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It's almost peony season again and as I'm writing a few quotes for pastel weddings I thought I'd blog about another great wedding from last year.
The lovely Joanne and Ewan tied the knot at Sloans in Glasgow city centre. Joanne's bouquet was a romantic pastel beauty full of soft tones and blousey blooms. I used peonies, scented stocks, white nigella (also known as "love in a mist", white alliums, astilbe and atrantia to create a gorgeous whispy hand tied bouquet.
Another favourite ingredient used was blushing bride protea which had a gorgeous colour and soft curve to it. When I was researching blushing bride proteas I discovered that apparently French Huguenots farmers would approach their girlfriends with this flower in their lapels when about to ask for their hand in marriage. The name "blushing bride" derives from the fact that the suitor's intention was apparent to all who met him, much to the embarrassment of his bride to be. The deeper the pink colour the more serious the intentions of the suitor.
For a luxurious and ethereal twist I used hand died heirloom silk to finish the bouquets which was so light it caught the wind beautifully in her photos. I love using this delicate trailing material to finish bouquets and it's perfect for this style of wedding.
In Joanne's hair I made a pastel comb and her bridesmaids and flower girls had matching posies and flower wands. Ewan is a little allergic to flowers so I made a succulent based buttonhole which toned in really well with their muted colour palette - and of course I had to add some blushing bride too!
Photos by Zoe Alexandra Photography
In 2015 Pantone's colour of the year was Marsala - a sort of burgundy, wine, oxblood tone - and since then I've had a lot of couples look to incorporate this beautiful rich tone into their wedding day. People often like to team it with blush pinks, rose golds and creams, and it is great colour to use if you are thinking of getting married in late summer or autumn.
Often people think that working in a "wild" or "natural" style of floristry means you can't do chic, contemporary or city weddings but last year I had the pleasure of working on Rosalind and Charly's super stylish Edinburgh wedding at the Balmoral.
Rosalind is a stylist and has a fantastic eye for detail, her dress was simple, elegant and chic with a fabulous scalloped edge neckline. She asked me to work in a burgundy / Marsala colour palette with pops of fresh white and eucalyptus to represent her time in Australia.
I used a mixture of Scottish grown flowers from the lovely Paula at Millpond Flower Farm, and imported dutch flowers. As it was an October wedding burgundy was a brilliant colour choice and we used some gorgeous rich dahlias to get the really dark dark wine colour in her bouquet along with amaranthus (which I always love using for its texture), blackberry scoop scabious, astrantia, garden roses, wax flower, eustoma and grasses. I loved the deep tones and different textures of her bouquet and although it was an all round design I still worked in loose and natural style letting the flowers showcase their beauty.
Charly had a buttonhole of succulents, thistle, wax flower and sedum to match in with Rosalind's Marsala bouquet.
We dressed the ceremony and reception rooms at the Balmoral in beautiful garlands of eucalyptus and autumn hydrangea, working with the muted tones of the room furnishings.
Photos by Crofts and Kowalczyk
I was lucky enough to work on a really varied set of weddings last year, from bright colour pop warehouse ceremonies, to ethereal woodland weddings, pastel blooms in ancient castles to deep burgundy and marsala in Edinburgh city centre. I love that every couple is unique and while there are trends that run through wedding flower preferences, no two bouquets or arrangements are the same.
One of my favourite weddings from last year was Fiona and Nial's August nuptials, which took place at the beautiful Crear on the west coast of Scotland. Fiona was initially attracted to my terrariums and dinosaurs with air plants in them, and succulents and tillandsia were soon added to the list of ingredients for her wedding flowers!
The muted tones of the Scottish grown flowers were inspired by the colours of the the Scottish landscape. Fiona wanted her bouquet to mirror the tones and textures of the West coast- the sea, sky and mountains. She loved Scandinavian design, clean lines and plants so I used a beautiful tillandsia air-plant as the focus of her bridal bouquet with the unusual lines and colours reminiscent of the sea shore. She could then keep the plant after her wedding as a memento.
Other ingredients included echinops, lavender, mint, dahlia, nigella (also known as love in a mist) and clematis. Her flower girl carried a giant allium head and I added a small tillandsia plant to Nial's buttonhole to tie in with Fiona's bouquet.
For favours Fiona and her mum wrapped mixed succulents in hessian and attached handwritten name tags. I love how the greenery of the foliage, the pale lavender, blue and white tones of the flowers pick out the tones of the landscape and their photographer Lisa Devine has beautifully captured the light and atmosphere of the setting.
Before Christmas I ran some wreath making workshops and one of the things that came up in discussion was just how much time it takes to make the designs for a wedding. We spent over two hours making a door wreath but when you have multiple designs to make for a wedding you might not be able to take that much time A lot of people might think that wedding flowers are just done on the day or day before but in fact the process takes many months. A lot of this work is not visible and so when people talk about how expensive wedding flowers are they might not realise all the stages that go on before the bride holds onto her bouquet on the day.
Some brides are super organised and will come to me two years ahead of their date with a pinterest board full of ideas and a list of exactly what they want and others leave it to the week before their wedding date and have never really thought about flowers other than what they see in the supermarket. I like to have a consultation with each couple, whether in person, via email or over the phone, to get a good idea of all the details of the wedding, their general style and themes and their personalities. This helps me design their arrangements and pick out the right blooms that will perfectly fit the wedding and the season.
Having had a consultation I will go away and spend a long time thinking about the designs, researching what will be in season, what colours will go well together, what elements might suit the couple's personalities and the look of the wedding as a whole. Sometimes this will mean talking to growers or my wholesaler at the market, sometimes I'll visit the venue, sometimes I will put together moodboards and lists of ingredients. Each couple is different in what they need and how much they want to be involved in the process so before you have paid your deposit a lot of creative energy will go into your designs. Throughout the days, weeks, months (and sometimes years) leading up to the wedding date I will continue adding to my mood boards and notes for each wedding when I come across ideas and ingredients that would be perfect for that look.
Coming up to the wedding date itself I will have another consultation with the couple either in person, via phone or email to go over all the details and make sure nothing has changed - often it has! Once these details have been ironed out I'll order the flowers - whether from a local grower or from Holland and start preparing the non perishable parts of the order, the vases, boxes and a beautiful wedding card which explains the ingredients of your wedding flowers and their history and folklore.
Ordering the flowers itself takes a long time (several hours usually!) and involves a lot of "Flower Maths". If I'm buying from Holland flowers and foliage come in bundles or wraps of anything from 10 -50 stems and I need to work out how many stems I need for each design, allowing for breakages etc, and how many wraps that will translate to. All of this is made more complicated by the shifting price of flowers at auction and I need to be careful to buy materials to the budget agreed with the couple.
The flowers arrive:
Different flowers will open at different speeds and need differing amounts of tlc and coaxing to get them ready for your wedding so I will collect the flowers from the grower or market (often these are in different cities altogether) and then condition them, give them a good drink and make them happy so that when it comes to your big day they are all at their most beautiful and full. Sometimes in winter it is hard to coax them out to play, but in summer it can be too hot and they are ready to party far too early! If the flowers are from Holland or further a field they will need a good long drink after their journey across continents and will need to be gentle roused form the suspended animation they have been put in to travel.
Making the designs
Now the flowers are ready to work with I will go ahead and start making up the designs in the order that they will last best. This means that things like wired shower bouquets and flower crowns will be done right at the last moment as close to the wedding as possible so that they will last longer. Once a flower is out of water and has been wired up it is on something of a countdown to wilting so I have to bear this in mind when scheduling what designs to make up first.
The big day
On the morning of the wedding I will get up at a somewhat unholy hour to continue making designs. Sometimes I can hear owls from my studio and once I spent the early morning and dawn in the company of a young sparrow hawk who watched me through the window as I put the finishing touches to the bridal bouquet. I love this time, tired as I am, there is a certain stillness and beauty to the world before everyone else has woken up and the hustle and bustle of the world around me has begun.
If I'm lucky I will wolf down a breakfast en route and load up the van before delivering flowers. Often this involves multiple drop off points trying to beat rush hour traffic and the Scottish weather to make sure that each party going to the wedding gets their flowers when they need them. At the venue I'll set up the flowers for the ceremony and reception and make sure everything is perfect before I go. If this includes floral arches and pedestals or hanging designs this is more involved and I may spend several hours at the venue before anyone else arrives making the designs that cannot be pre-made in the workshop or easily transported. When everything is in place and I'm happy I will pack up and slip away before the guests arrive and only the flowers remain, waiting to welcome the couple in all their beauty.
It's been sunny for the past couple of days and I've started to see signs that spring is around the corner with snowdrops and even crocuses peaking through despite the January gloom. It's making me think of some of one of my favourite spring weddings of last year at Sloans in Glasgow city centre.
The bride, Aimee, is an amazingly talented dress designer (she was even making her own dress!) and it was great working with her brief of clean lines, geometric shapes and a punchy combo of colours: hot pink, teal and gold.
To create her look I used sprayed gold craspedia (also known as billy buttons), eucalyptus and succulents for the bluey green shades, and a mixture of pink roses. I liked the way the craspedia and succulents had the clean lines and geometric shapes she was looking for and I teamed them with bouvardia, ranunculas (one of my favourite spring blooms) and hypericum berries to give a great textured look to the bouquet.
For the buttonholes I used succulents and craspedia died gold which looked great against Michael's teal tweed jacket. In the venue Aimee had dip dyed glass vases in teal and I filled them with hot pink spring flowers. It was a really unusual, fresh look perfect for Spring!
Photography: Lauren McGlynn
Often flowers are one of the final elements to be chosen for a wedding so when Martha approached me to do her wedding flowers and said she wanted me to set the tone for everything else I was over the moon. Martha and Craig were a dream couple to work with, they were so relaxed and laid back and gave me complete creative freedom with their flowers, fitting in the other decor elements to the designs we came up with at our first meeting. They weren't afraid to try something different, to be bold with colour and design choices, and the result was a riot of colour and fun!
Bridal Party Flowers
Martha didn't want a formal or traditional wedding so instead of a bridal bouquet she opted for a bespoke headpiece and matching wrist corsage. Dotty, her pug, was not left out and I created a fun floral corsage for her to wear at the wedding too! The buttonholes included succulents, craspedia, and strawflower among other materials to fit with the bright and colourful theme of the wedding.
Because they were getting married at the Woodside Warehouse in Glasgow they effectively had a blank canvas and were keen to fill the unusual space with colour and fun florals. Martha's mum is a textile designer so we combined her striking prints with bold Mexican fiesta colours for the flowers, using lots of funky textures with elements like succulents, leucospermum and craspedia to give an exotic fun feel. Martha is a baker so we filled treacle and golden syrup tins with summer wildflowers and created a foliage table runner dotted with mini succulents.
The ceremony space was dominated by an amazing hanging backdrop of colourful paper cranes that Martha had spent many months making so to complement this we dotted around arrangements of Scottish grown summer flowers such as dahlias, cosmos and poppies in Martha's collected syrup tins.
Next door in the bar area I created a flower wall mixed in with Polaroids of Martha's friend's and family to fill the white walls with a wave of colour.