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Sometimes you can have your heart set on a particular flower only to learn it is not in season, or perhaps it is not available in quite the right shade to work with the wedding colour palette. Maybe your dream flower should be in season during your wedding but you find out weeks out from the big day that something has affected the availability. What can you do in these situations? Well, I have a few ideas for you to give you the wedding flowers of your dreams.

1. Choose another flower

Image: Laura Manariti

Hate to say it, but the most obvious option is to select another (incredible) flower which closely resembles your favourite bloom. We are spoilt for choice.

There are many flowers which look like each other but are not directly related.

Let us look at everyone’s favourite flower, the peony, for example. Peonies have a very short season of six to eight weeks at the end of spring, but should your wedding fall outside of this time, you could opt for a similar looking bloom such as garden roses, double tulips or ranunculus.

2. Import from overseas

Image: Julia Archibald

Chances are the bloom you have your heart set on may be in season in another part of the world.
Although it can work out a little more expensive, your florist could investigate importing your favourite flower from another state or country.

3. Consider premium silk flowers

Image: Laura Manariti

Faux flowers have come a long way since the less than favourable varieties available in your local
bargain store. High quality silk flowers can closely resemble their real life counterpart and your guests will not know they are not the real deal.

We had a bride who requested a particular variety of magnolia bloom in her bouquet for sentimental reasons.

The variety wasn’t available commercially, so we combined faux magnolia blooms with real flowers for her. She was able to keep the magnolia stems as a keepsake after the big day.

4. Make flowers resemble another

Image: Julia Archibald

This option is often laborious and therefore can be more expensive, but sometimes you can use
elements of one flower to make them look like another. We have had brides request branches of blossom outside of blossom season, and what the bride wants the bride gets! We have emulated branches of blossoms by intricately wiring Singapore orchid or stock blooms on to bare branches.

5. Change the colour

You may not know that there is such a thing as floral paint which is used to tint natural blooms. We recently had a client who requested a room full of hydrangea in an exact shade of blue and purple. It had to be exact! Colouring of hydrangea is a bit of a science and dependent on factors such as soil acidity. They were also required at the very beginning of hydrangea season to make the task even trickier!

I was determined to bring our client’s dream to life and found a grower willing to work closely with me to make this happen. The client was kept updated throughout and was informed from the very beginning that although the grower and I would do everything in our power to ensure the hydrangea were the exact hues requested, there was a chance that they may need to be dusted with floral paint.

The grower did a magnificent job at providing hydrangea in the specified shades but not all flowers bloomed in time. White hydrangeas had to be purchased to supplement and needed to be sprayed with colour so that they matched the naturally coloured blooms. The additional blooms were carefully and safely sprayed to match then dispersed amongst the naturally hued hydrangea.

The client was thrilled with the end result!

Ms Floral Says: Wow, you florists sure are a clever bunch! Love how you weave your magic to make your clients’ dreams come true. This is great food for thought for couples wanting specific flowers at their wedding.

About Victoria Whitelaw: She is extremely passionate about her craft and over her 35 years in the industry has created her own extraordinarily elegant and individual style. Victoria loves nothing more than creating dream weddings for her clients, transforming their visions into events to remember.

Polka Dot Dream Team...

The below wedding vendors made this magic happen and are an approved part of the Polka Dot Directory. Visit their portfolios to learn more and enquire about their services!

Polka Dot Bride Shop

Today we chat to the talented Lina Bteddini of Chanele Rose Flowers & Styling about how a global pandemic sparked an innovative idea and prompted her to create something absolutely beautiful! This idea was FOREVER BLOOMS – stunning faux flowers that can be enjoyed, well, forever. Lina runs us through the positives of dried and preserved wedding florals, what you can expect from them and why she thinks this trend will have staying power, long after COVID-19.

How did FOREVER BLOOMS come to be?
When the COVID-19 crisis began and we were forced into isolation, I felt numb at first. Then the hard reality, total shock and disbelief hit myself and the industry hard. That every wedding we had worked tirelessly for, dreaming up ideas and working with couples to bring to life visions of their day, would not be going ahead.  Everything was turned on its head – and it was a scary time.

My only relief from this helpless feeling is to create…

As I was too anxious to go to the markets at that time and hearing that quality and fresh flowers were scarce, I created something from what I had already in our studio – dried, preserved and some very beautiful faux flowers. After posting a few images online, I noticed how much people loved these arrangements. The gloominess of the outside situation, brightened by having something pretty in your home or office seemed to make such a difference. A beautiful mix of dried, preserved elements and faux flowers that would last the test of time. Something that could be treasured forever. This is where it started and within a week – with the help of a few amazing friends – FOREVER BLOOMS by Chanele Rose flowers was born. I can’t wait to continue using these arrangement when weddings are back!

Why should people consider using preserved and dried florals?
Not only are they extremely long lasting, they are also such an amazing variety and great quality that now exist when they were previously not an option. They are also a great alternative for those who suffer from flower allergies!

But there are the pitfalls. Preserved blooms may flake off over time and they do not like direct sunlight. They also can easily get crushed and crumble if not looked after.  To get the most of them, it’s important to heed the care care instructions we include with our orders.

Do you think the trend of preserved and dried and faux florals will still be popular after COVID-19?
Don’t get me wrong though, nothing can possibly take away the love and joy of receiving beautiful fresh flowers. And I would love to support our Aussie fresh flower farms just as much as the next florist, however I am certain this trend will stick around. It is the way of the sustainable future and the popularity of this movement is only growing. People love to have them their homes and to send as gifts that will last well after fresh flowers fade away.

Image: Symbolique Photography

People still want something that beautiful piece of floral for their homes and office to complement their space that they don’t have to pay to replace weekly. And this presents an opportunity to hire beautiful arrangements for weddings rather than purchase single use flowers.

Image: Rachael K Photography

What are your favourite flowers and other items to use?
I don’t have one favourite as this changes daily depending on how I’m feeling. However, I do love to use beautiful shades of hydrangeas and cascading amaranths and magnolias and peonies, dahlias and gorgeous reflexed roses! I also love to include dried elements, such as agapanthus, ferns, wheat, cotton, palms, luring, misty, baby breath, billy buttons, ruscus, berries and feathers.

What can and can’t you expect from dried or preserved arrangements?
I think that imagination is key when it comes to forever blooms – we can pretty much recreate any feel or vibe you are after. It will never be the same as having fresh florals of course but I’m sure It would fool the best of us as the quality is pretty extraordinary!

Image: Symbolique Photography / Balloons: Balloons by Agustina / Crockery: Take Me Hire

What is your signature look?
Our designs are very modern and sculptural with lots of texture and intricate little features. I love to use a monochromatic palette as I find it’s a lot easier on the eye. Our signature look would have to be the marshmallow sorbet, which is how this all started when creating our look for our ISO Easter at home.

About Chanele Rose Flowers & Styling: Chanele Rose Flowers & Styling is a boutique luxe, professional floral stylist and special events florist based in Sydney. The Chanele Rose style is decadent and refined crossed with carefree garden whimsical,  inspired by the natural elements found in Mother Nature. Also wildly inspired by beautiful textures, fabrics, travel destinations, theatre and fine arts.

Polka Dot Dream Team...

The below wedding vendors made this magic happen and are an approved part of the Polka Dot Directory. Visit their portfolios to learn more and enquire about their services!

Image: Matt Elliott Photography

While our treasured wedding memories are lovingly stored in our hearts and minds, there is something so special about turning the pages of your tangible and beautifully made custom wedding album and being able to show it to your family and friends for generations to come. Right? Then again, should we just get with the times by giving them, and ourselves, a USB? Dare I say, a Dropbox link? As the world becomes increasingly digital and technology is forever advancing, is the classic printed wedding album still worth the energy and time you need to put it together? Or the dollars you need to part with to have your photographer expertly make one for you?

To answer these questions and to talk all things wedding albums, we sat down with four of the best memory capturing maestros in the biz: the incredibly talented Lowina of Black Avenue Productions, Sarah of De Lumiere Photography, Matt of Matt Elliott Photography and David from Society Photography.

Why have your photographer make your wedding album rather than undertake a DIY project?
Sarah of De Lumiere Photography: A professional photographer has loads of experience telling stories and knows how to lay out your story artistically using your gorgeous images.

Image: De Lumiere Photography

Matt of Matt Elliott Photography: Photographers are adept at the storytelling process. Laying out an album from this point of view is crucial to creating an emotional experience as our couples flip through the pages.

David of Society Photography: Most people, if left to their own devices, will never find the time to do it themselves so it becomes a chore hanging over their head rather than something done efficiently and enjoyably. We design wedding albums with clients every week. Just as you entrust the capture of your memories to a professional, it makes sense to continue that trust, and utilise their skills to the full in order to tell the best story of your wedding.

Let’s be honest… Professionally made and printed albums are not cheap. Why is that?

Lowina of Black Avenue Productions: You are paying for your photographer’s time as well as a team of professional album crafters who print and bind the customised album. We carefully select professional quality lay flat creations that won’t be your typical photo book that you can buy online. And the professionals use archival quality paper and ink that is meant to last for 100 years!

Images: Black Avenue Productions

Sarah of De Lumiere Photography: Many hours of work! A gorgeous lay flat album is usually handmade, with each page being individually printed and hand mounted onto each spread, and the images retouched to ensure that everyone looks their best.

Image: De Lumiere Photography

Matt of Matt Elliott Photography: Professional albums are handmade and the quality of printing is high-end museum-grade, which has a far superior lifespan to the standard photo books. There are also lots of options for cover materials and finishing options for foiling and embossing.

Image: Matt Elliott Photography

David of Society Photography: We have access to album manufacturers that only sell to professional photographers and not to the public. The quality difference can be massive between a cheap online album and a professionally sourced album. You are also paying for the design skills of your photographer, as well as the time spent drafting, creating and perfecting the album.

Image: Society Photography

When would you recommend getting your album made?
Lowina of Black Avenue Productions: We recommend getting your album ASAP so you can show it off soon!
Sarah from De Lumiere: Many of our couples produce their albums for their first anniversary (first anniversary is paper), others are super keen and start as soon as they receive their gallery.

Matt of Matt Elliott Photography:
Couples will always save some money by committing to an album in the lead up to their day. Otherwise, any time really. I’ve recently finished an album from a wedding I shot five years ago.

David of Society Photography: As soon as possible after the wedding. We always book in the album design session with our couples as soon as we can once they return from their honeymoon. We present them with a beautiful design right off the bat so there isn’t that stress of trying to go through 1000 images and trying to decide themselves.

In a digital age, do we really need a printed album? Is it worth it? Why not just a USB?
Lowina of Black Avenue Productions: There is something special about feeling touching and smelling a printed album. A USB won’t be able to give you this good vibe. You can put it in your hands and share during house party. A picture says a thousand words, having a wedding album is creating your legacy. Imagine using it to tell your wedding story to your children and your grandchildren through images. It’s a visual love story of how your family began.

Image: Black Avenue Productions

Sarah of De Lumiere Photography: Absolutely you need a physical album! Think of your album as a guaranteed backup. There is no guarantee that your digital images will be readable in 100 years, but an album stands the test of time.

Image: De Lumiere Photography

Matt of Matt Elliott Photography: I believe so. Albums aren’t just for the next year, they’re something that you will be handing down to generations to come. I ask my couples to imagine flipping through their great grandparent’s wedding album and how special that might be. This is the feeling they are giving to the next generation. The experience for everyone involved is quite easy, seamless yet still delivers a very high quality outcome.

Image: Matt Elliott Photography

David of Society Photography: Because there is something wonderful about the tactile feeling of turning the pages of a book. A professional album will last for decades to come and, in fact, be more archival than a USB. The quality of a printed photo has so much more depth and texture than looking at a screen, scrolling through hundreds of images. It tells a curated story of your wedding day.

Image: Society Photography

Are there any new or exciting trends with wedding albums ?
Sarah of De Lumiere Photography: Oh yes! We now offer gorgeous velvet covers – totally luxe.

Image: De Lumiere Photography

Matt of Matt Elliott Photography: There’s a lot of different cover materials these days, such as vegan leather and velvet. Combined with foiling and embossing, the outcome is quite unique.

Image: Matt Elliott Photography

Do you have a signature look or style?
Lowina of Black Avenue Productions: We will design your personalised cover emboss design and you get to choose your material and colour of foil to your liking. The type of paper and ink that we use are archival quality that meant to last for 100 years! 

Image: Black Avenue Productions

Sarah from De Lumiere: Our albums tell your story, hero-ing the gorgeous light soaked images from your wedding day

Matt of Matt Elliott Photography: Yes and no. I try to keep it simple and timeless with my layouts with a ‘less is more’ approach. Flooding an album with too many images can be overwhelming.

David of Society Photography: Our favourite, and therefore perhaps our signature, are those orchestrated epic landscape images that tell the story of the place as well as the people. We do shoot with the album in mind though. We are always looking for different ways to capture the story so that in the album it doesn’t all look the same. We will capture those fun totally unscripted candids, as well as the more formal family photos.

Image: Society Photography

Does the couple choose the images or does the photographer?
Lowina of Black Avenue Productions: Every image that we deliver in the final USB / online gallery has already been selected and edited by us. The couple can choose their top 100 images to put into their album, or we can also choose. It’s a team effort to create your perfect wedding album.

Image: Black Avenue Productions

Sarah of De Lumiere Photography: Our couples choose their favourite images so that they feel intimately connected to their album.

Matt of Matt Elliott Photography: I believe photographers should create the first layout and ask couples to then make any changes. Filling up 40 to 60 pages with images can be difficult for couples, so giving them a starting point is the best idea in my view.

Image: De Lumiere Photography

What is your favourite moment/memory to capture in a wedding and why?
Lowina of Black Avenue Productions: We love to capture the ‘first look’. Not only with the groom, many brides are choosing to have a first look shoot with parents and bridesmaids.

Image: Black Avenue Productions

Matt of Matt Elliott Photography: Mine would have to be that confetti shot after they are announced as a married couple. It’s such a joyful experience for everyone present.