Floral designer, Dianthus Goh on getting your dream bridal bouquet
Wedding flower dos and don'ts from the owner of Bouquet Garni, as told to Emma Chong Johnston
Who: Dianthus Goh, floral designer and owner of Bouquet Garni
Where: On set at the March 2017 Brides special bridal fashion shoot
What: How to decode the world of wedding flowers
Floral philosophy: Work with the flowers, not against them
"The flower business is the family business, and I've been doing it for 15 years now. I came straight out of school and took over the family business in Johor. I wanted to be a lawyer, actually! As time went by I realised I did have a natural knack for it. Then I came up to KL because I felt that Johor's pace was a little too slow for me, and I wanted to do more modern things.
"I always think that wedding flowers are something you can decide on and just get out of the way, so you can concentrate on other parts of the wedding. Six months to a year is best. Sometimes you might think, is my florist overcharging me? But they're not – it's hard to give a definite price because it's so dependent on the market. And when it's wedding season, particular colours become more expensive. If you can get flowers in that colour locally, it becomes a lot cheaper. But if you have no choice but to get imported, then the price really fluctuates.
"The most important question for a bride is: Do you have a favourite flower? If you do, then obviously that's the one you want to work with. If you don't have a favourite flower then we have to look at colours. Then what look are we going for? A minimalist look requires a lot of props; a more flower-oriented design will need a bigger budget.
"Now everyone's into this whole vintage rustic look: teal, and mint, and khaki colours. One trend I want to go away? Rustic vintage [laughs]. It's pretty and it's been going on for a while, but I want that opulence to come back. I like the fact that everyone now is so into DIY and wanting to do it themselves and get everyone involved. But the work does involve technicalities and you need to know what you're doing.
"If you like that rustic vintage look but want to update it, foliage is now playing a very large part. Use foliage as a character on its own, as opposed to just using the leaves that come with the flowers. Look at more washed out colours; some eucalyptus colours are almost grey, and you can incorporate that into the palette.
"You can't have too many colours in your palette. You need to be disciplined, say 'These are the colours I've decided on,' and that will determine everything else. Then you won't get carried away with all the other pretty things you see; there are so many beautiful designs out there, but you can't have everything. I always ask brides: What is the look we're going for? Even down to the silverware: is it silver? Or grey or copper or bronze? It's so easy to get carried away.
"Trust is very important. If you hire someone, and you love what they do, you must give them a little bit of creative license. Trust that they are making the best decision for you. No one ever thinks that there's a second chance at the most special day. But sometimes certain changes need to be made at the last minute, the flowers may not bloom on time – you can't force them!
"I always think it's nice to give the flowers to your guests. A lot of people don't buy flowers for the luxury of something pretty to look at, so it's nice to give them away."
DIANTHUS' FAVOURITE FLORALS
"Peonies are very big, voluminous flowers, I like that."
"Hydrangeas really add volume to a floral arrangement."
"Eucalyptus leaves can come in such a range of beautiful, washed out shades."
"I love orchids, even though they're hard to work with. A lot of people arrange them in a very stiff way but not every flower grows the same."
This feature first appeared in the March 2017 Brides special of ELLE Malaysia.