Bespoke Bridal Floristry tours with ECT Travel
Planning a wedding or looking for a hen party with a difference? As a specialist tour operator, we can create a totally bespoke floral tour in the UK or the Netherlands that is guaranteed to inspire and create lasting memories.
Wedding Planning Tours
We know that you can find inspiration on-line, but nothing compares with seeing things first hand. Our tailor made floristry tours for groups of 10+ are designed to help brides-to-be devise their overall concept, create mood boards and social media albums and even order their flowers straight from the soil.
Beautifully British with a Hint of the Hedgerow – a growing trend
When Prince William and Kate Middleton chose to fill Westminster Abbey with fields of flowering lily of the valley dug up from (and subsequently returned to) the Abbey’s grounds for their wedding back in 2011, they were ahead of a trend. Today, fashion and environmentally conscious brides are increasingly opting for locally grown, seasonal flowers arranged in informal, naturalistic displays. And the artisan British grower movement is thriving as a result with independent flower farms sprouting up right across the country. These entrepreneurial businesses, often run by women who have traded high flying, professional careers to work in the open air, are helping to reinvigorate the British flower industry.
ECT has well-established contacts with leading boutique flower farms all over the UK whose focus is on flowers and foliage that are as fresh as the dew with no air miles, no refrigeration and no chemicals. We are able arrange private tours with the growers so that brides can see where their flowers have been grown and even commission growers to raise flowers especially for them. Examples include
- The Great British Florist. Launched in 2012 by rural business enthusiast Heather Gorringe and her business partner San Montague and based at a working, 650 acre Duchy farm deep in the Herefordshire countryside, this all-British on-line florist shop’s founding philosophy is ‘grown not flown’. We can arrange a private tour with Heather so the bride and her guests can see the cutting patch where many of the flowers she uses in her displays are grown and learn about her philosophy first hand. Should inspiration strike, brides can order both buckets of blooms or bespoke displays from Heather who will ship them all over the UK.
- Far Hill Flowers. Justine Scouller’s cottage garden flowers are grown according to organic principals on her farm near Chepstow and the foliage is foraged from their woods and fields. Guests travelling with us have the chance to meet Justine and see the flowers she uses for her headily-scented natural arrangements while they are still in the ground.
- The Sussex Flower Farm grows glorious cut flowers on a one acre smallholding in West Sussex which owner, Shelley Marks-Thomson, supplies in mixed buckets for brides (or their friends and family) to arrange themselves. We can organise a private visit to inspire any bride looking for natural, unfussy and abundant British flowers for her special day.
Floral Demonstrations and Workshops
The growing trend for informal bouquets and arrangements that speak of the hedgerow rather than the hot house means that more and more brides are opting to do it themselves. We can arrange private demonstrations and workshops with leading floral artists where groups can learn how to make a variety of pieces from buttonholes to table centres and bridesmaids’ posies. For example, we can enhance a visit to Far Hill Flowers with a hands-on workshop with Justine where the bride and her friends will learn how to turn freshly picked flowers and foraged foliage into sweet smelling, natural – and highly fashionable – displays.
Flowers of the Netherlands - a curated style
Brides-to-be with more formal tastes will find all the inspiration they need on our bespoke Flowers of the Netherlands tour which can be designed to include the following:
- A visit to Meijer Roses. This family run rose breeding farm specialises in the production of the award winning Avalanche roses, wedding rose of choice for royalty and celebrities. We can arrange a private tour of the farm to see where these extraordinary, romantic blooms are raised
- An early morning trip to Royal Flora Holland, the world’s largest flower auction and the beating heart of the international flower trade
- The chance to shop for trend setting floral accessories such as place name settings and miniature vases at wholesaler Dillewijn Zwapak. There's such a wealth of choice here that brides often buy more than they can carry on the plane home - which is why we can arrange to ship purchases back to the UK
- A visit to Anco Pure Vanda, growers of the exotic Vanda orchid, the fashion world’s favourite bloom
- Private workshops and demonstrations. Learn why Avalanche Roses are the rose of choice for so many high profile brides at a wedding flower demonstration with Meijer Roses, or book a bridal workshop with acclaimed florist Astrid Van den Berg and discover the secrets of creating show stopping displays.
DIY weddings are hot, craft is cool and more and more brides are looking to celebrate their forthcoming marriage with a hands-on experience rather than a night in a bar. Tapping into all three trends, ECT Travel is able to adapt its wedding planning tours to suit groups of 10 or more looking for a hen party with a difference by adding on a private workshop with a leading floral artist. These enjoyable, creative sessions will leave lasting memories and also enable the bride and her friends to make their own buttonholes, table centres and bridesmaids’ posies when they get home.
Possible options include:
- A workshop with floral artist Justine Scouller of Far Hill Flowers (suppliers to Kate Humble’s ‘Humble by Nature’ farm shop) in which you learn to create natural, straight-from-the-hedgerow bouquets and displays
- A bridal workshop with acclaimed Netherlands-based florist Astrid Van den Berg revealing the secrets of creating show stopping displays
- A demonstration with leading Dutch grower Meijer Roses showing why Avalanche Roses are the rose of choice for so many famous brides
Hen parties can add-on visits to the flower growers if they wish, or opt to have some free time at the hotel or in a nearby town or city. Delft and Leiden are good options for those travelling to the Netherlands.
All prices include travel (return flights to Schiphol are available from a variety of UK airports) and accommodation to suit the needs and budget of the group. Our tours are designed to for groups of 10 or more and to run over two nights / three days