Cape Town could very well be the first city ever to run out of water.  Prediction is that water supply will run dry on 21 April 2018.  We are currently in the midst of a very serious drought.


We need to work together to help conserve our precious resource and to change the way we use our water. 


Level 6B water restrictions are now in effect which means that each household must use less than 50 litres of water per person per day.  These restrictions entail a ban on all use of municipal drinking quality water for outside and non-essential purposes. Municipal drinking water is to only be used for essential washing, cooking and drinking purposes and only indoors.

If you have good reason for higher consumption one needs to provide the City with adequate motivation to justify and this is going to become more and more difficult to justify.


Reality is that we need to be taking the drought very, very seriously.  Although most households are making an attempt to keep within the restrictions it does not seem to have registered that we need to apply behavior modifications outside of the home as well. 


For florists operating from home and who do not have a borehole or well point we are in big trouble!  How are we possibly going to keep going through the current wedding season?

Brides are in love with garden fresh flowers eg hydrangeas, roses, ranunculas, anenomes, tulips.  These flowers need a LOT of water.  Not only do they need to be properly prepped they need a constant water supply.  I did some homework the other day and took a look at an average size wedding I do florals for.  My buckets hold 20 litres of water and I use a minimum of 30 buckets per wedding.  Oasis needs to be soaked in water prior to use.  Once arrangements are complete the vases need to be filled and on set up day we need to top them up or refill (particularly if using glass vases where one can see any residue from stems and leaves that may have dropped into the water).  On completion of a wedding all the buckets and vases need cleaning.  A conservative estimation is therefore 500 litres of water per wedding.  That is the daily allowance for 5 people.


Using grey water, other than for cleaning out buckets is not feasible for these fragile flowers.

We seriously need to be altering how we think.  As devastating as it is not to fulfill dreams of luscious garden flowers we need to endeavor to change the way we think and the way brides to be are thinking.


South Africa is rich with the most awesome indigenous flowers and foliage.  Yes, I understand that this is not everyone’s vision but the thought of having drinking water rationed is a far worse concept.  Indiginous plants are all around us.  Think about Proteas, leucadendrums, barbaton daisies, reeds and ericas to name only a few.   Aloes and succulents are another option and make extremely striking and different floral features or can be included in arrangements and bouquets with the bonus of being right on trend.


I am heartbroken that we will need to think differently.  There is nothing a floral designer enjoys more than arranging with lovely soft, fresh, beautiful smelling garden flowers. 


I have been pushing myself to start thinking out of the box and how we can create stunning table décor using less garden flowers.   These are some of the ideas I came up with :


  1. A stunning tablecloth should be the canvas.  Brides will need to explore napery and use rich colours, textured cloths, layering or florals which will create an immediate impact.

Consider incorporating a floral serviette.

  1. We need to be aware that vases and containers can be an integral part of our table décor and look for patterned and textured vases than can be offset by more minimalistic florals.
  2. Candles, candles, candles and lighting.  If we use more candles on our tables we will need less florals.  Use candles in different heights, different sizes in a selection of candleholders and/or candelabra. Taper candles, pillar candles, floating candles.  People are already becoming adventurous using coloured candles to set off table décor.  We no longer just use plain white candles.
  3. We have always glossed over the use of glassware and generally brides choose to go with the standard wine glasses provided by venues.  However, this is another aspect of table décor that can add detail and/or a fun element.  Cut glass always looks incredible with flickering candlelight, a coloured wine glass or even a drinking glass that it just a little bit different.  Every element adds another “layer” on to your table décor.
  4. Concentrate on incorporating really special stationery elements.  Interesting stationery always packs a punch.  People love personalized stationery.  Do not be afraid to use pattern, colour and awesome fonts.


I am really emphasizing what I have always said.  Great table décor is not just one element alone but rather a variety of different elements, working together to create wow tablescapes.


We will need to step out of our comfort zones and really examine how we work.  Water shortages are not going away.  In the long term our water supplies are inadequate even if we do experience some good rainfall.  In the immediate we are facing catastrophe and I cannot even envisage the chaos that is going to ensue should our water supplies dry up to the extent that households will need to be rationed with daily drinking water.


At the very least let us attempt to reduce the number of garden type imported flowers that are used for weddings.  A bucket or 2 of roses for bouquets we can probably just manage.


I look forward to seeing how we all are going to step up to the challenge -  florists, brides, co-ordinators alike and I know there is going to be incredible creativity.  I am by no ways saying that there is no way we can do garden flowers, I am just saying we are going to have a new normal.


Bright and Beautiful will not start adding an extra charge onto our floral arrangements to enable us to buy bottles of water for our buckets and vases.  Unfortunately, much of the bottled water is from the drought stricken areas which makes no sense.  I will be keeping my eyes open to buy bottled water from areas outside the drought zone.  We need to learn to VALUE water. 

JUST SAYING..............a little something about bouquets

Trends come and go and like anything else in the industry certain styles of bouquets become fashionable.  It is fun looking back at wedding pictures over time and seeing the kind of bouquets which were popular through the years.

As a floral designer we are always anxious to show off our skills and keep abreast with what is currently fashionable.  After many years of what I liked to call the "lollipop" we slowly saw less structured bouquets evolving into very loose, ragged bouquets with a just picked look.  This particular type of bouquet, together with various cascading bouquets, are now right on trend.  These bouquets are fun to make and entail a good deal of foraging to achieve the informal, just picked flower look.  We have seen some incredible bouquets in recent months.  We all get caught up with trends.  Week in and week out we are now producing hanging floral arrangements and the oh so ever popular floral or greenery runner.  Let me not deviate.

As I stood a while back waiting for the first glimpse of my bride I suddenly had what Oprah Winfrey refers to as "a light bulb" moment.  Are we as florists not getting a little carried away with wanting to produce our very showy bouquets?  The wedding dress, in many cases, has cost a considerable amount of money.  Dresses often have elaborate belts/sashes, bead work and detail and here we are hiding the creation behind a huge bouquet of greenery and flowers at a significantly less cost in comparison to the dress.  I think we should stop a moment and be a little more contemplative about the kind of bouquet we create and/or suggest to brides.  Are we ensuring that we obtain a picture of the dress before we make suggestions?  Are we just blindly following our brides-to-be collection of Pinterest bouquets and not insisting on seeing a picture of their dress.  Obviously, if the bride has chosen a fairly simple dress a large bountiful and beautiful bouquet would definitely be a good choice.  Other factors that should be considered when choosing your bouquet, other than the style of your dress, is your height.  Tall girls can carry off large bouquets whilst a shorter person that is very slight would be utterly overwhelmed by a large bouquet.

Overseas, particularly in USA, floral designers work closely with dress designers to ensure that the bouquet (and choice of flowers for the hair) will all be balanced and complimentary.  I feel that most of us skim over the detail of the actual dress, figure and personality type of brides-to-be.  We are not pointing out how heavy a bouquet is to hold, the importance of holding your bouquet correctly (we have all had the experience of a bride who wanted a cascading bouquet and when we have seen photographs they have been carrying them the wrong way around -  true story)! 

My light bulb moment means that I am going to concentrate a lot more on creating bouquets that suit the brides physique, her personality and compliments the style of her dress and, if the dress is very detailed, suggest a softer, more simple bouquet.

I do just want to end my "just saying" by mentioning that it is my hope that we are seeing the end of floral crowns.  I think we all went a little bit crazy and again, so much depends on height, style of dress and being able to put it all together so that bride or bridesmaids do not look like walking floral arrangements.  Do not get me wrong, there have been some astoundingly beautiful floral crowns, looking awesome on brides and bridesmaids, but I think there have been an equal amount where enthusiasm has got the better of being sensible.

Photographers:  Leanne Evans, The Picturess, Love Made Visible, Tasha Secombe, Moira West, Jani B, DK Photography, Mooi Photography

Easter Wedding

Choosing to have your wedding over the Easter weekend makes a lot of sense if you have family living either abroad or who will be travelling from other parts of South Africa to share your special day.  The long weekend makes travel more feasible and takes the pressure off those guests attending your wedding from afar.

I love Easter weddings as incorporating bunnies and easter eggs into the various decor elements is a lot of fun.  A little bunny peeping out of a floral runner is cute and quirky and decor can remain stylish and elegant.  An element added into your table decor that brings a smile, stimulates conversation and is unusual is always a winner. Easter eggs as gifts for guests can be presented in a myriad different ways and, most definitely will add to table decor.  You can have so much fun with packaging ideas.  As an aside, I always try and incorporate some element of fun/surprise into our table decor.  Stationery is usually my chosen way of enhancing table decor and is an element which allows endless possibilities and scope. 

What you need to know is that Easter weddings are going to cost you extra. Bad news, but the reality is that it is a long weekend and a time that families choose to either go away or spend time together.  Zap -  extra labour cost!  Firstly, be warned that many floral designers do not even choose to work over the Easter weekend.  Those that do will, most probably, be charging extra.  Whether you choose to be married on the Saturday after Good Friday or Easter Sunday it means that all labour will be charged at an increased rate which can be as much as double the normal rate.

Easter Sunday or Monday weddings also means that we will need to take delivery of our flowers on the preceeding Thursday resulting in added pressure to keep them looking fresh and beautiful for your wedding day.

The flower market has a wonderful way of increasing prices over public holidays which include Christmas, Easter, Valentines Day and Mother's day and this also affects our quotations for floral arrangements. 

I am not sharing this information to scare you off planning an Easter weekend but rather to empower you with the knowledge that your wedding flowers and labour are going to cost you more.

If you are having an Easter wedding please don't forget to add some fun elements.  Happy planning.


Shopping around for the cheapest quote

Today I would like to touch on brides shopping for the cheapest quotes and maybe just make a few suggestions as to why I don't think that this is necessarily a good idea.

The plain simple truth is you get what you pay for.  Flowers are, of course, a little more difficult than, for instance, buying a pair of shoes or a motor car.  In that scenario you can go along to the shop and compare apples with pears.  However, as we now live in a media driven society it is my suggestion that you take the time to go on to websites/facebook pages/blogs to see the work being produced by the particular florist/stylist you are thinking about.  Is their work of the standard you are expecting for you wedding?  How many weddings have they had featured in magazines, wedding blogs and are they transparent about sharing pictures of recent weddings on their own Facebook pages? How many years experience do they have within the industry?  Most importantly, and a bit more difficult to ascertain, do they use top quality flowers, are they reliable, are they known within the industry for their honesty and integrity?  Is their work exciting or do you see a repetition in what they are producing? 

A lot of energy goes in to conceptualisation and styling a wedding.  Bright and Beautiful have an energetic enthusiastic team.  We are motivated by treating each wedding, regardless of budget, as the wedding we would like to submit to a magazines or blog to be featured.  For us it is not only about producing flower arrangements.  We only use top quality fresh flowers and we go to endless pains to see that we source what we need to make each floral arrangement photo worthy.  Drooping heads, brown edges are not acceptable to us.  Everything we do is done with love and care.  More often than not we never leave the venue until we are satisified that everything is perfect and we have delivered exactly (if not more) than our clients expectations.  Our aim is to exceed your expectations.

I would be bold enough to say that all florists, of the same standard, are pretty much charging the same amount for what we do.  There are a few variables but if getting the cheapest quote is your aim I would say do your homework carefully if you have a certain expectation.  If the quote is significantly less be warned that there is a reason.  If it does not bother you what flowers are going to be used at your wedding and you quite simply want to go with the cheapest and you are totally unconcerned about the overall look that is fine.  Flowers are not a priority for everybody.  Many brides are just happy with a few simple jars of crysanths and greenery.

We like to meet our clients face to face and chat to them about their special day.  We are able to make suggestions/recommendations you may never have even considered.  We do not like to clone weddings from other designers.  We look at the ideas but then try to interpret them slightly differently to make your wedding uniquely yours!!

Your flowers are a large portion of your overall budget.  Take the time to visit websites/blogs etc, as I recommend and do some homework.  Word of mouth is very powerful.  Ask people if they know anything about the company you are interested in to do your flowers.  Take the time to make an appointment and chat to a couple of floral designers.  See whether they will be inspiring.  E-mailing a long list of us to give you a quote based on a collection of pictures is not really going to get you anywhere unless, as I said it is not at all important to you.  Choose 3 or 4 florists/stylists whose work you like and then make appointments to see them so you know you feel relaxed,happy and confident about putting your very special day into their hands.

I can assure you that none of us are over enthusiastic about putting quotations together without having met our client and chatting to them about the overall expectation and vision for the day.  Quotations take a lot of time and effort and yes, we are happy to give you a guideline/estimation of costs via e-mail, but that should not solely be what you base your choice on.

Our initial consultation is free and holds no obligation.  This is because we understand that your wedding is important to you.  We understand that it is important to have a good feeling and confidence with who you are working with.  Sometimes you may just not feel a connection and that is fine, move on.  We are also aware that it is difficult to ask  your boss for time off during the working day.  We are available for after hour appointments.  We have allocated Thursdays between 16h00 - 20h00 but we are totally flexible.  We are currently booking for 2017/2018 wedding season.  Drop me an e-mail and we will make an appointment time that will suit you.  We are located in the Claremont area close to Cavendish Square.

I look forward to hearing from you and PS Please following our link to look at some of our featured weddings and remember QUOTES without a meeting tell you nothing.

A florist - from the heart

I can, without hesitation, say that everyone that does floral design loves what they do.  To you, we are simple florists but we view ourselves as being creative artists working with flowers instead of paints.   No matter how many floral arrangements we have done,  each time we choose a vase, decide which flowers we are going to use in the arrangement,  we pour a little bit of our heart and souls into the artistry.  We continually strive to be better, to stretch our abilities and imagination.  We know we need to be on the cutting edge of fashion and trends and deliver work of a high standard in a fast growing and competitive wedding industry.

We enjoy learning from each other and admiring each other's work.  We get together, we have tea, we laugh together, we share experiences.  We are not afraid to ask for advice or even how to tackle a project.  We each have our unique style and each one is special.  South Africa can stand tall within the wedding industry as we set a very high standard alongside the most magnificent scenery/venues in the world.

Established floral designers can no longer hide behind gypsophila as our work is splashed across social media.  We strive to have our work featured on blogs and magazines.   Our work is out there for everyone to see.  We would all agree exposure is either by word of mouth or FB and blogs.   I am quite confident that by the time a bride-to-be contacts me she has some idea of my general style and the work I do.

Everyone should have a budget.  I find it particularly scary when I am told by a bride that they have no idea what the budget for flowers should be.  We all have a kind of subconscious radar of what we can and cannot afford.   I know when I walk into a shoe store  I am always drawn to shoes that, when I turn them over,  has a price tag far too high.  I have no option but to put the shoes back on the rack and look for a pair that has a price tag better suited to my budget. 

I believe that every girl deserves the day of her dreams.  I work within all budgets.  If you are transparent and let me know what you can afford I will try and style and create something that will be pretty and wear the right price tag.   However, if you come to me and show me pictures of huge full arrangements consisting of peonies, hydrangeas, orchids and roses and you wish me to create these for you with a totally unrealistic budget I am not able to do so. I always use this analogy -  visit your local Woolworths, pick up a packet of roses (there are usually 10 in the bunch), look at the price.  Now, look at the arrangement of flowers you see on Pinterest and count as many of the roses as you can.  This should give you some idea of cost.  There are also numerous posts on the internet regarding what percentage of your overall wedding budget you should have for your flowers.   Remember that you have to factor in transportation and set-up fees.

As much as we all love what we do and don’t even see working with flowers as a job a lot goes into a simple flower arrangement for a wedding.  Usually, these simple flower arrangements are x 10, x 12, x 20 or even x 50.  We have to source the flowers, accurately work out how many stems each arrangement will require, collect the flowers (and this has to be timed perfectly so that your roses are not too closed or not too open on your wedding day).  We need to ensure that we have sufficient oasis and the correct materials for our arrangements, we use flower food and flower and foliage sprays to protect the flowers in heat, we drive from place to place collecting the most suitable flowers and greenery.  It is not a one stop shop.  When flowers have been collected we need to start treating them with tender, loving care immediately.  We fill buckets and buckets with water, strip off the leaves, cut the stems so the flowers can drink and In the case of, for example hydrangeas, we need to handle with particular care which requires boiling kettles, plunging into cold water and so on.  A lot of behind the scenes work that needs to take place before we even begin the arrangements.  We can’t do it all alone.   Please remember our life is on line as our reputation goes out with each bowl of flowers and we cannot afford to have roses with brown edges etc.  Our work is our business card.

I  do not want to bore you with details but I do want you to appreciate the work that goes into what, may appear to be, a simple flower arrangement.  Spare a thought for us too as when arrangements have been completed we have to pack them into a truck to transport to your venue.  Very, very nerve wracking. 

So, what is the point of all this?  Please just take a little time to appreciate what we do.  Try and understand the hard work that goes into it all.  Trust us and give us the flexibility to buy what we feel is the best quality flowers at the market to create your flower arrangements.  We are not trying to fleece you as we are all (mostly) people just like you , working hard so we can pay our bills at the end of the month.  Most of us are not making millions and many of us have actually done florals for weddings where we have made no money at all.   Such is our passion for our job.  We want our floral work to be perfect, beautiful, to exceed your expectations, to amaze your guests, to photograph superbly and to be a joyous WOW moment on your special day.

I invest a lot of time getting to know each couple that entrust their flowers and décor to Bright and Beautiful.  It is important to me that what we style and conceptualise is a reflection of who you are.  I don’t want to copy another wedding that has been featured on a blog because I want your wedding to belong to you.  Be confident, be true to yourself and choose what you feel comfortable with.   Be upfront about what you can afford to spend on flowers and give your florist a chance to come up with something that suits your budget.  You may be surprised.    Please give us the opportunity to chat to you about your wedding, show and explain various options that you may have not considered. 

All of us find it difficult to give quotations via e-mail sent to us with loads and loads of pictures attached.  I am quite prepared to spend time with you discussing your flowers and my initial consultation is free with no obligation.    I do this because I care.   We all care.   You are real people and I am a real person.  Meaningful flower arrangements cannot be individualised and styled via e-mail.

It means the world to me to have happy brides.  I always become teary when I deliver your bouquet and see you in your dress!  I feel like we have walked along a wonderful path together.  Today is the day!  Months of planning, sharing ideas and brain storming and the curtain is about to go up.  I want you to live happily ever after with the beautiful aroma of the flowers we have created forever in your memory.



I love wedding cakes.  As far as I am concerned they are one of the traditions that I don't like to see kicked to the sidelines.  So many brides say "nobody eats the cake" so what is the point?  The point is your cake forms an integral part of the decor.  For so many years wedding cakes were tucked away next to the bridal table and cut so late in the evening most guests hardly noticed it or were bothered when it was cut. Your choice of cake should be as carefully planned as any other aspect of your wedding.  The wedding cake is a long standing tradition dating back to Roman and Medieval times although, back then, they used a stack of buns instead of a multi-level culinary masterpiece.

Your cake should take centre stage. Traditionally wedding cakes were made to bring good luck to the guests and the couple and placed in a position of honour.  We love placing the wedding cake on the centre of the dance floor and encourage brides to cut the cake when making their first entrance as Mr. & Mrs.  This way everybody gets to be part of the moment, your photographer will get really great shots of you cutting the cake and it would have contributed to the decor.

Don't forget to think about the table on which your cake will be placed.  Will a beautiful tablecloth compliment the style of the cake or would you prefer to keep it simple?  What about a mirror on top of the table or perhaps even using something different to the conventional round table?  Remember to give your venue a special knife with which to cut the cake - maybe a wedding present or a family heirloom.  

Negotiate with your venue to serve the cake as dessert.  The addition of a delicious ice cream and some fresh berries will make it a worthy dessert.  Choose carefully when choosing the person who will be making your cake as it must not only look good butt be delicious as well!  There are many, many bakers out there and some amazing icing/finishing work but, unfortunately, a lot of sub-standard cakes when it comes to being moist, flavoursome and yummy.  It is quite in order to ask for a tasting.  You will, almost certainly, be charged a nominal fee.  Think out of the box when it comes to flavours.  It is very popular to have a different type of cake for each tier.

Over the centuries there have been many traditions created surrounding the cake and it still remains an important aspect of any wedding.

So take the time to plan the cake to reflect the couple.

From left to right Kanya Hunt t/a The Hunt House Kitchen;  Roxanne Floquet :  Laura Mitchell ;  Wades Cakes ;  The Birdcage ;  The Cake Duchess SA ;  Maison Gateau ;  Edible Art Cakes

Bright and Beautiful looking ahead

After being blessed with a really busy 2014/2015 wedding season we were were looking forward to putting our feet up for a break.  This doesn't seem to happen and are busy consulting with couples, sourcing new suppliers, hosted our annual Open Day in June, collaborated with a great team of people on a photo shoot, done flowers for funerals and small functions as well as being nominated to participate in the Top Vendor Wedding Awards.

In our industry we are only as strong as our weakest link and I am totally reliant on fabulous service providers.  Without them we would not be able to provide the service we do.  We aim for faultless styling, attention to detail, quality flowers as well as top class items such as dance floors, lighting, hiring supplies etc.

The biggest stress is availability and quality of flowers.  I have sometimes cried when all my ordered flowers are in buckets ready for arrangements, such is their unpredictability.  Whilst most brides are understanding and are happy for me to use the best quality flowers available on the market others have set their hearts on a particular flower or colour.  I go to extreme efforts to supply, but try to avoid importing because of costs.  I am extremely grateful to the wondeful flower suppliers I work with.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart for always going the extra mile for me.  I appreciate it that you keep me posted as to availability, let me know when flowers I have ordered are not up to scratch and suggest alternatives.  My flower arrangements always look fresh and so many people will be amazed that wedding flowers are still looking incredible 2 weeks after the event. 

I have worked with freelance florists and Jose, Fabulous Flowers has assisted Bright and Beautiful over the last couple of seasons.   I am extremely happy that a very special florist, by the name of Joy, has joined me.  She has been the flower industry for 27 years and brings a wealth of experience and expertise with her. I look forward to lots of happy moments spent together as we work with flowers and pour our love in to floral arrangements.

My set up team, even if I say so myself, are the BOMB!  These guys rock.  Trustworthy, efficient, reliable and the list goes on.  When I look over my shoulder to find them with a bottle of windolene in one hand and a cloth in the other wiping down every single perspex chair in the venue, without asking, I am just amazed.  Cutlery always neatly placed, glasses and chairs stand in rows like soldiers, they fetch, they carry, they smile and nothing is too much trouble for them.  It is nerve wracking packing all our arrangemens in the back of the truck and setting off to the wedding venue.  No breakages, everything perfect.  All I can say is I LOVE you guys. I don't know what I would do without you. 

The rising cost of flowers and petrol is a huge challenge.  Unfortunately, as a result of blogs, Pinterest, FB brides-to-be are building up unreaslistic expectations.  However, if you are upfront and open to suggestion there is no doubt that beautiful arrangements can be created.  Give your stylist/florist a chance to show you what can be done with what you have to spend.  You may be pleasantly surprised.  Try and be flexible and listen to suggestions we have. Keep in mind that delivery/set-up costs need to be factored in as well as the hiring of vases and other table decor items, if required.  Please take a look at our PRICING guideline on our website.  This should assist you when planning your budget.

As always, we look forward to the new season.

Keeping guests happy

I was motivated to put my penny in after reading the blog post below: and after lots of google and plenty of laughs it would seem that there are definitely top guest peeves.  Regardless of country or season they are all very much the same.  I would like to ditto and highlight, from my own experience, what tops making guests uncomfortable.

Yes, it is your day and you deserve to have the day of your dreams.  Keeping your guests happy plays an important part of a successful day.  These are the top five things, that in my opinion, make guests uncomfortable.

1.  Absolutely, at the top of the list is keeping guests waiting too long between the ceremony and dinner i.e. pre-dinner drinks.  It really doesn't matter what entertainment you provide to keep your guests occupied.  Anything over 1 hour 30 mins is too long.  It is the major gripe that we need to deal with as co-ordinators.  Agitated guests pushing to be seated.  How much longer do we need to wait?  On our side we are trying to keep everybody happy until we have candles lit and are ready for seating.  After all, we want all guests to experience the "wow" moment we have been working on for months.  This is an issue that needs to be dealt with alongside your photographer before your big day.  It is discourteous to keep your guests standing around too long, plain and simple.  We all know that you want to get as many amazing photographs as possible but an experienced photographer should be able to manage a do-able schedule within a 90 minute period.

2.  Not having a seating plan.   The first thing guests look for when arriving at the reception is the seating plan.  People relax when they know where they will be seated and with whom.  You do not want anxious guests.  You want happy, relaxed guests that are not worried about scrambling into dinner and finding a seat.  I would go as far as to say that I favour both a table number as well as a personalised place setting for each guest.  Seating guests swiftly and as effortlessly as possible is definitely what we strive to do.  We allow 20 mins to seat guests.

I always advise my bridal couple to ask their photographer to take some shots mingling with the guests just prior to seating.  30 mins before we are ready to seat the guests we start lighting candles.  This is an ideal moment for the bridal couple to sneak a preview of the venue - flowers and decor that have taken months to plan.  It is also a moment to take a breath before the "second" round of events.  You can also avail yourselves of an opportunity to "freshen up" whilst guests are being seated. 

3.  Outdoor weddings in South Africa during the summer without adequate shading, water etc.  Everybody is so conscious of not being exposed to excessive sunlight.  Nobody plans to be seated in the baking sun for over 30 mins all dressed up to the nines!  If you are planning an outside ceremony you should ensure that you have organised adequate shade cover for guests, water upon arrival, sunscreen and also ensure that your celebrant is sensitive to the fact that your guests are outdoors. By the same token, sitting shivering in the cold is also unpleasant.  Ensure that you have planned and are sensitive to your guests needs.  It will be much appreciated.

4.  Speeches that are too long are simply just plain boring and awful.  Momentum is lost and no matter how clever, witty and eloquent your speech makers are, anything over 40 minutes is insufferable!  Sorry, I am being so blunt but, fortunately or unfortunately, I am just saying it as it is.  It is common knowledge that the majority of human beings can only concentrate for 40 mins, so anything longer means you have lost your audience.  Guests do not want to hear about school achievements etc.  Keep speeches relevant and in the here and now concentrating not on individuals but the couple.

5.  Large floral arrangements that totally block being able to see and converse with people opposite.  Weddings are the one time when magnificent large flower arrangements, candelabra etc. can be used as table decor.  For once in your life you can be over the top but make sure that your stylist/florist is sensitive to the comfort of your guests by not having humungous flower arrangements blocking free flowing conversation.  If we are setting a rectangular table we place taller/larger arrangements in front of the side plates and not directly opposite the place setting.  Arrangements should be on thin stemmed tall vases above eye level.  It is even more important on a round table that arrangements are either below of above eye level.  Candles flickering directly at eye level should also be avoided.  Ask your co-ordinator to be aware of any decor that is obstructing conversation between guests so they can remove or re-position it with minimal fuss.  Even though it is extremely annoying to find that an arrangement blocks your flow of conversation it also enfuriates me when guests sit down, take it upon themselves to remove an arrangement and place it on the floor.  Very rude and ungracious. 

Having touched on the issues of what guests dislike I think a blog post should be devoted to guest etiquette.  The behaviour of invited guests astounds me at times.  I will leave you with this thought, until next time......

Best dressed grooms - The suit & Boutonnieres

As the engagement ring is placed on the finger girls start thinking about their wedding dress for the special day!  So often the man in your life is left to his own devices selecting a suit for himself and his bestmen.  Whilst there are some very capable and very fashion conscious men out there a large majority don't seem to put enough emphasis on wearing a well fitted suit and so often badly fitted suits, hired from rental companies, are worn and they definitely don't hit the mark.

It is well worth your while to see a consultant when choosing a suit for your wedding.  It should be considered an investment for your wardrobe and you may as well get it right.  I was happy to take my son to Rozanne, Moi Styling to pick out a suit (not for his wedding!) and whilst there we chatted about suits, weddings and some of the bad suit etiquette we see at various weddings we are involved with.

Here are some pointers :

1.  Suit jackets -  the bottom button on a suit, if a 2 or 3 buttoned jacket, should always be left undone.  This facilitates the fit of the jacket and doesn't restrict movement.  If you have a 3 buttoned jacket you have the option of only buttoning the top button but you may button the top two. On a lot of photographs only the bottom button is buttoned and this causes the jacket to "bulge" around the midriff and makes the jacket look ill fit.

2.  The placing of the boutonniere  (see notes on boutonniere below)

3.  The length of pants.  A good tip is to stand on a table without shoes.  Tuck the hem of the pants up so that they are just touching the floor.  This should be the perfect length and just right when you put on your shoes.  Of course the width of your pants and the type of shoe you are wearing also needs to be taken into consideration.

4.  Length of jacket arm sleeve.

The boutonniere has a long history.  A lot of grooms/bestmen are opting for not wearing boutonnieres or are adopting funky ideas instead.  Whilst I have no problem with these ideas eg. badges, rosettes they still need to be properly placed on the lapel of the jacket.  Very often because it is a badge or rosette it is placed on the pocket or above the pocket and, quite frankly, it just looks wrong!  I really did not think I would need to point out that the stem of the boutonniere should be placed down.  A ladies corsage is pinned with the flowers down!!

The boutonniere is worn on the left lapel of a man's suit jacket.  A good jacket has a sturdy buttonhole that should support the weight of the boutonniere.  It sometimes has a latch to keep the stems in place but if not the stem would have been bound and finished attractively by your florist making it easy for you to pin onto the lapel. 

Tradition was that the groom's boutonniere should be slightly different to those worn by the bestmen and, of course, the choice of flower/flowers should be the same as those used in the bridal bouquet.

I like small compact boutonnieres and do not like some of the overdone corsage, small posy type of boutonnieres as I find that they can look somewhat overwhelming.

Navy blue suits in various shades, light through to dark navy, are trending for weddings.  Understandably, one cannot expect each of your bestmen to buy the same suit but do watch out for ending up with an array of different navy blues.   Unfortunately, whilst the eye is quite forgiving photographs really pick up the differentiation and it is just something, I think, you should be aware of.  It is for this reason that perhaps the groom buys himself a good suit and the bestmen hire their suits.  When hiring be specific about fitting and there is no reason why they should not see that the length of the pants is correct as well as the length of the jacket sleeve.

Your suit jacket should end above the top of your wrist bone.  Your shirt sleeve should end at the base of your hand and when fitted some of the shirt cuff will show.  When not fitted properly long jacket sleeves result in you looking sloppy whilst showing too much cuff makes your jacket look as if it is too short for you. 

Growing up my mother always used to say "don't let your clothes wear you, wear your clothes" and, even though I am a woman, I believe the same applies to men.  Men who wear and take ownership of the suit they are wearing, attending to the most flattering cut and tailoring, always look masculine and in control.  They look confident, debonair and handsome.  Most women cannot resist a good looking man in a suit (even better in a dress suit)!

Shape up guys and dolls and don't leave the fitting or buying of suits to the last minute.  Ask your bestmen to take the matter seriously after all you all want to look dashing.  If you feel you are unable to pull it off yourself ask for help.  As mentioned, Rozanne from  will be able to do a great job of dressing you for your wedding.  She does not charge for a consultation and you will be surpised at the well priced suits she is able to obtain for you.

Good luck. 

The use of colour

Colour is a very powerful and simple tool which can be used to create atmosphere and ambience  This applies not only to weddings but any occasion you are planning where you want your guests to have a WOW experience.

People tend to limit the use of colour to flowers, linens, stationery, ribbons etc.  Of course, this is a great way to use colour, but I would strongly suggest that you can introduce your colour scheme in other ways that will definitely keep your guests talking!

Most people tend to deal with flowers & decor as a separate issue.  By  simply working with your chef, catering company or venue and discussing how your colour could be incorporated into the menu will add unexpected elements of fun and keep guests enchanted with not only the visual experience but the celebratory experience/occasion in general.

Lighting also creates an amazing atmosphere and something as simple as putting colour filters onto up lighters in the corners of a room can make an incredible difference.  Soft candlelight, coloured light and filtered light is more flattering, calming and will undoubtably enhance the general ambience.  This need not be expensive and most DJ's will be happy to assist with some spot lights and colour filters.

In order to maximise a guests experience and ensure a lively atmosphere you need to set a pace.  Little touches, little experiences and elements of surprise throughout the day/evening will pay bigger dividends than too much of one thing.  If your guests are happy and having a good time your occasion will definitely be a success.

Happy planning!

~Neva Ward~


occasion (noun)

A particular time, event, ceremony, celebration


may refer to party, festival, feast

Reflecting on the meaning of the word occasion I realise that I have only experienced three great occasions in my life.  My marriage and then the birth of my two boys.  We have, however, had many celebrations in our home - birthdays, christmas, school leaving, graduation etc.  These are always marked by good food, wine, friends and family which usually results in a party!

A wedding is a one-off (or should be).  A particular date and time is selected which creates an event, a ceremony takes place (religious or secular) to solemnise the moment and thereafter a celebration takes place.

I have often had a couple telling me they just want to have a party.  I quite understand the feeling that the day should be fun and enjoyed by all, but at the same time it is definitely not just a party.  It is an occasion where two people are making a life long commitment to eachother.  Serious stuff.  The guests are witnessing the promises that are being made and true friends and family should be present, not mere acquaintances.

I personally cannot get my head around having carnival and circus themes for a wedding.  Yes, it would create great decor opportunities and elements of fun but for me best suited to an engagement party or milestone birthday.  A wedding is a once off opportunity to do all things grand.

It is the opportunity to wear the most beautiful and stunning dress you can find, to compliment it with a beautiful hair style to have your groom looking ultra sexy in an immaculate suit, debonnaire with a boutonnaire!! When can you ever do this again?  Along with this goes a certain sophistication and good food, wine, dancing, flowers, soft lighting, candles, music, friends and family will be the formula for the celebration of the occasion.  Nothing needs to be over the top but what you choose should be done immaculately and befitting to the occasion.

By all means introduce something quirky, something fun and/or something unexpected but I say embrace the moment.  This special day is truly a once in a life time.  So special.

Whether you decide to have a breakfast or a lunch or a conventional dinner/dance just take the opportunity to make it an occasion.

With the cost of living escalating we are seeing the return of smaller more intimate weddings. Couples are being more discerning when compiling their guest lists and it is no longer acceptable for unmarried/single guests to expect to drag along partners.  When you consider that an average wedding is costing between R1,000.00 - R1,500.00 per person it is very ungracious to expect the couple to include long lost cousins, relatives and all work associates on their guest list.

When you receive a wedding invite in the post (it is wonderful receiving things in the post), it will give you a "taste" of what is to come.  Time, place, formal, informal.  Be polite and RSVP timeously and when the great day arrives guests put on your glad rags too!!

~Neva Ward~

About Bright and Beautiful, Flowers and Table Decor

We have just completed our 2016/2017 wedding season.  I have, as always, enjoyed each and every wedding that we have been involved with and the range of styles and decor.  Each wedding was unique and reflected the personalities of both bride and groom.  I hope that we surpassed all expectations.

We now look back and reflect on our business.  Are we competitive within the current market?  Is our standard consistent and do we offer a top class service to our brides?  These are just two of many questions we will be asking ourselves as we prepare for the 2017/2018 season. 

Our aim is to be intimately involved with each couple from the first consultation through to their wedding day.  We are relentless in trying to find the right style to best reflect a couple and to work within their specified budget.

Everyone has been affected by the current economic situation.  In my opinion, it is now more important than ever to work out a budget for your wedding and stick to it.  It is much appreciated when couples are transparent and honest about their budget.  It makes it much easier for all involved.  However, there also needs to be a more realistic approach to the cost of flowers and decor for weddings.

Consultations, styling, sourcing various items, ordering flowers, collecting flowers, floral materials, delivery, set-up and labour are all part and parcel of our preparations for a wedding and needs to be factored in.

The Pantone colour of the year is "greenery".  In two short seasons we have sprung from girls who did not want greenery to be included in any of their floral arrangements to brides wanting nothing but greenery.  Along with this is the perception that greenery is inexpensive.  We are doing one floral runner after the other.  The honest truth is that greenery is not inexpensive and in order to do a full and beautiful table runner we use a lot of greenery!  Our floral suppliers also watch trends and as soon as they see a demand on the market prices go up!  Yes, a lot of us do some foraging to make runners look interesting with varied greens and textures but even though this may be "free" it is our time and energy (to say nothing of sometimes feeling like we are thieves).

Soft and romantic is still the most popular choice for weddings.  Blush pink, white and cream seem to always top the list although now it is being softened with the use of greenery.  Florals are generally looser and more organic. Bright and Beautiful lean towards classic, timeless florals and judging by the number of green and white weddings we have completed over the years I think we can claim we are the Queen of Green and White decor. 

I urge interested couples to take advantage of our complimentary consultation. To facilitate working couples we consult on Thursday evenings between 16h00 - 20h00.   It is not possible for me to give accurate quotations based on pictures sent to me via e-mail.  There are too many variables. After our consultation, where I will be able to ascertain your requirements, budget etc., I will put together a detailed estimation of costs for you.  Besides the cost of your florals it is also important to ascertain whether you can develop a good, positive relationship with your florist/stylist and that you will be able to trust them with all aspects of your special day.

I love incorporating more garden type cut flowers into our arrangements.  We are able to access imported flowers more easily than in previous years (although this comes at a cost) so flower arrangements are filled with beautiful varieties of flowers.  Besides flowers I also place a great emphasis on lighting, which tends to be overlooked by many couples. The importance of good lighting absolutely and utterly cannot be underestimated.  It is not just one element that makes WOW decor it is all the contributing elements -  stationery, tablecloth choice, candles, lighting and so on.  It is my opinion that great decor is a balance of elements. Green and White always photographs well and looks stunning but we are braving more colour and life in arrangements.

And to answer my own questions!! Yes, Bright and Beautiful remains extremely competitive within the market.  We always use top quality flowers and give our clients value for their money and yes, our standard is consistent.  We go beyond the call to see that all aspects of our decor is faultless. We pride ourselves on our attention to detail and work alongside other service providers that are reliable and forerunners in their fields within the industry.   All bridal couples and weddings are dealt with professionally regardless of size or budget.

Happy wedding planning!

~Neva Ward~

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