What Would They Know? Michelle Van Eimeren of Affair with George

by | Flower Wisdom, What Would They Know?, Wisdom


Ms Polka Dot

The styling and flowers set the ambiance of the ceremony and reception and build anticipation of a wonderful party to celebrate a wedding. This is where Michelle of Affair with George steps in to make your bouquets and decor all you dream them to be. Always with a touch of elegance, Michelle has an eye for the unusual in colour and flower and foliage shapes. Moss, pebbles, branches, succulents and berries – all play a part in adding that unexpected touch which just takes your breath away! Here’s Michelle’s story…..

How did you become a floral designer?

I have always had a love for design, styling and different forms of creativity, taking every opportunity that came my way to try new things, different mediums, having spent much of my early years throughout Asia working in different fields, though primarily with events. I needed something more creative and hands on, with experience in design and event management and my love of flowers I decided to formalize my training and study commercial floristry when I moved back to Australia.

Affair with George has been working hard providing florals and styling weddings and events for the past six years and loving every moment of it.

Image by The Follans

Where is your business based?

Affair with George is based in the gorgeous Southern Highlands of New South Wales. I love living in the country, we have the true four seasons and with that much variety in availability of blooms. It allows me to have an expansive garden from which I like to take cuttings, for my designs. There are so many beautiful venues with lovely gardens and historical aspects and the vineyards.

What do you love about having your own business?

The one thing I love most about having my own business is the fact that I can be true to my own designs, I can decide how to interpret a design brief. I love that freedom J The flexibility of time is important to me too, I can work to my own schedule, which makes it easier to factor in family time.

Image by Affair with George

Are you known for a particular style? 

I gravitate more to the lush, relaxed garden style of blooms. Of course, I cater to all styles, and have some lovely images of more formal designs, though my heart sings with the natural, wilder, free, organic feel.

Do you like to add a quirky touch to your bouquets/table settings etc? 

I do love to add something unique to my bouquets, only if the bride is happy for me to do so! Lol It can be a challenge at times to get people to let go. I love succulents, seed pods, etc. I often look through my garden or on my travels from the roadside and keep anything that looks interesting.

Do you have some tips as to when in the planning process, and how, brides should approach the planning of their flowers?

Not to say that floral designers are the most important part of your day……. Of course you need your venue, celebrant, and your photographer to capture the memories, makeup, hair, catering, however, we are the ones that make it look like a wedding and all the pretty that is captured in those images! So it is important to book early, depending on how extensive your design is I would try to plan a minimum of 6 months ahead, mainly to secure the day. One tip which is helpful in getting your ideas across to your designer would be to collate all the images of what you love, designs, that show the flowers you love, shape, style, colours etc. This makes sure everyone is on the same page. Pinterest has been very handy allowing us to see the whole aspect of the wedding and the overall feel the couple are trying to achieve.

Image by Affair with George

Should brides have an idea of their preferred colour scheme first, or choose the flowers first and then build the colour scheme around their choice?

I think this depends on what is more important to the bride, I have found most brides to be flexible with flower choices to work within a colour scheme. This is a personal thing, I chose November when I got married because I love Peonies! Who doesn’t? Another important aspect is to convey to your designer if you are choosy about your flowers are the ones you don’t like, this just makes it easier early in the design process.

What other botanicals do you use other than flowers, to add that unique quality to each bouquet or arrangement?

I absolutely love foliage, for me, foliage makes the arrangements feel natural and frames the blooms. I like to use a variety of tree foliage, ferns, vines, herbs and plants. I also like to use a variety of pods or seed heads, fresh or dried, these add a wonderful textural element.

Image by Affair with George

Do you also style the wedding, if requested?

I often style the wedding as I have lots of hire items that I regularly update or I can source different items they have their hearts set on. Being able to style the wedding is fabulous as you are able to pull the whole look together from beginning to end.

What are some favourite elements that you use to style

I don’t really think I have a favourite element to use for ceremonies or receptions, I get excited to do something different each time if possible, so it is dependent on what the brief is. I recently made a birch arch for a ceremony which I just loved and one of the staples I have for receptions is my crystal. Crystal never goes out of fashion, especially when paired with gorgeous flowers!

I always like to have a lot of candles too J

Image by Affair with George

How do you guide a bridal couple to decide on the style of their wedding, and the elements to use to bring that to life?

During our consult we discuss the overall feel of the day and anything they may have already decided on. I like to see the invite, the dresses chosen and any mood images of the style of blooms they are after. I also like to have a good chat to the couple about who they are and the experience they wish their guests to have. It is important to bring their personality through the styling. After this, I advise the couple on the ideas that I have and we go from there.

Should they approach you with definite elements in mind, or do you enjoy discussions to help them decide on all the design elements?

I am happy for the couple to have definite elements in mind, though I do like to put my own style to it, I don’t like to copy anything. Obviously, I prefer to discuss different ideas and usually this is when the magic happens, when you get to come up with something exciting and unique.

Do you see wedding floral design based on foliage and/or herbs becoming more popular? 

Thankfully, this has been a popular trend and I think it will continue to be, though there will always be clients that want the emphasis on flowers. Layers of foliage can make an arrangement feel so lush and organic. I just love me some foliage!

If you could design with no restrictions, what would it be, and what sort of flowers and foliage would you use?

When I went to the New York flower market last year there were so many flowers that you don’t get to readily see in the flower market here, for example fritillaria, there are so many varieties and they are so lovely. The Japanese ranunculus are huge, many of the blooms were much bigger than what we have access to here and the variety of colours were astounding!

Heuchera, Oak, Passionfruit, Hellebore, Jasmine, Dusty Miller, Copper Beech is gorgeous foliage, I couldn’t possibly list them all. I love loads of unique foliages, it all depends on the mood I am trying to achieve, I decide on that first then everything else falls into place.

Some of my favourite blooms are:

Garden Roses, Peony, Bleeding Hearts, Anemone, Ranunculus, Poppy, Nigella, Scabiosa, Dahlia, Hellebore, Lily of the Valley, Flannel Flowers, Parrot Tulips, Lilac, Queen Anne’s Lace, Veronica,  Sweet Pea, Blossom, Astilbe, Clematis, Guelder Rose, Tuberose, Grape Hyacinth, Hypericum, Freesia…….. I really am not sure where to stop!

Image by Andrew Green Photography

What do you like to do in your spare time?

Spare time…..what is that! Lol I would like more of it please J

Generally I like to spend this time with my two daughters and my husband. On rare occasions I get the spare time all to myself to read, do my pottery, sketch or paint and I love to cook for pleasure!

Thank you Michelle for sharing your story with us. To find out more about Affair with George visit the website.

Headshot by Vibrant Photography



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