Flower Power

Arrangements and table styling. Installations, chandeliers and walls. There is not too much in event spaces we won’t put a flower with or on. And everyone seems to feel the same way! I’m not sure if I was prepared to have this classic element tie for top position, but it did get me thinking a lot about it…

It’s bit of a divided room in some scenarios for a business like ours. On one hand, we love working with flowers, talented florists and incorporating them into our designs. On the flip side, in many scenarios, we can be competing with florists to win jobs.

I’m going to be a bit controversial now. Sometimes it can seem like clients will opt for and even insist on having flowers because it just seems like the thing to do. “We need table centrepieces. That means we need flowers!” I can’t get on board with using flowers for flowers sake as a traditional solution. What I can get of board with is using flowers as a broader form of design expression, and there are SO MANY great reasons to use them that we really don’t need to look too far.

When I was prompted to think further about ‘Floral’ tying for top spot in our live poll (Info Graphic Art Installation / Crafternoon) See linked blog post here I began to reflect on the responses of the people who chose floral as their favourite element of event design. The interesting thing was that this response, by and large created the most emotional response. People’s expressions transformed just thinking about flowers. I could tell they were recollecting in that moment, a floral experience or memory that moved them in some way.  Flowers truly do stir the senses.

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I wish I could live in here… Another Style By Nature creation for JAK Creative

I realised too that flowers are essentially one of the most luxurious expressions of design and creativity in an event space. It’s quite mind-blowing to think about all the components and millions of people who make up the floral industry from, growers, to buyers, to nurseries to wholesalers across the globe. Their purpose in life is to make sure we can have flowers whenever we’d like them! How crazy is that?!?!?! There is something that is so incredibly indulgent about investing in masses of flowers to create an environment for a single night that at times it can boarder on crazy from an ecological perspective (please don’t think about it too hard!). Some of the best examples we see of this large scale floristry come from incredible international heavyweights like Preston Bailey (Jane and I flew to Las Vegas to see him talk!) and Jeff Leatham (900k followers can’t be wrong!). I’m not being a hater, in case that’s where you’ve just gone…  because I’m a huge fan and in constant awe. It’s also possible that I’m jealous. Hahahaha!!! I do like to think this all over in a balanced way and from all angles though. These designers have truly opened my eyes to what is possible and created a place to aspire to. It also gives us an insight into big budget events which is always a voyeurism delight.

Me and Jane with Preston Bailey in Vegas 2011! Please excuse the quality of phone cameras in 2011 and the quality of the random stranger photographer in the lobby. Still the best photo ever!

At JAK Creative & Events we LOVE working with different florists and it’s important to do so as each florist has their own style, personality and specialties. In order to design for diversity it’s important to learn about the stars around us and know which events call for those special floral talents. We are truly blessed to be surrounded in Melbourne particularly, by some of the most incredible and creative florists for events. Not only that. they are some of the toughest and fittest peeps in the events industry. Loads of heavy lifting of nature and buckets of water, not to mention how ferocious nature is with its stick and thorns and barbs.

As much I as love flowers and appreciate the floristry art form. Here at JAK Creative we are still on the outside looking in and really only experience flowers from the outside looking in. We are in essence little satellites orbiting around these spectacular floral experiences.

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Perfect vases. Perfect environment. Perfect colour palette. Style By Nature creation for JAK Creative. Melbourne Cup 2016

My ‘go to’ in matters of Floral Enlightenment is the incredibly talented and oh so delightful Karina Wightman of Style By Nature. I’m taking 5 with Karina to dive deep into the world of event flowers.

Karina has been recognised both locally and internationally as an industry leader for florists. We love her not only because she is incredibly accomplished, but also because she fosters talent in emerging florists, is a delight to be around and is a ‘big picture’ kind of a lady.

KH: Karina, just to prove you’ve ‘got the chops’, name 5 celebrities your floral creations have been coveted by.

KW: Rachel Grffiths, Natalie Imbruglia, JAK Creative, Sarah Wynter, Matthew & Lisa Llyod, Josh & Jenna & Mallory Jansen

KH: What is it about flowers that makes people so emotional? They seem to engage and captivate people in such a unique way.

KW: There’s an essence to flowers that aims directly at our heart & soul, it’s an indelible, intangible thing, which like music triggers memories & creates new memories, the more urban we become the more we crave in or with our parks, gardens & flowers – they’re soul food.

KH: What is the most rewarding aspect of designing floral creations for an event?

KW: Nothing beats seeing the moment of client & guest entry into a room you’ve transformed – that second when WOW & Thankyou combine in a single look, that second of clarity before 1000 faces become hidden behind their perfect insta capture.

But there’s a really close second too, in the pride & satisfaction I feel of & with our incredibly talented team when tools go down & we get to stand back & see the magic we just got to be part of – it’s truly mindblowing

KH: Do you have a favourite floral creation/installation/activation concept (yours or someone else’s)?

KW: Ceilings, walls & stage installations are still our fave’s because they supply the greatest challenges & the most satisfaction – have to admit, we fall in love with a different concept every week, how lucky are we that there is so much variety in our industry & so much for our clients to choose from – But I must admit, I’m loving designing welcome area’s, media walls & ‘chill out’ spaces with screens & sofa’s & florals spilling off Arty armchairs & industrial cages as a great way to simply create a wow & an Insta shot for all your guests.

KH: Which florists (local and international) do you think rock the live event space?

KW: Like you, Preston & Jeff are universal favourites & florists universally are forever grateful to these superb talents for changing the way the world looks at floral designers – personally our style, leans more to the English/European designing where I did so much of my training.

Neeva Jay, Kari Herer of Willow Crossley Creates – for quirky, fun & beautifulI have an ongoing crush on the team of Life3 – the incredible dutch & german creatives of Max van de Sluis, Pim van der Maden & Tomas De Bruyne & also the Designer Bjorn Kroner  – I love being a qualified member of The American Institute of Floral Designers because the AIFD family of 1000’s of supremely talented Florist friends around the world is so inspiring & closer to home wow just look at Loose Leaf & their incredible installation work & the amazing competition work around the world of the likes of Richard Go, Bart Hassam & Mathew Landers


  1. Use a Stylist & professional florist to help you bring the entire event together
  2. Share the inspiration behind your brief with your creative team, we’re all here to make it real!
  3. Use your flowers where they will create most impact – it’s often but not always on the table & remember the old but true saying- “1stImpressions count!”


  1. Don’t Doubt yourself. Anything you imagine we Can create
  2. Don’t go into a panic, if Peonies aren’t seasonal in April, let your designer find you something just as if not more beautiful
  3. Don’t assume you can’t afford your dreams you might just be surprised


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