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We have delved into our pool of awesome wedding suppliers and selected Paper Bouquets as our Misfit Of The Month for July. If you're thinking you don't want real flowers for your bouquet, buttonholes etc, then this is a good place to start your search for something different!
Can you please introduce yourself?
My name is Rebecca Ephgrave (Effie to my friends), I am the founder and creator of Paper Bouquets, the home for bespoke paper artistry creating beautiful one of a kind bouquets for brides all around the world from my home studio in Cornwall.
How long have you been making these works of art?
I remember being taught how to make my first paper flower at the age of around 8 by a family friend, Jay (who was Shirley Bassey's dress designer!), and since then have loved the idea of making something that can be so versatile and so beautiful, that can be enjoyed for so much longer than fresh cut flowers. It was when my boyfriend proposed that I really focused this on making a bouquet, once I started I couldn’t stop, soon I was getting requests and it quickly progressed from a hobby into a full time job. I’m almost 4 years in now and I can honestly say I enjoy it more and more every day.
What sort of items can people order from Paper Bouquets?
Bridal bouquets are my speciality, along with anything else the bride needs, buttonholes, bridesmaids flowers, table decorations, seating plans, pretty much anything you would expect in fresh flowers and more, not just for weddings but all kinds of other occasions too.
I have an ethos that I will do my absolute best to meet any request, I recently made some adorable origami Ice-cream bunting for a couple who run an ice-cream stand for weddings.
How cute are these ice cream cones!?
Which of your designs are the most popular?
There are two styles of bouquet that have been hugely popular the last year or so, the first is the Book & Brooch Bouquet, I think its popularity is firstly due to the increasing trend in using literature in weddings, but also because I can personalise my bouquet to virtually any book special to the bride/groom, the most popular by far being Harry Potter.
The second equally popular bouquet would be my Alice In Wonderland set, which I make with my own paper created from a vintage deck of playing cards, this is also very popular in the US.
Do you have a favourite item/theme?
I love anything blue, it's my favourite colour so it's always extra nice when I get to work with those tones. It's hard to pick a favourite flower or bouquet style over all as I know how much each piece means to my customer and so every one has a special meaning. It's fair to say there have been a few extra special sets which I could have happily kept for my own, hehe.
What do you think the appeal is of having paper flowers as opposed to real flowers?
There are so many reasons that brides are favouring paper flowers over fresh, fresh are beautiful but as we all know after a week or two, at best, their life is over and for a wedding bouquet it's either gone forever or a huge expense to preserve. Not only can you keep paper flowers pretty much forever but they can be so personal, the right colours and tones, flowers with sheet music from the first dance or the lyrics from ‘your’ song, its so unique to you no one else will have the same again.
Without giving away your secrets, can you tell us a bit about your work process?
Learning is a continual progress; I don’t think I will ever stop looking for new techniques, trying new flowers, working with different materials. I love the buzz from posting a picture of a new flower, the paper garden is always expanding! I work with as many varieties of paper as I can from vintage maps to books, and a rainbow of colours. The design and make process can take anything from a few days to a few weeks, my longest was 6 weeks work, it was a huge order for a wedding at the Corinthia London.
Do you take custom orders?
99% of what I make are custom designs, virtually everything is made to order, one of a kind designs. This is the best thing about paper flowers, it's totally unique to you, tailored exactly to your style and taste.
What is the most unusual piece you have worked on?
Easy… an origami Koi Carp! Very random but the groom was huge on fishing, the bride had seen some images (by a master origamist) so I tried it, 200 odd folds and 3hrs later I’d cracked it, but it was a bit of a tall order for the 180 she wanted, she decided to go with paper roses instead… much to my relief!
How long before the wedding should a bride-to-be get in touch with you?
I generally have a waiting list of 4 months with limited availability for 5-8 months. I would always say the sooner the better and can take bookings around 2 years in advance. It’s the worst feeling ever when a bride gets in touch saying how much she loves everything and is excited to have my work then says the wedding is in 3-4 months’ time.
What do you enjoy most about what you do?
I love the variety of my work, the individuality of each bride results in no two bouquets being alike. Every day is different, on Monday I can be making a bouquet of bright yellow origami sunflowers and by Friday I am making giant roses the size of dinner plates. The most relaxing part of my day is when I work, the best way for me to relax is to create flowers.
What makes Paper Bouquets stand out from the crowd?
I pride myself on making ‘firsts’, the first giant paper rose made from paper not crepe, the first origami proposal bouquet, the first photo bouquet, and many first versions of flowers, never seen before. I never copy, your design with me is the first of its kind. I think what makes Paper Bouquets UK stand out is the originality of each design and how customisable it is to each individual, along with the constant ethos to develop and expand options for my brides.
What can customers expect from you and your work?
I offer a one to one service, getting to know you and what will make the ideal bouquet for you. I work with my clients until we have an idea of the perfect bouquet, sometimes making sample flowers and sending swatches to help them envisage the final pieces. I make each and every flower with as much care and attention to detail as if it were for my own bouquet. I will only post when you are 100% happy with everything, perfection is the least you can expect.
Do you have any tips or advice for brides/couples planning an alternative wedding?
The most important thing about any big day is the two of you, everything else is just a wonderful addition. Be true to yourselves, it’s your day, be brave and have what you want, don’t let other people influence or change your mind, it's YOUR day! I had one bride pull out because her bridesmaid put her off… the same bridesmaid placed an order with me the following year!
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
It’s the little touches that can make a wedding stand out from the crowd, the memorable parts are the personalised parts and what better way than a bouquet that no one else in the world will have, and even more wonderful than that, something that will last just about forever, maybe on your Diamond Wedding anniversary you will be looking at the sparkling crystals in your wedding bouquet still on display, pride of place, from all those years ago. I hope so anyway x
If you'd like to see more of Rebecca's work or discuss a custom order for your wedding, just click the image below!
You'll find all sorts of amazing origami creations in the Paper Bouquets shop