Nicky & Simon
Nicky and Simon were married on one of the first days of this year’s heat wave.
As anyone who has had much dealings with flowers would know, they don’t like to be too warm, be in direct sunlight, or be out of water too long – these factors always create a challenge for florists and I can safely say this day was one of the biggest challenges in my flower career so far!
I met Nicky for a consultation and instantly warmed to her kind, laid back manner. They were getting married at Newnham College, Cambridge in the Jane Harrison room, followed by reception in the Barbara White room. The large windows looked out onto the beautiful grounds, so Nicky wanted the flowers to connect inside to out. We settled on garden roses which are at their peak in June, in rich pinks and reds, Sweet peas which would be in full bloom in my cutting beds, delicate, lacy Orlaya, home grown Foxgloves, Clematis & Blueberries.
We (my long-suffering husband and I – he is my great, if sometimes somewhat reluctant - flower assistant at the moment) set off in the morning to deliver Nicky’s bouquet and buttonholes to her house. I had spent an early morning building twelve delicate buttonholes. It was a nice way to start the day, quietly putting together the tiny bouquets of my most detailed flower choices, catching a moment of calm before leaping into action, hauling buckets and packing huge quantities of flowers into our small car (I desperately need a van!).
The last couple of days involved coaxing buckets of David Austin roses to open to their full beauty - not so much they warm up and drop their petals but so the petals unfurl to their full ruffly glory. My studio smelt amazing!
By the time we leave the house the temperature is soaring and the aircon is on full, although I’m wearing a light and floaty vintage Laura Ashley number, I am already over-heating and worrying about how the flowers are faring. I cradle Nicky’s bouquet in the front seat whilst Will drives and we all arrive in one piece, flowers perfectly fresh, me – not so much!
After some initial running up and down corridors (I had seriously underestimated how big Newnham College is and how far apart the two rooms were to set up would be from one another!) I regained my cool and put together small bud vase arrangements to sit in the windows of the ceremony room along with a large vase design for the front table which would then be moved to the reception room later on.
I meet Nicky’s parents when I arrive in the Barbara White room who are nervously arranging the cake on a table, another problem on a hot day – icing! Miraculously all three tiers have held up well and I place a delicate arrangement of Foxgloves, Clematis and Roses on top.
I am then left to arrange the centrepiece of the room, an asymmetrical mantlepiece design I have been itching to make for a while.
It was lovely to work in situ, often logistically it makes more sense to arrange in my studio and deliver to the venue, but this time it was nice to work with the space, taking more time to stand back and edit as I went along.
I wove David Austin Roses among Prunus branches and Blueberries stems from my crop at home. Behind this I layered Panicum grass and Queen Anne’s Lace with fine stems of Larkspur and hanging Amaranthus.
We leave quietly before the guests begin to arrive and sit in the garden with a large refreshing Gin and Tonic, four weddings and a heat wave this month and still I am dreaming of flowers…
Thank you to Lottie Ettling for the lovely photos – www.lottieettlingphotography.com