What is your most memorable wedding?
For our Managing Director, Joanna Rhodes, probably her sister Laura's wedding. Not only was it an intensely personal wedding, the floral designs were so beautiful, she was almost in tears as she took them down the next day!
Describe your style in 5 adjectives.
Luxurious, quintessentially British, design-led, high-quality and beautiful!
What about your business are you most proud of?
The team: Some of our team have been with us for over 20 years. William Hayford ran his business as a family business, and this was something we wanted to continue when the company was re-branded and re-launched as Hayford & Rhodes in 2007. Our family ethos means we work together to deliver the best for our clients.
What is your No. 1 wedding planning tip for couples?
Plan ahead! Secure venues, caterers, florists and other suppliers as soon as possible... And let them take the stress. That's what we're here for, to make sure you're not stressed on your big day.
What is your favourite personal touch you have seen at a wedding?
When a very arty couple got all their equally-as-creative friends to contribute something to the wedding: Handwritten invites, calligraphy for the place settings, music and yes, Hayford & Rhodes flowers!
Describe your typical process with a couple.
We usually start by sending our brochure so the couple can get a feel of our style. Our Wedding Manager, Ava, then has an initial telephone call to ask questions around the date, venue (if known, not essential), theme (ditto! Often, we help clients decide a theme) and their budget. We then have a face to face at our wedding showroom, with some examples of our work. We also ask for as much information on the couple's ideas: Most come armed with an Instagram collection and/ or Pinterest board. Our quotes are entirely bespoke, and if we're not familiar with the venue, we may visit before we quote to make sure our ideas are relevant, suitable and feasible. After agreeing on a quote, we then stay in touch with the couple, who are welcome to a face to face whenever they want. In the lead up to the event, we work with the Event Manager at the venue, and the private Wedding Planner (if there is one) to ensure we have everything we need in place to get in and set up with minimum fuss. We never, ever stress the couple on the day, although we're always available for any last-minute emergencies. We manage the de-rig with the venue/ planner, as the last thing you need on the day after your wedding is to see the designs being dismantled. We also follow up after the wedding to get feedback.
What is the most interesting thing you have put in a bouquet?
Carrying on family traditions is always very meaningful for us. For example, Prince Harry ensured that he picked Forget-Me-Not and Lily of the Valley for Meghan Markle's bridal bouquet: They were flowers that his late mother, Diana, Princess of Wales, had in her wedding bouquet.
Is there a flower that has specific symbolism that you would recommend for couples?
Peonies happen to be the favourite flower of our Managing Director, Joanna Rhodes, and whilst their season is achingly short, they're a beautiful wedding flower that symbolise romance, prosperity, good fortune, a happy marriage, honour and compassion.
What is the most romantic flower and why?
Whilst flowers have their own meanings, flowers can mean different things for different people. Roses are of course the epitome of romance, but Peonies, Sweet Peas and Hydrangea are also very popular and have echoes of romance, love and new beginnings. Recently, we have also have a lot of requests for seasonal flowers to reduce the environmental cost of wedding flowers.
What should you do with the flowers after the wedding?
Some couples encourage guests to take away the flowers (and plants where used). We recycle our flowers in terms of waste, or pass them on to charities to be used to brighten up hospitals, hospices and similar.