Another laugh out loud post from Amy. Working in a barn next to the studio of the very talented Violets & Velvet, I appreciate the work of an amazing florist and the price they charge for the stunning arrangements they create. However, Sam will be the first to tell you that I am a forager. Sifting through her bin for off cuts or buds, or dead things! You see, it’s not just skips, bins too! Without giving too much away, over to Amy!
I don’t really know if my wedding would count as ‘traditional’ or not. I’d like to think not, but then there’s going to be a ceremony, a reception, a white(ish) dress, and perhaps even dancing, so maybe I’m a little more conventional than I thought? Certainly, though, we’re not fulfilling every traditional element simply for tradition’s sake. So forget receiving lines, sit down meals, an evening disco, and staged group photographs; even the exchange of rings is being omitted! Certain elements, however, are so ingrained within our wedding expectations- and bridal magazine pages- that passing them over is a tad difficult. So over the next few weeks I’ll document a couple of traditional elements we are going to include. Well, probably. This week, it’s flowers. Well, I did promise you a post about them!
So I was doing a ‘What floral personality are you’ quiz in some bridal magazine recently. You know the sort, where you choose one slightly normal option out of four completely inane choices in order to decipher whether you’re more suited to roses or tulips. Or something along those lines, anyway. Well the question of what my budget for flowers was came up. After three disgustingly expensive budget suggestions, I was very ready to pick number four- which at this point I presumed must be the reasonable budget option (£50? Ha)- and be on my merry way to finding out I should have a bouquet of baby’s breath. Well, option four was the cheapest suggestion of the four, but do you know what constitutes as a budget option for flowers? Five hundred pounds. I kid you not. Five. Hundred. Pounds. A month’s rent. One hundred and eleven Toblerones.
Or maybe I’m weird, maybe flowers are meant to be one of the high budget options for a bride to be. You’d certainly think so, for when I told prospective florists I’d like a few simple arrangements with a budget of £200, they stopped replying to me. Luckily for me, a November wedding doesn’t quite necessitate the same decadent floral arrangements as, say, a May celebration might. And with good old daylight savings, it’ll be dark before guests reach the reception, making candles more than ideal to enhance the Georgian elegance of the room. But it is a wedding, after all, and I couldn’t resist the temptation of a few floral details.
Succumb to the use of florals I did, however I am under no illusions that my nod to this decor tradition will go without a few raised eyebrows. My choices of flowers are, in fact, dead ones. And weeds. Dandelion clocks and dried peonies and roses, to be exact. The roses were first. I only bought them because they happened to be on sale whilst I was searching the shop for dried lavender. They’re gold, the buds are wrinkled, and the leaves withered, but they have a certain faded elegance about them, as if they were left in their vases at a long ago party. Quite fitting, really, with the rest of the wedding! Then there are the dandelion clocks. They are very much a ‘you have to see it’ kind of thing. They’re quirky, yes, but they are rather whimsical and lovely when bunched together. But I’ll keep them away from any conservative minded guests, just in case.
Lastly there are the peonies. The barely opened buds of newborn peonies are irresistible. With bud, leaf, and splaying flower bunched together they epitomize bohemian decadence. If I was going to have a bouquet, I knew nothing else would quite do. Problem is, peonies aren’t cheap. And they’re only in season in late spring and early summer; and with most florists offering a starting price of at least £80 per bouquet, adding ten-pound-a-stem flowers to the mix made me feel a little queasy. Thankfully, my sister Sara who got married last month had her bouquet made by her friend’s company- TJ Cummins Ltd.; a wholesale florist. Being able to actually speak to a friendly florist, who didn’t even ask about my budget; and being able to look around a warehouse of flowers was so helpful, and made me even more certain that I wanted peonies. To combat the out of season price fiasco, I ordered the peony stems (about one hundred) in August and opted to oven dry them.
Putting seventy pounds in an oven and hoping for something less than absolute destruction is a nerve wracking process, but it absolutely paid off. I chose deep maroon and blush coloured flowers in varying states. They emerged from the oven not resembling a burnt roast, as I had feared, but with their colours intensified and their petals delicately wrinkled. As I’m absolutely not a florist, nor do I possess to patience to learn any form of flower arranging skill, I bought an angled foam bouquet base in which is, basically, poke my flowers in to in a pretty way. All in all, it took around half an hour to create a flowing tangle of peonies, buds, roses, and foliage that I was (surprisingly) happy with. And, shock horror, I managed to keep my budget under the elusive £200 mark, even despite what prior-mentioned florists may have had me believe. I do have one teeny tiny little complaint though. Roasted flowers smell. Just a little bit. The scent is a little like parsnips. But on the plus side, it can only be an excuse for a gorgeous new perfume; Tom Ford, anyone?