If you’re looking for the WOW factor for your bridal bouquet and centerpieces, I recommend you get to know the work of Atelier Carmel. I was instantly drawn to their unusual, garden-inspired style and contacted the owner Carmel Sabourin to see if I could interview her for my blog. Carmel embodies everything that is fresh and innovative in bridal and event flower arrangements. We’ve had a few events together and the originality and beauty of her work always takes my breath away.
As a wedding photographer, I get a lot of questions about flowers and bouquets, so I thought I would ask the expert. I met with Carmel at her charming storefront location in Plateau Mont-Royal (close to downtown Montreal). I asked her to let me in on some of her trade secrets and her work philosophy.
Q: What words would you use to describe your style?
A: Garden-inspired, organic, natural, loose and wild.
Q: What differentiates you from other florists who offer flowers for events and weddings?
A: The main difference would be the aesthetic. I work differently from other florists. People come to me for the specific aesthetic that I have. Almost all my brides come to me with a loose garden look. It’s a specific style that I’m able to do really well. It’s getting more popular but it’s actually very hard to do.
Q: Do you like clients to bring you pictures and ideas of what they want?
A: I like it when clients bring me a Pintrest board which gives me a good idea about what they want.
Q: What do you think is important when choosing flowers for a wedding?
A: I like working with flowers at the height of their lushness. When I pick the flowers, there is such a huge range of things I have to consider. Price is one of the considerations. And I work mainly with seasonal flowers. Flower selection is done about 3-4 weeks before the event so I know what I can get.
Q: What flowers do you recommend for winter weddings?
A: There are lots of flowers available for winter weddings. Most spring flowers get a head start in greenhouses and can be used for winter weddings. And in other countries (where the flowers come from) it’s warmer. For example, here it’s winter, but in Holland it’s already spring.
Q: Are there any flowers can best survive the cold weather?
A: Most spring flowers would be ok. But flowers don’t do well in below zero weather. So I would recommend doing the photos after the ceremony. Or if you’re doing the photos before the ceremony, consider getting a second bouquet. I’m all about saving my clients money, but that might be a good solution.
Q: What about summer weddings? What do you recommend to keep the flowers from wilting?
A: All my flowers come in jars of water. It’s worth putting the flowers back into water when they are not needed.
Q: When do you prepare the arrangements and bouquets?
A: We pick up the flowers 2 days before the event and create the arrangements the day before.
Q: What is the average price range for a wedding bouquet?
A: I’d say the average range is $200-$250. Unless the client wants something very big, which is actually becoming quite trendy right now. Enormous bouquets or if they want something that is especially expensive. For example peonies are always expensive except for the two weeks a year when we get local peonies. They’re always expensive but I usually only put 3 or 4 in a bouquet. Bridesmaids bouquets are about $100 each [There are less flowers and the bouquet is small than the bride’s bouquet.]
Q: And what about the prices for centerpieces?
A: There’s a big range. For example last year I did centerpieces for $12 and the most expensive was $400 per table. But I’d say the average is about $75-150. It really has to do with the amount of flowers.
Q: What other things do you offer for weddings?
A: Ceremony décor, big arrangements, arches, huppas. We do a lot of décor for the reception for example escort tables, sweet tables. We also offer boards and displays to rent. Flower girls baskets, corsages, whatever people need for the event.
Q: How far in advance do you book your clients?
A: I only start meeting clients a year in advance. I would say my average is about 6-8 months before the wedding. But I also have a lot of clients who call me and the wedding is in two months. I am able to book multiple weddings on a weekend.
Q: Any tips or advice to impart to future brides?
A: I would say focus on the general feeling/aesthetic and a colour palette that you want. If you have a favorite or meaningful flower, that’s worth mentioning to the florist. But don’t get fixated on specific flowers. I create my flower arrangements based on the colour palette and budget.
Q: What is the best way to reach you?
A: Email is the best and meetings are by appointment only.
All Photos by Kate Fellerath