As temperatures drop, the nights draw in and we approach the colder, darker months of late autumn and winter, you may wonder what inspiration can inspire us during these bleak months.There are however a great many elements to winter which simply need the merest embellishment to tease out the natural beauty of the season.
Marrying in the "low season" has steadily become more popular - not least because it's a cost effective option at many venues. Although terraces and gardens may be off limits, guests will be snug and toasty indoors; think log fires, mulled wine, hearty seasonal food with lots of candlelight.
For me, the colours of winter fall into three categories - rich and warm, bright and vibrant, crisp and definite. As a wedding florist I often add elements and textures to my arrangements, reflecting something from the client’s colour palette as well as drawing inspiration from the season, be it autumn, mid or late winter.
In early winter, I’ll use fallen leaves, lichen covered branches, nut brown conkers and prickly green coated chestnuts. I create shape and drama by using contorted hazel, twists of willow or even bright berry clad branches of rose hips. Structure and form of winter, whilst not necessarily laden with flowers, can be incredibly dramatic.
In January or February I look forward for inspiration incorporating tulips, snow drops or narcissi to my flower palette; I may use lots of crisp whites alongside bright sunshine yellow with splashes of spring green. In winter when the days are shorter, I'll use lots of candles in ceremony rooms or church arrangements - en masse, as well as in the table centrepieces for example, hurricane vases with pillar candles, candlesticks or candelabras - filling them out with lots of foliages and flowers which reflect the season outdoors.
For those wanting a little more understatement, winter flowers can be muted and subtle, warm and inviting too. Think sepia, parchment or pale pink shades, this works well with warmer tones of mauves and grey. White flowers can create a dramatic and crisp look against a back drop of (navy) blue or black - I’ve styled Narnia inspired Christmas and New Year’s weddings and parties with cool sparkly icy touches and lots of white sparkly twigs in subtly illuminated vases.
It is worth also considering the more classic colours of winter such as ivory, “berry” red or warm “chocolate” browns these can be woken up a little with a twist of orange for an added zing or toned down with ivory and creams. Aubergine, plum and purples also create warmth, depth and vibrancy to winter flowers; they particularly pair well with silver or gold accents.
Christmas is a lovely time to marry and many venues will already be decorated which, if done tastefully, can be a welcome and cost effective bonus. I like to focus on the actual wedding and not add too many festive clichés to my florals. This often means creating a seasonal / festive feel without all the (tacky) tinsel! These festive touches have in the past, included large “kissing balls” of mistletoe - suspended from the centre of a room or marquee or incorporating all-white gypsophilia and roses with mistletoe creating a classic feel to winter flowers. By adding lots of festive foliages such as trails of ivy, spruces, eucalyptus or variegated holly to the flowers, one can create a Christmas feel without “drowning out” the ceremonial details.
I often like to incorporate bright jewel- like flowers such as anemones in reds, cerise pink, purples and white with their black centres, they look incredible in lieu of archetypal reds and greens. The variations are endless but for me, ultimately, the result should always “sing” seasonal or “winter” never passé!