Winter weddings are special and can be the most rewarding of any in the year in terms of character, floral ingredients and dressing. They also test the skill of a florist in ways that others don’t seem to! The flower markets pretty much shut down between Christmas and New Year and flowers are limited. It makes a florist literally think outside of the box and is a perfect chance to look to the fields and hedgerows for inspiration. The winter wonderland styling came together with lots of pale winter flowers, dusty blue-green foliage, winter buds and early blossom. Although beautiful, the palette was natural, subtle, muted and very earthy.
This wedding took place on 30 December and the bride wanted to avoid any hint of Christmas in her styling! No brash red Poinsettia, no holly and only limited ivy were allowed in the list of ingredients … so we got creative!
My local farmer lets me forage freely amongst his fields and many of the natural ingredients for the wedding came from these fields. We cut some beautiful boughs of larch before the needles were lost and managed to keep these lime green limbs alive in large tubs of water. Larch cones and twigs are amazing for natural arrangements as they always bend and twist in a most delightful manner. Magnolia is another winter ingredient that is lovely to use as the soft, velvety buds (even when tightly packed) are stunning to add texture and the natural shapes of these open trees provide the most sculptural addition. Chaenomeles (flowering Quince) was also used for its stunning blossom – a welcome surprise at this time of year – and its twiggy structure that contrasts so well with the more structured flowers and buds. I’m writing this in mid February and the Quince blossom is still flourishing! One to remember for its lasting qualities. Viburnum tinus – another go-to shrub for cutting in the garden – matched the colour scheme and provided a contrasting, flatter flower for volume and structure.
Dark purple Pittosporum tenuifolium ‘Tom Thumb’ is a wonderful shrub that I grow specifically for cutting. The dainty, almost black leaves twist and curl in a lovely natural way and the colour works well in a subdued, muted arrangement. It is fairly easy to grow and adds a dark foil to arrangements throughout the year offering light texture and contrast to other larger leaved foliage plants. It lasts well in water and is a stalwart in many of my arrangements. This was used for its ability to contrast but also harmonise with the dark centres of the Anemone and the darker needles in the Wax Flower. It also picks up the deep mahogany colour that is apparent in the Magnolia stems and the deeper, dark buds of the Viburnum tinus.
The groom was from Australia and my bride was keen to pay homage to his home country through the use of Eucalyptus in different forms. Pine was also added to provide a more distinctly British take on winter and the deep coloured needles added another layer of texture and interest in the arrangements.
Anemone, Ranunculus, early Freesia, Roses and Ornithogalum provided the delicate flower combination and these were matched with tiny Gyp flowers to provide dots of a completely contrasting light frosting texture. Anemone can be difficult to time for weddings as they tend to be quite happy resting in their folded bud-like shape until they’ve had enough to drink and enough light and warmth! The gap between buying these and the wedding itself (because of the shut down of the markets!) meant that they were in perfect form for the day itself.
No winter wedding can be without the delicate heads of Winter Bells. These Hellebores look amazing in the garden with their light, drooping heads and their ability to withstand anything the British winter can throw at them.