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Weddings

Floral Splendour

Flowers at Oxford, the highlight of the flower calendar 22–24 August 2014, at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford University
For many this sets the tone for the whole day. Whether it is the church, car, reception or the bridal bouquet, the floral aspect of the big day is now, more than ever before, viewed as the ultimate style statement

Flowers and weddings are the ultimate pairing but has this always been the case? Where did the importance of bouquets originate?

Well, the origin is a little blurred however one of the reasons was very practical but not the most appealing. The bouquet was made to cover unwanted  odours! If the yearly bath was taken in May, then the wedding would be in June and the bouquet, just to be safe, would mask any remaining unpleasantness.

Another theory is that the contents of the bouquet would ward off evil spirits so pungent herbs, spices and garlic would very often be used.

The bouquet itself however, seems to have originated as a way to maintain the tradition of the bride giving part of herself to the guests, without it involving them tearing huge lumps of fabric from her clothing, which was the previous answer.

These days however, fortunately, the need for keeping away the evil or covering smells is fortunately long gone, however, the bridal bouquet and complementary flowers has indeed grown to be one of the most essential aspects of the whole day.

With the average cost of a wedding currently estimated at around £21000,

it seems that a higher and higher percentage of that budget is being set aside for amazing and diverse floral displays.

Judith Blacklock  told us “Brides are spending more money on their wedding flowers. For many years the flower budget was way below that for the cake, the dress, the venue and the music but now it is beginning to change with people realising that designer flowers can make the occasion magical.  Banners, ribbons, balloons all add to the occasion but nothing has the style, the delight, the fragrance and simply the joy of fresh flowers. There are wonderful designer florists all over the country who delight in going the extra step by helping the bride choose the colours and flowers that fit the mood of her special day. It might be jam jars of garden roses, stocks, sweet peas offering summer fragrance in a myriad of soft colours or urns of berries, seed heads and flowers offering the deep rich colours of autumn. Whatever the season the florist can fulfil wishes and create the dream.”

Fashions in all areas come and go and flowers are no different.

The Victorians had posies filled with “secret meanings”. Each flower was chosen not for the way that they looked, but rather for their meaning. The early part of the nineteenth century saw the glamour of the screen siren “Sarah Bernhardt” reflected in Bernhardt bouquets.

Moving on to the 1920’s shower bouquets became so exaggerated that they almost concealed the bride. With the addition of Lovers Knots  incorporated into the design , this led the way to ‘swing flowers’ – tiny blossoms ‘swinging’ on narrow ribbons attached to a posy bouquet which suited perfectly a more austere post-war Britain. Who can forget however, their re-emergence with a vengeance as Princess Diana and her impressive bridal bouquet  led to  the popularity of similar ideas but in varied sizes and dimensions.

So what are the latest trends? Once again we asked the very knowledgeable Judith .”These days brides want beauty but also want to feel confident that their choices are informed in all ways as possible. Consequently the trend, and one that is very welcome, is to choose  flowers grown in the UK by growers who produce the quality and range equal to that of growers anywhere in the world.”

Also, don’t  be mistaken and think that British flowers are only suitable for summer weddings. With polytunnels extending growing periods and the mild weather in Cornwall offering a range of blooms from October through to April, British flowers are here to stay.

The  opportunity to show that flowers in this country are second to none can be seen in the Wedding Marquee at Oxford Flowers which will celebrate both our growers and the young British florists who have shown a brilliance for innovative design.

Gorgeous British-grown flowers will be provided by Flowers from the Farm – a network of farmers, smallholders and gardeners who grow, sell and promote locally grown flowers around the UK. For more information, visit flowersatoxford.com

Some of the country’s most talented young florists will demonstrate their inspirational wedding designs using seasonal, local and sustainable British flowers provided by a Flowers from the Farm grower. Their finished designs will be on display in the marquee for all to see. Well known designers from the world of designer floristry include Claire Cowling, Angela Coulton, Annie Blackman, Zoe Rowlinson and Rebecca Hough. So if you are looking for the latest trends, want to seek out the perfect flowers and colours for your special day or have

any questions you have always wanted to ask about wedding flowers come along and meet the experts at Oxford

During three fun and inspiring days, stars of the floristry and flower arranging worlds will converge on Lady Margaret Hall (LMH), Oxford University, for a celebration of all things floral. The college and its grounds along the banks of the River Cherwell will be decorated with blooms, showcasing the very best of floral design.

There will also be competitions, international demonstrators, workshops and trade stands set in the beautiful architecture and gardens of LMH.

Flowers at Oxford The highlight of the flower calendar 22–24 August 2014, at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford University

Fashions in all areas come and go and flowers are no different.

”These days brides want beauty but also want to feel confident that their choices are informed in all ways as possible. Consequently the trend, and one that is very welcome, is to choose  flowers grown in the UK by growers who produce the quality and range equal to that of growers anywhere in the world.”

 

Judith Blacklock is renowned worldwide for her teaching skills in flower arranging and floristry. Her flower school, in Knightsbridge is the foremost private flower arranging and floristry school in the UK. The author of 12 bestselling floristry books and editor of The Flower Arranger magazine she regularly appears on television and demonstrates at leading global floral events. She has arranged flowers at many high-profile venues including Kensington Palace and taught floral design to many A-list television personalities as well as acted as a consultant to Tesco, Topshop, BT, Channel 4 and many prestigious private companies.

 

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