Claire Ryan has one dreamy job. She spends her days collaborating with couples to create the perfect bouquets and arrangements for the biggest celebration of their lives. But it wasn’t always that way. A few years ago, after the birth of her son and an illness in her family, Claire gave up her career in film production to try selling arrangements at a few markets around Dublin. Prior to that, she hadn’t ever thought about flowers as a career option. Happily for her and the about-to-be-hitched, her creations were such a hit that The Informal Florist was launched in 2011. Now you’ll find her unstructured, rustic arrangements all over the country.
What’s your flower-arranging style? I’ve tried to grow into my style and stay true to that. It’s a wilder, more natural look, sort of left-of-centre. I try to showcase the best of what’s out at that time of year.
Sourcing flowers year-round in Ireland can be tough. How do you make it work? I’m now working closely with a woman who has an allotment. We’ve planned ahead and she’s great for giving me branch-y things in the springtime. I’ve really learned a lot from her.
You’re doing more than weddings now. What have you added to your repertoire? This year, I’ve been able to work on some incredible editorial shoots. Because of my background in film, I really enjoy production design. It allows me to try out new things and keeps me creatively ticking over.
Who is your florist hero? I don’t have a florist hero, per se, but I love the unstructured style of American floral designers like Sarah Ryhanen, Nicolette Camille and Amy Merrick, among many others.
What’s your favourite part of your job? I’m so lucky. I get to have great moments on a pretty regular basis. Seeing the delight in a bride’s face when I deliver the bouquet is great and so is the adrenalin high of finishing a huge rig (prior to the incredible physical exhaustion setting in).
What’s your favourite flower? It’s impossible to select one favourite flower because it changes with the season. I’m quite unfaithful in that regard. Lilac, garden roses and ranunculi are up there. I’m also crazy for flowering branches in spring.
What’s your earliest floral memory? My earliest (and cheekiest) floral memory would be climbing on a friend’s shoulders to steal lilac from a tree near the estate where I grew up. It was a bungled attempt. We fled empty handed.
Emily Westbrooks is a transplanted American from Maine who writes on Irish style and lifestyle for her own blog, fromchinavillage.com, as well as Poppytalk and Snippet & Ink. Follow her on @EmilyHolmes. See Claire’s work at theinformalflorist.com
PHOTOGRAPHS BY Ailbhe O’Donnell