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Ten Minutes with Maura Sheehy from Maura's Cottage Flowers

Ten Minutes with Maura Sheehy from Maura's Cottage Flowers

You offer a unique service in which your flowers are home grown, do brides visit the gardens to choose what flowers they want for their wedding day? 
Yes, a visit can be very beneficial as it gives a bride the opportunity to see exactly what is available and gives them a general sense of my style. I offer a free consultation and almost all my brides have availed of a visit to the garden. After a walk in the garden they are invited into the workshop where they can have a cuppa which gives us time to sit down and discuss what will be needed and other preferences for the big day. I love this opportunity as it gives me the chance to get to know my client a little bit better and means that I will be able to add that personal touch to the flowers. Usually the bride to be is accompanied by her fiance or family members or friends and they seem to enjoy the relaxed atmosphere where they can browse through books and photos for inspiration.
   
Generally, I find that after a visit brides feel content that they can trust me to deliver the flowers of their dreams and I love to think that I can take some of the pressure off them. The fact that the flowers are home grown allows the unique opportunity for the bride to hand pick the blooms she wants in her bouquet a day or two before the wedding,
 
I
 love that they can in essence design their own bouquet. When you are creating wedding flowers you re also creating memories, these flowers will be looked at for years to come in photos and DVDs, I feel very strongly that a bride should have the biggest say in their wedding flowers and this way the brides personality will be truly reflected in the flowers. 

What do you specialise in? 
I specialise in seasonal and sustainable country flowers, they tend to suit rustic and vintage themed weddings. I love to grow unusual varieties that have good scent and have that wild, natural, rustic charm to them. I like the fact that I can provide an alternative for brides. Each bridal bouquet is unique and even if I am asked to replicate a particular bouquet from my portfolio I will accommodate the request to a certain degree but it will inevitably have a number of subtle differences making it similar but unique to the bride.
 By growing a huge array of flowers a bride is ensured of diversity in both varieties and colour range.

What do you think helps you stand out compared to more traditional florists? 
I am an artisan flower grower and offer a bespoke service, my flowers have that just picked from the garden look as opposed to more formal wedding flowers and are quite distinctive and very natural looking, this loose natural style offers an alternative. I choose to do a limited number of weddings a year to ensure a high level of personal service to every bride in the run up to and on the wedding day. I include herbs, seed
 heads, berries and grasses into buttonholes and bouquets and all these elements mean that the flowers stand out as being very different. 
A lot of the flowers I grow are not available through traditionalist florists as some flowers do not travel well, indeed it is their delicacy and lacy blooms that often end up stealing the show.
 Also, I can grow specific flowers on request for brides if time allows. 

I feel that freshly cut flowers that have practically no carbon footprint (there is little or no waste as we use minimal packaging as the flowers are normally handed over directly to the customer) along with the idea of enhancing the local biodiversity by providing food for bees, birds and butterflies holds great appeal to my customers and are added features to the beautiful flowers they purchase. Wedding couples are constantly seeking ways to make their wedding different and the fact that the flowers look so distinctive they become a talking point on the day.

Why are you passionate about growing eco-friendly, natural flowers to use in your work? 
Cut flowers bring life to any occasion, they evoke happy memories of bygone times and are known to improve our emotional well being. They are associated with delight, gratitude, love, appreciation and create heightened feelings of life satisfaction. 
There is no reason why we cannot organically grow flowers here, we have a climate that suits the growing conditions needed for flower production and people are now becoming more curious about issues such as the origin of the flowers, carbon footprint and air miles. There is genuine concern and people are looking for an alternative so there is a market for them.
 I feel very fortunate, I love my work, and I am part of a growing movement of Irish growers seeking to make a small difference in Ireland by providing fresh chemical-free flower. My appetite for knowledge about growing and arranging flowers organically is huge and I love sharing this passion with my customers. Its easy to feel passionate about something you love so much, I suppose you wouldnt succeed in this business unless you absolutely loved it, it may look wonderfully romantic but in reality is labour and time intensive with 6am starts and sometimes finish at 11pm (when it gets dark!) in the height of the season but it can be a very satisfying kind of tiredness  One motto I go by is Life is too short to always have clean fingernails, I wouldn’t swap my work for anything. 
 
What trends are you seeing brides go for when it comes to their wedding day and do you find it challenging?
I find that in general brides that like my flowers tend to have a lovely laid back type of personality and always have a relaxed attitude towards their wedding, they are attracted to the natural flowers because they reflect their own personalities. 
Another trend is that they are genuinely interested in sourcing Irish grown flowers and love that they are chemical free. Edible flowers are making a huge comeback and most brides ask for the cake table to have flowers placed on it as well as being used for cake decoration.They are looking to keep everything as laid back as possible but do like to have their own stamp on things to make it that bit different.
 

Most of them are not afraid to break with tradition in order to suit themselves, this might mean replacing bouquets with wrist corsages or having more flower girls instead of bridesmaids. Keeping everything real and thinking of ways that give special meaning to the day, an example of this would be a memory vase in remembrance of important family members whose absence will be felt on the day.
 Colours that are still strong are apricots, blush and berry colours like burgundy and I have noticed a few brides opting for vibrant colours for their shoes.

Mauras Cottage Flowers
Phone: 087-0612622
Facebook: 
https://www.facebook.com/maurascottageflowers/?fref=ts
Instagram:  
https://instagram.com/maurascottageflowers/ 
Website:
 www.maurascottageflowers.com


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