The gorgeous Sydney florist Justine Rose has always amazed me with her big, wonderful and wild floral designs. She has so much fun and creates such fun bouquets, floral arrangements and styling elements for weddings that I am just delighted to welcome her to Polka Dot Wisdom today as our flower expert!
Please introduce yourself to us.
My name is Justine Rose Ford. My husband, Lex, and I live in Sydney’s Leichhardt, in a house we bought a year ago that seems to be falling down constantly (but I guess first houses often seem like that). I have been working full time in my own business for only about a year but have been a florist for close to ten years. I have also worked in event management in the past. The last year has been surprisingly crazy. I’m ultra busy and I love it. I am really happy, and my crazy job is one great contributor to that.
Have you always loved flowers?
Yes, my parents had an AMAZING garden growing up. It was in the country (Hunter Valley) and was always in the ‘Garden Rambles’, where every year strangers could get a tour through the best gardens, including ours. I loved giving the tours. My sister and I were allowed our own garden patch. Hers was very rationally filled with vegetables, and mine always with the prettiest multi-coloured flowers I could find. These choices as young siblings have been reflected over and over again for us (for example, she is a lawyer and I, a florist).
I also always loved parties- of any kind. So working now styling, planning and decorating parties is right up my alley!
How did you come up with the idea of starting a floral and styling business? Was it a natural progression of utilizing your skills?
Yes, I liked event planning but didn’t like an office job. I liked being the manager of a busy florist but wanted to put my own business perspective on things.
Is creating floral arrangements like an artistic endeavor for you – like creating a work of art?
Yes, but this exists in varying degrees. When left to my own devices, I can get very arty with things, creating different worlds from Mother Nature’s own artistic gift to us. And sometimes I need to fill a specific flower order quota. I do not think I am more creative or know better than my clients. I am happy to give my opinion (and most of the time I do), but if a client comes to me and knows what they want, I can respect that and make their dreams come true.
You also assist with wedding styling. Do you have a natural flair for this aspect of wedding design?
I am just loving this side of things, and I have been working on some amazing, highly styled events. For example, I have had some brides ask me to decorate a party with a theme in mind (like a Great Gatsby party). For this I will research thoroughly and source widely. I don’t know about styling products from every era, but I take a project by the horns and make sure I fully understand it, until I end up with the perfect event
On the other hand, some couples come to me knowing that they want a beautifully styled event, but are not sure how to describe what they like. Maybe they just have a colour or mood in mind… like blue or romantic. Working from here is a natural progression. I am a style-sourcing and wedding-blog junkie and I know a lot about where to source all those cool wedding items now.
This is a project I can take on by myself, or many couples like to get hands on with the styling, but just don’t know where to start. In the new-year ‘Justine Rose’ will be launching a styling starter kit package; where couples come to me with their dreams, and in return I give them a package of the items I would recommend sourcing for their special day, who to contact and where to go. I can make these packages fit into a budget. That way, couples can pay wholesale prices, and be revealed the secrets of the wedding industry, avoiding all those massive costs. I am really excited about it! It will mean that heaps of couples can have the styled wedding that they want without the exorbitant costs.
Do styling ideas come to you when you initially see the venue and the other raw materials (crockery, chairs etc) you have to work with – or do you have a definite plan?
If I haven’t worked in the venue before I definitely need to see it, and check out what equipment they have that we can use… I am doing a wedding at a Palm Beach (Sydney) function centre this summer and we are planning on creating a chic beachside chill-out zone outside. With a little investigation, the venue revealed they own a few beautiful sun lounges which will fit perfectly with our theme. So, it’s always best to find out what we can use first to keep the costs down.
What do a bride and groom need to do to start the planning process with you?
Give me a call, or write me an email and say hi. I have plenty of couples whose first email says something like “I have no idea where to start”. Don’t worry, I do! I will ask you a bunch of questions and we might grab a drink, to chat and go from there.
What ideas should a bride have before she sees you for her first appointment?
Honestly, it cuts a lot of guess work out of the process if the bride and groom have some idea of their budget. I know a lot of couples say, ”but we have no idea how much things cost!” That’s totally understandable. But if you do a quick ‘how much do we have to spend’ scribble on a piece of paper that will help…
However, if you just can’t conjure up a budget, that’s also fine. I can work the other way by getting to know who you are, what your dream day involves, and then I can make itemised costs appropriate to this.
How would you describe your ‘style’?
Eclectic. I have always been someone who loves all different styles of clothes, interiors, foods etc… I love getting involved in all different feels, and understanding a couple’s style, so I can make my style work for them. If I was to pin my personal style down to something, it would definitely involve the words ‘beachy’ and ‘girly’.
Are you working on new floral styles to add to your business? How do you decide on the colours and designs for your bouquets?
Always!! It’s a cliché, but it is easy to be inspired by what’s in season. Right now, there are a huge amount of berry tones out there. At the beginning of spring I was obsessed with lilac and therefore gravitated to an antiquely-lavender colour palette. I often get asked to make bouquets to fit a mood-board for magazines and this is fun because it encourages me to manipulate my style to get the look I’m after.
What are your favourite floral wedding ideas?
Whoah, big question! I like flowers that fit the styling of the whole day, which is why I really like working on both the flowers and styling elements… I really get excited about all sorts of weddings and the flowers that go with them.
Thank you Justine for giving us a glimpse into the world of Justine Rose blooms. You can see more of Justine’s work on her website or contact her on 0412 277691.
All images courtesy of Justine Rose