Today we meet Claire May Sankey, owner of Lily & May Wedding Florists.

Tell us a little about your business and what inspired you to set it up

After years of being a frustrated creative working as an IT Trainer in the City, I decided to leave the humdrum life and follow my passion. After re-training, Lily and May was born, focusing on wedding design. I am really inspired by creating individual designs for each wedding and love the challenge of ensuring each wedding reflects the style and personality of the Bride and Groom.

How do you like to work with your clients?

I begin by meeting with the couple so that we can discuss themes and styles and start to formulate an idea of the types of flowers they would like to use. I like to keep in close contact with the couple throughout the months leading up to the wedding where sometimes we continue to throw ideas into the pot!

Lily and May flowers
Lily and May flowers

When do you ask your brides to think about her wedding flowers?

I would always suggest considering the style of your flowers once you have a good idea of the theme and colours for your day (and of course Cards by Sophie can help here!)  It is preferable for the bride to have a firm decision of the type of dress they are choosing as it can be difficult to suggest bouquets if this has not been considered.

Why is dressing the venue so important? What difference do coordinated items make?

Coordinating items and dressing the venue is extremely important as it ‘set the scene’ for the day and can completely transform a venue. I get great satisfaction from walking into a venue and seeing it transform just by using flowers!

If budgets are tight, what are the top 3 items you think a bride should definitely go for?

Try and think of areas that will be photographed or look under dressed, I would consider the following as high on the list:

  • Bridal Flowers
  • Groom’s Buttonhole
  • Top Table Arrangement
Sweet Avalanche Rose and Purple Hydrangea Door Wreath
Sweet Avalanche Rose and Purple Hydrangea Door Wreath

What questions should brides ask their florist if they’re not lucky enough to having you working with them?

Always ask to see photos of their previous work. Ensure you ask which flowers are in season on your wedding day and how many weddings the florist will book on any given day. If you can, make sure you have some face to face-to-time with the florist as it’s important to feel comfortable and confident in their skills.

How do you manage to switch off?

The simple answer to that is I don’t! I think most people who run their own business would say the same. However nothing beats going out for dinner with friends, then I am likely to switch off, even if only for a few hours!

Bouquet for a client with a black and white theme - we also did their on the day stationery!
Bouquet for a client with a black and white theme - we also did their on the day stationery!
Table plan we did for the same wedding!
Table plan we did for the same wedding!

What’s your current favourite Cards Sophie’s Designs?

I love the Rosa design, I think it’s that vintage twist I am drawn to!