Jade McIntosh Flowers Turns Ten

We don’t get many Saturdays off in this business, and at this time of year we’d usually spend them hibernating by a fire, but a few weeks ago we got all glammed up to celebrate the end of our tenth season as a dedicated wedding florist. After seven years of running retail shops in Newcastle, it was a huge step and a bit of a risk to close up and devote ourselves purely to weddings, but we’re so proud to still be here and still loving every wedding we work on. The team has grown and changed so much over the past ten years but some things haven’t: our love of lush, boho florals and our never-ending search for new and amazing ways to use flowers. We pride ourselves on giving every single one of our brides the best possible experience, from the first time the contact us right through to I Do and beyond.

Midwinter meant it was quiet and we could celebrate with some of our closest friends and fellow wedding vendors. Mulled wine and conversation flowed, even as the rain came down outside. The cake and cupcakes were by the lovely team at Cakes to Dream On, and Jade’s hair and make-up were by Alicia at Maple Lane. Thanks to everyone who came along – it was a lovely celebration!

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The Wedding Collective

While flowers are our passion, we love everything to do with weddings, which is why we’re a part of The Wedding Collective. It’s your one-stop wedding shop: a collaboration between some of Hunter Valley & Newcastle’s most creative, fun and well-respected wedding vendors. Each of us has our own style and our own story but we all have a modern, down-to-earth approach and a commitment to making your wedding day as unforgettable and easy as it can possibly be.

From food to photography, styling to stationery, music to millinery – by way of gorgeous gowns, stunning signage, heavenly hair and make-up, luxe laser-cut lettering, and, of course, flowers – our little family of businesses has you covered and we’re growing all the time. You can check out the latest Wedding Collective happenings on Facebook and Instagram, or drop by our warehouse in Carrington.

If you’re planning a wedding, keep an eye out for our open days – we have four a year, and they’re an excellent opportunity to meet all our vendors in a relaxed, fun environment. Plus there’s cake! Check out some photos of our Autumn open day thanks to Catherine at Click Tag Print.

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and come see us at our next open day!

Best Laid Plans

There’s an old saying that life is what happens while you’re making other plans. We think this applies doubly to weddings; you can spend years planning your perfect wedding, but you never know what’s going to happen on the day.

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Sometimes, you’ve just gotta laugh. Photo: Little Black Bow

Like anyone in the wedding business, we love an organised bride. We love it when you read our quotes and terms and conditions all the way through and come back with questions. We love when you send us the contact details for your venue, cake-maker and hairdresser so we can co-ordinate with them. We love it when you know how your venue is going to be set up and what colour your bridesmaids will be wearing and whether your favourite flower is in season on your wedding date.

Organised is great. Organised makes us smile. But where organised becomes a problem is when it crosses over to inflexible. It’s your day, and maybe you’ve been dreaming about it for years, but there’s no such thing as a wedding that goes one-hundred percent to plan. From wardrobe malfunctions to extreme weather events to  cancelled babysitters to a flowergirl sneaking behind the dessert table and picking out the one profiterole that seems to be holding up the whole crocembouche right before you start your speeches (…that happened), things will go wrong. The good news? Your guests probably won’t notice. If they do, they probably won’t care. They might laugh as the carefully constructed pyramid of choux pastry tumbles down as neatly and simply as a controlled building demolition, but they won’t think any less of you or your ceremony.

The most important thing is that you don’t let it ruin your day either. One way to do that is to plan for it, where possible, or delegate that job to someone else. On the day, switch off your phone and let someone you trust handle all the last-minute details. That way, you might not even know about them!

Outdoor weddings, especially, can be prone to things going awry. Every bride who plans an outdoor ceremony or reception spends the weeks leading up to her wedding looking at the weather forecast obsessively, crossing her fingers and toes. Most of them get lucky. Some don’t. Just recently, we’ve set up for an outdoor reception with minimal shade in scorching, extreme heat, and an exterior church installation in driving rain. Extreme weather is a hazard to work in, especially when we’re up and down ladders, and it’s almost certainly going to result in some damage to your flowers. But also, your guests are going to spend more time looking after their own comfort than at our work, and the effect will go to waste. An outdoor installation is stunning, but if your guests are rushing from cars to the church under umbrellas, or hiding out in whatever shade they can find, they will barely notice it.

The best thing to do if you’re planning an outdoor wedding is to have a plan B – one you’re happy with, rather than one that is a last-resort you want to avoid at all costs and aren’t going to use despite every supplier and weather forecast telling you you should. Talk to your venue co-ordinator about what they recommend and if, in the lead-up to your wedding day, it’s looking like the weather is going to be a problem, let them lead you. Talk to your suppliers and listen to their opinions – they’re there for you and the most important thing for all of them is that you have a magical day. And don’t forget that the most important thing about the day is the comfort and enjoyment of you, your groom, your bridal party and your guests, and that’s what you’re all going to remember.

When it comes to flowers, most floral installations can be adapted for different spaces, especially with a days notice. With ten years experience in Hunter Valley weddings, we’re very familiar with most major venues through the valley, and we’re happy to chat directly with your venue co-ordinator to see how best to modify your plans to work with Plan-B so you don’t lose out on any of the lovely florals you envisioned.

Still, things can and do go awry. The best thing to do to ensure you enjoy your wedding day is to take a deep breath, remember that your guests probably have no idea of the intricate details you’ve been thinking about for months, and won’t be upset if things go a little off-script, and that, at the end of the day, you’ll be married to someone you’re crazy in love with, and it’ll be perfect, no matter how exactly it happens.

 

And the Winner is…

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…Us! On the 28th of March this year some of the biggest names in the wedding industry made their way to the Gold Coast for the announcement of the Australian Bridal Industry Academy Designer of Dreams awards, and we’re thrilled to announce that we were named as Top 5 finalists in the floral design category!

The ABIA Designer of Dreams awards were based on feedback from 102,983 newlyweds and were awarded to wedding businesses who’d been consistently rated as excellent for each of the past four years. Newlyweds were asked to evaluate their suppliers on the quality of product, quality of service, value for money and attitude of staff, which are all things that we consider vitally important to our business. JMF came in fifth nationally and first in New South Wales, which is a huge honour.

After seventeen years in the business and ten focussing solely on weddings, it can be easy to lose focus, but receiving accolades like this, especially when they’re based on real-world feedback from our brides, is a huge reminder that what we do is valuable. The fact that it reflects four years of hard work makes it even more special and proves that our success isn’t based on short-term trends.

We’d like to congratulate all the other winners and finalists across all categories. We’re in some very esteemed company in what, at times, can be a very challenging industry.

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Meet our team: Bel

The Jade Mcintosh team is ever-growing and evolving. Today we meet the newest member of our crew: lovely Bel.

Photo: Little Black Bow Photography

Photo: Little Black Bow Photography

Bel is a recently-graduated junior florist who’s been working with JMF for the past few months. Her enthusiasm for flowers and every aspect of the business is infectious and we love love love having her around. Bel adores a good terrible dad joke and enjoys listening to true crime podcasts and reading thrillers. While she loves flowers she’s also building her collection of indoor plants – rumour has it she’s slowly turning her bedroom into a jungle…

What’s are your favourite flowers? Favourite flower season?
My favourite season would probably be spring just because of the sheer variety of flowers we get to experience. It’s exciting when you see spring flowers appearing at market, because it makes you realise we’re heading out of winter and warmer days are on the way! My list of favourite flowers is ever-growing but some that have always stuck with me are flannel flower, tulips, and kangaroo paw.

Whats your most memorable wedding you’ve been apart of while working here?
My favourite wedding to work on was Megan’s wedding at Mindaribba house in November last year. Megan was so lovely and hands-on with her reception set up. We had a fun challenge installing the hanging garland from the roof, but once it was up it was really rewarding.

Photo: JMF Team

Photo: JMF Team

What do you enjoy most about being apart of the JMF team?
One of my favourite things about working at JMF is our workspace. it’s inspiring and creative, it really reflects the JMF style and the personalitly of our team and the Wedding Collective, you kind of get immersed in this boho wedding wonderland everytime you come to work, it’s pretty awesome.

Meet Our Team: Ewa

Photo by Little Black Bow Photography

Photo by Little Black Bow Photography

Ewa is one half of our superstar admin and social media team. She loves cake, coffee, Survivor, and her two boys (sometimes in that order). When she’s not answering emails and ordering flowers, she’s writing her first novel.

What’s are your favourite flowers? Favourite flower season?
I had a winter wedding so I have a real soft spot for winter weddings, and winter flowers. Poppies, anemones, hellebores, blushing brides – flowers that are a bit unusual and striking.

What’s the most memorable wedding you’ve been a part of since you’ve been working here?
I’m usually behind the desk instead of out there setting up weddings, so my most memorable weddings are the ones we get great photos back from. Teresa and Tyler’s wedding from last year is a definite favourite, and recently we got back some photos from Gemma and Mark’s wedding in August, and Gemma looked so, so happy in every single shot. It’s hard to go past that kind of pure joy.

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photo by matts photography.com.au

 

What do you enjoy most about being part of the JMF team?
It’s such an amazing, fun, supportive group of women. Everyone’s always willing to pitch in and help each other out and work together. Plus I spend my days surrounded by flowers and pretty things and looking at gorgeous photos of gorgeous people – what could be better?

Meet the team: Laura

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas but there’s time for you to meet one more member of our team before the silly season kicks into full gear…

Photo: Little Black Bow Photography

Photo: Little Black Bow Photography

Meet Laura. She’s our fearless admin and social media leader: always there when we need a spreadsheet, a schedule or just a good pun. Laura loves camping, cheese – she could survive solely on grazing platters – and, of course, cake. Her biggest secret? She’s got a bit of a black thumb – she might work for a florist, but at home she can’t even keep a succulent alive. Shhhh…

What’s are your favourite flowers? Favourite flower season?
I honestly don’t have a favourite season – they all have their highlights! love Billy Buttons, blushing brides, sea holly, paper daisies, waratahs, succulents and lavender. Is that too many favourites?

Whats your most memorable wedding you’ve been apart of while working here?
My favourite so far would have to be Amanda & Kirt’s wedding back in April – just stunning. But just last week we received photos back from Amanda & Jonathan’s October wedding and they were absolutely beautiful. I couldn’t help but smile at every photo!

Photo: Liz Ham Photography

Photo: Liz Ham Photography

Photo: The Robertson's Photography

Photo: The Robertson’s Photography

 

What do you enjoy most about being apart of the JMF team?
I love working with such a strong, capable bunch of girls. Always supportive, super creative and best of all – always good for a laugh.

Meet The Team: Bec

Photo: Little Black Bow Photography

Photo: Little Black Bow Photography

In our ongoing quest to come out from behind the foliage, the Jade McIntosh Flowers team are introducing themselves to you, one by one. Next up: Fabulous florist Bec!

Bec has been with Jade McIntosh Flowers for five years. She loves her two beautiful baby (or not-so-baby) boys, everything vintage, and – of course – cake (…there may be a theme here). She loves to travel and has visited every continent except Antarctica… which is on the list.

What’s are your favourite flowers? Favourite flower season?

Photo: JMF team

Photo: JMF team

This is the meanest question to ask a florist – choosing your favourite flower is like choosing between your babies!

Winter has to be one of my favourite flower seasons, because… Poppies – need I say more? Well, I will – just so happy and bright and they literally “pop”! Nature at its finest and happiest. But then there’s hydrangea, the prettiest and most elegant of the summer blooms. Soft and full, but not too showy. A perfect wedding flower.

Whats your most memorable wedding you’ve been apart of while working here?

My most memorable wedding whilst working at Jade McIntosh Flowers has to be Sharnee and Jason at Wynwood Estate back in 2013. The wedding was Gatsby themed, with floral chandeliers, a huge floral and foliage installation and a plethora of succulents in every colour all over the tables and in a succulent curtain behind the bridal table. It was a full team effort to get it all ready and the bride and groom were the loveliest and most in love couple ever. They were planning to keep all the succulents and plant them in the garden after they returned from their wedding. Their own little garden of love, started on their wedding day!

Another one that sticks in my mind was the bride that squealed and hugged me BEFORE I had even opened the van and cried with delight when I handed her bouquet over. Her 6-year-old flower girl demanded her flower crown be put on immediately because she loved it so much and I left with her floating around the accommodation with the biggest smile on her face, practicing her fairy moves ready for the ceremony. THAT is why I love my job!

Photo: Kate aBeckett Photography

Photo: Kate aBeckett Photography

What do you enjoy most about being apart of the JMF team?
The best bit about being a part of the Jade McIntosh Flowers Team is being a part of our little flower family. Coming to work every day in a place where quirkiness and passion are embraced and encouraged makes for a really fun and rewarding job. We all really care about our brides and grooms and seeing everything come together on their wedding day makes the effort and energy all worth it. For me, it beats my old office job – hands down.

Happy Birthday to Jade Mcintosh Flowers!

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November 15th marks the 17th anniversary of the opening of my first florist shop and the birth of Jade Mcintosh Flowers. I’ve never missed honouring the day, whether with a celebratory dinner or just a quiet moment reflecting on the importance of the day. It’s important – both personally and professionally – to stop and note the milestones I’ve passed as the business has grown and evolved. Every passing year clarifies my values as a businesswoman and employer, the strength of the team I’ve put together to make all of this a reality, and why I choose to make weddings my focus.

I’m definitely proud of successfully making it this far. I remember all the pain and sacrifices I’ve made over the years along with some failures that I almost wish I could forget – but honestly I’d rather remember them and try to find the positive in every setback.

As many of you know, I started off with retail shops, before choosing to shift my focus to weddings and functions ten years ago. This was a huge change and I’m still so glad I made it!

In some ways this is much harder work than running a retail shop, but I believe that the biggest challenges produce the biggest rainbows. No matter how stressful a week we’re having, how many hours my team has worked and how many thorny roses we’ve handled, a smile, the tears of joy and lovely comments about a bride’s beautiful bouquet make it all worthwhile.

Looking back through old Portfolios, it strikes me how different running a business was in those early days. There was no Facebook, and digital photography was a novelty. If people wanted to see examples of my work they had to come into the shop to look through a book! We did have a website but it was very basic – now it’s much easier to reach out to potential brides.

Some pages out of my early portfolios

Some pages out of my early portfolios

In our business-driven world, its all to often to hear floristry undermined and seen as something anyone can do, just playing with flowers, but I’m always reminded of a quote by Albert Einstein: “creativity is intelligence having fun.” We’ve got that written on the door of the coolroom in our warehouse and it’s a good reminder.

Of course, it’s 2016 so no anniversary would be complete without a selection of embarrassing photos from the long-distant past. Here are a few shots from my first shop and some early wedding flowers – back when gerberas and oriental lillies were the height of floral design. Enjoy!

Early bouquets

Early bouquets

Some early wedding work

Some early wedding work

Meet Our Team: Bernadette

We’re deep in Wedding Season so our days are full of bouquets and buttonholes, and our nights are full of… dreams about bouquets and buttonholes. It’s a wonderful time of year, but we’re still finding time to introduce ourselves to you. This time: The talented Miss Bernadette.

Bernie has been at Jade McIntosh Flowers for a year and she’s just about to take a break to have her second beautiful bub. Bernie likes poring over interior design magazines, pizza and the haloumi toastie from Ground Up Espresso here in Carrington.

What’s your fave flower season and a few of your fave flowers?

Spring! So many beautiful colours and flowers available. My favourite flower list grows every week… I love ranunculus, it comes in so many colours and looks great from start to end. Love peonies too, they are around for such a short time and I think that’s why they are so loved. My love for natives has grown since working with Jade – King protea, kangaroo paw, waratah – such interesting colours and textures. And I love all the berries – hypericum, berzelia, privet.

Whats your most memorable wedding you’ve been a part of while working here?

 

Don’t make me choose! Sam and Scott’s wedding at Peppers Creek was beautiful and Sam was such a happy, vivacious bride. The colour palette she chose of magentas, pinks and purple looked great with the brass from Love & Protect. Installations are also always memorable – the grapevine heart in the peppers creek fireplace looked great.

I loved the wooden and floral geometric chandeliers at The Sebel for Gemma and Mark, made by even sweeter by the fact they were made by Mark’s dad.

What do you enjoy most about being a part of the JMF team?

Again, it’s so hard to choose! Getting to be a part of someone’s wedding day is pretty special. It feels like a real privilege to see not just the bride and groom but the whole family on their big day – showing bride’s their bouquets, pinning on buttonholes – it’s actually the best job in the world! Working with beautiful flowers and amazing ladies is also pretty awesome.