Archives for May 2018

Royal Wedding

As a florist I couldn’t wait to see what the Royal Wedding flowers were going to look like – particularly with a reported budget of £200,000!

And the lavish floral displays in St. George’s Chapel, created using locally-sourced foliage taken from the gardens and parkland of The Crown Estate and Windsor Great Park, certainly did not disappoint.

The arches included beech, birch and hornbeam branches, as well as beautiful garden and cultivated roses in cream and white, stocks, stephanotis, nigella, scabious, foxgloves, asparagus fern and some peonies.

I thought they were exceptional and worked beautifully to soften the fairly austere façade of the chapel.

The scale was enormous and required scaffolding and chicken wire to hold everything in place and buckets and vials of water would have been positioned within the structure, rather than foam which isn’t environmentally-friendly.

The finished look was a beautifully free-flowing arrangement which was completely befitting of a fairy tale wedding.

It was also lovely to read that the arrangements have been divided up into hand-tied bouquets and delivered to women’s refuges and hospices across London.

I adored the bridesmaid’s hair circlets which were very beautiful and I always prefer them for flowergirls, who can sometimes destroy their posy’s during the service.

But I wasn’t so impressed with the bride’s bouquet, which I thought was a bit small given the occasion and the simplicity of Meghan’s dress, which could have taken a statement bouquet.

Not only that, it looked rather wilted by the time the official photographs were taken – particularly the astilbe which is renowned for wilting. If I’d have been doing her flowers I would have recommended a back-up bouquet, so it was completely fresh for the pictures.

The flowers used were very traditional for a Royal Wedding – she had myrtle sprigs from stems planted by Queen Victoria at Osborne House in 1845, and tradition dictates that a royal bride’s bouquet should always contain it.

There were also scented sweet peas, lily of the valley which represents love and appreciation, jasmine and astrantia which symbolises strength and courage. And there were forget-me-nots, the favourite flower of Prince Harry’s late mother, Princess Diana.

For me it lacked some white roses or peonies and additional greenery. The overall effect was a rather yellow colour – because there wasn’t enough white or green.

Phillipa Craddock was the florist chosen by the royal couple and I have long admired her work – she is based in Selfridges in London. Her bouquets are usually incredible statement pieces and this wasn’t her signature style – which makes me think that the design was much more Meghan’s idea than hers.

Prince Harry is said to have handpicked the flowers from the private garden at Kensington Palace so I think this explains why Philippa made such a small wildflower posy – rather than a big, bold bouquet.

But that is what florists are meant to do – design the bouquet for the bride, not for themselves. So, if Meghan – or the Duchess of Sussex – was happy, then that was a job well done! 😍

Real Wedding- The West Mill, Kayleigh & David

Welcome to our latest Real Wedding blog featuring Kayleigh & David at The West Mill exclusive use wedding venue.
When Kayleigh Otter and David Foster, both 31, first met they were just 16 years old and worked on
the production line in a sandwich factory. But even then Kayleigh knew David was the butter to her
bread and after half a lifetime together the couple tied the knot in a stunning ceremony in Derby’s
West Mill. Here, Kayleigh tells the story of their day.
Who: Kayleigh Otter, a midwife at Kingsmill Hospital, and David Foster, an algorithmic trading
manager. They live in Selston, Nottinghamshire.
Proposal: David took me to Venice for my 30th
birthday and I had absolutely no idea he was going to
propose. Even when he got down on one knee I didn’t expect it – I just laughed. We had a few days in
Venice and then we went to Milan and I chose my ring there. It was completely unexpected but all
the more lovely because of that.
Venue: West Mill, Darley Abbey. I had always wanted to marry in church, but Dave works away a lot
and the church in Darley Abbey insisted we attend three weekends a month, for six months. This was
impossible for us, so we decided on a country house venue. We looked at several in Nottinghamshire
and Derbyshire but we hadn’t found anything that really had the wow factor. As soon as we walked
into West Mill Dave was asking if we could book it – we loved how unusual the place was.
When: The venue didn’t have any Saturdays left in 2017, but they did have some Fridays. We decided
to book 7th July and it was only afterwards that we realised the date was 7.7.17 – so Dave has no
excuses for forgetting our wedding anniversary.
Night before: My mum hired Stretton House the night before and we all stayed there. My two
cousins from Australia came over for the wedding and it was lovely to be able to spend the night
before with all my family.
Bridesmaids: My sister Tamara Otter was the matron of honour and my bridesmaids were cousin
Olivia Heslop, sister-in-law Claire Harradine and friend Claire Pedley. I also had my two nieces as
flowergirls, 14-year-old Caitlin and 10-year-old Maisie. My mum owns a mother-of-the-bride outfit
shop called House of Elegance, in Worksop, so she ordered all the dresses and accessories.
Best man: Dave’s best friend Andy Graham was best man. He lives in Hong Kong and came over
especially for the wedding.
Dress: I did loads of dress shopping and I had a very set idea of what I wanted: something plain. In
fact, I ended up with the complete opposite but I couldn’t have loved it more. It was from the
designer Mori Lee.
Theme: West Mill is very urban and industrial but I chose to view it as a blank canvas and endeavour
to make it prettier. I wanted the theme to be elegance and sparkle and to link back to Venice a little
bit too. I had an enormous scroll made with a quote from the Merchant of Venice written on it,
which came from Polly and Me, and I placed this in the centre of the room.
Flowers: I saw quite a few florists and some of the quotes I was given were completely ridiculous. I
was continuing to look around and met Laura from Avant Garden at a wedding fair at Calke Abbey.
She was incredibly down to earth and understood exactly what I wanted, which meant I had
complete confidence in her.​ My bridal bouquet was stunning, filled with white cymbidium orchids, with blush centres, sweet
avalanche roses, pink astilbe, pink astrantia, white thistle, blush wax flowers, Italin ruscus, baby
eucalyptus and asparagus fern. I loved it so, so much I have paid to have it preserved and it is now in
a glass case – I couldn’t bear to just let it die.
Laura also did my bridesmaid’s posies which had sweet avalanche roses, memory lane roses,
waxflowers, astrantia, astilbe and greenery.
Dave’s button hole was a Cymbidium orchid, white thistle and waxflower while the groomsmen had
memory lane roses instead. The corsages were white orchids in keeping with bridal bouquet.
Every single flower Laura used was absolutely stunning and she really helped to guide me in choosing
the right thing for the right time of year. She was also really well-priced and I felt that I got a lot of
flowers for my money. We went to 10 weddings last year, all with different budgets and themes, but I
would not change my flowers for any others. They were perfect, fabulous quality and my favourite
floral masterpiece was our ceremony backdrop. Avant Garden brought the “WOW” factor I wanted
for the ceremony room.
Accessories: Laura also did my birdcages filed with flowers which hung from the ceiling during the
ceremony, and then went on the tables later. She filled jam jars with flowers which hung off the
chairs either side of the aisle and I had hurricane vases with candles in them lining the aisle too. I had
a vintage ladder which held sweetie jars and lollies and I made my own tables cloths and runners
with rose gold sequins, hessian and lace.
I made a welcome board, which had maps of the places we met, got engaged and got married cut
into the shape of hearts.
For the name places, we had chocolate bars made with a photograph from our engagement shoot on
one side and the menu on the other.
Rings: My engagement ring was by Cartier and we bought our wedding rings from Temprel in
Nottingham. I’m a midwife which means that I can’t wear diamonds at work, so my dad suggested I
have two rings – a plain band that I wear all the time and a diamond one that I wear when I can.
Music: This was really important to me. I had a violinist called Alexandra performing during the
ceremony and a duo called The Notes played during our drinks reception.
In the evening we had a band called Echo Drive – I chose them because the lead singer Caulder has
an amazing raspy sound. We booked them solely based on their promotional video but it was a
gamble that paid off because they were great.
Photography: I came across Simon and Adam from Enchanting Wood Photography at a wedding fair
and although they are based in Berkshire I knew they were right for us. We are really thrilled with
our pictures a lasting memory of our day. And we also had a photobooth in the evening which was
really good fun and has provided us with a really different set of images too.
Cake: This was from Buttercup Cakes near Manchester and it was actually the first thing I booked –
even before my dress, even though it really reflects my dress in terms of the ruffles. I had four tiers of
lemon drizzle cake and the bottom tier was covered in white, pink and purple frills which gave it an
ombre effect. It was beautiful and tasted divine.
Top tips: Everyone tells you the day will go quickly but it was like a whirlwind. It’s important to take a
step back and take it all in. Also, prepare as much in advance as you can. It is possible to do an awful
​lot yourself, providing you give yourself plenty of time. And finally, stick to your budget – because it is
possible to get very carried away.
If you would like to book a consultation to discuss your wedding flowers click here