Today’s expert works with one of my favourite things- flowers! Kate Hill of Kate Hill Flowers is a leading Melbourne florist who not only provides floral arrangements for some of the best hotels and businesses in Melbourne but also creates beautiful wedding arrangements!
How long have you been passionate about flowers? What led you down this career path?
I have always been surrounded family that has been passionate about design in one way or another, so it must be in my genes! My father was a graphic designer, my brother an industrial designer, and my mother a landscape designer. I guess it was my mother’s love for nature that really inspired my direction.
You have a studio located in Melbourne. What are the advantages of this over a retail outlet?
Ultimately it allows us to give brides our undivided attention and personal service above and beyond their expectations. At any time of day (or night!) we are able to close the doors and be completely focused on the wedding, from the first meeting all the way through to the big day.
What sets you apart from others?
Service, design and the quality of our product.
As mentioned, we are highly service orientated. This impacts greatly on the design and attention to detail because we have time to really get to know the bride and her vision for the big day. We don’t force ideas on brides like we hear happens with many florists. We work to compliment her every wish.
The quality of product comes from building close and positive relationships with suppliers. I have worked in wholesale and know how they work from the inside out. They know how fussy we are and the great lengths we will go to ensure our brides have only the very best.
What inspires you?
Generally speaking, art, design, fashion, seasons, and colour inspire me. All of which we are blessed to have in abundance here in Melbourne!
When it comes to weddings, the story of the couple always leads to great inspiration.
What do you love about designing with flowers? What is your design philosophy?
I love designing with flowers as I love working with nature and all its wonder and beauty. I love enhancing the flowers natural beauty and creating new and innovative designs that are never the same. It’s a beautiful medium to use and be around to bring joy into other peoples lives.
What is your number one tip for brides?
Your flowers are the next most noticed item after the dress!
Remember that your flowers will be in all of your photographs and have a huge impact on the feel of the church and reception. After the wedding dress, the flowers are the next most notable element when you walk in the room – yes, more than the jewellery!
It’s such a shame when brides realise this too late in the process.
Besides that, plan early. Tentatively booking your preferred supplier is the key to success. Missing out by leaving things too late and using second rate suppliers invariably means a second rate wedding.
Tell me about your dream wedding? What sort of flowers would you use, and how would you use them if money was no object?
I love flowers on mass and my dream wedding would be OVER THE TOP! I envisage long mirrored guest tables with table length floral hedges styled masses of white blooms such as white Peony Roses, white Blossoms, white Oriental Lilies, white Lilac and drenched in white Rose petals and Gardenias. All my favourite flowers would be incorporated into the table.
What do you love about Australian Brides?
Australian brides are innovative and creative and generally find their inspiration from the US and Europe styles. It’s always exciting working with each bride and groom, creating an unforgettable wedding that reflects them perfectly.
What should brides start with when they’re planning their flowers?
Budgets! Generally for flowers, 10-15% of your total wedding budget is a good range.
The reason I am upfront about this is because otherwise both parties time will be wasted with aspirations that were never reasonable. If you’re clear about budgets your florist can help to educate you on the best options from the very start.
What are some unusual or new ideas you’ve seen, that brides could use?
Incorporating amazing jewels/crystals detailing into their bouquets. They look exquisite with stunning crystal detailed gowns (such as J’Aton gowns).
What are the biggest mistakes you see brides making?
Some brides tend to research too much and end up having too many quotes to choose from. This can become very time consuming and stressful for the bride and can make it even more confusing when trying to establish ‘apples for apples’. I recommend researching 3 of your favourite suppliers and focusing on the best value for money quote, not necessarily the cheapest.
This is a once in a lifetime event, yet I am amazed at how many brides simply go for the cheapest quote and wonder why they are telling disaster stories for ever after. Fortunately their friends and family get a valuable lesson on who not to go to when it’s their turn to get married!
5 things a bride must get right?
1. Make sure your quote is itemised in fine detail. This is more than fair to ask for, especially in terms of matching colours and confirmation on varieties.
2. Sign a contract with your florist containing your final order and terms and conditions of service. It will give you the confidence that you will get everything you order- nothing more or nothing less.
3. Have the florist deliver and set up to ensure you get your flowers fresh and on time. You don’t need any extra stress on your big day.
4. Insist that the florist does the wedding cake flowers. There are a couple of suppliers that can do this well, but they are extremely rare.
5. Encourage your bridesmaids to be involved in decision making. They can be very helpful at a time when you have so many options.
Thank you for sharing your expert tips on Polka Dot Bride Kate! To check out more of Kate’s work, visit her website.