Industry Insights | Elaine Chew of Butterfly Philosophy Flowers & Styling

The art of floristry has always amazed me. The ways different florals can be combined together to produce something incredibly beautiful always leaves me speechless. One of the things I love about wedding florals is that every bouquet, buttonhole and centrepiece is unique because depending on the season, availability, location, freshness (and a whole bunch of other factors), you will never get the same combination of flowers. The possibilities are endless which definitely keeps me interested and swooning over floral arrangements!

Today I am super excited to welcome Sydney florist Elaine Chew of Butterfly Philosophy Flowers & Styling to tell me a bit about her love for floristry. Not only will you be blown away by her warm and bubbly personality, her effortlessly beautiful floral arrangements will definitely sweep you off your feet!

Q. Can you tell me a little something about yourself? How did you get started in floristry?

I’d love to say that I grew up admiring the wonderful blooms in my grandmother’s garden and knew from a very young age that I wanted to be a florist… but my reality was far less romantic than that! My floral aspirations came after doing an evening flower arranging course, which I signed up for as a creative outlet and a break from my dreary corporate job. Turned out to be one of the best random things I’ve done in my life – I loved it, fell in love with floristry, ditched the dreary corporate job, and never looked back!

Photo by W. Scott Chester Photography.

Q. Where do you find inspiration for your floral designs?

My couples! I love getting to know couples over a long lazy coffee session and hearing about their likes and dislikes. Weddings should be a reflection of a couple’s personality and flowers can play such a big part in bringing a wedding to life. I love it when couples contact me after their wedding to say they were so happy with their flowers because it was “so them”.

I also spend hours trawling wedding and design blogs – there are so many creative folk out there doing wonderfully amazing things – it inspires me to keep pushing myself to create designs that are fresh, different and interesting.

Q. What do you love about floristry?

The diversity. I love how every job is different and I never create the same thing twice! And I love how each change in season brings a new range of beautiful flowers to work with. I never tire of it.

Photo by Daniel K Cheung Photography.

Q. You must have a lot of early starts in order to source gorgeously fresh blooms. What does your typical week look like leading up to a wedding

The start of the week are my “office days” and the calm before the storm. I spend those days catching up on paperwork, emails, and meetings. Come Wednesday, it’s showtime and I start preparing for the week’s weddings.  I usually go to market on Wednesday and Friday mornings, which means a 4am wakeup and a big cup of coffee to get my day started! It’s hard being up so early, but it’s so worth it when I get to market and am surrounded by rows and rows of the freshest most incredible flowers!

Fridays to Sundays are often pretty manic, putting together arrangements, delivering bouquets, installing venue flowers and generally making sure that everyone’s wedding blooms are looking absolutely perfect!

Q. What is your favourite flower?

Oh this is hard! If I had to pick just one, I would say dahlias. It’s a bright summery bloom that I just love to death! But hydrangea, tulips, poppies, and cherry blossom are right up there too.

Photos by Billy Button Photography (left) and Jeremy Beasley Photography (right).

Q. What flowers are great for bouquets in terms of their ability to stay fresh all day?

Generally speaking, if flowers are properly conditioned and prepped, most flowers will go the distance – always let your florist know the timing of your day so they can assess how hardy your flowers need to be. For couples with marathon days, roses, natives and tropical flowers like orchids will do well. For something that will truly last, why not include some succulents in your bouquet? These, as well as other non-floral goodies like pods, berries and interesting foliage last incredibly well and add great texture and personality to your bouquet!

I’m a big fan of Elaine’s use of succulents in her arrangements!

Q. What floral trends do you see in the future?

More colour! I am seeing more couples embrace bright colourful blooms… and I love it! Bright colours are such a reflection of joy and celebration – what could be more perfect for a wedding day?

Also, much like fashion, old favourites are making comebacks in a big way. Flowers that were previously shunned for being “daggy” or “cheap looking” are making their way back into bouquets and arrangements everywhere! You’ve probably seen a lot of babies breath being used as of late, and I think the humble carnation is going to be the next big comeback flower. Gone are the days where they only came in whites, reds and (heaven forbid) blue – they are now available in all shades of the rainbow, with mint green, magenta and lemon yellow being my favourites!

Photo by Infinity Photography.

Q. What do you recommend brides to start with when they’re planning their floral needs?

Start looking through blogs and magazines and start a little photo collection of bouquets/arrangements that you like. Don’t stress over finding out flower names or trying to research what’s in season – that’s your florist’s job! It is more important to get a few images together that show the style of flowers that you like and the overall look you want to create – your florist can then advise you of what’s in season that best suits your style.

Q. What is your number one tip for couples wishing to keep costs down without sacrificing a gorgeous set of blooms?

Prioritise – concentrating your flowers in a few key areas will be more impactful than trying to do lots of little things in many areas. For example, if you are decorating your ceremony area on a small budget, I often advise couples to put all the money into two large feature arrangements that frame the space and look full and lush. I feel it has much more impact than spreading your budget thinly out over smaller feature arrangements, chair ends, signing table flowers, rose petals etc etc.

Don’t you just love the use of lemons in this arrangement? It’s so summery and refreshing – I feel like homemade lemonade now!

Photos by Sugar Love Photography (left) David Loh Photography (right).

Q. What are your dreams for Butterfly Philosophy?

I have been so blessed that my relatively new venture has gone so well and am forever thankful for all the vendors and wonderful couples that have allowed me to work with them. I hope Butterfly Philosophy continues to grow and I get the chance to work with many more amazing couples on their wedding day!

Thank you Elaine for joining me on Simply Peachy today! You can see more of Elaine’s work and find out more about her services by visiting her website.

  • Lori

    Great post, thank you! Elaine’s work is simply stunning, thanks for sharing.

    • Simply Peachy

      Thanks Lori! Yes I love Elaine’s work. She has this amazing ability to effortlessly create stunning floral arrangements don’t you think?

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  • Ohh, Dahlias are my favourite too! They could have ended World Wars, such is their might.

    Great post. A hugely motivating one for a budding florist like me.

    Keep ém coming!