Extraordinary Flowers for Extraordinary Events
Neill describes how he sources the most beautiful flowers to create stunning floral designs for his luxury events. With a network of specialised growers in Holland, he shares with us his winning formula for transforming his events into places of unforgettable floral artistry.
At Neill Strain Floral Couture we have a unique way of ordering our flowers, whether it be for our boutique, our Harrods concession or for our weddings and events. The close relationships I have forged with our Dutch growers means that our flowers are picked especially for us, for whatever use we need, and sent directly to us the same day. Whereas for our boutique and Harrods concession the growers consistently select for us their very biggest blooms and longest stems to give that extra wow factor to our hand-tied bouquets and arrangements, for our weddings and events work we can ask the growers for special services depending on the nature of our event.
Once we have met the client, discussed the briefing for the event and have visited the venue, we tell the growers our precise needs. Not just the colour palette and the size of the blooms and stem lengths, but the conditions, logistics and every detail that could play a role in the success of the event. For instance, if the event should be in a very hot climate, either abroad or during the recent heatwave we had in the U.K., we will choose flowers and varieties that can withstand the heat. Some Phalaenopsis Orchid varieties cope with high temperatures better than others… Hydrangeas in their “Classic” stage will not be affected like those in the “Fresh” stage… The hardiest Roses, picked more open than usual so they are fresh but fully in bloom on the big day… You cannot imagine all the details we pay attention to!
For a recent engagement party at One Belgravia, we adorned the venue with two opulent fireplace designs which were also to be used as a backdrop for photos, and an extravagant staircase design leading up to the party room. The clients had dreams of Roses and Orchids in a soft, romantic colour palette, so we contacted some of our favourite champion growers, Meijer Roses, Ichtus Phalaenopsis and Ansu Vanda (formerly known as Anco).
The Meijer brothers are the best growers of Avalanche Roses in Holland. Their four varieties, White, Sweet (pale pink), Pearl (peachy apricot) and Four Seasons (cream), are very strong and hardy, perfect for events. I have been visiting and working with John Meijer for many years now and for this engagement party we selected 60cm stems of all four varieties for their gorgeous colour harmony and perfect proportion in the designs.
For Phalaenopsis Orchids, Ichtus Flowers are the champion growers. They have dozens of varieties, including many new ones, and for the pastel colour palette that our clients desired, we selected Kobe (white with yellow heart), Shanghai (white and pale pink with stripes and fuchsia heart), Manila (delicate pale pink, no stripes), Surabaya (a striking, deeper pink) and Detroit (pale yellow). In addition to the colour I discuss many factors with Pieter Lips, CEO of Ichtus. The size of the blooms, the stem length and how many flowers on a stem. Pieter and his team then carefully select and hand pick for me exactly what is best for the event.
Steef van Adrichem is the founder of Ansu Vanda Orchids. For this engagement party, Steef selected for me a brand new white Vanda Orchid that is quite exceptional and a future must for weddings.
In addition to these magnificent blooms, we used long trails of highly scented Jasmine and tall, white Delphiniums for height.
Using the best quality flowers is not the only important factor we consider. We also focus on design. Together with my fabulous team, we are all obsessed with design. Highly creative, we find inspiration from all sorts of sources, mostly from nature, architecture and fashion.
Our clients were absolutely delighted with the flowers at their party. “I could have never imagined something better! The display was totally breathtaking! … All the team were so helpful and organised, I was totally over the moon with the outcome and I know our guests were blown away too!” wrote Amelia in her blog about the party.
So when it comes to planning your wedding or if you’re thinking of hosting an event please get in touch! Just call the Belgravia boutique to book a free consultation.
Party images by CHIKO PHOTOGRAPHY