Monday 20 February 2012

BLOOMING LOVELY: Wedding flower tips and The Flower Appreciation Society

Flowers are one of the great wedding staples. They deliver endlessly beautiful, natural decoration and can either oomph up your venue's glamour, or simply accentuate, embellish and prettify. No matter how big or pared-back the wedding you are planning may be, these humble seducers of buzzy types are a must.
Wedding wonderland: replete with Bambi and fairytale flowers. Image courtesy of Ann-Kathrin Koch on
The good news is, as weddings have diversified and become far more idiosyncratic (and dare I say, stylish) things, it has encouraged a blossoming of fantastically talented florists for each and every aesthetic, feel - and most importantly, budget. Whether you want luscious piles of heady Great British roses, or loose, just-strolled-through-a-meadow-and-grabbed-these-as-I-went naive arrangements there will be a florist to suit.
Novel vases make for interest and a style statement, meaning less flowers and money saving!

One of the most important aspects of wedding planning is working out your budget allocation: dependent on how ornate or 'finished' the interior decoration and furnishings of your ceremony and reception venue already are you may need to dedicate anything between £200 to many thousands to dress your space. The secret to effective flowers is to be tactical - not only in terms of what flowers you plump for, but what you do with them. Hydrangeas for instance offer an amazingly generous head of blossom for not much money, and come in a sumptuous range of candy shades from lilac to dusky pink, and Wedgwood blue. They look heavenly spilling out over urns or buckets, and as I have recently seen, look particularly sweet peeping out of wicker baskets for some Thoma Hardy riffing country style. So without further ado, these are my top tips for maximising your flowers, whatever your budget...


  • Create drama and detail with texture: one of my most recent discoveries (whom I was reluctant to share, but as it's you...) are the super-romantic The Flower Appreciation Society who trained as textile artists. You should also check out one half of The Flower Appreciation Society Ellie's adorable knit-wear line, EDE ( The girls' arrangements are as exuberantly chic as they are Erdem-like, all buxom, soft blooms, layers and punchy colours that are inspired by embroidery and tapestry techniques. Pairing teeny, delicate flowers with blousy blooms such as peonies, Norma Jean Roses and astrantia makes for real feast for the eyes. Try asking for what I'm calling a 'living table-runner': a motley arrangement of vases with trailing plants and foilage wrapped about them, dripping off the sides of the table - and perhaps even some loose flower heads stitched to the table cloth for sensuous, whimsical detail.


Flower 'embroidery' (left) as captured by Elizabeth Messina.
  • Play with dimensions and levels: pop posies of baby's breath or rose heads in antique glasses, votives or milk jugs, and juxtapose with a jumble of larger, taller vases and urns to create a complex yet pocket-friendly display. Focus your budget on the bigger arrangements from your florist, and make the smaller pieces together yourself with some oasis foam soaked in water.
Get messy: toy around with heights and containers. Flowers by Absolute Flowers
  • Go seasonal and British: you'll pay the air miles and inflated price for imported, more exotic flowers. Try and source flowers locally, and work with what's in season - you'll be surprised how gorgeous an armful of delphiniums, apple blossom or ranunculus can look. What's more, bolted (flowering) herbs and potently fragranced flowers such as roses, lily, jasmine and eucalyptus are a clever way of ramping up the perfume, helping create a real multisensory effect to your decor.
Like standing in a bottle of Chanel no.5: nature's loveliest pong.

  • DIY: Don't be shy of having a bash at table flowers yourself - what's not to love about a slightly less perfect, yes, but still dazzlingly pretty arrangement from your own fair hands? Jamie Aston runs accessible, non-scary introductions to wedding floristry courses from his Great Portland Street flower atelier that will have you producing delightful arrangements like a pro in no time.
We're Jamming: get creative with freely available containers - get your family and friends to collect Bon Maman jars or kilner numbers for a low-key retro pretty look.

  • Pick n' Mix: fill a big bucket of flowers for as little as £50 with the pick-your-own option at farm in Maidstone, Kent.
  • Drop the 'W' word: when first making enquiries, tell the florist that you are looking for a bouquet for your mother and some arrangements for a big birthday party - it's a little white lie that may save you lots!
"Oh no, just your average cakestand for a 58th birthday will do...." The lovely work of The Flower Appreciation Society.
  • Don't presume you can't afford a florist: many will help you find affordable alternatives to your favourite blooms and you can cut a big cost by collecting the flowers yourself - bouquets often start at just £50. Also, see the March/April issue of Conde Nast Brides magazine for their illuminating feature on spot-the-difference bouquets - it's like Gok Wan versus Brit Smith Start's fashion-offs, but better.
Say hello to your latest crush: the many splendoured works of Saipua.
  • Visit New York florist Saipua's website and blog for phenomenally beautiful ideas and inspiration. So pretty, you may need as lace-edged hanky to hand. and

1 comment:

  1. Very few things can brighten up a home better than a generous portion of flowers. As an added bonus, they also help make the place smell a whole lot better.