Outstanding Orchids

4 years ago my big brother Matt married his lovely partner, Katy, and I was privileged to create the flowers to help celebrate their big day. It was a big day, bursting with colours, textures, and fun, lots of fun!

It’s fair to say that the colour theme was vibrant. Like orange, cerise and lime green kind of vibrant. Throw in a splash of white, and they really did knock your socks off with their bright kick!

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Orchids, namely Phalaenopsis and Vanda orchids, helped achieve the dynamic palette, along side Cellosia, ‘Purple Power’ and ‘Wow’ roses, ‘Mango’ Calla lilies, and ‘Kermit’ Chrysanthemum.

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Against their green dresses, the bridesmaids carried sectioned hand tied bouquets, with more white to help lift the flowers. The buttonholes and corsages each picked out a focal flower and colour – a lovely way to continue the theme.

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The ceremony room looked the part with white trees adorned with orchids. Quite a statement at the front of the room.

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The colour extravaganza continued into the reception! There were two table designs to help lead the eye around the room, one tall and one short. Both featured sliced citrus fruit, and fun, bright collections of flowers. Calla lilies were paired with steel grass and coloured sticks exploding out of a Hydrangea cushion, and sat on a tall vase – what an impact! Mini Gerberas, Dahlias, and carnations joined the other flower varieties in tight handties stood in a flower filled glass bowl, bringing the room to life.

One of my favourite weddings to date! Happy Anniversary Matt and Katy!

 

 

Cobalt blue celebration

Last week, we had a Thursday wedding with a very distinct theme. The main colour featured was blue, and I mean bright blue – like you’d seen in a tropical sky. This was complimented with the light fluffy white of gypsophilia, and the two worked perfectly together. Throw a tough of rustic hessian into the mix, and that, my friend, is a well thought out theme.

Jemima carried a handtie of blue hydrangea with a gypsophilia and eucalyptus collar, with her bridesmaids having simple collections of just gypsophilia.

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The marriage itself was at Royal Russell Chapel, where my couple opted for a sprinkling of gypsophilia in the way of pew ends.

The wedding celebration was at Oaks Farm in Shirley, a beautiful venue needing little additional decoration. A few jars filled with clouds of white and blue, and the job was done. Gorgeous.

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Congratulations Jemima and Jamie, hope you had a fabulous day celebrating with all your family and friends!

Wedding Theme: Mint

In recent years, mint has become increasingly popular as a wedding theme. Bridesmaid dresses, table runners, and stylish invitations all carry the soft accent, and look classy to say the least.

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Image from DeerPearlFlowers, via Pinterest

 

When you think about it, there are not many, if any, mint coloured flowers. But the tone can be brought in via foliage elements, such as silvery blue Echeveria (succulents), Senecio cineraria (Dusty Miller), and Eucalyptus. And it’s a tone that can be paired with either complimentary or contrasting colours – think ivory, pink, coral, or even purple.

As always, the most important thing is to take your theme and run with it. Don’t shy away from letting it sing!

Question: Bouquet Shapes

When it comes to thinking about your wedding flowers, one of the first elements you’re asked about is what your dress is like, and what flowers you’d like to carry. It’s worth getting your dress before looking at flowers, as the outfit you go for may dictate a particular style for your flowers. There are more than a few options besides the ever-popular hand tie for the bride, so I thought I’d jot a few down here.

Hand tied bouquet, also referred to as a posy or round bouquet. There’s a reason these are such a popular choice with brides – they are simple, elegant and easy to carry. With your choice of flowers, this style of bouquet can suit various wedding themes. For a modern, tidy look, go for compact stems, either all one variety of flower, like roses, or a mix to add texture. Perfect to sit against almost any style of wedding gown.

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At the other end of the scale, a hand tie can be loose and country style, perfect for a more relaxed day. With a selection of soft foliage and either big blousy blooms like English roses, or delicate meadow type flowers, such as Nigella, Astillbe and Daisies. Perfect to carry against a vintage or lacy dress. And why not follow the current trend of a floral headdress to match?

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Pageant, or over arm sheath. This style of bouquet utilises long stemmed flowers, tied and cradled in the arm. Again, it can be very modern, using bold, choice flowers such as Calla lilies and Phalaenophsis orchids, or very ‘boho’ with masses of trailing foliage and sparse flowers. Gladioli, Delphinium and Campanella suit this style well. They look great against a silky, fitted dress.

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Shower bouquet, also know as a cascade bouquet or teardrop bouquet. A classic, traditional choice. They fell out of popularity with the rise of the handtie, but are now enjoying a revival – and rightly so. They are beautiful arrangements, drawing the eye down your dress, so are perfect to compliment an a-line skirt or ball gown. They can be small and delicate, like Kate Middleton carried, or large and fuller, like Princess Diana’s.

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If you’d like to carry one of these while wearing a mermaid or sheath dress, you can go for a more modern, minimalist drop-bouquet. This way, you’re silhouette won’t be too hidden behind your flowers.

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Crescent bouquets are similar to shower bouquets, but the flowers are placed in a crescent shape – ideal if you have detail at the front or down one side of your dress that you’d rather not hide away.

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Pomander. These are a essentially a compact ball of flowers, hanging from a ribbon loop handle. A fun choice for flower girls who like swinging them down the aisle, but they’re also gaining popularity with brides. They go wonderfully well with a knee-length, flared skirt dress.

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Composite bouquet, or glamelia, is essentially one large flower made up of lots of petals, often from a rose. They are a particularly skilled piece, with each petal being painstakingly attached by hand. It’s a shame they’re not that popular in the UK because they are gorgeous! They’d suit a modern themed wedding, against a fitted classy dress.

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Free form bouquets are similar to a handtie, but follow a random shape. They suit a very relaxed laid back event, for the bride going for a ‘gathered from the garden’ look.

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I hope this helps you choose which direction to go in with your flowers. Don’t forget to ask your florist’s opinion too! They are, after all, the professionals, and have a wealth of information and experience to dip in to. Most of all, enjoy this fun part of the planning!

 

 

[Calla lily Pageant bouquet from Colin Cowie Weddings; Boho pageant bouquet from Bajan Wed; Lily of the Valley shower bouquet from MODwedding; Pink minimal shower bouquet from Carlyanes.com; Crescent bouquet from The Knot; Composite bouquet from lisaflorist.blogspot.se; free form bouquet from greenweddingshoes.com – all via Pinterest]

 

Sunshine and Flowers

Last week I was on a short break with friends to Greece. Oh it was lovely, super hot, and so many sites to see. Such a treat to have a wander round Athens for a few days, and then relax on the stunning Aegean beach.

Whilst exploring, we stumbled across various gorgeous florals, including lots of vibrant pink bougainvillea, a climbing squash with sunflower, and shrub after shrub of scented white flowers. Beautiful.

And now I’m back, feeling refreshed, and raring to go!

Preserving Wedding Flowers

What a joy to be able to look at your gorgeous wedding flowers for years to come. To have them hanging next to a picture of your and your other half in all your glory, making you smile every time you pass them.

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Hazel and Laura make these dreams a reality with their company 3d Flower  Preservation. I’ll let them tell you what they do, from their website:

‘3D Flower Preservation offers a unique opportunity for the bride to save her bouquet as a treasured keepsake – a wonderful reminder of her special day.

3D Flower Preservation specialise in using modern drying techniques, enabling moisture to be taken from the flowers and foliage, leaving them looking as fresh and whole as the day they were delivered to us.

Once your flowers are dry, 3D Flower Preservation re-assembles your bouquet on conservation mount card, cut to a style that suits you. Your bouquet is mounted in a bespoke frame of your choice. The specialist glass used in your frame cuts out 98% of UV light.’

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To make the memento even more special, you can include the grooms buttonhole, a photograph, or a special keepsake from the day. It really is amazing how fresh the flowers still look after being dried. Incredible.

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If you’d rather a smaller souvenir, they also make paperweights featuring a few choice blooms from your bouquet.

For either service, you’re advised to book in as early as possible to ensure they put aside the time in their diary – they’re a small set up so can only accept a small number of bouquets a week. Once booked, they’ll tell you just what you need to do with your flowers, and then work their magic!

To find out more, and book in your bouquet, take a look a their website. Take a nose at their Facebook page to be amazed by their work!

I really wish I’d known about this when I got married!

Rose Varieties

Roses are probable one of the best known and most popular flowers, and there are many different varieties available as a cut flower. So many in fact that it is impossible to know them all. Some have been grown for years and are a staple in the florist shop – favoured for their strong stem, solid head, good vase life. Others are new on the scene, with special qualities like scent, head size, shape of flower, number of petals. And some have been around from old as a garden rose, and are now being developed as a cut flower.

I thought I’d round up a few of my favourites to share with you the joy of variety available, and perhaps inspire you to step outside the box with your wedding flower plans.

WHITE –  ‘Avalanche’ roses are a firm favourite with florists. They have a good strong stem, not too many thorns, and a large head that opens beautifully to a full Dutch rose. With their slight greeny tinge to the guard petals at the edge of the bloom, they’re an interesting and very popular choice.

‘White O’Hara’ are more recently on the scene, with more of a garden rose style – lots of layered petals, and a scent to die for! Their slight hint of a pink centre make them a firm favourite of brides going for a loose country garden theme. Although their vase-life is shorter, you should still get a good 5 days enjoyment. David Austin ‘Patience’ are a similar garden rose variety, in demand with summer brides, like Elle in her soft loose bouquets.

 PINK – ‘Sweet Avalanche’ are a variation to their big sister Avalanche. With similar qualities, their soft pink hue adds a subtle dimension to a pink bouquet, either as a gift or in bridal work. Paired with succulents and gypsophilia, they were the main focal in Abigail’s handties.

‘Pink Piano’ are a cerise garden rose, with smaller spray buds that open as delicate mini versions of the bloom. A whisper of scent, a few more thorns, but Beautiful with a capital ‘b’.

LILAC – Until relatively recently, it was not possible to get a lilac rose without (shock horror) dying or spray painting a white bloom, which lead to crispy, poor quality flowers. Thankfully, the rose growers listened to us florists and you brides, and a good range of lilac roses has been developed. Whether you’re looking to compliment a rustic woodland pallet with an grey-beige tinted ‘Amnesia’, or add romance to a soft pink and ivory scheme with ‘Ocean Song’, there’s a natural lilac rose to suit. Susan and Craig paired them with purples and ivory with sunning effect

RED – Forever the symbol of romance and love, red roses are always in high demand. A staple in the florist shop, ‘Grand Prix’ are a popular variety – strong straight stems, large flat heads, lots of velvety petals opening out into a full bloom, and a trace of a traditional garden rose scent.  Michelle and Alex used these red roses to great effect for their October wedding.

‘Red Piano’ are a more recent addition to the catalogue. More of a garden variety, stronger scent, and a somewhat frilly appearance, they are a favourite of Winter brides, and the romantic among us.

PEACH – Peach has become increasingly in demand in recent years. And rightly so. It’s a versatile colour that can take a scheme from rather bland to exciting. ‘Peach Avalanche’ are part of the expanding Avalanche collection. Group with their ivory cousins for a classy bouquet, or pair with oranges and reds for an Autumn spread.

‘Vuvuzella’ is a peachy pink garden rose, regularly enjoyed by brides going for a coral ‘pop’ in their florals. Although rather thorny (which your florist will remove!) they have a soft appearance, and bring an extra dimension to an arrangement. Coupled with their Dutch sister, ‘Miss Piggy’ they really made Poli’s bouquet sing.

There are so many more varieties than the few I’ve singled out above.  If you’d like to investigate more, I recommend the Flirty Fleurs blog and Pinterest pages. Also worth a look are New Covent Garden Flower Market‘s boards.  I think you’ll be surprise just how wide the variety available is! Why not share your favourite with me?

 

 

[All the images seen here are from Pinterest, their exact source stated in their caption.]

Wedding Themes: Bright Mixed Colours

I love it when a couple grab a theme and really run with it. Bright colours is such great fun, and when embraced completely, can be a real winner on your wedding day.

And your flowers are an obvious area to bring this theme to life.

It can work in a modern setting, with blocked colour roses, hydrangea or almost any single variety flower. With your bridesmaids in colourful, patterned dresses, each could carry flowers in a set colour, picking out the tones from the dress fabric. Or mix the colours up and go with a more modern take on the bouquet – long and narrow, with a bright coloured hydrangea collar. You can really go to town on your tables, with sliced fruit-lined vases, or stacked fishbowls with vibrant orchids inside.

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It works well in a more relaxed setting too, giving the occasion a real country, garden feel. With loosely tied bouquets of different shaped blooms mixed in with textured foliage, and jugs or jars of flowers for the table. This works especially well in a marque or barn setting, blending with the outside surroundings whilst also popping out from them!

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[image from Bride’s Magazine]
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[image from Love My Dress]
Which ever style direction you choose to go, make sure you really do go with it – not a wishy-washy hint of colour, but BOOM in-your-face bright!

For more inspiration, take a look at my portfolio of real brides’ flowers.

Technical Challenge: Woodland meets Modern

Last week, over on Facebook, I shared a few pictures of some unusual table centres. They were rustic and reminiscent of a woodland walk, whilst also having a modern twist of an orchid flourish.

I thought I’d share with you how, with a little imagination, a spot of foraging for the right chunk of bark and a few twigs, and an hour or so, you too can create an interesting feature piece.

You’ll need:

  • A section of curious looking bark (or a few pieces) – go for a wander and see what you can find! Obviously, if it’s private land, check with the landowner you’re ok to take some, and in any situation only take already-fallen bark (don’t go ripping those lovely trees apart!)
  • A few mossy, knarly twigs
  • moss
  • an orchid plant, or few stems of your choice of flowers
  • a stem of Dracena, or your choice of exotic-looking foliage
  • a block of Oasis (floral foam)
  • thin silver wire or gardeners twine
  • a small piece of cellophane (or a few layers of cling film)
  • sharp scissors and a knife
  • hot glue gun, (or strong liquid glue and a lot of patience!)

With all your bits and pieces collected, let’s get started!

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Take your piece or pieces of bark and have a good look at them. Remove any unwelcome bugs or dirt clinging on, and check you’re happy to have it sitting in your house. If it’s damp, let it dry out before continuing.  Check there is a slit or gap or two on the top surface for stems to fit through -if there isn’t, get busy cutting or digging a few out with your knife. Not too big mind, you want it to be subtle.

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Take your block of floral foam, and cut to size to fit snuggly into the underside of your bark. Soak the foam – sit the foam on top of a bucket of water, and let the weight of the water take the foam down. Don’t push it down as you’ll get air pockets which your flowers won’t like.

Cover the bottom of your Oasis with cellophane or several layers of clingfilm, to protect your surface. Leave the top surface clear, so you’re stems can enter unhindered. Secure in place with the silver wire or twine. Cover the visible ends of your foam with moss.

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Using your glue, position and attach your twigs diagonally across the top of the bark. Remember to leave your holes accessible for your flower stems! You may also like to cover your wire or twine with a few bits of moss, but this is by no means essential. Make sure the glue is dry before continuing to the next step.

Next, get creative with your foliage and flowers! Depending on where you’re going to place your arrangement, think about the positioning of the flower heads – if it’s going against a wall, make it front facing, if it’ll be in the centre of your coffee table, make sure there’s something interesting on every side.

Put your foliage in first, just a few bits to frame and ‘set-off’ the blooms. Ensure the stems are going right into your floral foam beneath. Then add your flowers. Keep them looking natural – use the movement of the stems to your advantage, e.g. the curve of the orchid flower stem.

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Ta-dah! There you have it, a woodland meets modern table centre. And the best bit? Now you have your frame, you can just change the flowers as your mood takes you! I’m thinking holly and ivy for Christmas, a few cheerful daffodils for Spring…

A final tip – make sure the foam is kept damp (a dribble of water over the sink will do it) and perhaps change the foam every few times too to make sure the stems are going into foam rather than holes.

I’d love to see your creations – why not share them with me over on my Facebook, Instagram or Twitter?

Classy white and green

Somehow, and I’m really not sure how, two years have passed since Lucy and Dan got married. Their day was full of glorious sunshine, laughter among friends, and some serious dance moves in the evening. It was a privilege to share the day with them, even more so to provide their gorgeous blooms.

The couple’s vision for the day was classy and clean cut, with crisp whites, vibrant lime green, and hint of contrasting navy blue. Absolutely stunning.

We used peony, hydrangea, stocks, ‘Green Tricks’ dianthus, ‘Kermit’ chrysanthemums, hypericum berries, gypsophilia, and ‘Avalanche’ and ‘Green Tea’ roses, with a few pearls in the mix too.

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The venue décor followed suit, with groupings of white and lime on clear glass cylinder vases.

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Happy anniversary Lucy and Dan!

Photography credit to the amazing Steve Ayres of I Will Weddings – definitely check him out if you’re after a wedding photographer (or to do Marry-oke… his videos look like that’s great fun!)