How floral design can transform your next event
In honour of the Chelsea Flower Show taking place this month, floral designer Miriam Webster reveals her insider’s guide on how to make your event a bloomin’ success...
Seven years ago, Miriam Webster turned her passion into a business. “I studied Pharmacology and Molecular Genomics. But during my dissertation, I started to think, ‘you know what, this is not for me.’ I wanted to do something more creative, that sparks joy and brings joy,” she says.
“When my wedding came around, I was a bit of a Bridezilla but only when it came to the flowers. So, I put two and two together and changed careers.”
As the founder and owner of Miriam Faith, a floral design company based in west London, Miriam and her team create memorable flower walls, arches and backdrops for weddings, parties, fashion shows and corporate events. Here, she reveals how a floral art can make a big impact at any event, even with a small budget...
The Psychology of Colour
For me, creating the right mix of colours is partly instinctive but I also did a lot of research into colour psychology and to understand why certain themes work and opposite colours on the colour wheel complement each other. So, I’ve always got that going on in the back of my mind when planning flower design.
It’s like an unwritten rule. You don’t know why it looks nice but it is nice! It’s about being able to create a colour palette that isn’t jarring, it’s smooth.
When you’ve got a space like the Nash Room at 116 Pall Mall, there are certain things that will work and others that absolutely won’t. Don’t use silver because it’s essentially a gold room. There is also a lot of turquoise, so you need colours that bounce off turquoise, like peach. Don’t use reds, or other dark colours, because it’s not going to make the room sing. Everything has to work in harmony. So, there’s a bit of colour therapy and colour psychology going on.
Space + Party = Flowers
I want to understand what sort of atmosphere the host is trying to create - is it a corporate event or is somebody throwing a soiree? Then I look at the space and think about where you can get the most bang for your bucks.
There is no point in putting loads of flowers in a space where nobody is going to spend their time. But little touches, like having posies in the female bathroom, can go a long way.
Above all, you want think about your guest experience. They are probably going to spend a lot of time around the bar, so we want it to look beautiful. By contrast, the entrance might not be that interesting because, in reality, the guests will only spend a moment or two there.
Take a wedding as an example. You tend to spend an hour maximum at the ceremony. For your reception, your guests could be sat down for three hours at that table. So, let’s make sure the centrepieces around the table are something they want to talk about or take photos of.
The difference between business and pleasure
Most of my corporate clients tend to be within the wedding industry, so there is an overlap. With a wedding, you're always trying to tell the story of the perfect day.
But when it’s one of our fashion clients, and we’re doing a catwalk show, we’re trying to reflect a romantic, elegant and opulent atmosphere and you need flowers galore. They need to be statement pieces and can’t be tucked away.
But with a business client, you’re always trying to reflect the atmosphere of the occasion and it needs to reflect their brand. For those events, I’m also thinking about whether we integrate with the colours of their logo into the flower designs. They might have a sharp, modern brand identity and you’re trying to create designs that work alongside that brand.
The Influence of Social Media
When we work with corporate clients, they will usually want to publicise the event, use a hashtag, draw attention to it. But they also need a backdrop. Often, they will understandably be focused on a product. But gaining publicity can be an individual simply posting a picture to their friends and followers. ‘Look at me, I’m standing in front of a unicorn!’ So, we will think about designing a backdrop, or a flower wall, or some sort of arch – a focal point where clients and guests want to take their photos and post them on social media.
Trends to Watch
One of the biggest trends at the moment is bringing the outdoors indoors. It’s about having a lot of foliage but not to the point where it starts to feel like A Midsummer Night’s Dream! It’s something more delicate in a romantic and chic way. Also using a lot of rose, gold and copper in your accessories, such as vases and tea lights, is on trend.
We are still running on the craze of hanging florals from chandeliers or anything that’s rigged up. I absolutely love doing those and I hope that trend continues.
In terms of flowers, peonies are coming into season which is a very popular flower. They look like obese roses and have fantastic fragrances. Once we get into peak summer then we will have garden roses which are my personal favourite.
Working with 116
There are many reasons why it’s a great venue for a floral designer. There is history everywhere you look, it’s very opulent and it has instant impact. Our flowers don’t need to create, they need to complement and that takes a bit of the pressure off. Also, the people at 116 are so friendly and kind to work with. They go above and beyond but they are also seasoned professionals. So, it’s a dream venue to work with on every level.
When we used the Nash Room as our main focal point for a photoshoot, we recognised that it’s a space that has so much character, so you don’t need to have every square inch draped in flowers. We created arrangements for the mantelpiece over the gorgeous stone and marble fireplace, tall and low centrepieces for the tables, a wild bridal bouquet and finishing touches such as bud vases, as well as floral decor for the cake and table plan.
Three key takeaways
1. Style. A lot of florists are very versatile but usually, it’s worth looking for somebody who specialises in the style you’re trying to achieve because they know it inside and out. Also, they will know the best price to quote because they are not having to operate outside of their comfort zone.
2. Trust. Floral designers are experts in their field. So, if they suggest something a bit taller or shorter or something should go in a specific place then trust them because this is what they do every day.
3. Cost. Sit down with your partner and/or whoever is paying for the wedding, and work out a budget. It is vital to have a breakdown of how much you can realistically spend. Seasonal flowers will be at their best and are actually cheaper than having blooms that are sourced all year round. Also, adding luscious greenery to bouquets or floral arrangements provides shape and texture and is a cost-effective option.
BOOK YOUR EVENT AT 116 PALL MALL
One of the most prestigious addresses in London, 116 Pall Mall is situated in the heart of the West End and offers a range of flexible spaces across five floors, perfect for any kind of event for up to 1,500 people.
You can even hire our whole building exclusively on weekends.
Make an enquiry for more information.