman Brewery - couples are welcomed into a dynamic space where suppliers are encouraged to showcase themselves beyond a trestle table and some flyers. You're captured by the imagination and creativity of each exhibitor and what you're seeing is really out-of-the-box, on-trend stuff. 

If you're anywhere near it this weekend, you really must must must grab your tickets for the Norwich Show right here, or if you missed the London show check out some of the talented exhibitors' work for your own wedding this year over on the Most Curious Instagram page

A few highlights from this year's show!

We were snapped by the Flash Pack, one of our total photo booth faves, who were showcasing their new Retro Booth. We were also glad to see our our friends Insta Wedding at the fair, cinematic and artistic filmmakers and photographers who are offering something unique in the wedding industry. 

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Stunning paper flowers with a gorgeous colour scheme from Things by Laura - so impressed! And a captivating, on trend to the max, runway show courtesy of Style and the Bride. No event is complete without light up letters by Doris Loves, either!