Taking Centre Stage.

If you read one of my very first posts for Rock My Wedding then you’ll know that flowers and all objects of the floral variety are my kryptonite. If I was asked to choose, then pretty florets would certainly be one of my desert island luxuries. Ridiculous I know but there we have it – I lose all sense of rhyme and reason when it comes to beautiful blooms.

I have also been known to spend a small fortune in the small hours at my local flower market. If you haven’t been then I suggest you go. Granted, it’s difficult getting up at that time of the morning but it is so worth it. I love talking to the market traders and getting their insights into the latest floral trends. You also get to walk away with truckloads of flowers at bargain prices too. Everyone’s a winner!

But this post isn’t about my forays into the horticultural world, nor is it focused on the more popular subject of the wedding bouquet. No, not so fast lovelies…

Where on your list of wedding-related priorities do centrepieces and reception flowers sit?

Are they important to you or are other aspects of the wedding day such as photography and videography paramount?

Perhaps flower related matters make you come unstuck or perhaps even freak you out. Or are you like a pig in mud and are chomping at the bit to have your first meeting with your florist so that you can show her ALL your ideas. Maybe you’re not even interested in anything of the floral variety…will you allow me to attempt to change your mind?

Luxe Appeal

These are the showstoppers, the jaw-droppers, the sophisticated centrepieces that ooze delicious scents and vie for your attention as you talk to your fellow guests over dinner.

We’re talking Luxe with a capital ‘L’.

Decadent concoctions such as these look best in dramatic vases with tall proportions as these allow the flowers to drape seductively as well as showing them off to their best advantage. I love how the strategic placement of a few sizable floral displays can dramatically change a venue within seconds. It’s almost like magic.

Using larger arrangements is incredibly freeing as multiple flowers can be used simultaneously without it being ‘too much’. In fact, it’s more like a sensory explosion but in a totally good way. The rich hues and luxurious textures remind me of an oil painting by the ‘Old Master’s’ and it seems that every time you take a look, you see something new.

It’s important to remember that arrangements such as these will come with a large price tag so investigate if you can use them in more than one aspect of your day – say for example at both your ceremony and within your drinks reception – if it’s practical to do so. Surely displays like these deserve to be seen.

Sometimes Less Is More

Don’t fret if your budget for ceremony and reception blooms is limited. Less really can be more and actually is so very beautiful.

Instead it’s worth considering larger blossoms, such as peonies and hydrangeas that have voluminous blousey heads and placing them in single vases. Providing them with individual cannisters gives them room to breathe and shine as well as allowing you the option of spacing them out for more affordable impact.

Look also to make a feature out of those flowers that are less popular, such as carnations. Whilst some of you may not favour this ‘granny’ classic, the bloom can be brought bang up to date by presenting it in a different way – through the use of oasis balls for example. They look quirky and chic all at the same time.

Your nan would definitely approve…

Larger focal pieces can also be interspersed with smaller bud vases as well as with candles and props such as books. Equally, planted table centrepieces can also double up as favours for your guests to take home. The beauty of using this type of arrangement is that it works with more subtle table palettes as well as louder ones.

Lastly, entice all of your guests’ senses rather than just relying on visual impact. Why not play with their sense of smell by using inexpensive scent laden plants such as herbs and lavender. You can even make it a fun day out for the two of you too by visiting a ‘pick your own lavender farm’ and go frolicking in the fields.

Fruits Of The Forest

Allow me to indulge in some heart-felt symbolism.

I love watching the yearly transition in nature from blossoms to leaves and then to fruits and seeds, so for me using brambles, foliage, seed heads and grasses in the place of flowers is equally as beautiful as the blooms themselves.

Fruits of the Forest is a perfect all-year round theme, because it caters for every season and for every wedding regardless of budgets and tastes.

For those brides looking for a more rustic feel, there’s an effortless abundance in using natural materials such as ferns and moss. For wedding belles looking for lashings of pretty, there’s something delightful about using tree branches as a focal point particularly in the Spring when they are dripping with the first flowers of the season.

It just makes you smile and feel joyful and that’s what weddings are all about, right?

These centrepieces look good enough to eat – literally. Integrating fruits into your table decor creates an interactive experience for your guests that engages the eyes and doubles up as a snack should they get a bit peckish during the speeches.

I particularly adore fruit and floral partnerships as it screams luxury and abundance to me. If you do choose to follow the path into the forest, make sure that you combine lots of different woodsy and earthy aspects to prevent it from becoming too dull.

Pitcher Perfect

Ok so I’m a little bit excited about this part of the post.

Why?

Well, if anything gets me going as much as flowers do then it’s the container that holds the glorious arrangements. You see it’s not only the blooms that are the focal points, the vase is just as much as a part of all the drama.

Buckets, old pitchers, glass bottles, trophy cups, bell jars, vintage tins, treasured vases – any hole is umm… a goal? Really it is – honestly, folks you can use anything. I’ve been known to use an old candlestick as a vase in the past and it was glorious.

This is the perfect opportunity to add your personality to the day and inexpensively too. You don’t necessarily have to rent vases or even purchase pitchers at an extortionate rate. Instead you can use objects that represent you as a couple.

For example, have you got a treasured family heirloom like your Gran’s favourite vase that you’d love to incorporate into your day? Or perhaps you and your other half are tea fanatics and want to share this passion with your guests by using vintage tea caddies.

Perusing Ebay or foraging around car boots is the best way to get your hands on some unique vessels and it doesn’t have to break the bank either. You can see how something as simple as wrapping twine around a plain jam jar creates a gorgeous custom piece whilst saving the planet too.

The key to a successful look is to create interest by varying the shapes and proportions of your pitchers/ containers. Try to unite all your vases with a common feature, for example by using the same colour palate or similar shapes in different sizes. Presenting your florals as museum specimens by enclosing them in glass cloches is just one way to add intrigue.

Frankly, I defy you to find me anyone who wouldn’t want vases wrapped up in their own woollies. Is it just me or does anyone else find them adorable? Now I just need someone to teach me how to knit….

What Lies Beneath

I’ve included this cornucopia of images to show you just how far you can go when it comes to floral magnificence. I’m definitely of the opinion that florists are engineers, magicians and architectural geniuses all rolled into one.

Seriously folks, take a look at some of these images and marvel…

Suspending blossoms is a really popular trend at the moment – single flower heads hung in multiple chains create the most amazing floral chandeliers and really pack a visual punch. Hanging centrepieces above the table is also the perfect solution when table space is limited – proof that the practical doesn’t always have to compromise the pretty.

The organic feel of dangling blooms is utterly enthralling too. We’re so used to seeing floral centrepieces pointing skywards so it’s intriguing to experience the different perspective of ceiling-hung arrangements. And don’t those balls of Gypsophila look like fluffy clouds – I just want to reach out and touch them…

For those of you smitten with the ombre bridesmaid dress inspiration last week, the fun doesn’t need to end there. No, ladies…you can have variated posies too! Talk about matching your handbag and shoes… or rather your dresses and your blooms.

Lastly, wreaths are not ‘just for Christmas’; in fact they are totally adaptable and can be used in a multitude of ways. Miniature circlets can denote VIP seats, whilst larger wreaths can define altars and act as a visual focal point in welcoming guests to a venue. Wreaths can also be dried and rehung after the day has passed as a memento of your big day. The possibilities are endless.

Seriously folks, these arrangements look so good I can practically smell their aromas from my computer screen. I also now want to purchase a barrowful of flowers and sing ‘who will buy my sweet red roses’ to anyone passing by.

I did say that I become slightly delirious around gorgeous buds and the like…

So have I persuaded some of you to invest in some wedding horticulture?

What are your favourite flowers and will you be using them in your big day?

Love Lolly xxx

Author: Lauren Gautier-Ollerenshaw
Lolly is a self-professed frustrated florist and styling maven with an endless passion for all things pretty.

21 thoughts on “Taking Centre Stage.

  1. I’m with you, Lolly. So much so in fact that our wedding date was chosen primarily so I could have my favourite spring blooms. I’m lucky in that my green-fingered Mum and MiL-to-be have kindly offered to grow the bulk of the flowers, so we’ve been frantically buying bulbs and plugs and seeds in preparation. We’ll probably need to top up with some bought blooms at the time, but it will be lovely to look around at the flowers lovingly grown specially for the occasion.

    Daffodils are my favourite flower, so we’ve planted late-flowering narcissus, (Earlicheer and Rose of May) which are pale creamy yellow and have a softer, more blousey look than the standard bright yellow daff trumpets. These will be mixed with lily of the valley and icy veronicas. My palette for the wedding is cream and aqua blue, which is a tricky colour to find in florals, but we’re growing a light coloured variety of muscari and I’m hoping to get my hands on tome turquoise-y hydrangea nearer the time. All of this will be set off with craspedia – if I can work out how to get hold of it in early May! The Mums are also making hanging baskets of hawkshead fuchsia and cascadiz pansy to decorate the outside areas of the venue.

    As far as displaying the cut flowers, I’ve got a whole load of interestingly shaped jars from TK MAxx and hoping to collect a few old glass medicine bottles for the tables. The other evening I was browsing enamel pitcher hire, when Mr. P glanced over my shoulder and said “oh such and such at work has a warehouse full of prop hire stuff – he’s got loads of those we can have – and milk churns…” I DIE!!!!!!!

    So yes – I guess you could say the flowers are pretty important to me!

  2. I do love flowers but I can’t justify them from an eco point of view. Instead all the blooms at my wedding in September will be knitted, fabric or buttons :o)

  3. Love ,love ,love this, how about recycled food cans sprayed with pretty enamel spray paints and finished with cute ribbons, loads of different colours work best in pretty pastels with ‘ just picked’ hedgerow type flowers, kind of vintage but with a quirky edge.

  4. Oooooh this is where I fall down as a bride slightly – I’m really not a flowers girl. I have trouble with the smell of them (seriously, walking through the flower department at M&S makes me feel a bit sick!) and I don’t like the idea that they’re going to die before very long. In fact, my first birthday after I got together with the lorry driver, I made it very clear that flowers would be the one gift that would not be appreciated at all! (He was confused at first but rose to the occasion with Soap & Glory smellies and a mountain of Creme Eggs!)

    I originally planned a flower-free wedding, and my best friend and bridesmaid is busily making me a brooch bouquet (she’s spent weeks scouring charity shops, boot sales and eBay for brooches, she needs such a good BM gift!). However the more we’ve planned the more it seems as though there should be something…you know, flowery. Eventually we’ve ended up with quite a good compromise: as we’re getting hitched in February, snowdrops seemed to fit the bill so we’re going to plant the bulbs in the autumn and hope they pop up in time, then scatter tiny pots with (hopefully) flowering snowdrops all over the reception. I have a soft spot for snowdrops as they always remind me that winter is almost over, and it’s a sort of tribute to my lovely Nan who we lost last year, as she always preferred growing flowers to cut ones. Her name was Ivy so we’re also going to wind ivy tendrils from my grandad’s garden around silver candleabras on the reception tables – hopefully it should look lovely, cross your fingers for me!

    The one thing I’m slightly stuck on is the bridesmaids – I’ve got 4 and I’ve heard from a couple of them that they would like something to hold as they walk down the aisle and for photos. I doubt we’ll have time to make another 4 brooch bouquets so I’m debating biting the bullet and just getting them flowers – if anyone more florally inclined than me can make a suggestion I’ll be ever so grateful! They’re wearing scarlet dresses if that helps xx

  5. @Phillipa – love those bouquets!

    I am very much into quite simple arrangements at the moment, that lavender in a jar for example – I bet in smells amazing too.

    And the balls of gyp – a clever alternative to hanging poms.

    Charlotte xxx

  6. Oh Lolly – Just reading this makes me wanna hit Columbia Road! – I’m with you on the flower love with bells on! I have gone from being to overly fussed about the flowers to them being one of my favourite things to daydream about – this is probably largely due to my inspiring florist Suzanne at The Blue Carrot! All my flowers are being organically grown in Cornwall (where we are getting hitched) and I’ve been buying up cut-glass vases and bowls at car boots/charity shops/the mother in laws house to show them off to the max! My first concern was that the flowers were British grown and seasonal so they would be eco-friendly but after following The Blue carrot on facebook I’m in love with the romance and all the PRETTY (have also developed a massive girl crush on the very talented Suzanne)! I think with flowers it’s all about getting the right florist – someone who gets your vision and who’s work makes you giddy – and who understands your random aversion to roses (I know – I just don’t like them!). Love the Fruits of the Forest section – we’ll be using herbs, catkins and berries so I’m a bit biased but those pictures are gorgeous! We’re lucky we are having a teeny tiny wedding (only 16 guests) with one big dining table so I have room in the middle to go nuts with the flowers and not worry about the cost too much!

  7. @Amy D – you are right, finding the right florist is so important, I cancelled my first one, it was very much “We can’t do that, can’t do this, oh you don’t want that do you….?)

    I just didn’t feel confident she gave a toss let alone appreciated my vision!

    Best decision I made in the end – much like how Suzanne sounds, the lady Lorna who we ended up using was really lovely, and she kept in touch a lot which I think is also so important to boost your confidence that they actually care about your wedding (let’s face it – they must do LOADS)

    Loving the sound of your intimate wedding with catkins – love those.

    Charlotte xxx

  8. Originally my Mr’s Grandfather was going to grow them all for us as he is an award winning allotment owner lol but then we brought our wedding forward a year so this was not possible 🙁 I still loved the idea of sentimental flowers etc so now my Aunt who does her local church flowers is arranging all the centre pieces, pedestals etc and myself and the bridesmiads will be doing our own bouquets and the button holes. I am actually really looking forward to all us women getting together the day before the wedding, having a natter and a laugh while producing beautiful arrangement for the wedding 🙂 So @ Charlotte it will be my first experience of the early morning flower markets and I cant wait!!! xx

  9. @Charlotte, I cancelled my first one too, that did not go down well!!! I had a similar thing with being told that wedding flowers had to be this and that – really wasn’t feeling it, especially when they said they had to be neat!!!!! Then I emailed Suzanne (feeling very sneaky about it) but she got it right away! She just understood the messy pretty vision I had in my mind and didn’t make me feel crazy when I asked for ‘scruffy old glamour’ and raved about doilies and cut glass! Or when I told her I prefer hydrangeas when they are all faded and look dip dyed! And her facebook posts make my news feed sooooooo pretty! http://www.thebluecarrot.co.uk/

  10. i LOVE flowers and they were very high up my list for wedding priorities especially as our wedding reception room was quite plain. I just loved the vibrant feel they gave the whole day and they smelled divine. Rather than have them go to waste we gave all our centrepieces away to guests at the end of the evening to take home and enjoy.

  11. Flowers aren’t on our priority list at all – we’ve decided to go for parasols for the bridesmaids and something as yet undecided for me, but not flowers. We’ve both got a bit of an issue with the fact that they’re expensive and they die, so we’re going with things that cost less and last forever instead 🙂

    Still – these are super duper pretty!

  12. I love a good BLOOM!!

    I have decided that as florist’s are very good but expensive that were going to do my flowers 🙂

    There is a wholesaler in Northampton so i plan to go there the day before and see what they have in the colours that we decide on! Im going to go this August and see what is in season so I can then plan some rough ideas.

    Mum and i are going to go on a short flower arranging course too, and there are plenty of videos on youtube about how to hand tie bouquets. As my sister said to me, oh lets do own own, you wanted a relaxed wedding and who wants perfect flowers anyway??! I kind of see her point!

    I love Hydrangeas, and freesias, love a bit of Lavander and I’m defiantly going to try to incorporate some herbs in pots which I’m going to try to grow.

    I’m currently collecting glass jars that I’m going to decorate – have you ever etched? Ive been looking on line and i think this could look really cool!!

  13. @Phillippa – thanks for the suggestion, they look really pretty don’t they? I’ll keep a note of that one!x

  14. Ooh timely post – we’ve just decided to do our own flowers (apart from bouquets, I’m not that brave!) All these look so pretty, I am copying and pasting as we speak for inspiration. I am loving me some hydrangeas and sweet peas!!

    @Charlotte & @Lolly Seeing as you lovelies are Brummy-based (whoop whoop!) which flower market do you recommend? I’m going to need to drag myself somewhere early in the couple of days before the wedding and purchase away but have no idea where to go!

    xx

  15. I’ve never been particularly fussed on flowers but we booked a Spring wedding just so I (a Welsh Bride) could have Daffodils involved. Well, they’re not the bright yellow type so I am cheating a bit – we are having mini white narcissus with yellow centres, white heather (the boy is Scottish), white ranunculus, which are green in the centre and white anemones with black centres. These will be in a posy in a very simple vase but teemed with another vase full of Granny Smith apples! 😀 oh and a few candles dotted about too.

    Since deciding all this with the help of a florist (who I haven’t booked with yet but she’s my fave so far) I’m really excited about my rather unusual choice of flowers. I’m hoping the white flowers with coloured centres will work – it does in my head anyway! I think I am a bit of a flower convert, shame the boy never buys me any 🙁

  16. Ahhh, Lauren – fab post 🙂
    You would have loved our centrepieces – they were different on everytable (each table was named after one of our ‘favourite things’). We had flowers in oil cans, camera cases, teapots, cheese domes, vases wrapped in sheet music/old maps etc. Looked better than I could have imagined!! 🙂

    xx

  17. I love this post so much! Utterly gorgeous -so much choice! I’m having beautiful flower displays for our ceremony, button holes and bouquets from a great florist.

    However I’m doing the centre pieces myself as I struggled to find a florist who quite got my vision for “less is more” or who didn’t ant to charge me a fortune to do it! Anyone else doing their own flowers? I’ve seen lots of references to online suppliers on the blog – any recommendations?

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