Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Kate and William... 30 days and counting!

We have reached the one month mark on the royal wedding countdown.  As the day gets closer, more details about the big day are becoming available.  The details we are most concerned with here are the flowers.  Us is reporting, along with ABC news, that the flowers have been chosen.  The color is white for the royal blooms.  The traditional choices for royal weddings will be there, roses of course, gardenias, Lily of the Valley and delphinium.  Delphinium doesn't exactly come to mind when I think of bouquets, but the tall stalks of blooms would be perfect for the larger arrangements in the Abbey.  Here is an example picture of white delphinium...

Also revealed by Us is the name of one of three florists chosen to make the arrangements for the wedding of the decade.  Floral designer Simon Lycett is one of the chosen few.  Mr. Lycett was the florist that supplied the bouquets and other arrangements for the wedding of Prince Charles and Camilla at Windsor in 2005.  There will be white and there will be fragrance. 

Royal Wedding Tid-bit of the day... ever mindful of others, William and Kate will be leaving the floral arrangements in Westminster Abbey so that tourists and visitors will be able to enjoy the flowers and take pictures days after the wedding.  This is a nice thing to do and shows the thoughtfulness of the new royal couple.  They have also listed several charities as recipients of monetary contributions instead of wedding gifts.  Very nice indeed.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Kate's Bouquet... what I think it should look like.

After many weeks of thinking about it, I have come up with my own idea of what Kate Middleton's bouquet should look like.  First, I thought it should be sizable, as Kate is not a short woman, and given the expanse of the venue, Westminster Abbey.  Most important for me to realize is that without knowing what the dress will look like, any ideas on the bouquet are surely predictions and guesses, as the wedding gown is the most important factor to decide the shape, style, and composition of the bouquet.

I started with a modern approach to the look, with a single long trailing vine acting as a base or carriage for the flowers. Next, I added what is reported to be Kate's favorite flowers... Lilies.  Other popular flowers for royal bouquet were added next... roses, orchids, Lily of the Valley, and finally sprigs of myrtle, of course, perhaps from a garden in Kate's home town/village of Bucklebury.

My bouquet is a somewhat modern design with a construction of old methods of wire and tape on every flower.  I realize that the vine to be the base structure may be somewhat hard to come by, but I think it could easily be constructed with a heavier gauge wire covered in brown tape and then brown grosgrain ribbon to give it a softer look.  This bouquet would be easy to carry as it would be light weight.  Preferably, the roses would be a ivory cream or pale yellow David Austen rose variety.  The lilies... well, I prefer the white Asiatic variety.  This type of lily is the palest of ivory in color, and one of the few lily varieties that do not have a fragrance.  I understand that Miss Middleton is allergic to horses, so I wouldn't want to take any chances on the lilies giving her a headache on the way to the Abbey.

Royal Wedding Tid-bit of the day... It is being reported that the royal wedding cake baker has been chosen.  Fiona Cairns is the pastry guru who has been chosen by Kate Middleton to create the multi-tiered confection.  As tradition goes, this cake will also be several fruit cakes stacked up and decorated with white and ivory frosting.  Kate has chosen flowers to decorate the outside of the cake.  Other traditional items such as flowers of the United Kingdom will be used... roses for England, shamrocks for Ireland, daffodils for Wales, and finally thistles for Scotland.

At touch of the modern will be represented by Prince William having the royal families first groom's cake made of crushed tea biscuits (cookies) and dark chocolate cream, all molded into the shape of a cake.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Diana's Bouquet... Then and Now

 Here is the last couple of weeks, I have noticed a deluge of information concerning the floral arrangements for royal weddings.  Most mention are articles mostly speculating on what type of bouquet Kate Middleton will carry.  Also, looking back seems to be the trend as well with many journalists and media outlets bringing back stories and pictures about "The" Royal Wedding of 1981.  I have read many articles both in print and online, and have seen a couple of documentaries expressly concerning the wedding of Princess Diana and Prince Charles.  What fun, reliving the magic again.  Most happily, some of the articles I have read deal specifically with Diana's bouquet.  Lists of the flower content, bouquet size, who designed it, who made it, the special meaning of the flowers, how many were made.  I have been waiting for years to see this kind of information available.  I am going to insert a link below taking readers to an article that features a story about a documentary that was made last year.  The documentary was leading up to the wedding of Princess Victoria of Sweden, and in it was featured a segment where Diana's bouquet is recreated.  My good friend Mr. David Longman (Longman's Ltd. of London made Diana and Fergie's bouquet as well as the Queen's) was consulted and helped set the stage for the bouquet being replicated, some 29 years later.

Here is the link to the article on the remake of the bouquet...

And a picture of the replica bouquet...

Second part of my blog post today... there were a few bouquets made for Diana's wedding, one she carried during the ceremony, one used for a rehearsal the night before... and still a third used back at Buckingham Palace for the formal portraits.  The picture way above shows the bouquet coming out of the cathedral.  The picture below show the/a bouquet in the formal portraits... can you tell the differences between the two?  I can.  Obviously, or maybe not to some, there was more than one bouquet that day.  Now I am wondering which of the bouquets made it back to the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior at Westminster Abbey, and the one that didn't go... what happened to it?  Wonder where that second bouquet ended up?
See the differences???

Royal Wedding Tid-bit of the day... The gold used to make the royal wedding rings from Queen Mary down the years to Sarah Duchess of York, all came from the same large of gold, from a mine in fact the only gold mine on the British Isles.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Choosing a Bouquet for Kate Middleton

So, did anyone sit and watch the video link from the last blog post?  Well, I have watched it a few times.  So rarely does the media focus on wedding flowers, that I thought it a very good report.  However, like I mentioned there was some erroneous material.  The one most glaring error in the report was concerning the traditional sprig of myrtle included in all royal bridal bouquets.  The gentleman from Organic states that "the sprig of myrtle comes from the Queen Mum's garden, a tradition dating back to 1840."  Well, there are a couple of things wrong with that.  First, the sprig of myrtle was most likely first used in 1840, yes, but it surely didn't come from the Queen Mum's garden... as the Queen Mum, or Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother (The current Queen Elizabeth's mother... confused yet?)... herself did not exist until the year 1900.  Therefore, her garden couldn't have existed in 1840.  So, here's the story.  When Queen Victoria was married, a sprig of myrtle  was added to her bouquet of Snow Drops, as a remembrance of her favorite residence, Osborne House, on the Isle of Wight.  Tradition followed through the years and a very small sprig of myrtle was used in every royal bouquet since.  So, it wasn't the Queen Mum's garden, but the gardens of Osborne House, belonging to Queen Victoria, that are the origin of the myrtle sprigs.  Here is what a "sprig of myrtle" would look like... and an image of Osborne House, Queen Victoria's favorite residence.

Now, let's talk about that video a little more.  The representative from Organic, seemed very knowledgeable about his floral product, the free trade roses, and Kate's favorite flower.  However, I don't think he is a designer himself.  If he were, I think it would have been obvious to him that the center bouquet featured as a cascade fit for a royal bride was grossly over sized and out of proportion.  Sorry folks but it looks more like a casket spray to me, instead of a bridal bouquet.  I'm sure the designer responsible was going for the most grand appearance trying to emulate the grand scale of Diana's bouquet from the royal wedding of 1981.  The bouquet shown couldn't be dragged much less carried up the isle.

I was impressed by some of the facts given, that I have learned over the years from a very singular source and haven't heard repeated much from other sources.  This fact being that for Diana's wedding... and possibly for Kate's... that three bouquets were made.  One for the rehearsal, one for the ceremony, and one for the photos.  And, one of those would be returned to the Abbey for placement on the tomb of the Unknown Warrior.  Also, the video insert of Sarah, Duchess of your mentions that she carried an "S" shape bouquet... which I know is a fact... learned from my friend David Longman, the man who designed both the royal bouquets in the 1980's. 

Hopefully soon, I will be able to show you all what I think/ hope, Kate's bouquet will look like. 

Royal Wedding Flower Tid-Bit for the day... The practice of placing the bouquet on the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior began in 1923 by Elizabeth, Duchess of York (in the future to be The Queen Mother) as she recessed down the aisle of Westminster Abbey after her wedding to Albert, Duke of York (in the future, King George VI).  The Duchess's brother was one of the casualties of World War I.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Kate Middleton's Bridal Bouquet...

It would be difficult to speculate on what Kate Middleton's bridal bouquet will look like on April 29th.  So many factors that go into the design of a bride's bouquet simply wont be know until Kate steps out of the car at Westminster Abbey.  Until then, this blogger/floral designer will just have to guess at what the bouquet will look like.

The biggest unknown that will decide the look of the bouquet is of course, the dress.  I think that it is quite impossible to design an appropriate bouquet for any bride until I know what the wedding dress looks like.  In fact when I begin the consultation process with any bride, my first request is to see a picture of the dress... preferably with the bride wearing the dress.  The length, cut, style, color, decoration, and size of the wedding dress ultimately decides the style, shape and size of the bouquet.  A bride very well may have her favorite flowers in mind, but until the dress is revealed, how to arrange those favorite flowers is a mystery. 

A bridal bouquet should act first and foremost as the ultimate accessory to the gown.  The gown's style, whether it be formal, traditional, contemporary, elaborate or simple are the deciding factors involved in designing a bouquet that best compliments the bride's attire for her ceremony.  Simply, the bouquet has to coordinate with the dress and fit the overall level of formality of the entire wedding. 

I think for the first time on this blog, a video will be featured.  This video is a special report segment from ABC News leading up to the next royal wedding, and it originally aired earlier this week.  During the lead up times to royal weddings much is said about the venue, the dress, the conveyance to and from the palace, the guest list, etc.  But, rarely have I seen much attention given to the flowers for a royal wedding by the prime time media.  Although the following video clip contains some, well, erroneous information, I think it is a great clip that introduces us to the the world of wedding flowers.  I'll let you all watch the video here, and in my next blog post, I'll discuss the video and it's information be it true or false... enjoy the video clip.
               ... and here is the link to the video from ABC News....

Royal Wedding tid bit for today...  When Queen Elizabeth, then Princess Elizabeth married Prince Philip in 1947, among her 9 bridesmaids was Lady Pamela Hicks, daughter of Earl Mountbatten of Burma.  In 1981, Lady Pamela's daughter India Hicks was a bridesmaid to Princess Diana.  In many of the videos you can find on the Internet of Princess Diana's wedding, India Hicks is the younger bridesmaid assisting Diana as she comes out of the glass coach before she enters St. Paul's Cathedral.  Diana's Maid of Honor was Lady Sarah Armstrong-Jones, Princess Margaret's only daughter.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

A little royal wedding mystery...

It's a lovely gift... a porcelain covered dish... with the logo being used for the commemoration of the upcoming royal wedding.  A beautiful keepsake, but... I don't know who sent it to me!

The box came from London, looks like a residential address, the box was packed with gold shred, and the whole thing was stuffed in a gift bag from Buckingham Palace.  No card was enclosed and there is no person's name on the return address in London.  I haven't a clue who is responsible, but whoever was so thoughtful... Thank you very much.  Hopefully the sender will see this post and let me know who they are!


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A very different royal bouquet...

As the years go by fashions change, and not just the fashion for clothing, but for other things like cars, interior decor, art, and also floral fashions change.  The picture above is of Princess Martha Louise of Norway, she was married in 2002.  Over the years floral fashion changes and floral fashion is often different in other parts of the world.  So, the Nordic countries have a slightly different idea of what looks bridal when it comes to bouquets. 

The challenge for me here was to find a photo that showed Martha's bouquet up-close enough to discern the contents.  The bouquet is in an almost heart-shaped cascade with a drastic tear-drop trail.  The mass of the bouquet is of Lily of the Valley.  Strangely enough there are two or three Phaelenopsis orchids placed over the mass of flowers, and even more strangely appears to be a single white lily, a lillium longiflorum (Easter Lily) kind of just poking out of the bouquet.  It gets more interesting... as the bouquet make the drastic turn towards the floor, the trailing end seems to be bound or wrapped with some sort of wire or thin vine.  I am guessing this may be bullion or some other type of wire.  I often think what the conversation was when this royal bride met with her florist.  And, just who's idea was this for a very unusual bouquet.

Royal Wedding Flower tidbit of the day ... from a blog post a few weeks ago, another Nordic royal bride, Mette Marit of Norway has a similarly strange bridal bouquet.  It's just a different world over there.  Here is her bouquet...

The Queen in Purple

It sure is spring in our part of the world.  From the looks of the Queen's purple outfit, she is also ready for the warmer temperatures and the many flowers that spring will bring.  Her Majesty must meet thousands and thousands of school children each year, and most of them present her with flowers.  Alwasy gracious The Queen often carries a couple of the flowre bunches during her walk abouts.  More than a handful, the flowers get eventually handed off to a lady in waiting who always travels with Her Majesty.  Once the Lady in waiting is loaded up, the flowers are haned off to equirries standing by to help.  The Queen's favorite flower, I have read is Daffodills... maybe because of their bright and vivid yellow that signals the beginning of spring.

Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent.  How appropriate that the Queen in this picture is dressed in purple, the typical color of the Lenten liturgical season for most Christian churches.

Royal Flower Tidbit of the day... I have heard it said that while The Queen adores flowers and loves receiving them... she does not prefer the celophane wrapping that typically accompany the bunches of blooms.  Note to all you royal watchers, the next time you present flowers to the Queen, leave the plastic wrap at home!