Miranda Hackett Flowers:
When approached by Erin and Brooks to work with them on their wedding at The Olde Bell
in Hurley I was not sure what to expect - a fashion/homewares designer and restaurateur/cocktail-entrepreneur couple from South Carolina coming to the U.K. to get married. So it was with great delight that I received Erin's thoughts on her wedding flowers: "I love very natural, asymmetrical arrangements…that appear looser rather than tighter". A pretty good opening line in my opinion - I knew this supplier-client relationship was going to be a winner.
The Style and Vessels
Over the coming months and through the discussions of the designs I'd crafted for Erin and Brooks, Erin and I revelled in our shared love of free flowing, naturally styled flowers in muted antique colours ("sort of brown-ed out colours" as Erin put it!). I added to our collection of eclectic brass and antique candlesticks and collated a mix of old pewter, tin, ceramic and enamelware vessels by scouring 'scruffy' antique shops, charity shops and reclamation barns wherever I went - much to Erin's delight ("I saw the images of the vessels you have collected and they are PERFECT! Thank you so much for your beautiful curation").
The blooms I selected and sourced were seasonal English country garden flowers, blousy and soft, with lots of flowing foliage. To fit Erin's style it was, in my mind, essential to include Garden Roses so I suggested Margaret Merril, Evelyn and Cafe Latte from The Real Flower Company with additional White Majolica spray roses. Other focals included dahlias, hydrangea, delphiniums and stocks and the lovely soft fluffy, summery look was achieved with astrantia, dried nigella seed heads, scabious stellata, wild carrot, astilbe and summer jasmine.
To give the loose and free flowing style we needed, I included lots of interesting foliage in the designs - mint, weigela, eucalyptus, smoke bush, beech, poplus, jasmine and hosta leaves.
The final natural and rustic touches were covered by using interesting accents of apricots, cherries and blackberries - mostly on the bare wood trestle tables for the feasting.
For Erin and the five bridesmaids we made a garden-gathered style bouquet, finished with soft naturally-dyed and hand-made ivory gold silk ribbon from Lancaster & Cornish
. The flower girl wore a simple head circlet of greenery and White Majolica roses and carried a basket of real dried rose petals. Brooks, his men and pageboys had buttonholes of White Majolica and soft foliage, as did the women's corsages.
The Locations and Rooms
Erin and Brooks had chosen The Olde Bell, Hurley in Berkshire for its classic clean, yet somewhat rustic approach. The wedding ceremony was held in the Garden Room where we dressed the fireplace in sweeping foliage and feature arrangements. The incredible solid oak sideboard was decorated with arrangements of varying heights to form a still life composition.
For the Dining Room the raw wooden trestles were arranged in two rows. We dressed these with the varying candlesticks and one off arrangements in their interesting vessels, down the length of each row. The pieces of fruit were scattered within. Small vignettes of flowers were set upon the corner tables.
The rehearsal dinner the night before was held at Heston Blumenthal's The Hinds Head in Bray, which we dressed with some of the arrangements before transporting them to The Olde Bell the following morning.
The beautiful photographs were taken by Olivia Rae James
who captured all of the design and styling elements and their intricate details so perfectly - maximising the use of light and angles.