An interview with YARRA VALLEY'S TOP Florist

June 21, 2020

ARTICLE BY ASHLEIGH HAASE

Florals, you either love them or hate them. I have a serious hay-fever allergy which would make you think I fall in the "hate" category. Luckily I have found a way to combat these issues, and I personally adore florals, especially at weddings. I have seen simple styling of greenery, all the way to hanging installations all over the place. Florals can make or break your styling and feel for your day, so going cheap may not always be the best option. 

I first met Jess from Sassafras Flower Design in 2018. I was in absolute awe in her ability to create such elegant pieces of art with flowers, and have been fan girling a bit too hard ever since. We have worked together on local editorial shoots and weddings and she never ceases to amaze me, going above and beyond my expectations.

I sat down with Jess recently and asked her all the nitty gritty questions about being a florist in the wedding industry. Here's what she had to say.

I am absolutely obsessed with all things wedding flowers. I start getting itchy if I don’t have lots of weddings on (like now with Covid restrictions). I love diving into the details of colour palettes, texture and tone. Each wedding is different, even the same colour palette at the one venue, there’s always something new and that is a source of endless excitement to me. I am constantly learning new things in business and in floristry and am a collector of beautiful vessels and props. 

Click here to get in touch with Jess at Sassafras Weddings

I think that some great florists just have an innate gift, understanding the principles and elements of design is not the be all and end all. Being open and appreciative of beautiful, natural ingredients and what they can do. Allowing quality product to shine through. 

What’s your personal philosophy on becoming a great florist?

Why did you start Sassafras Flower Design? 

I’ve always been a florist - moving to the hills with my husband and children I realised I was in flower country pretty quickly and the business just organically grew. Working weekends made sense, while my husband worked during the week and we just juggled 4 children in between. About 18months ago my husband quit his job to help me in the business part time while taking on most of the kid stuff as well. 

What inspired you to enter the floral industry? 

My fantasy job is set scout / set design for film. I would love to travel the world to find the perfect space for an historical film and dress the set. Down to the very last, accurate detail.

If you weren't the Owner + Head Designer of Sassafras Flower Design,
what would you be doing instead, or what would your life be like? 

The use of toxic floral foam. One of the easiest, most cost effective ways to reduce the dreadful impact our industry has on the environment. 

What’s one floral trend you think should be left in the past? 

Lovely open garden style florals. Under-styled and abundant and showcasing their natural quirks. 

What’s one trend you hope to see more of?

Lush, abundant and full of flowers.

What is your style?

More colour, more texture, less prescriptive briefs. Magic things happen when you are open to new possibilities. 

What you’d love to see for 2021 season?

PJ Harvey.

If you could flower for any celebrity’s wedding, who would it be?

Jess, do you have a favourite installation?

"I have a new favourite every week, but this instal from our shoot together is pretty epic!"

Find a florist who’s portfolio naturally aligns with what you are looking to achieve, and that you are comfortable communicating your brief to. Once they have your brief, however detailed or loose that may be, then let them do their work. Surrounding yourself with quality, experienced vendors is a great way to alleviate wedding planning stress.

WHAT IS ONE THING YOU WOULD LOVE ALL COUPLES TO CONSIDER WHEN LOOKING FOR THEIR FLORIST? 

A beautifully designed ceremony arbour helps to set the scene for the rest of the wedding. The style and colour palette can do so much to bring your individual vibe to a venue and hold the ceremony space. What’s better than being surrounded by incredible flowers?!

What is the benefit of a ceremony arbour?

Intentionally curated and designed wedding florals can do so much to personalise the reception. I do a lot of work at the same venues week after week and it’s incredible how different a space can look by adding flowers. Understated, artfully placed modern arrangements have a totally different effect from lush draping foliages and large impactful hanging installations.

How can flowers/styling impact the feel for a reception?