A Flower Spectacular with Chapel Designers, London.

21 May 2017

A few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to be able to attend the 3rd Annual Chapel Designers Conference. Sounds rather grand…and to be honest it is one of the most exciting dates in my calendar! 

Chapel Designers was founded by the inspirational Holly Chapple with the aim of promoting excellence amongst florists and event creatives.  The annual conference and workshops offer support, training and mentoring to encourage and cultivate individual talent. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of such an inspiring group!?

I was privileged to become a member of The Chapel Designers last year and having had a taste of what I could learn, I couldn’t wait for this year’s conference.

Fortunately, I was able to keep my giddiness in check with a few welcome drinks the evening before the conference which also gave me the opportunity to chat with some of my fellow florists. It was lovely to see Sarah from Leafy Couture, Claire from Lily and May, Alison from Mad Lilies and so many more flowery friends.

The conference was hosted at Brixton East 1871, an amazing space in the heart of Brixton. It was the perfect creative canvas - a nineteenth century furniture warehouse with minimal finishing to floors and walls; nothing to distract from the flowers and an Instragrammer’s dream!

DAY 1

As if we weren’t inspired enough by the setting, Rona Wheeldon from Flowerona, got us taking amazing photos and shared some of her fab tips for using Instagram…expect great things from @flower_lounge J

We also got some hands-on time with the extremely talented Robbie Honey, who turned our attention back to floristry with his ‘compote’ design of spring lemons, orchids, spirea, tulips, hyacinths, lissianthus and narcissi. It was the essence of sunshine with wonderful texture and balance, challenging us all to think creatively.

DAY 2

of the conference was the one we were all excited for – a chance to create a spectacular wedding extravaganza…and it did not disappoint! Holly Chapple & Nick Priestly from Mood Flowers started us off with the bridal bouquet. Using muted shades of purple and cream with ‘caramel antique’ garden roses, hellebores, lilac, sweet peas, thlapsi green bell and jasmine trails, I felt like a child in a sweet shop! 

One of the highlights was meeting Jo Bird from David Austin Roses. If you follow us on social media you’ll know that these are one of my all-time favourite roses and the frequent centrepiece to many of our bouquets and wedding table designs.  Jo even shared the secrets to how they breed the roses to achieve absolute perfection as well as generously giving me a copy of David Austin’s new book…so expect prize winning roses from my garden this summer!

One of the show-stopping pieces was a long table scape that we all worked together to design. We used breath-taking Meijer roses, David Austin roses, Smith and Munson tulips, ranunculus, stocks, lilac, viburnum gelder rose and lots of gorgeous foliages. We created tall cherry blossom and flower trees which literally looked like they were growing out of the table and finished off with a spectacular flower wall; providing the perfect backdrop for wedding photography. The end result felt like something out of a fairy tale – a design of unrestrained imagination that we were lucky enough to dine underneath that night. Pure magic!

DAY 3

Our final day took us on a mini road trip to get a behind the scenes tour of the newly reopened Covent Garden Flower Market. It’s a place I’ve visited many times before so I was surprised by how different it all looked. The traders were as friendly as ever but very busy trying to make this their new home. I’m looking forward to seeing it again once everyone has settled in.

The closing part of the conference was a lovely workshop with Emily Avenson from Fleuropean & The Lonely Bouquet. At The Flower Lounge, we’ve been involved with The Lonely Bouquet campaign over the years; the simple idea being to spread the joy of flowers by leaving posies for people to find. I hate the idea of flowers going to waste, so using the blooms from our wedding designs, we repurposed them into dozens of mini bouquets and headed out, like florist ninjas, secretly placing them around various parts of London for people to find and enjoy. How amazing that we could help spread happiness and smiles, one flower at a time!

As you can probably tell, the conference was incredible. Jam-packed with creativity and so many inspirational people, that I’ve run out of room in this blog to mention everyone! Needless to say, I’m taking this opportunity to say thank you to all involved. I’ve come back with a head full of ideas and new techniques to share with the team. All of which we’ll be putting into practise in our floral designs.

Hope you enjoy the fabulous photos from Dasha Caffrey - they really give an insight into the world of flowers!