With a colourful aesthetic and a fun personality, I absolutely admire the work of Melbourne wedding florist Ione (pronounced “i-ye-nee”) of Oh Hello Petal, and I know you will too! Ione is in a special niche of wedding floristry and planning/styling, allowing her to support couples throughout their wedding planning journey and then bringing her expertise to seamless execution of the couples’ vibe on the day. Read on for helpful insights into choosing your florist and planner!
Tell us about yourself…
I’m Ione Ruth, and I was named after my maternal and paternal great-grandmothers. My name literally means, ‘love you, flower friend,’ and honestly, it really feels like that fits. I love love, I love people, I love flowers. I own and run Oh Hello Petal, which is a private event design studio based in Naarm/Melbourne’s inner West, on Bunurong country.
Tell us about your background and how you got into the wedding industry.
I grew up around flowers thanks to my Nana, who had the most beautiful garden, so by the time I came to retail floristry in 2012 I was well prepared to put my inherited knowledge to use. I enjoyed my time in the shop, but realised pretty quickly that the part of the work I enjoyed most was journeying with couples, creating their weddings alongside them.
As a Melbourne wedding florist, how would you describe your style?
I love working with ruffly textured florals, and am drawn to rich, fun – dare I say, obnoxious – colour palettes. I have to work really, really hard to be disciplined enough for minimalism, maximalism is my jam!
What floral items should couples be thinking about when they are planning their wedding?
Working out the vibe for a wedding day is a good place to start — fun, extravagant, stylish, relaxed, or a mixture of all —make styling decisions from there will come a lot more naturally than people maybe expect. For flowers, my big thing is to put them where people will be spending the most time, so a stunning ceremony design that can be transferred to the reception space is always worthwhile investing in.
Flowers by Oh Hello Petal; Image by Samantha Elizabeth Photography
What sort of budget can couples expect to invest in wedding flowers?
I’ve seen online blogs suggest specific percentages to allocate for wedding florals, but I personally find that confusing and such a vague way to ‘guess-timate’ a budget. I recommend my couples spend between $40-$100 per guest, depending how important florals are to them.
Tell us about one of your favourite weddings you have worked on recently.
Agh so hard to choose! I loved Gabriella and Gian’s modern, classic, celebration at Luminare, they were such a beautiful couple and we had such a fun time working together on their New York inspired day. I’m also still dreaming about Emma and Christian’s wedding at The Greenhouse Thornbury, where the brief was ‘most epic boujee disco best ever-house party colour-fest’!
Do you have a top tip for couples planning their flowers?
Work out what you like, what you don’t like, have a rough shopping list of items for your florist to work towards … and then step back! Florists really are artists, and having our clients trust in our creative skill is the dream.
Bouquets by Oh Hello Petal; Image by Aleksandar Jason Photography
You not only offer flowers but also wedding planning and styling – what made you choose to offer multiple services?
I’m just so fascinated by each facet of the process of creating an event, and merging my floristry experience with styling came pretty naturally. Once I’d had enough experience executing the events adding on day-of co-ordination made a lot of sense to be that extra support for my Petals on the day, and now that I’ve had ten years in the industry making connections with other suppliers and venues, popping on my planning hat felt like the next right step to take!
Do you have any advice for couples working with a florist and planner/stylist?
Firstly, find the planner/stylist who you connect with really easily. Your engagement is longer than the wedding day, so surround yourself by people you get along with and trust, making it a really happy experience. Then, never feel like you’re bugging us by sliding into our inboxes constantly! I’ve seen a lot in my time — last minute venue changes, dramas with bridesmaids, groomsmen, and everyone in between, even supported my couples through hard times in their personal lives. It’s a real honour to support my couples every step of the way, and I promised I’m just as obsessed with their weddings as they are, if not more!!
Bouquets by Oh Hello Petal; Image by Courtney Laura Photography
Is there something that couples would be surprised to hear about the work that goes into wedding floristry and styling?
I think just the sheer number of hours we put in behind the scenes, and how physical it is. We’re hauling buckets full of water and flowers at all hours of the day, spending a minimum two days on our feet and that’s just to prepare the flowers. Then there’s the reset that happens long after our couples are on their honeymoon — cleaning vases, candle holders, linens, returning any hire items. A one-day wedding can take a week either side to produce … and that’s without mentioning the months of preparation we’ve done in the lead up!
Why should couples hire a wedding planner and stylist?
For a lot of couples, this is the first (and hopefully only!) time they’ll ever plan a wedding, so it’s natural to feel overwhelmed at the start the process. Enter a stylist or planner, who oversees twenty weddings a year! We’re here to be your wedding bestie — to obsess over every detail with you, to connect you with aligned suppliers, to champion and elevate your design choices, and to use our own creativity and experience to make your whole engagement, and wedding day, as smooth as possible.
Do you have a favourite wedding moment that you have planned?
My favourite wedding moment, for every wedding I’m a part of, is couples walking down the aisle. Watching a couple look at one another in that moment is always so precious — it’s the culmination of a lot of work to get them there from a planning perspective, but also years in the making for their relationship. To me, the walk down the aisle represents the journey they’ve been on, and the walk back up the aisle at the end of their ceremony is all that is yet to come. I get emotional every time!
You wear many hats! Exactly what services do you offer couples?
I have a range of services! Oh Hello Petal offers :
Styling and floral design
1:1 creative consults
Florals by Oh Hello Petal; Image by La Moment Photography
What should couples look for or ask when they are choosing the wedding planner for them?
Honestly, if you’re going to engage someone to be your wedding planner, the number one thing is whether they ‘click’ or not. And that goes for all wedding suppliers, really! Finding suppliers that fit the budget, but you have nothing in common with can make for an awkward planning experience, but finding suppliers that you can yack on with for hours will make a world of difference to the whole process. Another green flag, again for any wedding suppliers, is transparency about cost and ease in explaining their terms and conditions to you. Honesty from the very beginning of a relationship is sexy!
What’s your favourite thing about working in the wedding industry?
It still blows my mind after ten+ years in this industry that as suppliers, couples invite us to help celebrate one of, if not THE most, important days of their lives. That, and all the rad beautiful people who work in it! Melbourne’s wedding industry is a gorgeous collective of truly wonderful people, and I feel pretty lucky to be a part of it.
What do you do when you’re not planning weddings?
I dream about upcoming weddings haha! I’m also wife and mum, I love baking, gardening and embroidery (you could say I’m in my nana hobbies era) and will never say no to Thai takeaway.
Love the bright and colourful aesthetic? Check out my custom packages that allow you to create wedding stationery that infuses your personality.