FOCUS chatted to local floral stylist Sarah Hudson about her passion for all things botanical – in particular, wedding blooms …
Tell us about your backstory with florals; how did you get into the business?
I come from family who love gardening and nature.
It goes back to my grandpa. He was a very passionate gardener who grew the most beautiful seasonal blooms and an abundance of fruit and veg, especially citrus. He was an Anglican Clergyman at St Matthew’s in Windsor. My mother grew up arranging florals weekly for the church with my grandmother, using the florals and foliages grown by my grandfather in the rectory garden.
My mum also had a substantial garden whilst I was growing up in Port Macquarie. She would always have cut flowers from the garden arranged throughout our home and taught us the names of plants. Through all of this I have developed a big love for botanicals; however, it took a gap year from uni and a stint working at the Rivermark Café here in Port Macquarie, where I met Letitia Caldwell, to finally fall into the floral industry.
She was a florist and wanted to bring fresh flowers into her already thriving café. I took a traineeship with Lil and started to develop my skills in retail and wedding floral design, whilst attaining my certificate in floral design.
In that same year, I met my partner’s sister, who happened to run a successful wedding and event florist business in the NSW Southern Highlands. I put uni on hold and moved to Sydney to work with Kate and further develop my skills.
A move back to Port Macquarie and two beautiful babies later, I found myself taking a position at Touchwood Flowers with Marilyn Oultram, where I gained invaluable experience.
In 2014, I decided to take a leap and began work on building a studio in my home, so I could balance family life. Over the last few years I have worked on many weddings and events and also collaborated on great projects on the Mid North Coast and surrounding areas.
What is your favourite bloom and why?
This is always a hard question … I go through stages with particular foliages and flowers! I find I get infatuated with a particular colour and/or bloom combination, often related to the the season and what is abundant at the time. At this time of the year I love garden roses, stephanotis and dahlias. I also love seasonal blooms like flannel flowers and bridal protea.
They are only available for short periods throughout the year, which makes them extra special. I love any flowers or foliages arranged en masse! I will often just pick foliages from my own garden to display throughout my own home – maximum impact, minimal fuss and they last beautifully …
Describe your signature style?
I am known for my organic, hand picked styling. I am always thinking in colour, shape and texture! I love to work with lots of lush foliages and beautiful seasonal blooms and unique elements found during my foraging adventures and daily travels around the local area.
Mum and I also love to grow various florals and foliages in our own backyards. I love searching for something that is a little different from what is readily available at the markets. It means lots of country drives and searching for fresh and interesting materials to work with!
This month in FOCUS we are celebrating weddings. What do you love about working with brides for their special days, and what are the services you offer?
I specialise in weddings and events and only take a select number of clients each season.
I enjoy working on an individual needs basis – no two weddings will ever be exactly the same. From the first consult to when the final flower is placed, I work closely with each client to bring their vision to life. I offer personalised floral and event styling with attention paid to all the finer details.
This year I am planning more botanical workshops, in particular flower crown parties, perfect for bridal showers …
Do you have any advice for brides selecting their florist or flowers for their wedding?
Chose a florist who suits your overall style. Stalk their Instagram feed!
Keep it seasonal. This really helps with the overall spend and keeping the wedding budget in check. Be flexible with your choices with regards to floral varieties. Instead, select a colour palette and vibe and be open to letting your florist choose what is best and most readily available around the time of your wedding day.
Go local. Ask your florist to source as much of your materials as possible from Australian growers. Locally grown flowers are usually freshest, as they have not travelled long distances, and it also supports our local industry.
What are this year’s floral trends?
Opulent, nature inspired bouquets. These are unstructured, cascading, wild and asymmetric in styling and utilise seasonal blooms and abundant foliages.
Bolder, richer colour palettes with fun accents.
Strong, sculptural florals like orchids, anthuriums and proteas.
Dried foliages – palm fronds and pampas grasses have been making an appearance in oversized installations and arrangements.
Wreaths and circular style ceremony arbours are interesting and a perfect symbol for everlasting love.