It's pouring, the rain lashing sideways against the van as we head to the village of Compton, loaded to the gunwales with fourteen fully flowered up candelabra for today's wedding. Angus my youngest (6ft 1") son is assisting the mornings set up, looking out at this bleak scene as we gingerly swerve around huge puddles across the road, he chirpily remarks "this is what I call a proper camping day" we roar with laughter. If you have ever camped under canvas in Britain, be it a festival or summer holiday, you'll know exactly what he means.
Arriving at the home of the bride, I relay Angus' camping remark to the Patterson family and they laugh too, I didn't realise until now that they too were a family of keen campers. Lindsay grew up loving camping holidays in the Scilly Isles. "Oh yes it's perfect weather for camping" she says, it seems it has even inspired her choice of reception venue "we have a field, a large tent, friends, food and alcohol - what more could possibly you want for a wedding in December?" What more could anyone want at any time of year I wonder? I also sigh with relief that there are no tears of disappointment what with this foul weather and begin to show her the bridal bouquets I've brought her. It is only now that she almost cries - tears of joy, she absolutely loves them!
At the time of our first meeting earlier in the year, we had all envisaged a crisp, dry day with azure blue skies, sub zero temperatures and even a glimpse of sunshine. How were we to know it would rain for what seems like forty days and forty nights and that there would be countless flood warnings across the country?
Fortunately, with the marquee just a stones throw from the pretty church, the guests can walk or even make a quick rain soaked post Olympic one hundred metre dash from the nuptials to the reception.
With so many lovely touches to this wedding, I don't quite know where to begin, overall it is the simplicity I love as well the personal touches. This is I think, is how every wedding should be, a reflection of the couple, simple touches cleverly put togehter.
I'm like a blank canvass when I first meet a couple, wanting to absorb every detail the bride can impart to me - a vision of their wedding day. Should this need an injection of inspiration or guidance, I will freely give, but only if necessary. I then interpret this 'vision' filling in the details with colour and of course the flowers.
Lindsay knew exactly what she wanted from the deep green foliages to the large hanging arrangement I interpreted as a"kissing ball" of mistletoe hanging high in the middle of the marquee. The colours combined warmth and subtlety: parchment pink, creams, greens and berries all bathed in candlelight. There were no cliches nor overtly festive touches, just simple wintry elements working togther harmoniously.
Mistletoe was one of these elements which featured largely in the bunches I tied onto the church pew ends, worked into the buttonholes and displayed so abundantly in the aforementioned kissing ball. This simple touch sang 'winter time'. Then there were the thistles, roses, cascading genista and ivory hypericum berries all of which merely embellished the seasonal feel. Add to this the Hendricks botanical gin bottles (it was a pleasure to have personally added to this collection!) which held each table name, the wooden flower crates onto which Kilner jars were placed to hold and display the bridal bouquets and a twig tree.
A focal arrangement in its own right, the twig tree was decorated with handmade ceramic decoupage hearts, its' main job was to be the table plan. All of this and I've not even mentioned the glorious candelabra on each table. These black wrought iron structures added height, elevated the flowers and injected va va voom into an otherwise cream lined marquee! With small hurricane vases at their base adding even more twinkling candle light, the look created was effortless elegance.
The rain did not let up all morning, in fact it has poured down all day and continues to rain as I write this blog, but here's the thing, I could not care one iota, for I'm certain the guests will be warm and snug inside that wonderful tent, doing what we British do best at any wedding celebration: eat, drink, sing, dance and make merry - and even more so at Christmas time!
To all my brides of 2012, thank you for sharing your wedding flower visions with me - I could've happily written about each and every one of the forty six weddings I've been privileged to have worked on this year; my warmest congratulations to you all. I've enjoyed creating these flowers for each of your beautiful celebrations.
I include photographs of this weeks beautiful flowers - before, during and after I have tied, snipped or arranged. These flowers conclude a wonderful year for The White Horse Flower Company.
My plans for 2013? Simple: I'll continue to be a an incurable romantic, plan to remain blissfully happy in my work as a free spirited, independent florist with a zeal for arranging beautiful flowers second to none. Oh and one more thing, thanks for reading my blog flower friends. xxx