Vic Brotherson, owner and founder of the hugely popular London flower shop Scarlet & Violet, shares all her greatest tips and insights with Bridebook in this wonderful Q&A. From Star Wars buttonholes to ‘meadowy’ flowers to essential budgeting secrets – this is definitely one of our juiciest Q & As yet!
How would you describe your signature style?
Gosh I have answered this question a few times and I still find it hard to put into words! I hope our signature are flowers that feel natural, uncontrived and meadowy, using blooms and greens that are interesting, detailed and textural . We arrange them as much as we can as if they have been picked and gathered from the garden, selecting tones and shapes that work alongside each other to build up to the finished bouquet or arrangement. It’s a bit like painting or drawing – layering and making sure that each stem has an impact whether just a subtle shadow or a shot of colour – each bunch is different and every day has its new beauties. We definitely tend to favour the more feminine, softer colours if left to our own choices.
What is your #1 tip for a bride deciding on flowers?
I can’t resist giving more than one! My top tips include looking at everything you can and seeing what you love, and making sure that the flowers you adore are available at the time of year of your wedding before you set set your heart on them. Choose your dress and venue first as these may have an impact on the colours and style of the flowers. If you’re not sure look at both options made into bouquets – brights or softs – and trial them by taking them home and have a posing hour in front of the mirror! See which works with your skin tone and wedding dress colour. Take pics, see what looks good in photos – this is the crucial thing as so much of the day is about creating beautiful memories. Keep an open mind don’t be too set on specific flowers, as you may see something when you go to the flower store that changes everything. Don’t be nervous or scared of looking at everything as even the most novice of flower buyers suddenly has a favourite and it’s always surprising you have more of an idea of what you love than you would imagine.
How do you add character to a men’s buttonhole?
I’m probably not the best at this as I do favour timeless flowers – I definitely encourage the gents to get involved and choose what they love, be it a bundle of herbs or a rose bud colour that they love- again I am always surprised at how suddenly the choices are made once there are actual flowers to look at, hold and smell. It can all get quite specific for these tiny little bundles but then again they are the only male element to the flowers so most chaps suddenly speak out. We have used star wars characters, scrabble letters, badges, tied with a variety of ribbons and embraced a few different nations with a nod to various cultures with native flowers and foliages – men’s buttonholes can be fun but remember they should not be overwhelmingly large. (Read more about grooms attire in our article here).
What is your best flower budgeting tip?
Get everything else right first, chairs and tables, linens etc. Think about anything else that’s going on the table too and where you are up to budget and space wise and work backwards- there are lots of ways to economise on flowers – be clever with single stems, be inventive with inexpensive blooms and foliage, be careful about doing them yourself as it can be too much. Be upfront about your ideal budget and then its up to us to make sure that the flowers are the most beautiful and suitable to work within that.
Can you describe the most challenging assignment you’ve had?
I can’t think of one where I have felt any more frightened than usual – I am still nervous every wedding we do – I take what we do very seriously and not until it is all under way does my Saturday turn into a relaxed afternoon and I can breathe again!
What was your favourite moment from Kate Moss’s wedding?
Seeing the bridesmaids walk down the meadow walkway outside the church, that was my breathe again moment.
Whose wedding would you most like to do the flowers for – past, present or future?
My daughter, Betsy- a while to go yet but then I’ll be able to make all my favourites – so she’ll have to get married early June!
What was your favourite moment from your own wedding?
I’ve been married for 20 years – I was a florist and we got married early July so we had boxes and boxes of English delphinium for the church all down the aisle – it was such a memorable moment- the rest of the flowers were pretty minimal which just goes to show really that it’s just picking the right bits to focus on as there are flowery moments and none flowery moments.