A Quick Guide to….. Flowers

Hello all, been a while since I have posted I know..

I’ve been finally kicking things into gear planning my own wedding; given notice to marry, booked the reception, ordered the invitations, drawn up the guestlist, etc. I know I’m probably way behind other April 2013 brides, but hey, progress is progress!

Anyway, one of the things I have yet to have sorted for the wedding are the flowers. And the flowers are what holds my whole theme of the day together. So I thought that I would write a quick guide to bridal flowers for anybody else who might be a bit lost!

Picking your flowers

This is obviously the best bit! Things to bear in mind when choosing flowers are whether they are readily available at the time of the wedding (being harder to source means that they will be much more pricey), how they fit in with the theme of your day (be that colour, shape, etc), price (if you are sticking to a budget), and also how well they will fare during the day (i.e. the hardiness of the flower)

I also love discovering the meanings behind flowers and trying to incorporate ones with specific words meaningful to me in the bouquet. Here is a good list to begin with.

The Bouquet

The next thing to think about is the structure of the bouquet. The main types to choose from are:

The Shower Bouquet – The most traditional of them all, the blooms cascade down and often involve trailing blooms such as ivy, although an unusual alternative I have seen is jasmine, which would smell lovely as well. This is actually my favourite, and great if you want to bring a little Victorian style into your wedding.

The Nosegay Bouquet- A tightly wrapped rounded shape, with a long stems usually bound with ribbon. Flowers were typically chosen for their smell and could include fresh herbs. A good choice if looking to adorn the bouquet with an item such as a borrowed brooch or rosary beads etc.

The Posy Bouquet – Small and tightly bounded, can be in a formal rounded shape or more unstructured. Can be held with one hand. A good choice if the bride does not want her dress to be overwhelmed by the bouquet

The Pomander Bouquet- An arranged ball of flowers hanging from a ribbon worn around the wrist. Usually a choice for the bridesmaids or flower girls but makes an unusual and quirky bouquet for a bride, and adds an element of fun to the bridal look

The Unstructured Bouquet – A popular choice for shabby chic, vintage and festival inspired weddings, the idea is to create a look as if one has just been picking flowers in a meadow to create a ‘wild’, undone look. More freedom to play around with colour, shape and texture

And the rest!

Finally, you can decide on bridesmaid bouquets, buttonholes, table decorations and flowers in your hair (?) to match!

As a final aside, my current ideal bouquet is consisting of a cascade bouquet made up from antique roses, marguerite daisies, sweet peas with trailing ivy, symbolising; gracefulness, loyalty, lasting pleasure, friendship, and an unbreakable and everlasting love. My pictures of inspiration are below:

Would love to see your bouquets, have fun deciding!

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Breaking with Tradition

By nature, I am a highly contradictory person. I contradict myself in the things that I say and do, my likes and dislikes…or maybe you could just call me eclectic. However, I was thinking to myself about how much I liked finding out about where bridal traditions and customs stemmed from, and I thought myself to be quite a traditional person. The reality is…I’m really not traditional in that sense. My fiance and I mutually agreed to get married rather than a surprise proposal, we are planning a lot of it together as a couple, and he has seen me in the dress. No doubt many more traditions will be broken along the way, but these are a few of my favourites:

Bridesmaids dresses: In a similar style to the bride’s, but in a different colour to confuse evil spirits from acting upon the bride

Wedding cake: Originally wheat from the bouquet made into a cake and broken over the bride’s head to encourage fertility

Tying wedding shoes to the back of the car: Brides used to be stuck symbolically with a shoe by the groom as a display of his authority in the marriage!

Buttonholes: From when men used to wear a lady’s colours as a symbol of their devotion

Carrying the bride over the threshold: To protect the bride from evil spirits that she would step up if she walked into the house

Honeymoon: Translates in Irish as ‘month of honey’ –  after the wedding husband and wife would spend a month together drinking honeyed wine or mead, away from where their families could try and separate them.

As my fiance is Welsh, I understand that on the morning of the wedding, the groom breaks into the bride’s house to capture her for the wedding. She should be disguised as an old women for luck. Once found, they head to church, but the bride is kidnapped AGAIN by her father. Once the groom retrieves her for the second time, they can finally head to church.

Needless to say that I don’t think I will be bothering with that on my day!

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