For such beautiful creations of nature, flowers have the power to cause more worry and angst than almost any other element of your wedding decor. After all, they will feature in almost every photo, and be a much noticed and discussed item by your guests on the wedding day itself. The choice can be bewildering, and will be influenced by budget and seasonality, not to mention your chosen vision and colour palette. From this we can see that the choice of florist or floral designer is one of the most important a bride or couple can make.

Some of the most beautiful and memorable bouquets, boutonnieres, ceremony arrangements and centrepieces we have seen came from Whistler’s own perennial favourite, Senka Florist, and were created by the charming and talented Kaoru, owner-operator and floral designer, and her team.

We approached Kaoru for some information and advice, in the form of a Q&A chat. Here is what she told us:

Q – KAORU, HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN IN BUSINESS, AND WHAT IS YOUR FLORAL BACKGROUND?
A – We have been in business in Whistler for 21 years! Hard to believe. I began my interest in florals in my early 20s, in my native Japan, with classes in Ikebana and in Western style arranging. I came to Canada to take English classes, and also enrolled in a retail florist course, where I quickly discovered that I learned more there than in the classroom! In the florist course, I discovered my true passion, and this changed my life. I worked back in Japan in a flower shop for two years, but returned to Canada to work with world-renowned floral designer Hitomi Gilliam. From there I moved to the Banff Springs Hotel, where I discovered that being a florist in a resort town involved lots of fun and varied work! From there I came to Whistler, where I started my own business.

Q – HOW MUCH ADVANCE NOTICE DO YOU REQUIRE FOR WEDDING FLORALS?
A – A couple of months is ideal, earlier than that even better. At least two weeks is the minimum, though we can even cater to day-of requests IF the bride is happy to choose from whatever flowers are in stock in the shop that day.

Q – HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR FLORAL DESIGN STYLE?
A – My basic design composition is probably based on my Ikebana background, but generally I like a natural-looking arrangement.

Q – WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT ADVICE YOU CAN GIVE ABOUT WEDDING FLOWERS?
A – To carry what you like! Also to be sure your bouquet has flowers which can last some time without water. We like to know about a couple; who they are, what they like, their lifestyle – then we can create something beautiful that is unique to them.

For budget – give us your whole budget, not based on individual items but the whole thing, so we can choose seasonal flowers based on the market price at that time, and we can then adjust flowers from item to item.

Q – ARE YOU HAPPY TO WORK NON-FLORAL ELEMENTS INTO YOUR ARRANGEMENTS?
A – Most of the time, yes.

Q – WHAT ARE SOME OF THE HARDIEST FLOWERS FOR A WEDDING?
A – Calla lily, orchid, rose, carnation, chrysanthemum.

Q – IS IT HELPFUL TO SEE PHOTOS OF THE BRIDE AND WEDDING PARTY GOWN/ATTIRE AND TO KNOW THE VENUE?
A – Definitely yes, and as much information as we can get about what they like.

Q – WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR A COUPLE THAT MAY BE ON A TIGHT FLORALS BUDGET?
A – Give us your budget, colour choice, and some images if you like, and leave it to us to create something beautiful using seasonal flowers.

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