London Florist Bloomologie
“You’ve got to embrace the natural wiggle and wobble of flowers. The kind of absolute symmetry you see in some floral arrangements that are very tight and very perfect doesn’t work for me because that’s not what a garden looks like.”Alison Billenness
Interview with Alison Billenness from Bloomologie in Blackheath
London florist Bloomologie and owner Alison Billenness embraces the ‘natural wiggle and wobble of flowers’ in her work.
Alison’s style stems from wanting to embrace the imperfect beauty of nature. “The kind of absolute symmetry you see in some floral arrangements that are very tight and very perfect doesn’t work for me because that’s not what a garden looks like.”
“It’s not what nature looks like, so why force nature to do something it doesn’t naturally want to do?”
Alison’s other love is gardening. She gained her Royal Horticultural Society horticulture qualifications 10 years ago and started growing cut flowers in her own garden.
She made Christmas wreaths for fun, which prompted friends to ask her to do theirs and that let to wreath-making evenings at her home. Since 2014 she has run year-round workshops and classes in Blackheath and Lewisham.
A college floristry course followed, not entirely a match made in heaven. “I was told off constantly. Everything I did was too big, too wild, too messy.” So Alison realised she was going to carry on in her own direction with flowers from her garden that reflect the seasons.
“That’s what I wanted to do and where I wanted to be.”
This means that when Alison works with a bride or couple on their wedding flowers, she finds out about their colour palette and responds with a mood board. “I tell them ‘these are the things that are in season, these are the kinds of things we’ll be using, this is the kind of shape, and this is the kind of feel.’”
The flowers Alison uses are all British, some of which come from her own garden.
“There’s a real dichotomy in floristry right now and there are an increasing number of more garden style, wilder florists out there. I think it’s still not the norm. It’s still quite unusual and it takes a couple who are braver and more trusting in the first place. … They are out there, and I think that they have been desperate to find suppliers who provide what they want.”
Alison trained with Rebel Rebel in Hackney and Jay Archer in Hampshire. She is also inspired by champion of British Flowers Shane Connolly and Utah-based Sarah Winward.
Her advice for couples on a tight wedding budget? “Use a florist where you need a florist, which is for your bridal flowers.”
“Get yourself a knock-out bouquet because it will be in all the pictures. Forget the rest. Another thing I say is, ‘Don’t go getting loads of little jam jars on the tables and the pews. Have one beautiful urn as you come into the church or the ceremony. Take it with you to the reception.'”
Alison offers smaller options for London register offices. This might include bridal flowers (a wedding bouquet), bridesmaid’s flowers, the groom’s buttonhole, and even a table centrepiece for your reception venue. Alison works with clients across London, and also travels throughout the UK. Last year she worked on weddings in Suffolk, Brighton and the Cotswolds.
While putting the finishing touches to the table centrepiece pictured, Alison revealed, “I went to meet a client at the In and Out Club last week and the groom said he was not interested in flowers at all, but at the end said, ‘I’ve never met anyone so passionate about flowers before. You’ve made me passionate about flowers.’ … I was like awww … “
Alison supplied the bride’s flowers, bridesmaid’s bouquet and groom’s buttonhole for Hestie and Alan’s wedding at Woolwich Town Hall earlier this year (shown above).
For further information on London venues where I photograph weddings on a regular basis please click on the following links:
- Kensington & Chelsea Register Office, Chelsea Old Town Hall
- Westminster Register Office, Mayfair Library
- Greenwich Register Office, Woolwich Town Hall
- Hammersmith & Fulham Register Office weddings at Fulham Palace
If you would like to talk about photography for small weddings, corporate events, birthday parties, anniversaries or christenings please do contact me.
Emma met Alison at Medlar Restaurant on the King’s Road in Chelsea. Many thanks to David O’Connor for use of their private dining room and the delicious coffee. And huge thanks to Alison for her time and for providing the stunning centrepiece which suited the room beautifully.