Why I Throw out the rule book when working with flowers

In today’s post I am sharing with you some of my tips on how to start your own wedding and event floristry business. Starting with the first fundemental question you need to ask yourself. 

Why I throw out the rule book when working with flowers is probably a slightly risky subject for today’s post. It goes against the grain of often what it is we are taught when studying floristry. The importance and consideration of different design principles for example. Such as balance and proportion and how arranging using odd numbers tends to lead to more harmonious floral designs.

However I don’t always tend to agree with this method and way of thinking when it comes to working with flowers. Here is why. If you fill your thoughts questioning every placement of your stems, have you balanced the arrangement, created a focal point etc? You leave no room for yourself to be creative. I would say I’m possibly a bit of an exception to the earlier statement I made, when it comes to being taught floristry design principles. During my Floral Design and Events Management degree whilst we were told to consider design principles. We were also encouraged to explore our own creativity, this was something that was really valued and supported.

Letting Creativity Flow

I feel so grateful for the amazing creative projects I got to work on whilst studying. A couple of them, all these years later still really stand out to me. The first one being we had to choose a well known landmark/building based in London and then create our own floral interpretation of it. I chose London City Hall, I think because of it’s shape? I can’t 100% remember but anyway I created a design using a ventilator pipe and white Phalaenopsis orchids. The second design was the one created for my final year dissertation. It was an enchanted tree that I built using a wooden frame work with loads of twisted willow branches wrapped around the frame. The tree had flowers placed as if they were growing up it naturally. Along with petals hanging from the branches as opposed to leaves.

I adored that design. Fond memories looking back on that time in my life. Now this is obviously quite different from the floristry work I create today. Although the point I am trying to make still remains the same. Throwing out the rule book allows creativity to flow. I always say to my workshop attendees to try not to focus too much on necessarily working with just odd numbers and instead lean into what looks good on your eye.

The arrangement below has four foxgloves included instead of three or five but you know what I still think it looks balanced and works. Don’t you think? I particuarly adore the wiggly stems of the two foxgloves on the left. The imperfectness of British flowers just makes them all the more alluring!

Allow for that element of surprise

Throwing out the rule book also means that you allow for that element of surprise. It could be the Geum you have decided you would like to have standing exceptionally taller to the rest of your arrangement. It might be the pop of bright red that you have decided to add that in theory REALLY shouldn’t work with your particular colour pallet. Yet somehow it actually does and what’s more it looks even better then you anticipated! Throwing out the rule book allows for these magic floral moments. Isn’t it those exact moments that us florists live for? The ones that make us squeal or sigh in amazement!

The Japenese Anemone in the design below that is standing tall and proud, just makes the whole arrangement (in my opinion). From a design prinicple perspective it shouldn’t work and yet it does. I think because of the different heights of the Anemones throughout the design it still looks balanced.

Why I throw out the Rule Book when Working with Flowers

allow time to practice

Practice and experimenting is key when working with flowers. It’s how we evolve and progress and if relatively new to floristry then practicing is a great way of figuring out what your floral style is and the type of work that you want to create. I always let the flowers guide me, working with their individual quirks, movement and shape. When working with flowers, I very much see them as my paint they are my medium that I use to create my artworks with. As I gravitate towards natural, more organic designs. I feel it important that I allow each individual flower to breath and have it’s own shinning moment. Knowing when to stop is key. I mention this to my students often, as it can be so tempting to just keep adding flowers. Especially when working with a collection of gorgeous ingredients.

I think once you get to a point where you can stand back. Look at your design and feel nothing is missing and you are really happy with it, that’s when you know it is finished.

The urn design below is breaking quite a few design prinicple rules (places hands over ones eyes!) Proportionally the arrangement is larger then the container, the Cotoneaster I have only placed on one side so isn’t particularly balanced. I have only used one Cafe au Lait and two Hollyhocks. Yet I love this arrangement! I almost feel that rather then having one focal area there are mulitple within the design. I think the container looking slightly smaller adds to the overall charm too?

Why I throw out the Rule Book when Working with Flowers

In Summary

To emphasise I am by no means saying not to consider key floristry design principles at all, like balance and proportion. It is of course important we do adhere to these to a certain degree. After all as florists we want our designs to look curated and considered. Although what I am trying to iterate is it is okay to throw the rule book out and not follow them too rigidly. Let your creativity flow, experiment and allow for that element of suprise. I know for me personally it is those unexpected moments when working with flowers, that really made my heart sing.

All of the designs featured in today’s post are made up of solely British flowers and of course always foam free mechanics. What are your thoughts on throwing out the rule book? I would love to know your approcach when it comes to working with flowers.

If you would like to find out more about my 1:1 flower workshops take a look over on my website. Any questions please just drop me an email. I now offer a half day option as well as a full day. I also have my Introduction to Floristry Class coming up in July as well. Lastly if you are relatively new to floristry, I’m sure you will find my new Digital Masterclass ‘How to Start your Own Wedding and Event Floristry Business invaluable.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend, long may this glorious sunshine continue!


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