Posts Tagged ‘flowers’

I love the idea of starting new traditions. I’d love an idea I had to pass down through time. And above all I love vintage jewellery – so these bridal brooch bouquets are a combination of all thesew things – not only timeless, stunning and original, but will pass down the generations.

Anna Hardy recently photographed the wedding of Dawn & John (above), where Dawn had made her own bouquet, and fabric versions for her bridesmaids.

A few weeks ago we told you about MadeNew jewellery who use old brooches, pendants and charms to make gorgeous necklaces, bracelets and accessories. Well, Fancy Pants Weddings have written an amazing tutorial to take you step by step through creating your own bouquet.

There are loads of places to get these old brooches from if you don’t have 50-85 hanging around. Car boot sales are an amazing resource – though it does involve getting up early on a Sunday morning. A couple of visits should get you enough for one bouquet.

I really can’t imagime how brides planned wedding before the internet – just have a look and there are some amazing ideas out there to inspire – In particular, Rock’n’RollBride. Just remember to mix and match to make your wedding day how you want it, to represent your characters, not just a carbon copy of magazines.


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Who said state occasions need be all gilt and flamboyance. With all the budget in the world it could be easy to try and fill every aspect of the day with all the frills, but the wedding of William and Kate was elegant with timeless style. Take some tips from the royal wedding to create your own day with elegance and style by keeping it simple and incorporating nature.

Image: Daily Mail

No frills. Echoing the wedding gown of Princess Grace, Kate’s dress flowed with clean lines. We may not all be able to afford a couture designer but a simply cut silk gown is a classic. If a lace overlay is too costly then a lace bolero over an elegant dress is a winner.
Perhaps if she had not been marrying a future king, the crepe cowl neck dress worn by bridesmaid Pippa would have been Kate’s wedding dress of choice, and would be a more wear-again wedding dress style, rather than it entering the Royal archives!

Clean lines. Instead of over the top ornamental floral displays, a line of trees framing the aisle creating a spectacle and bringing nature into the building. You don’t need to spend a fortune on blooms, as around the base of the trees were planted British wild flowers; Lily of the Valley and white flowers from wild strawberries. And rather than letting the flowers wilt or go to waste, the couple show their loyalty to their causes by donating the flowers (and fruit) to charity and replanting the trees in the grounds of Highgrove. If you have a long engagement you may have time to grow your own flowers or strawberry plants, but if not, you could hire potted trees for the occasion.
Image: Flickr

Spring fresh. Dress the church in displays of white and green. Traditionally royal brides have carried bouquets of white flowers, and Kate chose to keep the colours simple though all the flowers and dresses. Easy for any bride to emulate, foliage is cheap and creates a look that is fresh and perfect for a Spring wedding with a few choice blooms. Follow Kate’s example and choose springs of mertyl, ivy and eucalyptus with white flowers which are in season, not only saving money but means the flowers will be fresher and more likely to be locally grown.

The eyes have it. A simple area to save a few pennies for any bride is to take the task of beauty in-house. So with a budget to die for it shows how that Kate Middleton is a down to earth girl in choosing to do her own make-up, especially when an estimated 2 billion people will be watching, some in HD. There again, she had been taking lessons from bridal makeover expert Arabella Preston.

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Kate Middleton has only been a member of the royal family for a few hours but already she has made her mark, with her understated glamour in the dress, flowers and decoration of the abbey. Far from the pomp and circumstance of previous royal weddings, today’s occasion simply reflected the personal taste and interests of the couple. Fresh, natural and simple, classic yet modern.

The best kept secret about the wedding was revealed as Kate stepped out of the limousine outside Westminster Abbey. And she could not have chosen a better person to emulate, a hollwood icon turned princess with timeless style.

Grace Kelly, Princess of Monacco, is one of history’s great style icons and today we saw her classic wedding style echoed in Kate Middleton’s wedding dress designed by Sarah Burton, head of Alexander McQueen fashion house. The McQueen signature shillouette of narrow waist and padded hips blending structure and modernity with vintage style wedding dress. The finishing touch was the tulle lace veil edged in floral embroidery – a real fairytale princess.

Do you think when she was little she would have imagined wearing a vintage 1930’s diamond Cartier tiara owned by the Queen of England…

Tradition and history were echoed through Kate’s delicate bouquet of Lily of the Valley, the flower of choice of Grace and the Queen Mother; a nod to the family she has joined. Lily of the Valley are only open in April and May, so a truly seasonal choice.Perhaps the sprigs of Sweet William were for her husband! The fresh green and white colours of the bouquet were echoed throughout the decor.

Many eyebrows were raised as the English Maple trees were brought into the abbey this week, but they created a dramatic but softened effect with the trees contrasting with the architectural  lines of the gothic cathedral. What a spectacle, as Kate glided down the tree lined avenue of the aisle to marry her prince. So romantic.

Far from being a day of excess and waste, William and Kate’s personal interest in the environment have been entwined in planning, with wild strawberries growing round the base of the trees and their request that after the big day the trees be planted in Highgrove (Charles’ residence) as a lasting memory of the day.

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If you work well under pressure you may well have left thinking of a Valentines gift till the last minute.

Your choice is either to go for something that can be delivered on the day, or to get creative, which may depend on how much time you have available to make a gift or devise a romantic surprise… Sometimes the simplest ideas are the best – eg. filling a little box with ‘reasons I love you’ written on bits of paper, breakfast in bed on Monday morning will make the week much more bearable, or turn up at your partners workplace at lunchtime with a picnic basket to take to the local green space. Here are some more ideas for an evening in.

However, if you are going for the last minute puchase, here are some classics and other ideas…

Get flowers delivered to work
For the classic floral display, Marks & Spencer have a dozen fairtrade red roses for £19.99 including p&p.

For a more bohemian and in season arrangement, Wiggly Wigglers Valentine bouquets are fabulous arrangements of locally grown flowers and foliage starting from £31.50, with the added advantage that they are currently offering 3 bars of Divine fairtrade chocolate with orders over £30, so you get flowers and chocolate in one!

Flowers are not just for Valentines
A twist on the classic floral gift and your loved one has growing space, you could give a grow-your-own lasting gift, such as a Love Grobox from Nigels Eco Store, a box of perennial bulbs of red flowers that will bring colour year after year either in the flower bed, planter or window box.
On a slightly larger scale you could send a love tree from Tree2mydoor – both the cherry tree and crab apple tree with their beautiful blossom have been known through the ages as a ‘tree of love’ – the delivery will be a young tree which will grow year on yearand far outlast a bunch of flowers…just check it is the right size for your garden!

The food of love

If flowers aint her thing, then Able & Cole, the organic veg box people, offer a range of valentine foodie gifts, including locally produced heart-shaped cheddar, varieties of chocolate and organic fizz, and the delivery of a breakfast for two…mmm!

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The supermarkets have been vying for our attention recently with their green products and ethical fashion collaborations – I’m not saying they are green-washing, as I feel that each small step that each of us takes can add up to making a difference.

If we support these ventures and they prove popular, hopefully it will show the retailers that green & ethical is the way forward – such as Sainsbury making ALL their bananas fairtrade…

So what has caught our attention recently?

Tesco up-cycled fashion range

Using unsold products from their Florence + Fred clothing range, Tesco have collaborated with ethical designer brand ‘From Somewhere’ to upcycle  these peices, creating new outfits and pieces from the unused fabric and parts of the old, rather than it ending up in landfill.

From Somewhere, along with Junky Styling and Traid, have been pioneering the upcycling movement, creating desirable outfits from cast-offs, or pieces we have become bored with. (Orsola de Castro, the designer behind the brand also created the dress Livia Firth wore to the oscars this weekend, made from scraps of fabrics left-over from designers collections – read about it on her Vogue blog)

Upcycled putfits are usually at the higher end of the price market due to the one-off nature and all the hand-sewing and constuction that goes into each piece. However, this new Tesco range, being sold exclusively online, will offer a similar concept at more affordable prices due to the fact that for the first time a retailer is able to put volume behind the concept.

Check out the video about the concept, the super-eco factory and interviews with the designers.

Be inspired to upcycle your own outfits, rather than discarding and buying new when you are trying to save for a wedding! Get together with friends to see what fabrics and shapes you can pull together and re-make.
M&S plantable chocolate wrapper

Ok, so it isn’t a bar you pick up for 50p, but a ‘box’ of chocolates that you would give for a gift, but still, a step in the right direction. M&S have launched, just in time for Mothering Sunday, a box of chocolates, of which the box is made from seeded paper and when planted will see a variety of flowers loved by butterflies pop up- double whammy gift – chocolate and flowers!

And now is the ideal time to plant seeds for summer flowering, so it is the ideal gift for someone between now and may (during the planting period!)

It is possibe to buy seeded paper, and is popular for wedding invitations and thank-you cards, so you could re-reate this idea yourself for favour ideas, rather than spend £4.99 on each guest…

Let us know what you think about the Tesco clothing range and the M&S chocolate wrapper, or any other supermarket initiatives, below…

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Fairtrade flowers

With Valentines and Mothering Sunday just around the corner, there are many reasons to want to buy the best beautiful flowers, not just the large quantity needed for a wedding.

Better Blooms

– If you have the space to grow your own, these will no doubt last longer once cut. If you plan ahead you can grow certain plants that you know will be in bloom at a particular time of year. OK for one off occasions, like for Mothers Day flowers, but harder when growing for a whole wedding… time to enlist some help?

– For giving flowers as a gift, why not give a houseplant which will last much longer and can often be cheaper. It will be a lasting reminder of your care.

– Check out this chart of what flowers in season so you are more likely to be able to get locally grown flowers for the time of year you are buying. Ask your florist where their flowers are sourced from to encourage them to think local too.

– Buy fairtrade blooms. The fairtrade certification for flowers works in a similar way to food. The producers are paid a fair wage, local communities are supported, and the products made in environmentally friendly ways. (For more info visit www.fairtrade.org.uk)
But where to find fairtrade flowers? Every so often my local supermarket will have a bunch with a Fairtrade sticker on, but it is unpredictable… This may be ok for getting one off bunches as a gift, but for sourcing larger quantities for a big event, see the Fairtrade Foundation website for a list of fairtrade flower stockists.

Many of the standard cut flowers we buy in this country are imported from Africa where they are grown under chemical duress, causing harm not only to the environment (plus airmiles) but also to the health of the growers. You may also find that to get a better look, the scent has been compromised. So local, fairtrade and homegrown flowers are going to give you the best value and quality for your money.

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Not all celebrities want the huge weddings with hundreds of other stars in attendance. This weekend Milla Jovovich married her long time partner director Paul Anderson in an intimate affair in the back garden of their home Beverly Hills.

You can see photos of the wedding here

Get the look:

Get Milla Jovovich wedding style

Images: Orchid, rose & lily bouquet from Budget Designer Florals in USA, Long Adria dress with bead detail and split sleeves from Temperley London, Long romantic style hair design from Brides.com.

Dress: Milla walked down the aisle in a full length retro-inspired white gown which she had designed, taking inspiration from the 1960’s & Grecian. For Grecian influenced gowns, try the Lorelei dress wear-again style from Motasem

Flowers: A hand tied white orchid bouquet mixed with roses is a classic bridal design. If you are concerned about the milage, ask your florist to source locally grown, or you may want to consider white flowers that are seasonal to the date of your wedding.

Hair: Milla let her hair loose in an ethereal style, with headband of twisted leaves with a medieval influence. Remember to consider your face shape when choosing your hairstyle, and how it will work with the dress. It was a pity you couldn’t see the detail on Milla’s dress as her hair covered the beaded panels…

To go with their Spanish-style house, Milla & Paul had a latin style occasion with a Spanish flamenco guitarist during the cocktail reception, then a Cuban band afterwards.

However worth the wait, I’m not sure I would have coped with a six year engagement.

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