All posts by fmk_admin

Mindfulness for Managing Wedding Planning Stress

If you’re reading this blog post, chances are you’re already in the thick of it – wedding planning I mean. Congratulations, your ‘best day ever’ is just around the corner, YAY!

If you’re anything like me, no-matter how ‘chill Bride’ you’ve told yourself you are, there’ll have been many times when you’ve felt bogged down in all of the details of your wedding planning and felt more Bridezilla than Bridechilla – especially if this is your second, or dare I say third, attempt at getting married in a pandemic. 

It just seems like there’s so many decisions to make (and ‘decision-fatigue’ is a very real thing by the way – ask any leader!); so much money to fork out; so many ‘stakeholders’ (however well-intentioned) to keep happy, from your spouse, to your bridal party, to your parents, to your children and wedding vendors. You might be forgiven for momentarily losing sight of the incredible significance of what it is that you’re about to do i.e. say “I do, forever” to your soulmate and commit the rest of your life to being their husband / wife …. because newsflash, weddings are stressful. 

So what is ‘mindful wedding planning’?

It is accepting that wedding planning is innately stressful (only because it’s such an important event in our lives and we want the day to be ‘perfect’) so instead of setting ourselves the unattainable goal of removing stress from the equation entirely (tried this early on, failed miserably), it is a way of changing how we relate to the stressy thoughts, feelings and emotions we encounter on our wedding planning journey. For me personally, it’s an approach to planning the wedding that helps me control my emotions, instead of letting them control me. 

Mindfulness is not sitting cross-legged on the floor going ‘ommmm’ whilst balancing your wedding planner on your head (although you can try a little mindfulness meditation too if you like!). It is not religious, or necessarily spiritual (although its origins are in Buddhism). It is not about ‘emptying your head’ of your thoughts (like when Fr. Dougal McGuire tips his head into the bin next to his bed when he’s struggling to get to sleep), and it’s not about trying to shut out your thoughts and emotions. 

Mindfulness is bringing an awareness to the thoughts, feelings and emotions we’re experiencing in a given moment, without necessarily doing anything about them. By noticing what we’re experiencing at any given time (and this includes what we can see, hear, smell, touch etc. at that time) and doing so without judging or criticising, we can really stand to win. It is easier said than done, yes, but like skiing, elbow planking or creating a winged-eye with eyeliner, it gets better with practice.

You might be forgiven for laughing out loud at the suggestion that something as simple as listening to the sounds around you (a ticking clock, birdsong outside the window, a child playing, a fridge humming) or paying attention to your breathing could help you respond to a stressful experience in a healthy way, but that’s certainly my experience, and that of countless others, hence why I’m sharing these insights with you here. 

Take the following real-life scenario (based on a true story):

You get a call from the band you’ve booked for your wedding reception. They’ve just discovered they’ve been double-booked and they can’t do both gigs. Yours is the one they won’t be doing. The guy apologises unreservedly. No excuses, he’s just sorry (the way every apology should be, right?). You hang up the phone and look towards your hubby / wifey to be. 

Notice every thought, feeling, emotion, physical sensation you’re experiencing in this moment …

‘We’ll never get another band at such short notice’.

‘OMG, we’ll have no music at the wedding!’

‘The band was one of the first things we booked. We always pictured them playing at our wedding’.

‘We don’t want anyone else!’

‘We don’t deserve this!’.

‘I am so disappointed / frustrated / angry right now’

‘Ewwww, sweaty palms’.

‘I feel sick’.

Now, this is the most important bit … 

Resist the urge to judge and/or react – and I mean resist the urge to judge any or all part of this. That includes yourself (‘I should have triple-checked’); the band (‘How do you double-book someone? How disorganised can you be?’); the situation (‘This would only happen to us’).

I’m not saying you shouldn’t respond to what’s just happened by the way, but if you can just acknowledge every thought, feeling and emotion and accept the situation as it is, first, then what you will do next is ’act’ (positive) in order to change the situation, instead of ‘react’ (negative) out of anger or frustration.  

Now, before I have you throwing your hands up and ‘x’ing out of this blog because ‘that Florist be crazy’, hear me out. When I say, ‘accept the situation’, I am not saying ‘agree with it’ or ‘excuse it’. Mindfulness instead tells us to acknowledge what we are experiencing in the ‘now’ (a good idea because it’s already happening whether we like it or not!) and then doing whatever we need to do to change or remedy our situation, from a place of compassion and understanding instead of from a reactive place of frustration, and that to me, seems like a perfectly fine idea – I don’t know about you?

// Don’t forget to remember! //

1. Wedding planning is innately stressful (and moreso during a pandemic). You’re not ‘doing it wrong’.

2. It is not your job to make your wedding stress-free for everyone.

3. Acting (with compassion and understanding), rather than reacting (out of frustration) will help you keep your stress in check.

‘Mindfulness’ – it’s not as ‘airy-fairy’ an idea as you initially thought, is it? Why not try a little mindfulness the next time you’re thrown a curve-ball in your wedding planning? I’d love to hear if you’ve added ‘mindfulness’ to your wedding planning toolkit and if so, how it’s helped you on your wedding planning journey. Feel free to share your thoughts as a comment on our latest Instagram or Facebook post (21.04.21) or drop me a DM or email [email protected]

This is a topic I just LOVE discussing so don’t be shy, hit me up.

Lou x

5 things to consider when choosing a wedding florist 


With so many amazing Wedding Florists out there, it can be difficult to know when to stop looking and just choose one! But did you know that there’s a simple way to instantly narrow down the endless list of Florists (and this applies to pretty much all wedding suppliers!)? Write down your top personal values, then go back to your shortlist and see which ones share those values. For example, if you’re a real ‘positive vibes only’ kinda gal, then it might be unwise to choose a Florist that is overly pessimistic when you speak to them, or if you value environmentalism, then a Florist whose products or services create unnecessary harm to the environment, may not be the best choice for you. If you take a values-based approach to narrowing down your supplier shortlist, then the list you’ll be left to choose from will be smaller, but the quality certainly will not be. It’s kind of a win-win.


I don’t know about you, but when planning my own wedding, the ‘vibe’ suppliers have given me, both when I’ve interacted with them and when I’ve observed them on social media, has been hugely relevant in my decision about whether or not to book with them. Luckily for me, I already knew which Wedding Florist I wanted to do my own wedding flowers (Little Wedding Garden, Cheshire) but like you, I had to contact a lot of other suppliers, from Stationers to Videographers and a good number of other wedding suppliers in between, in my search for the best people to deliver our wedding vision. When it comes to your Wedding Florist, you will want to work with a person / team that you just know will be fun to work with; someone that will share the highs and lows with you, and be right there with you, every step of the way. But how will you know if they’ll be fun to work with? Well, the truth is, you won’t. But you can make an educated guess based on a few key indicators; things like:

How long does it take the Florist to get back to your enquiry?

If they take too long, then they’re possibly too busy. Busy periods are to be expected of course, especially in this business. Wedding floristry has a ‘busy season’ (typically it’s March to October, but admittedly things are a bit out of kilter since the beginning of the pandemic!), and when a Florist is working on a wedding, it’s naturally going to take them a little longer to respond to emails. Many Wedding Florists run their business single-handedly, with the very suggestion of ‘admin support’ actually laughable to them! It’s often just one woman or man doing all of the jobs (floral designer/accountant/administrator/social media manager/business development manager/buyer) meaning things can take time and sometimes life can just get in the way. This said, a Florist (or any other wedding supplier), shouldn’t be taking any longer than 1-2 business days to at least send a courtesy email to say ‘We’re working on a wedding this weekend, but I’ll be in touch with you early next week to set up a consultation call’. Slow response times can also indicate a wedding supplier that has taken on more work than they can comfortably handle, in order to maximise profit, and that they are struggling to give every client (and potential client) the attention they deserve.

If communication is important to you, then choose a Florist whose response times are good. It can be beneficial to initially make contact with a Florist via one of their social media pages or via WhatsApp (rather than by email) as you’ll be able to see if they’ve read your message and they’ll be able to tell you how best to take your enquiry forward e.g. they might suggest to move the conversation over to email or to another client management platform at that point, so that conversations are easier to keep track of.

What do they say and how do they say it?

Only the very best wedding suppliers (and businesses, generally) understand that a client’s experience is an end to end thing. Client experience is as much about the journey towards receiving the end product or service e.g. proposal, booking and planning processes, as it is about the end product or service they receive, in this case, wedding flowers. It is no good having lovely flowers on the day, if your Wedding Florist had you wanting to pull your hair out in the planning stages. You should feel valued, listened to and important from the get-go, and no Bride or Groom-to-be should be left waiting ages for replies, be provided with half-baked, restrictive or confusing proposals, nor should they have their concerns or ideas dismissed. Not cool, not kind, not a good vibe.

If a Florist’s vibe makes you feel a bit ‘meh’, swipe left and move on – they’re just not the one for you! As a rule, if a Florist (or any wedding supplier for that matter) has been really communicative and helpful throughout the early stages e.g. initial enquiry, proposal stages, then this is a strong indicator that they are well organised, generous with their time, attentive to detail and highly likely to make the entire process enjoyable for you. 


Reading reviews online from previous couples that a Florist has worked with, is a great way to gain insight into what it might be like to work with them yourself. Look for common themes in the reviews and consider if these are things you value. Of course, if there are any negative comments, consider whether these are legitimate criticisms or not as well as how the Florist has responded to the comments, and make a decision on whether you think this is a Florist you would want to work with. Remember too, that reviews posted on a Florist’s website or Instagram page will have been placed there because it speaks positively of them / their brand (you’d have to be mad to post a negative review of your business on your business page, surely?) so I’m not saying ‘don’t trust the reviews’, I’m just saying it can be worth seeking out a secondary source of information, to balance out any one-sidedness.

Reviews on Google are a great source of testimonial, and you’ll be able to access them for any Florist that has a website. Of course, if you find any negative comments, consider whether these are legitimate criticisms. If, for example, a Reviewer’s only gripe was that the Florist refused to hold their wedding date without receipt of a deposit, I’d say most reasonable people would consider this to be an illegitimate complaint and wouldn’t let it put them off. If however, you read a negative comment and the complaint seems legitimate, you should pay close attention to how the business has responded in the comments, then make a decision about whether you think this is a business you would want to work with.

For belt and braces, you could always seek out a face-to-face or phone conversation with someone that has had first-hand experience of working with a particular Florist. There is nothing wrong with reaching out to a Bride/Groom/supplier that you’ve seen tagged in a Florist’s social media post and politely asking if they’d be willing to tell you about what it was like to work with that particular Florist. You’d be surprised at how willing people are to share their experiences!


It can be really tempting to select the cheapest quote you get (I’m a Bride with a budget myself, so I know from experience how tempting this really is!), but remember,

“Price is what you pay, value is what you get”.

If a Florist has provided a remarkably low quote, there’s a chance you’ll get less than you hoped for; both in terms of quantity and quality. You could find that your floral designs end up being weirdly small on the day, or that the flowers used in the designs just aren’t up to scratch. You might have shown the Florist a picture from Pinterest of an over-sized bridal bouquet that you love; one that has lots of different flower and foliage varieties and berries and grasses and other interesting-looking things, but on the day, you end up with a bouquet that whilst still pretty, is much smaller than you expected with ‘ingredients’ that are pretty basic-looking, even to you, the non-Florist, and worse still, no berries or grasses! It’s the kind of disappointment that’ll take a while to get over. 

There are many reasons why a Florist would provide a really low quote, and it could be that they are just starting out and trying to gain experience, and that’s okay; nothing wrong with that (we’ve all been there, and you’ll do whatever’s necessary to get your teeth cut!). Just because a Florist is only starting out, doesn’t mean they won’t be able to create amazing wedding flowers for you, especially if your requirements are quite simple, but it just means that in appointing them as your Florist, you’re accepting a level of risk. The flowers created by that Florist for your wedding are unlikely to be the Florist’s best work ever (in terms of every wedding she’ll create throughout her career), but chances are your flowers will still be all you’ve ever dreamed of, and probably more. It really is a simple question of risk and it’s one only you can answer. My advice would be to apply all the tips in this blog post to help you make a truly informed choice.

And just as a really low quote can come with risks attached, so too can one that’s very high. It can be tempting to think ’I’ll just book the most expensive one because they obviously know what they’re doing!’ but remember, some florists will mark up higher than the industry standard based on their overheads, demand, years of experience – factors which will not necessarily equate to you receiving a better service and better wedding flowers, just because you paid more. A Florist (or any other supplier for that matter) could have many years of experience in the field but be difficult to work with due to lack of professionalism / poor communication / inflexibility, and all that extra cash you just parted with, could feel a bit wasted. The bottom line? Do your homework, weigh the risks and never make price the only deciding factor in your decision-making. 


Last but not least (and I’ll admit, this is kind of an obvious one!) but before making your list of wedding florists to contact, do have a good old stalking session of their social media pages and an even better poke around their website, to get a good sense of their overall style. Much the same as every Artist, if given the same paper, paints and brushes, would produce a different painting than the Artist sitting next to them, each Wedding Florist’s work will be different (and that’s what makes it wonderful, don’t you think?). Believe it or not, you could give the same brief to five different Wedding Florists and end up with five different suites of wedding flowers. The differences may be subtle, but they’ll be there all the same, so it’s definitely worth looking at a Florist’s style, and making sure it really appeals to you. This is not to say that if a Florist’s work portfolio online hasn’t got the exact kind of table centrepiece you’d hoped for, that they couldn’t make it for you of course! Remember, a florist’s portfolio is largely a collection of work they’ve been commissioned to do (by the couples whose weddings they’ve worked on) so if they’ve never been asked to create a Harry & Meghan-style arch, then chances are you’re not going to see one amongst their posts on Instagram! In this instance, consider the Florist’s skill level – are they professionally trained? Can they demonstrate having created a floral arch before? – and consider their overall aesthetic, asking yourself, ‘Do I love 99% of their work that I see? Then, try to weigh up everything you’ve seen and heard and decide if you can trust that the Florist has the creativity and technical skills required to create the flowers you’ve envisioned for your wedding day.

Whether you’ve already booked with us, are thinking about making an initial enquiry, or if you’re simply curious about a topic discussed in this blog post, DM, PM or email us with your queries and we’ll get right back to you. 

Twenty Twenty Vision



I break my wrist on a snowboarding trip 2 weeks before a wedding and have to move back in with my parents for 4 weeks until I get the cast off. Granny, who’s in her mid-80s, pops in every day without fail to change nappies and check we are doing ok. I am grateful for the bond formed between Cillian and his Great Grandparents over the course of that month. Cillian takes his first steps. There is joy all across the land. Covid isn’t even a word …. yet.


With no right hand to work with, reinforcements have to be called in. Jo, my green-fingered friend and colleague from Florencecourt steps in to save the day (and my sanity!). She’s my hero. Her work is amazing, and she totally rocks her first attempt at professional floristry. We go on to have the BEST DAY EVER celebrating our bestie’s wedding day at Lusty Beg. Little did we know it at the time, but this would be our last ‘day out’ for a very, very, long time.


Covid is now a word. It’s on the tip of all of our tongues. We go into lockdown and the very first (of what will be many) wedding postponements is called in. Banana-bread is baked by the tonne, the soles of the shoes are worn thin from walking the roads (our new ‘daily highlight’) and an idea enters – what if I used this time to try to get a cut-flower garden going? Books are read, brains picked, plans drawn and the first seeds planted under cover. Ahhh, it’s all making sense now .. 2020 is the year I will learn how to ‘garden’. I was wondering when that might happen …


With no end in sight to the fiasco that is Covid-19, we postpone our own upcoming wedding. The wedding postponements are starting to flood in now. To distract myself, I create a list of jobs for Ruairi to do (lol) and get the raised beds built and soil ready for planting. I haven’t a clue what I’m doing really, but Mum is on hand to help. Thank God for the gift of mothers.


My new workshop at home is nearing completion (work had started earlier, in December ’19) and I end my lease at the old unit and move everything across. It feels good to finally be able to step out the door and be at work in 15 seconds. The commute of dreams, eh!? The workshop remains a disorganised mess for months and with no weddings happening for the foreseeable, that’s OK. Cillian thinks the workshop has been built especially for him as a giant play-room / fun-house and I haven’t the heart to tell him otherwise. We while away many hours playing with Mummy’s buckets, Daddy’s punch-bag and a huge box of toy cars that Granda landed with.


The first of my flowers are starting to bloom. I feel like Charlie Dimmock (without the fabulous hair). It’s not long before I realise that my frantic / slapdash planting (on a morning without childcare when Cillian ran wild and we hadn’t a gate on yet and I kept having to stop him from running out onto the road) was not a good idea. I really wish at this point that I’d stuck to the well-drawn-out plan (see March) as apparently cut-flower growing is one such project whereby ‘wing it’ is not an advisable work-strategy. Growth is fast and wild and although the beds are all higgeldy-piggeldy with stuff growing all over the show, I am happy that there is life, at least. My hopes of becoming a more sustainable florist grow (no pun intended).


I meet Joe Wilde (MacDigital). He’s my business mentor, kindly appointed by FODC. We meet up to talk about my little wedding floristry business and where I’d like to see it go. I realise I’ve been coasting. That first meeting makes my head spin. Joe asks hard questions and over the course of the next few weeks, I put in the hard work to answer them. I read many wonderful books. The garden continues to bloom in its own crazy way. I find myself feeling a strong sense of ‘everything happens for a reason’.


Two firsts happen this month. I draw / paint a wedding bouquet and I go on my first ‘date’ with two lovelies I ‘met’ on Instagram (now there’s a sentence I never expected I’d be saying at the start of the year!). Sarah and Fiona, both self-employed and based in Fermanagh like me – one a lifestyle photographer and the other a Florist – become two-thirds of the very Tribe I had manifested after listening to a WHFC podcast by the wonderful Lindsey Kitchin. They become the ‘team’ I had longed for (being a lone-worker can be, well, lonely!); providing banter, encouragement and a sense of sisterhood that I hadn’t felt since leaving my last payrolled job in HR. The drawing and painting becomes a real love affair, and I have an idea in the middle of the night for how I will share it with the world.


The garden continues blooming despite my best efforts to neglect it to death. Apparently cut-flower growing takes lots of time, energy and expertise; three things I seem to be lacking, despite being ‘on paper’, both idle (due to the postponement of weddings) and highly capable (I have all of the books, a whole Internet and unlimited hours of free consultancy, in the form of my expert Mother, at my disposal). I promise myself I’ll be a more organised and dedicated gardener next year and even set about creating a product offering for 2021 that will include home-grown flowers, to ensure I don’t renege on that promise.


FINALLY, a wedding goes ahead. It’s an intimate ceremony at our neighbouring Belle Isle; a stunning venue we visit for the first time on that moody Autumn morning at the end of the month. A mix of white anemones, pale blue hydrangea and sea holly are used, and tonnes of eucalyptus (as requested by the Bride who tells me earlier that she met her husband-to-be when he was working in the forestry growing it; how lovely!). I create the wedding without the use of floral foam. It’s a first for Forget Me Knot Floristry which will shortly be ‘reborn’ as simply ‘FMK’.


I manage to launch the new brand … FMK. I give myself a swanky new title, ‘Flowersmith’ just because. Service offerings are simplified, website revamped and new boundaries set; personal and professional. I feel hopeful that my business is and will become more of what I had imagined it would be when I first had the idea to start it. I vowed to stop saying ‘yes’ when I meant ‘no’, to do more of what I loved, to work smarter to ensure better outcomes for the environment and of course, to nail the s*** out of that elusive old ‘work-life balance’. News arrives that next month’s wedding is a ‘go’. I’m beyond excited to get my hands on some blooms again and feel so grateful to have the job that I do.


Frankie (my van) gets his makeover with the new FMK branding, just in time for the wedding. It’s hands down, my best work yet. Only three weddings in total have actually been created during 2020, but the progress made, away from the workbench, has been as important, if not more important than any flowers that actually appeared at a wedding. We (I mean ‘I’, I mean ‘FMK’) have made huge strides this year in terms of living and working more authenticly and more sustainably and had it not been for the lull that Covid brought about, I may never have even begun to ask (and answer!) the difficult questions that have led us here. And for that, I can only be grateful.

Thank you to each and every special person, place and thing that has been part of our 2020 story. It’s one to remember, for sure.

Lou x