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Wonder Woman Wednesday: Maddie Dawkins

We caught up with wedding ambience expert Maddie Dawkins to gain tips and tricks on how you can use scent and lighting to improve ambience within your bridal boutiques

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Maddie Dawkins, the Weddings Manager at Lavender Green Flowers
Maddie Dawkins, the Weddings Manager at Lavender Green Flowers

Maddie Dawkins is the Weddings Manager at Lavender Green Flowers. Maddie’s work involves creating ambience and atmosphere at weddings as well as advising on flowers, fragrance, lighting, props and production for the big day. We caught up with this expert to ask for her best tips and tricks on how to improve ambience within bridal boutiques, to ensure your brides have the very best shopping experience.

It’s so important that your boutique is well lit, check out these lighting tips to consider for your bridal shop for more.

Tell Us About Your Background

I grew up in a really creative household, my mum always encouraged us to create; be it making dresses for our dolls or to painting eggs at Easter. My upbringing led me into choosing to study art at school before heading to university to study history of art.

After financing my way through university with waitressing jobs, I ran a restaurant on the Sussex coast to save for travelling around Asia before I found my passion - arranging social events and weddings at the five-star hotels, St Pancras Renaissance Hotel and The Lanesborough.

I had Lavender Green Flowers on the recommended supplier lists at both hotels and had such a good relationship with them that when they approached me about a role in their weddings team, I jumped at the chance!

Read Tara Derakshan’s Wonder Woman Wednesday profile to find out more about her innovative fragrance brand, Sniph, and why she thinks it’s important that couples fragrance their big days.

What does your work at Lavender Green involve?

I look after wedding enquiries, confirmed brides and grooms, supplier and venue relations and business development.

What wedding flower trends are you spotting at the moment?

There seems to have been a shift from the rustic runners of 2017 to more elegant and chic designs using palm leaves and grasses in tall glass vases. We’re also seeing people who want to make a statement group flowers and colours as opposed to just mixing everything together - it creates a more modern feel.

Brides are becoming more aware of where their flowers are coming from and the story behind them. Whilst we love to support British farms and think there is something special about having flowers that are grown only a stone’s throw from your wedding venue, we also realise the importance of supporting those smaller, family-run farms in both Europe and further afield.

Read more: Wonder Woman Wednesday: Rosanna Garden

What tips do you have for retailers looking to create a greater atmosphere within their shops?

Lighting is super important. Bright, white light can be quite harsh and stark but a warm, candlelit affect is inviting and atmospheric.

Fragrance is important. Obviously, I work in a beautiful florist and the everyday scent is wonderful. We also enhance this natural scent with our own LG candles which come in scents that are based on our favourite flowers like White Gardenia and Neroli & Jasmine. One of the most recurring comments from clients when entering our store is how wonderful it smells; a great smell automatically allows the customer to interact with you.

Make the most of all available space. Don’t place items on one sight line as when a customer comes in they will only see the first thing in front of them. Be sure to use the ceilings to hang things – this often provides height to the room – and make sure you use the corners too. Keep things interesting and create talking points for your customers.

Read Amanda Connock’s Wonder Woman Wednesday profile to find out more about fragrancing your boutique.

What does your typical working day look like?

Gosh, no two days are the same, but most days involve a consultation with a prospective bride and groom. I’ll start by talking to the customers about how they want their wedding to feel, which is something that we believe to be as equally important as to how it will look.

We’ll then sketch the bride in her wedding dress and design her bouquet alongside discussing the couple’s other desires before formulating that into a lengthy bespoke quotation outlining everything we discussed. As well as this, I will be liaising with our current couples about their weddings, talking with our floristry team about new designs, meetings with planners, as well as completing venue site visits and market research.

Read more: Wonder Woman Wednesday: Kirsty Voce

What are your secrets to success?

  • Surround yourself with good people and never be afraid to ask for help.
  • Keep calm. In the world of weddings, there will always be unexpected and unpredictable events that occur. Assess the situation to best of your ability and find a solution.
  • Make lists! This may seem elementary but a daily to do list (whilst it may be never ending) gives me a real sense of achievement when you cross things out. I find that this also clears my head and ensures I approach each day with a clean slate.
  • Finally, I make sure I take time to mentally check out of work. Creating a work-life balance has never been more important, we live in a world where everyone expects responses straight away and you are constantly ‘available’, so take a moment away from work.

Can you tell us three interesting facts about yourself?

  1. I am getting married in Portugal next year to my best friend of 20 years… and I have no idea what flowers I want!
  2. Since I started working in the wedding industry, I have been a part of 568 weddings!
  3. My parents ran an Adult Education College when I was younger which was open seven days a week and we lived on site. This meant that my two sisters, brother and I spent much of our youth dipping in and out of classes like learning how to belly dance, basket-making, watercolour painting and opera singing to name just a few!

Scent evokes memories and create a really pleasant buying experience. We spoke to the experts to find out more about the importance of fragrancing your boutique.

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