Discover the best seasonal flowers to use for your Autumn wedding
When I was a little girl I was a very eager, but very average, pupil at the Brenda Stevens School of Dance. Twice a week I would skip happily along to classes in tap, ballet and modern theatre dance. I, along with millions of other little girls (and boys!) would dream of being a ballerina and twirling in a beautiful pink tutu on stage.
Now, every four years the dance school would put on a full school recital at a local theatre. There would be months of rehearsals and mounting excitement. I would have been around seven years old when our tap class number was to be the “sing a rainbow” song. There was seven of us in the class and we were arranged in a line in descending height order. Now, not only was I average in dance ability but I was also average in height so I was right in the middle of the line. Our costumes were home made little dresses from satin lining material (oh so flammable!!) Starting from red on the left - I was to be ........ green!
Suzanne, tall, leggy and blonde, was in striking red (coz she needed to be noticed that little bit more) Then sunshine yellow - all happy and shiny, Pink - every girls dream and envy (I had to stand next to her whilst looking like an offspring of Shrek! - actually Shrek hadn’t been invented then so it was more like kermit!) Vibrant purple - just like the Brazil nut in Quality Street, Orange (maybe not my second choice but at least it’s cheery!) and then cute little Melanie with her curls in a baby blue dress. Being average is not what it’s cracked up to be - it’s obviously stayed on my mind all this time!
Green as a colour in the natural world is everywhere. Trees, grass, leaves and stems. But it’s the other colours in nature that stand out and provoke memories:
Red rose petals - symbolic with love and romance. The cheery and vibrant yellow marigolds. Soft pinks of the elegant larkspur. Heritage sweet peas with hues of mauve and purple. The stand out orange candulas and the ever blue of the most popular cornflower. These are the flowers that make the real floral rainbow and all were growing in profusion this summer in my cutting patch
The long hot summer put most of the flowering plants into overdrive. Bloom after bloom kept coming but they would also start to go over so quickly in the heat that it was sad to see them come and go without realising their full potential! So why not capture that beauty in an everlasting way by drying the petals to make natural confetti?
Home grown and hand picked, the petals were dried either in racks in the greenhouse or in a dehydrater to fully dry without losing the natural colour.
Each colour way is stored separately so that they can be mixed to create different combinations. Custom mixed to match your wedding themes and colours. But the best thing about this confetti is not it’s colours but the fact it is totally 100% “green” and with no guilty conscience of the pretty littering they will leave behind.
If only my seven year old self knew the true value of “green”
So don’t let your wedding be average - instead throw a rainbow of colour into the air like you just don’t care and sing that rainbow loud! ***
(***whilst being green and proud!)
Who doesn’t love spring? After the dark, cold wetness of winter we all love the fist glimpse of the sun, the first feeling of warmth and the first sighting of roadside daffodils.
Spring flowers. They are just so god-dam cheerful. Bright cheery daffodils, bobbing bright tulips, scented hyacinths and the delicate ranunculous. What’s not to love. Put them altogether and they really are everyone’s favourite flowers.
So take a bouquet of spring flowers, a sunny day, a beautiful ‘bride’ and (best of all) a cute four day old lamb and you get the happiest photoshoot ever! Or actually as we had the brilliant Katie on board it was the “best day ever”
The Big Sheep were our hosts of the shoot and had built a brilliant straw and hay backdrop. The best.day.ever styling van turns up and like a Mary Poppins carpet bag, produces the most spot on props and styling. Add a good sprinkling of spring flowers and the result is the perfect setting for our star of the show: “Lottie the lamb”. He really was the most chilled out cuddly lamb ever. Stole the show with not a spot of lippy required.
We were especially blessed to have Gavin Warland on board to capture all of this spring sensationalism.
There's not a lot more I can say but just let these fabulous images do the talking.
Flower crowns - I love them! They are so pretty, so delicate, so individual. Don't think of them as purely for flowergirls, they look equally stunning on a bride.
There is a real trend currently growing for the bridal crown. This has been taken from the custom of wearing them at festivals where they are worn to symbolise the carefree nature of the countryside, the music, the relaxed vibe. And why shouldn't you take this relaxed - some may say bohemian - look into your wedding.
Of course flower crowns are not a new thing. Julius Caesar rocked a pretty good laurel crown back in the day. The Chinese had their own version using orange blossom which, as it blossoms and fruits at the same time, symbolises fertility. Queen Victoria borrowed this idea and wore an orange blossom flower crown for her wedding to the hunky Prince Albert. But I guess it's the hippy 60's we most associate with the flower crown and it's from there it transferred to mainstream fashion and weddings of today.
So wear your crown with pride. Whether small and dainty or bold and beautiful, you can wear flowers in your hair and celebrate being 'you'
Now I'm not one for actually even listening to Donald Trump but I was rather surprised to come across this quote and find myself, heaven a bid, agreeing. But I'm pretty sure he was not referring to the oversized wedding bouquet.
Sometimes, just sometimes, big is better and I for one am loving the trend for these bold and beautiful oversized wedding bouquets.
With a wild asymmetrical structure of flowing foliage and statement flowers they truly make a wow factor as you walk down that aisle.
Now you don't need to go too mad - after all you will be holding it for quite a while during the day and you don't want a sprained wrist by the end of it. But actually stem wise they are not a lot heavier than a standard bouquet and also won't break the bank either!
Of course it's not for everyone, you need the confidence to carry it off so you still 'own' the look rather than the bouquet taking over. Wear a simple fitted dress and this beauty will finish the look.
So, let's say it together, big is beautiful!
I never enter competitions, I never buy lotto tickets - I always feel the odds are always too highly stacked against me for it to be worth the effort. So why I went against this habit for the Tallulah Rose competition must demonstrate the appeal of the prize. I mean, three days in an amazing location, being taught by one of the best in the business surrounded by beautiful flowers - that would be the jackpot for me! Sparkford Hall Wedding Flower Course Retreat? This Cinderella was up for it!
So 200 words or less on why it should be me? Let's see...........
I'm a flower grower and florist.
I spend time with dirt filled fingernails willing seedlings to grow, cursing slugs and rabbits and celebrating when I get the blooms.
I spend time tweeting, facebooking, instagramming - spreading the word of British flowers.
I spend time talking 'jam-jar weddings' to brides and juggling quotes because they're on a 'budget'
I spend time studying Pinterest pictures, deciphering how to deliver bride's dream weddings
I spend silly-o'clock mornings in all weathers cutting and conditioning flowers
I spend time marketing my business - on my own tight budget
I spend time convincing my husband its a viable business
I spend time doing this with two preschool boys
I spend time doing all of this because I absolutely love flowers with a passion.
What I do not spend time doing, what I've never spent time doing, is learning how to arrange show-stopping flowers in a spectacular house by one of the best and having portfolio pictures to show for it.
For the experience, the confidence, the reassurance from fellow florists and, honestly, for the reward and touch of glamour the course would give me - I would love to 'spend time' at Sparkford Hall.
and guess what? I only went and won it!!!
Sparkford Hall here I come......
So they are a Star Wars nerd. You've accepted that, you find it kind of endearing. Well it's better than being into fly fishing - right? But what happens when they want a Star Wars wedding?
Not quite what you had in mind eh? But worry not as "fear is the path to the dark side" as Yoda once said. You can include the Star Wars world into your big day without dressing like Darth Vader or wearingbagels in your hair (remember that episode of Friends!)
Some subtle inclusions of galactical fun could actually make your big day truly unique and be a real reflection of your personalities. I've put a little Pinterest board together of some ideas I came across that are actually quite sweet. But how far you go to include the trilogy and beyond is up to you - and your obsessed partner. With Hans and Leia, Luke and Mara and even R2-D2 and C-3PO showing us how it is done there is always room for love and romance what ever Galaxy you live in.
Photo by Tim Lamerton
The 1950's. The decade of the first organ transplant, colour TV, the credit card, the opening of Disneyland, trials of birth control pills and the coronation of Queen Elizabeth.
All these key events are still heavily influencing society today and have really shaped the culture of the world we are currently living in.
And no one can forget the style and glamour of the brides of the 1950's. Grace Kelly, Marilyn Monroe (twice!) Jackie Kennedy, Elizabeth Taylor (twice!) ....and my mum.....
I met a bride to be and her intended this week who are recreating a wedding from the 50's. A beautiful rural setting so think 'Darling Buds of May' with buckets and baskets full of frothy English flowers. They're paying such attention to detail so I wanted to look into the bridal party flowers of the day. What was en vogue and sought after of that era.
The look is informal and country. The palette is pastels of blues, pinks, yellows. An English country garden transported into the wedding. For a sneak look at some visuals I have put together a Pinterest board
In the main, high street florists were the only vendors of flowers. Dutch imports didn't start until the 1970s and growers were mostly regional. Florists purchased flowers from growers and wholesalers within 25 miles of their stores, and, sometimes, there were florists who were selling their own flowers they had grown themselves! (Imagine that? It will never catch on.....!) Internet searches show that, generally, flowers were white with very little additional colour. They were also seasonal as the flower import market was yet to take off. Lily of the valley in spring, maybe roses in summer but lilies and carnations were common place as grown in hot houses across the country.
Asparagus fern was the foliage of choice, more often than not cascading through a shower bouquet. Gardenias and orchids featured in the celebrity bouquets but my mums bridal shower was .... shhh dare I say it ..... artificial!
At least Marilyn Monroe would have been proud of her footwear!
I love Pinterest, I waste many an hour browsing through pictures of .... well just about anything. From gardens to kids crafts, campervans to wedding bouquets. It's an amazing source of images and articles in an easy accessible form that can be organised and kept for future instant recap
I also use it lots when I'm meeting and speaking with brides to be. It's a perfect way to get across pictorially the bouquets they like, their style, theme and thinking behind the wedding.
But is it realistic? Is it achievable? And rather than giving ideas is it not just copying others ideas rather than encouraging original thought?
Images on Pinterest are the 'best of the best'. A majority of them are taken by professional photographers during photo shoots where the lighting is perfect, the models are beautiful, the budgets are astronomical and it all comes together to make an amazing 'wow' image that we fall in love with. But do we stop and think how that image captured in Southern California, in near perfect weather after hours of set up, make up artists and photo editing will look when recreated in wet windy north Devon?
We all want a fairytale wedding with towering cakes, 5ft high floral arrangements and designer gowns but unless we have a real 'prince' charming to finance it we have to be more realistic. Of course there are some great budget conscious ideas on Pinterest but are they your ideas or someone else's?
I'm often sent the same images from brides to be of wannabe bouquets, centrepieces and arches. So how unique is your one special day going to be if you are merely copying ideas of others.
Does your intended really love burlap and bunting? Yes it creates a beautiful rustic charm, but does it truly reflect what you and your partner are really about? Does it show your own individuality? Does it reflect your personality?
Of course use Pinterest to capture those great ideas and photos. But make sure they are reflecting what you truly love rather than poster pin ups of the best.
Take inspiration from other things around you. That garden you pass everyday on the way to work that always catches your eye, your favourite dress at the back of the wardrobe that doesn't fit any more, but you can't throw away because the colour is delicious. That restaurant you went to with your fiancé last year on holiday that you still talk about. All these things are a true reflection of you and your fiancés personalities and loves and they should help shape the wedding of your dreams.
After all, do you want your guests to come to your wedding and look at your set up and say 'lovely - it looks just like that picture I saw on Pinterest' or do you want them to take one look and say 'wow' that is so 'you'!
Six ways to make the most of Pinterest when planning your wedding:
1 Manage your expectations
We can all be guilty of champagne taste with a sparkling water budget. Keep your budget in mind when your start pinning images. And don't forget seasonality - peonies may look beautiful but are very expensive out of season.
2. Leave room for own style and ideas
Upload your own images rather than just repinning other people's images. You can add a Pinterest option to your uploads direct from your photo library
3. Use non wedding related Pinterest boards
Variety is key. Take inspiration from other streams such as travel, interior design or fashion.
4. Include your offline life
You do have an offline life don't you?! Do you and your partner have a shared interest in theatre or 80's music or even rugby? Try and incorporate these shared interests into your wedding to make it truly unique.
5. Narrow it down
It's very easy to get carried away and find you have hundreds of images. You need to get strict and delete, delete, delete. Hone the images down to less than, say, twenty and then you will have a clear vision of what you are wanting to achieve
6. Stick to it
Once you have your board - stop pinning! Move on to planning and physically doing else there won't be a real wedding to enjoy!
I like tidy. I border a little on OCD when it comes to my workspaces. But when there is a big job coming up my workshop seems to shrink and bursts at the seems with buckets, blooms and bouquets.
This is the unorganised chaos of colour and scent that is currently filling my workshop ahead of a busy floral weekend. Check out the social media channels of Church Park Flowers over the next couple of weeks to see what "spectacular achievement" was created out of this "unspectacular preparation"