Here at The Bride’s Tree HQ there is zero chance we could conjure up any more love for Sunshine Coast wedding florist, Nat Evans, business owner and florist at Heavenly Blooms. We already love her to the brim.
We caught up with Nat to get the goss on being flown to New York City to create wedding flowers, how her brides become like family, and the way her flowers are spreading hope and loveliness across the Sunshine Coast to those who need it most.
Photos by Terri Hanlon Photography
Nat, tell us about how you repurpose flowers from weddings where the couple don’t have any further use for them.
I have started recently repurposing wedding from my brides and grooms. These are often couples from interstate or those going directly on their honeymoons so they can’t keep their wedding flowers, or maybe they have a cause close to heart. In these cases I will take their flowers to others to appreciate them.
I was inspired by Repeat Roses, an organisation in the U.S. doing this on a huge scale. It means that charities, hospitals, nursing homes receive fresh flowers and they are enjoyed for weeks after the wedding. It’s so lovely and beautiful.
Who are the people that receive the flowers?
I have developed partnerships with a few local businesses, such as Meals on Wheels, nursing homes, care facilities for people with mental illnesses; and it’s proven to be really effective. The flowers are even used in therapy sessions.
I am now about to launch a program for troubled teens with an organisation teaching them life skills. I’m going to be teaching them to arrange a bunch of flowers to brighten up their home.
What are their reactions like when they see you coming in with your beautiful flowers?
It makes people cry mostly – that’s one of the most common reactions. Happy tears. It always makes me cry, I get quite emotional. You can’t even imagine how it makes people feel, it really brightens their day and affects them so much.
Have you found brides are really responsive to this concept?
Yes, very much so. I would say probably 80% of my brides are taking me up on the offer. Brides even seem to be quite clued up with repurposing their flowers from ceremony to reception, which I was quite surprised by. They are then really happy for them to be repurposed a third time.
Have any of them wanted to be involved in the process themselves?
Yes. I had one bride whose sister had suicided. She came and helped me rearrange the flowers and came to the hospital with me the day after her wedding to hand them over to the mental health ward. She said it was one of the best parts of her wedding.
Couples are excited to be part of it. They tend to want to have large say in where their flowers go. Last weekend’s bride took all her flowers on to her grandfather’s grave.
For me it’s really great to see them after and hear all about the best parts of their wedding day. As a florist, you don’t usually get to talk to them so soon after the wedding, so it was really nice.
Why do you think flowers touch people’s hearts so much?
I just think everybody has a flower than invoke’s a memory, especially in nursing homes. The older generation really understand the importance of flowers in the home and have a close connection with flowers as women.
The women in the nursing homes will tell you about their flower memories – it’s a sensory thing, a particular flower makes them think about a specific time in their life.
My grandmother always picked flowers for her table. We’d come in for lunch and there Something from garden to make the house look nice.
That isn’t so common anymore. We lost along the way, but it’s coming back through in the younger generation again now. Fresh flowers bring life to a home, they are so homely, and lots of younger women are getting into this with wild bunches of flowers now, having them in their homes.
Fresh flowers are so important. They make people feel hopeful and happy; flowers cheer people up.
Being around so many beautiful blooms in your shop in Eumundi must be a dream! What’s it like?
I feel really lucky I get to work with such beautiful things all day every day. There is not a day I don’t feel lucky to be a florist and I don’t take it for granted. I’m like a kid in a candy shop. I thought it might have subsided after 26 years, but it hasn’t. I’m lucky, really lucky.
What’s the best part of being involved in someone’s wedding day?
There’s lots of amazing parts. My first fave is meeting brides. I have to send emails, and I do it, but I love meeting my brides in person. I always spend way too long talking to them, getting to know them and being part of the excitement. I love feeling excited with them. I’m addicted to that feeling.
Second fave part is arriving on the day to the bride and being able to hand over the bouquet we spent so long dreaming up together. Pretty much every time we have a squeal and I have a tear. I always cry!
There’s not many jobs in the world where you get to be part of somoneone’s most important day. It’s pretty amazing. You tend to become part of the family and end up doing the sister or brother’s wedding as well. Then I get to see them again and meet the new baby or see pictures of the house they just bought. I love that.
What’s a memorable bride reaction to receiving the bouquet you can recall?
Oh, I have a great one. A couple of years ago I had a bride, who was just mad about flowers. She had been to every workshop I’d ever held. She calls me whenever she comes back to town and gets me to make her a flower crown just because.
So when I turned up on her wedding day after sending her a text that I was one my way. By the time I got there she was out on driveway, running to meet me at the van. She ripped open the door and jumped in to smell flowers. She was just squealing!
After the wedding she slept in the flower crown. She continued to wear it the following day and was sending me texts with her selfies wearing it on their road trip to their honeymoon! She even sent one on the plane!
What has been a surprising part of the job?
How much I love it. I always had a shop or have been working in flower shop. I also did a lot of corporate work. Normally I didn’t love doing wedding flowers when I was working in a shop. I started doing weddings purely by accident from working the markets and after a series of events.
10 years ago if you had told me I’d become a wedding florist I would have laughed. My idea of weddings was dealing with white rose bouquets and bridezillas, but I think we’ve been fortunate as the industry has taken a turn.
Now I get to work with an open-ended palette. Sometimes I’ll be working and I have to pinch myself when I’m arranging a chandelier dripping with flowers. There is so much scope for imagination in wedding florals now.
Tell us about how you ended up working on a wedding in New York?
It’s like a dream. I just landed in right place at right time. I met this crazy amazing girl, who had faith in my ability to hop on plane and make flowers in a place I hadn’t before.
We met through a friend at Christmas last year, and we got to talking and hit it off. After we met a second time at a dinner, she invited me to New York to do her wedding flowers.
The next day I text her saying, “Now that you don’t have four ciders under your belt, are you sure you want me to do your wedding flowers?” She replied saying, ” Yes, I’m dead serious. I love the way you make flowers, I haven’t seen anything like it.”
From there, it’s been so easy. We’ve had a few conversations, but she trusts me to create something amazing. It was funny, I put together a mood board, and she couldn’t believe it – the Pinterest board she already created was almost identical.
How are you going to approach creating flowers in a place you’ve never been to before?
It helps that the bride is really laid back, she’s hired a van to collect flowers from market and I will go straight from the plane to the flower market when I land. I’ll shop till I drop, take it all back to our apartment and start making flowers immediately. My son is coming along to be my assistant!
I buy what’s beautiful on the day. I don’t believe in pre-organised blooms down to every flower. Crazy to some, but I touch and choose most beautiful on the day.
This is the kind of thing that drives me. I love the element of the unknown. I live for this – bring it on, baby.
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