Vintage Wedding Flowers

Say hello to our very first guest, wedding blogger Rachel Petheram from Catkin Flowers, who has been listed by the Independent as one of the 50 Best Florists (what a fabulous accolade!) Lincolnshire based Rachel is also a feature writer for Grow Your Own Magazine. We love this blog – and hope you do too! Over to you Rachel!

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Wow it’s been a busy season – there has been no sign that the current love of vintage and rustic inspired weddings is on the wane. Our bookings for 2014 are showing that the trend for vintage wedding flowers is set to continue for a while. It seems to me that for 2014 we may be looking at a more elegant vintage style, so perhaps Edwardian inspired styles in cut glass, rather than jam jars, but having said that I love a jam jar and they do look fabulous!

Flowers can really help to set the theme for a vintage styled event. Vintage defines any decor/fashion from any past decade that is not part of the current modern timeframe, so your event may want to re-create a 1950’s style or an Edwardian style or it may simply conjure up images of fetes on the village green and afternoon tea parties – the point is that nostalgia is at the heart of it.

For me it means going back to basics and local, seasonal, old fashioned flowers fit in beautifully.  The flowers that I use to create a vintage feel are very easy to grow and reflect a time when we all cut flowers from the garden rather than importing them from thousands of miles away. Lovely, scented, old fashioned blooms!

Here are some of my favourites that work well in vintage inspired arrangements:

Hellebores

Often I am asked to use colour to help to create a vintage feel. Soft, faded, dusky colours fit the theme of gentle, faded elegance. Hellebores are spring flowers – they appear in March and go all the way through to the end of May. Once they have flowered, the colours fade and you are left with these gorgeous soft, muted colours.

Hellebores

Tulips

These spring bulbs are fantastic for their versatility. They are great for creating the bright colours of a 1950’s inspired event or for creating a soft faded palette to give an overall vintage inspired feel.

Tulips

Peonies

These beautiful, blousy flowers are short-lived in the garden but are perfect for creating vintage themed arrangements. The full, loose petals create an instant soft and romantic effect either spilling out of a vase or in more formal arrangements.

Peonies

Roses

I know it is a total cliché but I am talking beautiful, scented English roses here, not uptight, scentless, imported tea roses. So many people are taken back to their childhood when they smell a proper garden rose. We think about roses in our mum’s garden and of picking petals and stuffing them into water to make perfume (which then is discretely thrown away!!). Scent is such an important part of any flower arrangement; it has the power to transport us back to long-forgotten places and people. It is an essential element and English-grown flowers are highly and beautifully scented, none more so than the rose.

Roses

 Roses

Sweet Peas

These are favourites for the same reason as roses – for their glorious scent. It is another lovely old fashioned flower that always reminds people of the gardens of their childhood. They also have the benefit of coming in a huge range of colour, so you can use them to create bold, colourful palettes, or to introduce the soft, almost peachy pink colours that many people love (including me).

Sweet Peas

Pinks and Sweet Williams

These flowers are real cottage garden favourites (highly scented naturally) and very well suited to events which want to re-create a Victorian/Edwardian feel. The Malmaison carnation is stunning. It has relaxed, blousy blooms and a knockout scent and truly is an Edwardian flower – I think it is set to make a bit of a renaissance

How to create an arrangement in a jam jar

Vintage Wedding Flowers

Using herbs is a great way to form the basis of any flower arrangement – they smell lovely and have a really good vase life. The key is to use lots of foliage with different colours and textures and then you don’t need so many flowers. Try gathering together 7 stems each of: mint (pineapple mint has lovely variegated foliage which adds extra contrast), rosemary, sage, lemon balm, marjoram. Strip the stems so only a third of the foliage remains – this seems drastic but it is important to keep the stems clean so you don’t have leaves rotting in the water and creating slime which will shorten the vase life. By using herbs you can keep the discarded leaves for cooking!

Vintage Flowers

Photographs courtesy of Catkin

Use the foliage to create the basic shape in your jam jar – it doesn’t have to be perfect – the point is that it isn’t! Then use whatever small flowers you have to pop into the foliage – keep turning the jam jar round as you do it. This jam jar has got sweet peas, love-in-a-mist and salvia in it – again use 7 stems of each. Equally you could use daisies, pinks, astrantia, scabious, or even berries, cow parsley or ivy from the hedgerow – now that is truly in the vintage spirit!.

For more details of Catkin Flowers and their courses visit their website or follow them on Twitter and Facebook

We’ll be back soon with more pre-loved inspiration and humbling stories! Alex and Sam x

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