Coffee & Cake:Lisa Grigsby,Wedding Florist
Updated: Nov 18, 2022
So weddings are back on from this weekend, which is fabulous news, albeit with restrictions and guidance for us all to follow to ensure we remain as safe as possible in these COVID 19 times. You can read more about the new rules and what this might mean for your wedding plans here.
We're still socially distancing and as part of this keeping physical contact to a minimum so we're continuing to share the stories behind the people we work with on a regular basis to help you get a feel for their businesses. We're also building a library of virtual venue tours on our IGTV channel, again with social distancing in mind. We hope these small developments are helpful to you and that you enjoy the content we are creating.
Last week we caught up with lovely Lisa, owner of Down by the River Florals and an all round great person. Here's what we had a natter about.
If we were meeting up for real where in the world would our ideal meeting be taking place and why?
Oh, probably at the beach for a nice walk and talk, pausing at a lovely cafe or pub to catch up properly and for a rest to take in the gorgeous view. I love the walk between Durgan and the Helford passage, The Ferryboat Inn is one of my favourite places to watch the world go by, closely followed by The Pandora Inn. There’s something so special about sitting outside by the water.
What would you order to drink and eat?A refreshing orange juice and lemonade and some Tyrells crisps.
What job did you dream of doing when you were at school? I was always a keen artist: ever since I was very little. Then I fell in love with the magic of photography at sixth form college. My background is in lifestyle photography and I studied photography at Uni, and I still do some photography work on occasion.
How did you become a florist? I was working in production and styling in the photography team for Seasalt Cornwall and started to explore floristry outside of work. I took some short courses and workshops whenever I could. I completed an online diploma too which was more theory based, and then I decided to take the leap and retrained at the renowned Tallulah Rose Flower School and began working freelance with some lovely local florists alongside my own work. I definitely think my experience in lifestyle photography, styling and my personal interest in nature and flowers came together in a very complimentary way.
Have you always lived in Cornwall, if not what drew you here? What do you love most about Cornwall? I’m originally from Oxfordshire but I moved to Falmouth when I was 18 to do my art foundation course at Uni, I then stayed to do my Photography degree. I left to do a stint working in London for a few years, because we all were taught that was the thing to do really. Luckily, I found my way back to Cornwall for work and I’ve been here ever since. Cornwall is my home and where I grew into myself after leaving home, and there’s no place I'd rather be. The people are lovely, there’s such a sense of creativity and we’re in the most beautiful place. One of my favourite things is visiting St Ives out of season in the winter when it’s quiet. Cornish winters can be harsh, but I love blowing the cobwebs away and then snuggling up afterwards by a roaring fire with a hot drink.
Your floristry is beautiful, where do you draw inspiration from? Thank you! I mainly draw inspiration from the hedgerows and from flowers growing in their natural habitats. Whether it’s in the woodlands or along the coastal paths. I describe my style as elegantly wild, and I always incorporate some lightness and texture to my designs with the use of grasses and British grown flowers to add that natural, rustic vibe and love working with less regimented stems.
When you are working do you work in silence? Listen to a podcast or music, if so what’s on your playlist at the moment? Or do you like a chat as you work?
I often listen to a mixture of things, but I definitely always have something playing. Whether it’s Ludovico Einaudi the pianist to calm, to some classics like Nina Simone and Billie Holliday or some eighties or nineties cheese to wake me up a bit with an early start. I like a bit of everything really. Podcasts wise, I’ve really been enjoying Shortcuts by Josie Long and the TOAST podcast - they are full of inspiring stories. My absolute favourite is Dispatch to a Friend, which is made by two Australian friends, Annabelle Hickson, a photographer and writer, and Gillian Bell, a baker, and the letters and moments they share. It’s incredibly soothing and inspiring.
If you were a bouquet of flowers what would it consist of? I think I would have to be a selection of British grown wild flowers in muted peachy tones with grasses, eucalyptus, and white larkspur, inspired by summer.
Which wedding venues do you like creating wedding flowers for most and why? I absolutely love the work I do with Cosawes Barton and smaller elopement venues. It really means a lot getting to know the people who work at venues and building rapport with other suppliers especially when I work on my own a lot. I also absolutely love Trevenna Barns, Nancarrow Farm and oh, there are so many really, but countryside rural settings and barns definitely suit my aesthetic very well.
What season do you enjoy creating floristry in best and why? I absolutely love the beginning and the end of the traditional wedding season. Spring flowers are such an exciting promise of what’s to come. I use locally grown flowers as much as possible, so catching the last of the dahlias come September/ October is also really exciting. As a florist you are really in tune with the seasons which is one of my favourite things about working with nature, I think. Then it’s onto Christmas and foraging for beautiful foliage and pine cones is just as lovely, it’s so hard to choose!
If you weren’t a florist, what job would you do? I do miss my photography, so perhaps that. I’ve always wanted to photograph a cookery book and I love editorials. I also might expand on my photography and styling skills at some point soon to go alongside my floristry so we will see...
What do you love best about wedding floristry? The sheer joy of the celebration of love, and in helping people bring their dreams to life is so wonderful. Being part of that, in even a small way, is so special! Delivering bouquets on the morning of a wedding is a window into the start of the best of days. I love the ability of flowers to make people smile, no matter what the occasion is something to be treasured.
Do you have a favourite wedding creation? If so can you share it with us?
Last summer I had the joy of creating a beautiful colour palette for a lovely couple getting married at Scorrier House, and I think it was one of my favourites yet! I have also set up an online shop recently, and I’m really enjoying working with dried flowers too! There’s so much waste in the flower industry, and dried flowers can be so beautiful. To me they are the perfect long lasting and ethical choice and perfect for elopements too!
We’re all dying to get back to creating wonderful little weddings for our wonderful couples, are there going to be any special measures you need to take once we can re-open our businesses?
I am so looking forward to get back to creating beautiful designs for my lovely couples! I will be taking all of the necessary precautions in terms of safety when things return to our new normal. This will include wearing appropriate PPE when creating and delivering, as well as setting up any installations, making sure any set-ups are minimal on site and creating as much as possible beforehand, as well as delivering from a safe distance so everyone can still achieve the beautiful look they are going for!
You can see more of Lisa’s work on her website, www.downbytheriverflorals.co.uk, and you can also find her on Facebook and Instagram. @downbytheriverflorals
Her exciting new dried flower ETSY shop can be found here: