Sally Mussared is the designer and founder of Mussared design studio creating luxurious handmade silk wedding gowns.
Arnie Way creates superb wild flower bouquets with texture, colour and perfume at Flowers in a Vase.
Recording & photography by the fabulous Miss Bella Hazelton.
00:30 Arnie’s Procedure
01:20 The Design Process
02:34 How Arnie Got Started
03:04 In the Macedon Ranges
03:30 Favourite Wedding Elements
04:30 Arnie’s Uniqueness
05:42 Most Important Tip
07:16 Most Unique Request
08:07 Arnie’s Love Story
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the Hopelessly Devoted podcast. I’m bridal gown designer Sally Mussared delivering you the inside tips from Melbourne’s top wedding professionals.
Today we’re here at Flowers in a Vase, and we’re getting to chat with Arnie Way, who does beautiful flower work across the Macedon ranges and all the way down through Melbourne. Thank you for having us.
Thank you. I’ll jump straight into it. What’s the best way to contact you?
I’m happy either on over the phone or on the internet, whichever’s convenient for the actual bride. I find that a lot of brides like inquiring through the internet because it’s convenient, they can do it all, any time of the day or night, so, most of my inquiries, are email or through my website.
And then, what’s the process from there? Okay I send out my inquiry form, which is a general questionnaire, which they complete and send back, then I try to arrange a meeting with the bride and hopefully the groom. And then (if that’s not possible, I provide information to the bride direct via email), I actually start a design process for them, and then we basically go back and forth until we get it just right for that particular bride and groom.
The Design Process
Lovely. So what does that design process involve?
So I understand what they envisage, I put a Pinterest board together for them, which is a complementary thing that I do for all my clients. Like a theme board of colours and… Correct. Like a mood board. So I get initial ideas from them, about style, what colour is the bridesmaid’s dress, what they need apart from their bouquets, button holes, is there any table centres involved. When I gather all that information I actually put some style ideas for them together, I show them what flowers are available, for their wedding at that particular time, that season, because as we know, there are different flowers for each season. So that way they get an actual visual, and then we just go through the process of starting to work backwards from that. So each bride has an individual look.
Mmm! And that’s all complementary. Oh, great. Yeah, so, it works, because quite often, brides don’t know all the flower varieties and the seasons of the flowers, so, if I can provide a visual that makes it a lot easier for them, I think.
Yeah, sure. Yeah.
How Arnie Got Started
Yeah nice. What got you into the industry?
Well actually, I was a banker, for twenty five years, Okay, Before I went into then hospitality, Mm-hmm (affirmative), I worked in pubs and things, and then I always loved flowers at home, and I love flowers, I used to do flowers for friends, but obviously my career was in banking and then hospitality, and one particular time, a couple of staff members said, “you should do this for a business”.
So, it basically started from that. And it developed and evolved.
In the Macedon Ranges
Have you always been in Woodend?
No, my husband and I live up at Mount Macedon and we have done for nearly thirty years now. My business started, at a little nursery up at Mount Macedon. I rented a portion of the nursery there, for nearly nine years. And then the business just grew, I’ve gotten a lot more wedding inquiries, so I decided well I need to move onto bigger premises and make it all my own.
Favourite Wedding Elements
What are your favourite elements in a wedding, with their flowers?
Going back to what I said before about making it individual. I’ve got a base style which is quite wild, but because I want to make it just right for each bride and groom, I try to mix it up. I like pushing texture and colour together, I love working with colour, I love working with texture, I like mixing natives with ornamentals. I like mixing up different foliages just to get a real special look.
And perfume, perfume is really important. Whether it’s a bride’s bouquet, whether it’s a posy for a birthday or for a funeral, perfume has to be involved. I have to put something in that’s perfumed.
So, elements, texture, colour, perfume, all combined, it just becomes an individual thing, very much so, rather than that parroting or that cut and pasting sort of look.
And would you say that’s what makes you unique? That you’re able to get those different elements and make stunning… I hope so, and that’s why I’m getting a lot of clients, because they know that I will try to put together something that’s just for them. Taking in account everything that we mentioned earlier, yeah I think that’s our point of difference.
That’s lovely, with our design process, we sketch out their gown, and go through fabric options with them. And, then – we are structured so that they have four fittings in front of the mirror and at each fitting they are actually choosing how deep the neckline is going to be, or any of those sorts of things. And again, it’s that, drawing out of their personality into their day….
And then it’s stunning, it’s so much more special for them.
I think so. Mmm. And it’s and individual thing. Girls come in, obviously with photos of things that they like, and more often than not, once we go through the process of working backwards from that, they end up with something completely different.
Which is more them…
Correct. I find that quite often. And that’s much more special. It’s special for them, it’s special for you. Correct. And because I know I’m doing a personal bouquet, I’m doing a personal job for them.
Most Important Tip
What’s your one most important tip for a bride? Hmm … If I’m really, really honest, there’s probably a couple there. One is to relax and trust the people that you’re working with. You’ll soon get a feel with that particular person whether they’re right for you or not. And the other would have to be, budget. Budget is really important too. That comes into play. Those two would have to be up there.
There’s a lot of things that we can do with flowers. Just talk it through with your florist, get a feel whether or not they’re capable of doing all the different things…
So do you get an idea of whether the florist is capable by …?
By going to visit, speaking, looking at their website, their Instagram pages, it’s always a good idea to see what kind of work they do. And use them as a resource, because, if they’re experienced at their craft, they’re a great source of information, for alternate ideas you might have an idea for something that you like, but perhaps it might not be within your budget. Ask them “what are the alternatives that would be in your budget?” So that’s where I like to spend a bit of time with my clients, to try and work within the whole parameters. Sure, something that they’ve seen might not be what they can afford, but, we can work together.
What alternatives are available….
Correct. Or an alternative look, which will still give you the wow factor and everybody’s happy.
Most Unique Request
Nice. What’s the most unusual request you’ve ever had? Recently a mature bride, she didn’t want a bouquet, she didn’t want a wrist corsage, she wanted an arm cuff, made out of flowers.
For the bicep.
Correct, yes, yep. And I loved it, it was so different.
And how, yeah, I can’t envisage it?
Well she sent me a photo of it and it looked great. Cause I thought, oooh this is a little bit different, but I’ll give it a go, she particularly wanted natives, so we made it up with natives. And, she wrote back saying she loved it, absolutely loved it.
Fantastic. Yeah, so that was very individual.
Yeah. Yeah, so we sort of put something together just for her, you know. Obviously, an arm cuff I’ve never done before, but, taking in all the elements that she wanted, it worked out beautifully for her, so we were really, really happy. Yeah. Mmm.
Arnie’s Love Story
We love hearing, bride stories, so we’ve now started following up with our brides to find out how they met. How did you and your husband meet?
Ooooh, we’re going back to the disco days. Oh, fantastic. Yeah, cause back then, disco was the big rage, and live band clubs. So, we actually met at a place at the Essendon airport, used to be called the Cockpit. It used to be a disco. Fantastic. Yeah, yeah, saw this handsome, strapping, bloke, and it sort of all went from there. Mmm.
Lovely. And so, you caught up again afterwards, and …?
We went on a couple of dates, then basically he went his way and I went my way, we sort of went out with different people over the, the next two or three years, then he came back down from Queensland, he was invited to a wedding. I went to the wedding with him, and it just went from there and thirty two years later we’re still together.
Thank you, ta.
That’s lovely. Thank you very much for having us.
It’s gorgeous. Really lovely work. There will be details in the show notes, how’s the best way for a bride to contact you?
You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call on 03 5427 4554.
My pleasure, thank you.
Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you for listening. Remember, life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away…