As I mentioned in my previous post, one of the main elements for my wedding decor was to be an abundance of fresh flowers. I love flowers. I usually have fresh flowers in the house somewhere. It is my little indulgence. In particular, I love traditional English flowers: roses,
and the like. And I love big, informal arrangements. With excellent timing, I found a book called “Vintage Flowers” by Vic Brotherson,
who owns the florist Scarlet & Violet in London, just as I was starting to try and organise ideas in my head. The word “vintage” caught my eye, but once I opened the book, I knew I had found the perfect inspiration for my wedding flowers.
Vic does exactly the type of informal thing I love in flowers. I found most of my suppliers by recommendation, but the florist I chose I knew of already: Marion at JA Stobo Florists, Main Road, Wylam. She always has a great and varied selection of flowers unlike what you usually find in florists. She is also local to me and I tried to use local suppliers for the wedding wherever possible. When I needed some flowers for a photo shoot a couple of years ago, I went there and bought three massive hydrangea heads in the most wonderful shade of blue.
I wouldn’t have found them anywhere else. So in I went armed with my book, hoping Marion would “see” my vision. She immediately got excited by the project. The brief was to make it look as though I had gone out and denuded the garden in the morning. Each arrangement was to be different, there was no colour preferences and arrangements were to look blousy and informal. The only thing I did was collect vintage containers, in particular swan planters (swans mate for life so I thought it was a nice motif),
and give her a list of flowers I didn’t want (nothing too architectural, exotic or modern looking). Then I just had to leave her to it on the day. I saw the bridal party bouquets before the wedding ceremony, but I had to wait to see the table decorations until I walked into the marquee with everyone else. I must admit, I was nervous. When I get an idea, I have a very clear vision of what I want. Usually I execute it myself, but this time I was going to have to relinquish control entirely and hope that Marion had interpreted my vision perfectly. And I am not very good at relinquishing control.
Stephen and I had such fun collecting vintage vases and planters leading up to the wedding. All in all we were able to provide Marion with about 35 of them.
Our pride and joy was the giant swan planter we found on ebay at the last minute. We had been looking and looking and looking, but everything was wrong being either too stylised or too modern. With about a month to go, the perfect one came up, thankfully on a “Buy it Now” option because I don’t think my nerves could have taken an auction this close to the wedding. We instructed Marion to really go to town with him. He was to go on a table right inside the door so you'd see him first.
We were the last to walk into the marquee. We walked in as the DJ announced us and I scanned the room looking at all our fab friends and family who had come to our wedding, some of them from great distances. And then I looked at the flowers. I could have wept with joy. Marion and her team had excelled themselves. The large swan was resplendent.
Even Stephen was impressed. Generally he thinks flowers are nice, but he's a bloke so doesn't give them much thought. But the swan made an impression.
Because Stephen and I had bought a house 6 months ago, we had to use the honeymoon fund to cover solicitor’s fees and stamp duty (tax) so we stayed in Ryton for our post wedding break. It meant that we had the luxury of really enjoying the flowers as I brought them all home. (You can just see the wellies poking out of the boot of my car. I had them on standby to wear with my wedding dress should the weather have misbehaved on the day - one has to be prepared. Thankfully, they stayed in the car as the weather was perfect).
The beautiful foxgloves from the giant swan lasted nearly a month. They provided, as they should, a great deal of joy and for a short spell, I could immerse myself in floral heaven, our house looking as though I had been extremely extravagant with flowers.
We haven’t done anything with our little garden this year because we needed to see what would come up. We moved in in winter when the garden was bare. My hope is to really plant up the garden over the next few years so that I shall have my own source of flowers to use. Already there is an abundance of rose bushes (about 60, but some are not looking so good so may need attention or replacing), hydrangea, foxgloves and a few things I haven’t identified yet not being very up on flowers, much as I love them. I have a lot to learn and a lot to do, but it will be fun.
Photographs by Stephen Egglestone, Helen Morris and Deborah Langford.