A little bit about Cathy Coyle:
Cathy’s floral career began at a street corner flower stand in Georgetown. She designed at various DC flower shops until moving to the Shenandoah Valley to work with the renowned dried floral artist, Georgia Vance at Short Glade Farm. In 2008, she moved to Nelson County, VA, and began designing florals for weddings and events from the barn converted to a flower studio on her property. Today, she and her stepdaughter Mary Pearl run Willow Branch Flowers, curating beautiful florals for approximately 40 weddings per year.
What are your favorite spring wedding florals to work with?
Pharsalia Flower Farm grows the most incredible local peonies in shades that range from everything from coral to fuchsia to burgundy. For bigger pieces, I like to pull in blooming branches from fruit trees, azalea, and lilac — they always add so much. Tulips are wonderful in the spring. I love tall big-headed French tulips.
What’s in and what’s out of style for 2023 weddings?
Tight structured bouquets and arrangements are out. People are wanting more loose, organic airy arrangements, which I’m thrilled about. It makes the design more relaxed and romantic, not as formal and stiff.
We’re seeing more bud vase centerpiece groupings on reception tables, gathering white ceramic vases filled with smaller florals around candles.
Greenery is out. Wedding arrangements are more flower-forward and greenery is taking a backseat or is kicked out altogether.
We have a couple of weddings coming up for which we’re making a floral meadow arrangement lining the reception farm table. It’s continuous, very light and airy. We’re using tulips, butterfly ranunculus, stock, peonies, snapdragons and poppies. It looks like a spring garden got transported onto the table.
What are the most underrated or understated spring blooms?
Butterfly ranunculus are pretty spectacular little flowers and poppies are great. Personally, the stock flower is one of my favorite flowers. It’s available locally in early spring and it has the most delightful sweet clove fragrance.
I grow a lot of garden roses that start blooming at the end of April and flush through May. They’re all amazingly fragrant. I grow light pinks and apricot and butter yellow roses that are great for spring weddings. I’m so thankful to see yellow making a comeback.
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