Have you ever been to the flower markets in Sydney? It’s so much fun! Whenever there’s an event on – birthday, kitchen tea, baby shower or engagement party my girlfriends are I are there to forage and gather gorgeous seasonal blooms and fresh foliage straight from the growers. There’s one type of event though that we will ALWAYS leave to the experts. A wedding! Can you imagine 4am starts and seasonal conditions potentially impacting your order, meaning you may have to explain to a BRIDE a change in plans!? Think about the time pressures of delivering flowers and setting up installations, all that will be judged against your client’s lifetime of daydreams about her big day. Not to mention of course, the fact that you’re creation has the important role helping set the atmosphere, look and vibe of the day. Only the VERY BRAVE put their hands up for this kind of high-pressure responsibility. Today we are going to meet one of those daring humans, Rachel Evans, Floral Designer and stylist at Rachel Bethany, to find out how she takes on the challenge of creating something inspiring, exciting and completely bespoke for her client’s weddings and special events.
Rachel, we are so excited to hear about how your journey as a florist! Can you start by telling us why you started floristry?
I was drawn to the flower industry for the creative process and the involvement in the wedding industry. I love weddings! I have a very active imagination, so the opportunity to use my imagination to dream up gorgeous designs, using nature’s raw beauty AND talk about weddings was a clear driving factor for me. As soon as I started studying I finally felt like I knew what I was supposed to be doing. I haven’t been disappointed since. I’ve had so many varying experiences from event floristry to retail floristry and building businesses from the ground up. I now work for myself at Rachel Bethany here in Canberra and have some amazing clients, including Sass & Bide and The National Gallery of Australia, plus all of my beautiful brides and grooms, government agencies, cafes and restaurants.
Can you share with us what a typical wedding day looks like for you?
Usually a day or two before the wedding I will head up to Sydney Markets, starting at the markets at 4am, purchasing and loading up the van and then the long drive home to Canberra (with lots of coffee!).
Then I strip and prepare all the flowers, delegating as I go what flowers will be used in what part of the wedding. Then it really begins! Bouquets and table arrangements are made first, and wiring, things like flower crowns, buttonholes and corsages are left until last. Depending on the size of the wedding that usually takes me through until 9-10pm. The next morning is another early start, finishing up arrangements and packing the van again. Then it’s time for drop offs and venue set ups which can take 2-8 hours depending on the size of the wedding.
So what motivates you daily?
The flowers themselves are always inspiring. The mornings I get to start at the market and talking to the growers are always highly motivating. There is no real right and wrong which is refreshing and with new flower varietals every month there is always a new, unique mix of blooms you can experiment with. Every day we have to be open to new ideas, new trends, different methods or combinations of flowers textures and colours.
My other motivation is the clients. Seeing a bride’s face when you hand over their bouquet or the couple when they see a floral chandelier you dreamt up together is just amazing. The feeling at the end of it all, even when you’re exhausted, is SO worth it and so very motivating.
I love that you first motivator was chatting the growers – where the process starts and then second motivator is the clients, where the outcome of floristry process is enjoyed. Can you tell us about your sought after signature style?
I would say that my style is quite luxurious and generous. It’s more about grouping florals and letting them speak for themselves rather than over arranging and mixing too much.
Now, I’m wondering, do you always have beautiful flowers in your home?
I would say often, but not always! It’s definitely not something other people treat me with because I think they fear being judged! But I LOVE flowers, that’s why I’m a florist… so hint, hint, people – you can still buy me flowers 😉
I am sure many florists would shout ‘hear! hear!’ to that! What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt as a florist and what advice would offer someone who is just starting out in the industry?
The biggest lesson I have learnt is that there are HEAPS of amazing florists and creatives out there, but you can’t compare yourself to anyone else. Don’t get distracted by others, just keep a very clear vision for your own business and stick to it! NO ONE can do what you do, as well as you do it.
BEAUTIFUL! How about advice for brides ordering flowers?
As a bride you need to think about what you love and stick to that, don’t be confused by the endless bouquet ideas on Pinterest. Secondly, it’s important to feel you’ve met the RIGHT florist for you. Everyone has different strengths and styles and you want to feel like your florist understands your vision to reduce your stress leading up to the day.
How can people get in contact with you?
Phone: 0415 191 285
A huge thank you to Rachel for sharing with us! Isn’t it great to get to know local business owners? Do you know your local florist? If not, maybe it’s time to spoil yourself with some freshly cut flowers and while you’re at it, have a yarn and get to know their story too!