A bride's wedding day bouquet is probably the most important bunch of flowers she'll ever hold (no pressure, then). With colour, scent and variety to decide on, there's a lot to consider when it comes to wedding blooms, and that's on top of the dress, the shoes, the bridesmaids, the party playlist...
So, who better to offer his expertise on the subject than The Dorchester Hotel's resident florist, Phillip Hammond. He shares his top tips on how to keep the wedding flowers part as stress-free as possible.
Not every bride is a flower expert - where should she start when thinking about her wedding bouquet?
When meeting a bride for the first time, I always suggest starting with the bridal bouquet, in order to use some - if not all - of the aspects of her bouquet throughout the flower arrangements for the decor of the wedding. I tend to suggest she creates a collage of pictures beforehand of things she likes, from a simple image of a flower, to a coloured ribbon that would match the bridesmaids' dresses perfectly. From a favourite book cover to a or piece of china or jewellery – it's a starting point to discuss what it is about the colour and pattern that appeals to her. I then take all of these different images and ideas to create a bespoke bridal bouquet that best reflects the bride.
How much money should a bride expect to set aside for her flowers?
Budgets vary greatly depending on the time of year and the type of flowers used. My main advice to any bride getting married would be to use the budget wisely, focusing the majority of it on larger displays rather than lots of little ones, as these will have more impact and people will remember them for years to come. Also - if nothing else - brides shouldn't compromise on their bridal bouquet. Choose exactly what you dream of as it is something to remember and treasure forever.
Which type of flower is the most popular?
Roses are always the number one choice for weddings, but now we are seeing more unusual colours such as beiges and mushroom grey, as well as scented garden roses. Summer flowers such as peonies and hydrangeas are also always popular in gorgeous pink, purple, blue and ivory tones.
Are there any flower varieties that brides should avoid using in their bouquets?
I would always recommend tonal colours and makesure the bouquet is in proportion to the bride's size and her dress.
How do flowers vary seasonally and which flowers, colours and scents would you recommend for spring, summer, autumn and winter weddings?
For spring - pale blues and pale creamy yellows, muscari, tulips, primroses and tête à tête daffodils - they are sweet smelling and epitomise the season.
For summer - shades of pink and mauve, using gorgeous scented country flowers such as sweet pea peonies and herbs.
For autumn - although a little obvious, burnt oranges and reds such as cosmos suit the earth's natural palette at that time of year, but I also love adding a dash of plum purple, mixed with lots of gorgeous autumnal foliage.
For winter - stunning whites and crisp silvers, with a touch of dark green foliage, lots of berries and blue spruce. It will smell like Christmas!
Are there any tricks to make your wedding flowers last longer?
I would suggest leaving them in water for as long as possible (making sure to dry the stems before the bouquet goes anywhere near the dress!) and also try not to handle them too much as some flowers can bruise very easily. Using good quality flowers will ensure that the flowers last.
What about centrepieces - are there any particular flowers that are better used for these?
I love big and bold flowers for centrepieces - roses, peonies, hydrangeas and lilies always work brilliantly. Scented flowers also are nice and add an extra touch. Finally, when working on an evening reception, the more candles the better!
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