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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
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.
Earlier this year I organised a styled shoot in Glasgow’s iconic Govanhill Baths which was then featured in the Sunday Herald magazine. I’ve been meaning to blog about it since then but this being the wedding season time seems to be flying by! One of my goals this year was to take part in more styled shoots as it’s a great way to collaborate and meet with other creatively minded suppliers and set your own creative briefs.
I’d been looking for a location to do a shoot in for a while and wanted to shoot flowers in an unusual context so the idea grew from then. I was inspired after watching a vimeo documentary about the occupation of the Baths in which there were some kids holding a banner saying “let democracy bloom”. From there the idea blossomed.
Govan is one of the most diverse communities in Glasgow and the Govanhill Baths was a key service where people from all different backgrounds mixed. Apart from the pools themselves, there was a steamie and slipper baths which were crucial services to the local community who often lived in housing that didn’t have these amenities.
It’s been 15 years since the Baths were closed, and they provided such a key service for the community there was a huge outcry when the council tried to shut them. There was an occupation for several weeks and after the supporters were forcibly evicted, the building was left to ruin. Now the Govanhill Baths Community Trust has been formed and some initial funding has been granted by the Heritage Lottery Fund to restore it to its former glory.
The way the community mobilised around the Baths and the things the building came to represent really inspired me, so having done a site visit with photographer extraordinaire Chantal from The Gibsons I knew it would be a really special project. Many of the original features of the baths are still present and although some areas are pretty run down and we had to dodge a few dead pigeons, you can really imagine what the Baths would have been like in their heyday.
With this being the year of Architecture, and the annual Doors Open Day festival about to start, it seems like re-imagining and resuscitating modern ruins is in the popular consciousness, with projects like St Peter’s Seminary / Hinterland taking place earlier in the year.
For the shoot I wanted to go for a 1920s/30s faded Gatsby glamour look, and the brilliant Natasha from Lovedeluxe Lingerie provided some great piece for our model, Maddy, to wear. Cat Robertson did a great job on make-up, managing to match the lip colour to the flowers in my bouquet perfectly! And Laura Slaven represented Anne Marie McElroy creating a great 20s style wave in Maddy’s hair.
For the flowers I wanted to create something that seemed full of the rich opulence of the 1920s Gatsby era but gone a bit wild and to seed (like the Baths themselves), so I included rich jewel tones and even an airplant as a focal element to the bouquet.
Other pieces included an installation in one of the overflow areas of the pool, a flapper headband, which would make a great substitute for a flower crown, and a statement necklace of succulents and celosia. The piece de resistance however was a swim cap created entirely from fresh flowers like artificial ones popular in the 20s and 30s.
For many guys buttonholes are a bit of an after thought, something they are told they should wear by mums and partners, but they don’t have to be boring. I always try to make the groom’s buttonhole reflective of the bridal bouquet but also a little special as this is really the groom’s version of a bouquet.
Stories differ as to how the tradition of pinning flowers to your lapel started, but some say that buttonholes date back to ancient Greece. The male wedding party members would wear a small bunch of flowers, usually mixed with fragrant herbs, pinned close to their heart in order to ward off evil spirits. It was believed that these evil spirits would cause the groom to turn his heart against the bride and refuse to love her.
Whatever you believe the origins to be, buttonholes are still popular today, and it is worth noting the story if only to remind you to pin the buttonhole on the left hand side (the same side as your heart ). Other people have said men should wear buttonholes on the left side because women are always right, but I’ll leave that interpretation up to you!
I often get asked how to put on buttonholes and have found this video on YouTube very useful:
Traditionally men would wear a single, rose, carnation or in Scotland a thistle, but nowadays it is much more popular to have a more natural looking gathered style of buttonhole below. These bunched buttonholes suit a more rustic or naturally styled wedding and have the benefit that you can keep them in water (like a mini bouquet) right up until you pin them on. In contrast traditional wired buttonholes cannot go in water but do provide more support (due to the wiring) throughout the day.
When choosing your buttonhole ingredients it’s worth remembering that buttonholes have to put up with a lot. They are pinned on a warm body and often knocked and squished in man hugs throughout the day, so I find using hard elements like succulents, lavender or dried elements mean that your buttonhole survives for longer. Pale flowers and roses can bruise easily, and likewise some off the beautiful images of wildflower buttonholes on Pinterest are misleading as they are taken for a photoshoot but would never last the rigours of a full wedding. Another option is to order two buttonholes for the groom so he can have a pristine version for the official photographs!
Perhaps some of my favourite buttonholes have been a little quirky, for example I had a bride whose bouquet was designed to cascade out of a teapot, her bridesmaids’ bouquets were in teacups and so I used dolls house china to add mini teacups and a teapot to the groom and bridal party’s buttonholes.
Earlier this summer a book loving bride wanted me to include a paper rose in her bouquet taken from the pages of her favourite book so I made a matching mini one to go in her groom’s buttonhole. In other examples I’ve included pine cones, feathers and even scrabble tiles. So when it comes to buttonholes, be creative, it doesn’t have to be boring!
When talking to brides at consultations or at recent wedding fairs in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Stirling, the word “peony” has loomed large. Undoubtedly a beautiful flower, and one of the most popular luxury wedding flowers, many brides have their hearts set on this bloom for their wedding bouquet. Unfortunately, as with many beautiful ephemeral things, it has a very short season, making it all the more precious. Its peak season falls between April and June, but this year I have seen beautiful peonies at the flower market from early March, and last year there were peonies well into July. They go hand in hand with blousey full-bloomed roses to give a sense of stately home elegance and they have an amazing heady scent.
This beautiful flower is full of diva-like habits and can strike fear into the heart of many florists as they are notoriously capricious. Often a number of stems per wrap will never open at all, despite the ministrations of panicking florists equipped with warm water and hairdryers. Other times they will unfurl their taffeta skirts all too soon and be ready to dance before the day of the wedding. Because of this your florist might over order the number of peonies needed so they will have enough usable stems.
That said, they are definitely the stars of the show in a bouquet, the prima ballerina of any arrangement, despite their Victorian flower meaning of “bashfulness”. So it is always difficult when a bride full of enthusiasm for peonies then reveals her wedding date is out of peony season. However all is not lost, there are many alternatives to peonies which work well in natural, classic and rustic bouquets at other times of year. Perhaps the first step is to think about what it is about the peony that charms you.
If it is the big headed round shape consider using Ranunculus or double tulips in spring. You might also like David Austin roses for their ruffles and spirals of petals. Or if you love the scent, try something like Matthiola to capture the perfume of summer. Whatever it is that attracts you, there are plenty of alternatives out there.