From Kate And William’s Wedding To Your Own Royal Peony
How Our Wedding Flower Decorations And Bouquets Are Inspired And Made Personal.
Some wedding flowers last forever! It’s over three years since the Royal Wedding between Kate Middleton and Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, but in more than one sense, Kate Middleton’s Wedding Bouquet is still as fresh as today’s red roses after a revitalising shower of rain. The same day those floral images were delivered in flower pictures all over the world, they were also made part of floral history. Every time Kate’s Lilies are described, admired, or even criticised online, it’s as though they get a fresh flower food delivery – a moisture surge of new life.
High profile wedding flowers are not always copied slavishly – at Flowers123, we find that couples are more tuned in than ever to their own ideas about the wedding flowers that will make their special day more personal and meaningful – but couples often use the Royal Wedding flowers to deliver a kind of inspirational springboard. You don’t have to be an avid Royal Wedding fan. There’s nothing artificial about researching Royal Wedding flowers when it comes to marrying your own sense of wedding style with the expertise of your wedding florist. It’s all part of the floral tapestry to make your wedding day special, so that you and your wedding guests can enjoy a display of floral expression that gives lasting flower endurance to your wedding memories.
The Royal Wedding Flowers live on also in a very practical sense – from those stunning Maple Trees that lined the bridal path in Westminster Abbey to Kate’s Lily-of-the-Valley bouquet. Because after Kate and William’s big day, every flower or plant was either re-cycled, re-planted, or made into compost. London based Irish florist, Shane Connolly, was appointed the Artistic Director of Flowers. His inspiration was rooted firmly in much the same way as the Prince of Wales would be noted for his interest in the natural environment. And so, for instance, six of the large Maple Trees are now replanted in Wales at Prince Charles’s home there. No flower was wasted. In decorating the altar at Westminster Abbey, huge buckets of Hydrangeas, Wisteria, Rhododendrons were used in glorious floral abundance, acres of foliage in adornment all over the Abbey, and all of this floristry recycled in some shape or arrangement later.
A good florist will always take time to discuss the wedding atmosphere you wish to create, because nothing says it like flowers in terms of setting, and what the bride and groom wish to convey. Are you making a formal statement? Is your wedding a kind of narrative of your life? Or is simplicity the key to a relaxed atmosphere? Intimacy of setting is what mattered to Kate and William. Kate’s florist had written a book about the Language of Flowers. Both flowers and foliage in Kate’s wedding bouquet gave off beautifully clear scented messages in terms of emotional meaning. Lily-of-the-Valley (return of happiness), Sweet Williams ( gallantry) Hyacinth ( constancy of love), Myrtle ( emblem of marriage), Ivy ( fidelity).
From a florist’s perspective, Kate’s Bouquet was a splendid mix of the structured and the free-flowing – her arrangement was shaped like a shield, and wired to give structure and base – and that shows off the perfection of the flowers themselves. Lily-of-the-Valley has a bell-shaped beauty, and perhaps because of it’s shy nodding quality, was highlighted as floral centrepiece in the wedding bouquet. Catherine’s Lilies were a blend of the vulnerable and the robust – that soft shaking element also giving a sense of splendid spilling floral abundance. Artfully wired structure meant that the Lily-of-the-Valley could spill out freely around the shield in a very natural flow. Simplicity of colour added to the natural theme – creaminess of fragile flower against lucidity of green foliage.
Simplicity is one thing, but the wedding flowers are also infused with double-meaning – an intriguing floral mixed spray of meaning wired into the wedding bouquet’s statement. According to Victorian Flower Language, Lily-of-the-Valley does mean return to happiness but also signifies trust, an appropriate wedding evocation. Kate and William endured a very public mid romantic break-up – every detail of which was raked over and pulled apart like petals off a rose ; the speculation sprayed all over the media was as colourful as a mixed summer spray. And so the Lily flower symbolising both trust and a return to happiness becomes very meaningful, those flowers a soft floral nod to the Royal Couple’s time apart.
And while the Sweet William flower signifies gallantry, it might also be seen as a personal term of endearment from Kate to her Prince Charming. Still in the mixed floral theme of double-meaning – the Hyacinth flower might have been tailor-made as a morning coat, arranged for Kate in particular – in romantic terms the Hyacinth stands strong and upright for constancy, while it also means sporty and playful. And so it’s no coincidence that after the birth of baby George, Kate’s first public engagement was at Olympic Park where Kate played Volleyball in 6-inch heels in front of the world media.
A Sprig of Myrtle is deeply rooted in Royal Wedding tradition. It began when Prince Albert’s grandmother gave Queen Victoria a small Posy of Myrtle. Victoria had the Myrtle re-planted against a stone wall at her new home, Osborne House. The Isle of Wight micro-climate was ideal, the flower thrived, and the wedding tradition of Myrtle blossomed. And so was born a daisy-chain custom of Myrtle as part of the Royal Wedding Flowers – this included Queen Elizabeth in 1947 and Princess Diana in 1981. And the very pretty Ivy Flower is a very apt choice for any wedding – royal or otherwise – signifying as it does, fidelity, friendship, and affection – like rooting powder qualities for any marriage!
Shane Connolly, speaking about his role as Royal appointed Artistic Director of Flowers, gives much floral credit to the professionals who inspired him and trained him. Elizabeth Barker taught him that wedding flowers at their most beautiful were like jewellery, and should be treated with the same reverence. Shane also advises that a bride’s bouquet should be roughly the dimensions of a hand-bag size she might opt for. I found this an interesting comment – because while I enjoyed the wedding spectacle on TV, and I loved Kate Middleton’s floral choices, I found myself on that same day wishing that Kate’s Wedding Bouquet was just a tad bigger. But at the end of the day, it’s no surprise that Kate’s wedding flowers inspire us. Shane Connolly was right in his jewellery analogy – the petals and buds and fragile beauty of Kate’s Lily-of-the-Valley had a shine all their own and nestled with ease in the same hand that sparkled with wedding ring, engagement ring, all edged in lace, and all the flowering hope that a Wedding Day implies.