Gemma & Lee August 2018
Gemma and Lee were married at St. John’s College Cambridge in the beautiful Chapel – the same one Will and I were married in three years ago!
The reception was at Rectory Farm Hotel, a gorgeous venue on the outskirts of Cambridge, set in two acres of mature gardens with private meadows beyond.
Gemma and I had a few meet ups over Coffee at St. John’s and The Punter to talk flowers and allotments and a lot of other stuff in between. I could tell from the beginning that we would get on well. Gemma was extremely organised and already had a clear view of what she wanted over a year before the wedding. She was a pleasure to work with as although she had a clear vision of what she wanted, she was also very trusting and open to my ideas and suggestions. It is always so lovely to be given creative freedom within a brief as that’s when my ideas really start to flow!
Gemma had recently started growing flowers on her allotment and was also an avid Pinterest pinner like me. She already had great knowledge on varieties of flowers and brought visual material to share with me during our meetings which was super helpful!
She wanted whites and nudes with plenty of foliage and texture. The one flower she was positive about using was the infamous ‘Café au Lait’ Dahlia. These are gorgeous but are one of the drama queens of the flower world, well known for being rather unreliable in shape, size and colour. They’re also notoriously demanding in terms of temperature, making their vase life quite short.
I like a flower challenge and agreed they would be the perfect flower to give the arrangements the shade of colour she was after. I had already grown three plants of this particular Dahlia the year before so immediately ordered more in the hopes I could have them flowering for the following August in time for the wedding day. You just can’t beat freshly cut Dahlias and I love to include my own flowers in my arrangements wherever possible. Harvesting my own meant I could pick the perfect shades of creamy, pinky brown from the crop, as even ones growing side by side can vary in colour quite dramatically.
Luckily it all worked to plan. I’d ordered some back-up dahlias just in case mine weren’t flowering in time, but my home-grown flowers stole the show, coming up trumps with the best shade of blush. After picking out the most perfect blooms for the bouquets, I carefully placed the stems in the centrepiece arrangements last thing before I left on the morning of set up.
Alongside the Café au laits there were Margaret Meryll Roses (which have to be up there with some of the most fragrant you can lay your hands on!) David Austin Rose ‘Purity’, Sweet Peas, Hydrangeas with blush pink petals, Campanula, Protea, Wax flowers & wild stems of Queen Anne’s lace.
Gemma’s and the bridesmaid’s bouquets were tied in hand-dyed silk ribbon from Lancaster & Cornish, in shades of blush, nude and cream. I used a streamer bundle for Gemma which fluttered in the breeze as she walked through the grounds of St. John’s.
I had grown tiny cherry tomatoes in my greenhouse which spilled over the edges of the centrepiece urns. These were mostly still green, with a few just starting to ripen which complimented the warmer tones of the other flowers.
Gemma had planned the table layout beautifully, with menus in glass picture frames and the most gorgeous seed packet favours from Grace Alexander Flowers – www.gracealexanderflowers.co.uk
We also organised tiny potted succulents for each place setting and Gemma had collected Cire Trudon candle holders in a deep emerald green which decorated the guest tables. I also filled three pots for the top tables and the heady aroma of the left-over candle wax mixed with the fragrance of Roses hung heavily in the warm air of the marquee.
Gemma looked absolutely stunning in a WillowBy Watters gown and Half penny London veil. She wore Green velvet Yves Saint Laurent heels which I am still drooling over to this day!
Thank you, Gemma and Lee, for being such a fun and inspiring couple to work with. Gemma, I hope we continue to talk flowers and all things horticultural for many years to come!
Thank you to Matt Horan for the beautiful photos – www.matthoranphotography.com
(All photos by Matt except the phone photos taken by Will and myself).