Don't know a dahlia from a daffodil? Don't panic! I've put together a few tips to consider when choosing your wedding bouquetRead More
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.
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.