Grace of Floretta

In the Polka Dot offices we just adore flowers and anything botanical so when we interviewed Grace of Floretta recently we delighted in the images she provided of her gorgeous arrangements. When someone just ‘sees’ in their mind’s eye all the possibilities that await – never torturing the blooms into position, letting the botanicals cascade to create a wild, yet thoughtfully planned look, we can only marvel at the talent involved. Abundance is a word that characterises the Floretta look, always with the touches of unusual colours or leaves to add the ‘wow’ element. Your wedding decor will never be ordinary  with Floretta flowers to add that final magical touch.

How you long have you been in the floristry business?

3 years.

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Photographer: Gus Reyes Photography, Venue: Cargo Hall

Have you a mentor in your life (or someone you admire) who inspires/influences you?

Constance Spry has been a huge influence & inspiration for me. (Constance was a legendary British floral designer in the 1920s, and she literally changed floristry industry).

Where does your love of flowers and nature come from?

I’ve always had a fascination for flowers, I grew up on a farm so I guess it’s come from that. My dad was a farmer & as a child I used to go into the Footscray wholesale fruit & flower market with him & was besotted by the flower section.

Have you had formal training in floristry?

I’m self taught – so lots of informal training : ), classes, short courses. Having been a graphic designer & art director for over 15 years, so I have a natural eye for floral design, for me it was about studying the theory & learning techniques.

How would you describe your style?

I guess I’d say abundant and whimsical. When I work on flower arrangements I approach my work from design perspective, it’s not just flowers & foliage, it’s about composition – form, lines and balance & I don’t skimp on materials : )

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Styling: Miss Mooi, Photographer: Qlix Photography, Dress: Bonita Couture,  Model: Mila Karumbi, Makeup & Hair: Ally Jenkins Makeup, Venue: Gather & Taylor

What role does foliage play in your arrangements (or is it a secondary consideration to the flowers)?

For my work, foliage is just as important as the flowers – the right foliage in a composition can make or break the flower arrangement. It’s like painting, every brush stroke, colour & tone plays a role in creating a composition. I spend just as much time selecting & ordering the right foliage, as I do flowers.

What do you enjoy about working in the wedding industry?

The celebration. Each couple is experiencing one of the most amazing celebrations of their lifetime & it’s a blast being a part of it. I never tire of it. I get a big kick out of making my clients happy, there’s nothing better!

How do you work with the bridal couple to plan the flowers? How do approach each wedding?

I approach each floristry project like I did as a graphic designer. I take a design brief. I meet each bride (& groom if they’re willing!) in person & we have a one on one consult, generally at a café over coffee. We start by going over their colour schemes, dresses, venue, themes, existing styling etc.
I then talk in depth about the style of flowers they like, design styles, what will work with their theme, colours, seasonal restrictions, likes & dislikes. From this I build a comprehensive brief that I use as my blue print for designing their arrangements.

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Photographer: Glass Slipper Photography

What are brides asking for in terms of design?

Lately more & more brides are becoming more adventurous and are starting to do their own personal thing with colours, styles & designs. In the past it was all white, or white with pale pink & or apricot. I’m finding lately that brides are starting to choose colour palettes & styling that better reflect their personal taste & favourite colours or of course the on trend colours – at the moment everyone seems to want maroon, burgundy, berry tones & pinks!

What is it that enables you to see the potential in a flower or in greenery and be able to transform a venue each time with an individual look?

I’m creating a composition, if its selecting flowers or foliage, I’m looking at tone, shape, colour, texture or contrast & I am considering the whole design, not just that 1 element.

How much influence does the venue have on your design?

The venue is like a canvas – choose the wrong style & the design will lack cohesion. Transforming the venue really comes down to translating what my couple wants into something that works well in the space.

How do you keep your work fresh and inspiring?

Keeping things fresh is easy for me. As a designer I’ve always got bored easily so I am constantly seeking new ideas styles & combinations of materials. I also like wherever possible to give each event or couple their own unique look.

The great thing about floristry is that seasonality constantly forces change. You can’t just keep using the same materials because they are only around for a limited time. Using different floral materials changes the design so in a way nature keeps the design moving.

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Photographer: Gus Reyes Photography, Venue: Crown (Melbourne) Palladium

Do you have a favourite flower or foliage that you use time and again?

That’s a difficult question; I find I have a different favourite flower every week! I guess – this week in line with the season, I’m in love with ranunculus, poppies & violets!

Are flower crowns for the bride and bridal party as popular as ever?

Yes. Flower crowns for flower girls are very popular, some of my brides go for crowns too. But it’s more popular for bridal showers!

What is your favourite time of the year for weddings?

Every season has its hero blooms, but I think my favourite season is spring, there are a huge variety of gorgeous flowers available at that time of year.

What books have been influential in your life?

The Surprising Life of Constance Spry.

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Styling: Miss Mooi, Photographer: Qlix Photography, Dress: Bonita Couture, Model: Emma Nicholson, Makeup & Hair: May VL, Venue: Coombe The Melba Estate,  Yarra Valley

When not working, what do you like to do?

Sleep (floristry & sleep don’t go hand in hand unfortunately), relax in bed with a bit of Netflix, spend time with my hubby – sorry – boring stuff really!

Thank you Grace for sharing your story. Beautiful botanicals to surprise and delight you and your wedding guests. To find out more about Floretta visit the website.

Headshot by Gus Reyes Photography