Ashleigh Kington at Carshalton florist Rhubarb & Bramley

PUBLISHED: 14:40 25 May 2018

Rhubarb & Bramley head florist, Ashleigh Kington

Rhubarb & Bramley head florist, Ashleigh Kington

Andy Newbold Photography

As all eyes were focussed on Prince Harry and Meghan Markle for their big day this month, brides to be across the globe were looking to gain inspiration for their own nuptials. Flowers are a huge part of any wedding day, as Ashleigh Kington, head florist at Rhubarb & Bramley knows too well

Weekends are big business for a florist and particularly where I work at Rhubarb & Bramley in Carshalton, as we specialise in wedding flowers and the dressing and flower design of wedding venues (and most weddings happen on a Saturday).

To ensure a wedding goes seamlessly, the work for my team and I begins on Friday morning when we take delivery of stock and I carefully and diligently inspect each and every stem. They are individually cut and I spend time levelling each head, in order to ensure that they’ll receive the optimum nutrients. For example the flowers that we receive from Holland (we use local suppliers where possible also) may have been sitting in the same water for two days and begun to seal at the stalks. So simply cutting them at a slight angle, allows them to open up again. This process is known as conditioning. Specifically for the wedding table centrepieces, I’ll arrange them in water and oasis as required.

Between 6am and 7am on the Saturday, we begin to load one of our refrigerated vans, carefully wrapping the display pieces and encasing the bridal bouquets in satin ribbon. We reach the wedding venue between 8am and 9am and begin setting up the ceremony room in earnest. We work quickly and efficiently, dressing the ends of pews or tying arrangements to each chair, before moving on to the reception area.

The most nerve-racking part, is undoubtedly presenting the bridal bouquets to the bride at her home. You’ll see her instant reaction as she sees what we have discussed and created. I never tire from their heart-warming emotion and excitement! On occasions we’ll see the bride and groom the following morning as we begin to dismantle our wedding venue displays and it’s wonderful to congratulate them and chat about their big day.

After all the hard work in the lead up to a wedding, the majority of my Sundays are relatively relaxed. I live in Langley Vale with my new husband (we married in October) and at the bottom of our road, there is a pathway to the downs. Often we have a stroll down there on a Sunday afternoon. I like a nice roast so sometimes we’ll go to The Well House Inn in Chipstead for a traditional pub lunch.

On the occasions I get a weekend off I love to have dinner out with my husband and friends. I have three sisters so we love doing girly things together, which usually involves a shopping trip!

Rhubarb & Bramley, 31-33 High Street, Carshalton, SM5 3AX; rhubarbandbramley.co.uk; @rhubarbandbramley

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