Bridwell Park, Devon – 6-7 June 2017

Bridwell Park House

Imagine you’re invited to pitch to create the floral displays for a prestigious celebration in a large, imposing venue. It should be the dream assignment – a dramatic space and a substantial flower budget – but in reality you are so intimated and overwhelmed by the property’s scale, imposing architecture and the client’s expectations that the dream risks turning into a nightmare.

                                      Bridwell Park Chapel outside   Bridwell Park chapel

Our expert teachers at the Academy of Floral Art are launching a unique course to make such a prospect far less daunting and a whole lot more fun! For two days in early June, we are are taking over Bridwell Park in Devon – a magnificent Grade 1 listed Georgian country house set within 100 acres of landscaped parkland – for a unique floristry course entitled ‘The Big Event’. Attendees will have exclusive access to the property and the chance to immerse themselves in this luxurious stately home, working, sleeping and eating here for two full days.

Bridwell Park bedroom

“Our Academy Floral Spa at Bridwell Park will give florists the knowledge, confidence and hands-on experience of how to pitch, cost for profit and plan for a large-scale event as well as the techniques to create designs to complement the scale and style of the space,” explains Academy tutor, Tina Parkes, herself qualified as a Master Florist in Holland, Britain and the United States. “We have specifically tailored this course towards intermediate and experienced florists and advanced flower arrangers, who are looking to build on their existing skills and take on more challenging projects.”

So, what are the floral fundamentals around big events?

         Canopy design with Julie Collins   Canopy design Bridwell Park


It can be all too tempting to fill a large space with flowers, but you need to stop and think what will give most floral impact – a few spectacular displays or a lots of smaller arrangements? And how should you site them?


Water is not your friend on site, as water can do a lot of damage to a listed building and quickly become an expensive affair. Many venues will insist upon their florists having public liability insurance to cover any watery mishaps.

Costing for profit:

The commercial success of an event is by no means a given. It is not uncommon to hear of florists – even experienced ones – actually losing money on large-scale events by not costing the job properly or being caught unawares by price hikes, having limited their palette to a specific flower.


Few properties are a blank canvas. You have to work with the style of architecture and interior decoration, picking up on colours, tones and form. There is still plenty of room to be daring and creative, but you need to give a nod to the context.

“We are very excited about our first ever Academy Floral Spa,” says Julie Collins, British Master Florist and one of the Directors of the Academy of Floral Art. “By immersing our floristry students in the stately home environment and getting them hands-on with real-life big event floristry, we are aiming to give them the experience and expertise to pitch for their own projects, confident that they will be able to deliver.”

‘The Big Event’ will take place at Bridwell Park, Devon on 6-7 June 2017. To find out more, call the Academy of Floral Art on 01392 834893 or visit

Bridwell Park green room

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