Petra of Pomp & Splendour brings her own innate sense of style to wedding flowers and celebrates the natural world by bringing together the wild and the beautiful in botanicals, into seemingly just picked, casual arrangements. Preferring to work with local seasonal foliage and blooms, she lets the foliage and flowers dictate the final unique look – no tortured arrangements for her! And Petra also brings her ‘green’ aesthetic into her work preferring to use chemical free blooms and an eco friendly ethos in her business – and don’t we love that for a principled and safe approach!
What was the catalyst for starting your floral design business?
I always liked the idea of working for myself. I had never been very good at having a ‘boss’, I’m far too independent and I really enjoy the freedom of dreaming up my own creations. After working in flower shops for the better part of the last 13 years, I knew it was time to do my own thing and just over three years ago I started Pomp and Splendour.
Image by Leo Farrell Photography
Why do we need flowers and nature in our lives?
Flowers and botanical materials always breathe a sense of life into things and can remind us that the vast world of nature is just right out side the window, outside the building, just outside the city….
How important is it (for you) to consider the environment in the course of your work?
Right from the start I have had a focus on a more sustainable and environmentally conscious business practice. It makes perfect sense to have a respect for the environment when working directly with natural produce. More recently there has been a positive movement forward with florists and growers sourcing local and chemical free blooms. I try to encourage my brides and clients to opt for seasonal and local flowers over imported and pesticide laden blooms. In the studio all of our Green waste, plastics, recyclables get separated and we buy from lots of growers and foragers that share the eco friendly ethos.
Image by Lauren Campbell Photography
Where do you find inspiration?
Nature of course! The abundance of images on social media. Fashion. Art. Everything I rest my eyes on really.
How would you describe your style?
Carefree, spirited and a little wild. Beautiful but not too serious.
When you start to style a ceremony, bouquet or reception, do you let the flowers and foliage determine the flow of this, and how do you know when to stop?
No matter how much I plan, visualize and design before construction, the foliage, the flowers and the materials that I use all end up coming together in their own sweet way. You can never anticipate that special curve in a stem or the extra branch in a piece of foliage or the way in which a flower chose to open.
Image by Kate Berry Photography
To style a ceremony and reception, what do you like to use a lot of, for maximum impact?
Anything used en masse has tremendous impact, as does bright eye popping colour.
If I had a limited budget to spend on wedding flowers, how would you style my wedding?
I would suggest to keep the bouquets beautiful as they will be in most of the photo’s and can be reused somewhere again as a floral arrangement at the reception. There is a misconception that foliage is an inexpensive way to fill up a space, however these days we florists are spending around the same amount for a bunch of foliage as we do on a bunch of premium blooms. Plants are good as they can always be reused or given to guests to take home. If you are not fussy about flower type then seasonal abundantly available (still beautiful) blooms are the way to go.
What other botanicals do you use to add surprise to your arrangements?
The list is endless. Aside from the typical seed pod, berries, husks and fruits; succulents and stems of plants or leaves from less common plant species are always a beautiful addition to an arrangement. I’m loving Begonia and passionfruit vine at the moment. Last wedding season I was totally crushing on flowering herbs and Rosemary.
Do you see more brides following their heart, and how do you guide them to add the ‘wow factor’?
I certainly see trends running through the inspiration of lots of my brides. Often it’s a popular colour palette or a style of bouquet, but each bride tends to want it to work in her own way. For me, meeting brides before their wedding is really useful for getting an intuitive sense of how the flowers can work for the individual. We go through all of the details, things like dress colours and style of the outfits etc, and by the time we’ve walked through the whole wedding, I’ve heard all the stories about the brides’ mum’s favourite flowers, or flowers that the grandmother had in the garden growing up etc. All of these elements bring out the uniqueness of every wedding.
Image by Lucy Spartalis Photography
What are the local seasonal flowers you most like to use?
Oh this is so hard!
Summer: beautiful garden roses, you just cant beat that smell!
Autumn: the colours in all of the deciduous foliage as it changes is stunning, especially Japanese Maple.
Winter: Daphne! Another smell you just can’t beat
Spring: My oh my…practically everything, but I have a soft spot for Lilac.
Image by cousin of the bride
What suggestions can you give us for disposing of the foliage and florals when you pack down a wedding?
Get all of the guests to take the flowers home. We can leave some brown paper behind for flowers to be wrapped up.
How do you sustain the pace during wedding season – early mornings, late nights and pressure to come up with the best for each wedding you do?
I often complain about being so tired and over worked, but I actually really thrive on the challenges, the fast paced nature of everything. I think I come up with my best innovations under pressure. I also have an awesome team of helpers that actually make it possible. And coffee. I always have coffee.
Image by LJM Photography
What do you love to do for relaxation?
Getting out of town and going for a beautiful cycle or a hike somewhere and ideally sleeping under the stars.
Thank you Petra for sharing your story. To find out more about Pomp & Splendour visit the website.
Headshot by Lilli Waters