Fresh Techniques for Fabulous Wedding Florals from Top Designers Holly Chapple and Hitomi Gilliam


Internationally-acclaimed designers Holly Chapple (Holly Heider Chapple Flowers) and Hitomi Gilliam, AIFD (Design358) set the stage for a spring wedding season highlighting luxe blooms and luscious decor at United Floral in Vancouver, BC. Their workshop, “Gathered & Styled Weddings” was infused with fresh thinking and opportunities for florists to delight their bridal customers.

During the two-day program, Holly and Hitomi shared exciting mechanics; new ways to design hand-tied arm, cascading and crescent bouquets; and a stunning display of upscale wedding creations (many featuring David Austin Wedding Roses).

Hitomi Gilliam, AIFD

Holly Chapple

The weekend’s botanical selection included a tempting array of high-end flowers designed to encourage participants to explore opportunities to expand their offerings. Along with six varieties of David Austin Wedding Roses (Keira, Juliet, Constance, Edith, Beatrice and Carey) were Gloriosa Lilies, Sweet Peas, Ranunculus, Helleborus, Scabiosa, Viburnum opulus, robust Nerine, Amaryllis, Pieris japonica, Anemone, blooming branches and Jasmine Vine, mini Phalaenopsis and Cymbidium orchids, Spring bulb flowers, and more.

“Consumers’ awareness of luxury flowers and their appreciation for such high-end floral products needs to be nurtured,” Hitomi said. “Wedding flowers is an area where we can use the power of suggestion to encourage brides to choose bouquets that are fitting for a very special occasion.”

Offering customers luxury flowers is also a way florists can “differentiate themselves from the low-end market,” she noted. “Carrying branded roses like David Austin Wedding Roses brings distinction and prestige to your business.”


Hitomi and Holly shared ways to design bouquets and compotes that allow David Austin Wedding Roses to open completely. “The exquisite form, high petal count and precious fragrance of these garden roses make them the center of attraction,” Hitomi said. “They need space to open to their full magnificence.”

Holly emphasized the need for florists to build a strong photo portfolio so they can show customers what’s possible with luxury blooms and high-quality floral design. She encouraged workshop participants to “stage regular photo shoots and gather amazing images of what a florist is capable of creating.”  Then make social media your friend. “Use regular Instagram posts to get your work noticed and to market your distinctive style and talent,” she advised.

“Our goal for the program was to show how any willing florist can set their sights high and target luxury weddings as part of their new portfolio,” Hitomi said “The takeaway message for the weekend was… ‘YES, YOU CAN!!’

Read more about this workshop in Florists_Review >

Hitomi Gilliam, AIFD, is an internationally sought-after floral artist and educator who has guest-designed throughout North America, England, Japan, Mexico, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Bermuda, Singapore, Australia, & Colombia. She is the founder of the Design358 studio and co-founder (with Tomas De Bruyen) of the European Master Certification program. Hitomi recently launched her own channel on  YouTube, where she shares practical design tips and explores the world of professional floral artistry.

Holly Chapple is the visionary behind Holly Heider Chapple Flowers in Leesburg, VA. A highly recognized and sought after floral designer, Holly’s work appears often in prestigious wedding and floral publications. She enjoys sharing more than 20 years of successful business as a teacher, speaker and mentor to other professionals in the wedding industry — especially within Chapel Designers the international network of floral designers she founded in 2010.