Monday, May 9, 2011

Mother's Day... wedding flowers from the past

It just wouldn't do for me to stop posting on the blog now that the wedding of the century has come and gone, leaving us with roughly 89 years to wait at least before there could be another wedding of the century.  I for one don't plan on being around for the next wedding of the century.  So, things may not be so royal for a while.

Wanted today's post to be about someone special to me, and honoring all mothers everywhere.  Every woman is special and many are the best mothers in the world.  When it comes to their wedding day, they looked particularly beautiful.  Before "we kids" came along, most of our mothers had their day as a princess in a beautiful dress and a bouquet of lovely flowers to carry.

Here's my mother, lovely as can be on her wedding day in 1964.  One of my favorite pictures of her.
Mother's boquet consisted of white Fuji mums and white Cymbidium orchids with pale pink throats.  The rest of the bouquet was a wired and taped bonanza of tulle, ribbon, lace, love knots, and faux Lily of the Valley.  The two orchids in the middle were actually a corsage that detached from the bouquet, and mother wore that on her lapel as she left the church after the reception.  Now, that's a floral trick from the past if there ever was one.  Maybe I should try to revived that technique!

Royal Wedding Tid-bit of the day...

Two of the bride'smaids from last weeks wedding have very close royal ties.  The two girls pictured here are Lady Louise Windsor, grand-daughter of Queen Elizabeth, and Margaritta Armstrong-Jones, grand-daughter of Princess Margaret.  Both carried out their royal brides maids' duties to perfection on April 29th.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Princess Catherine's Bouquet... a close up view.

It's not just with royal weddings, but with most weddings... you never get to see the back of a bouquet very well.  Of course I may be the only person in the world interested in seeing the back view a bridal bouquet.  But, something about the construction techniques used in floral design simply fascinates me.  In the picture above, we get what will probably be the best view ever of the back of this particular bouquet.  I can see for sure where the designer/manufacturer were going here... if indeed the "shield" or "heart" shape was intended, then it makes sense.  They probably started out with the longer stems, obviously, and added shorter stem lengths as the fan of the stems grew wider.  At one point the taped wires were simply bent downward at a certain point to make the handle, and the handle being well concealed with ribbon and a rather smart and understated bow at the turning point.  Interesting and simple, this bouquet doesn't have the typical "top half" that most all wired cascading bouquets would have... those stems wire and inserted so that they go upward towards the bride's face... all of the stems here are going down.  I dare say once the wiring and taping of the individual stems were finished that pulling them together in the order of longest to the shortest was not too hard of a task.  But, I know that no matter the simplicity... if I had been doing it, tension and stress would have been very high.
And so, the bouquet found it's way back to the Abbey.  Or, one of the bouquets, as I am assuming that more than one was made for the event.... Princess Diana had three identical bouquets.  This, in my opinion is one of the most poignant royal traditions.  And, for this royal wedding, one of the most talked about... would she or wouldn't she lay down the bouquet.  From the news reports and blogs I've read this week, some were surprised that Princess Catherine didn't lay the bouquet there on their way out.... But, go back and watch the videos and film clips... Sarah Ferguson, nor Princess Anne, nor the Queen for that matter laid down their bouquets on the way out of the Abbey.  There bouquets are returned to the Abbey later in the day by palace staff.

Another information buzz is the still the dress... and it's striking similarities to two other vintage gowns that are the height of style and "Grace"... and one that wasnt' exactly an asset to the Abbey. ;)


Royal Wedding Tib-bit for the day...According to my wonderful friends, the Lloyds, in England...  the BBC did and interview with the woman responsible for making the big floral displays in the Abbey. Apparently the whole theme was to be as natural as possible with nothing imported from outside England. So the big trees, maples and horn beams were grown in England. The other flower displays were done by senior members of NAFAS (National Association of Flower Arrangement Specialists) and were told of their role just a very short time before the wedding.  NAFAS are a group of British flower enthusiasts, work non-commercially in an amateur status.  Another way this wedding was kept local and kept green.  All who worked on the floral and other decor did a Smashing job!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Kate's Bouquet... the wedding of the century!

So the big day we had all been waiting for has come and gone.  What a day it was!  Princess Catherine, as she will now be referred to on this blog, was quite a vision in her dress.  After discussing the dress with a few people... while the wedding was still in progress... we had some very similar takes on the design.  First, that we loved it.  Second that it was perfect for her age and our modern age, while still capturing the elegant, formal, and royal style that this wedding demanded.  Many media commentators reflected on it's similarity to that of Princess Grace of Monaco's (Grace Kelly) wedding dress.  However, upon seeing Princess Catherine emerge from the car... I thought, Maria VonTrapp a la "The Sound of Music".  I think there are many similarities in cut, style and presence.

Now for what this blog is all about............... flowers for royal weddings may have reached it's pinnacle.  Even before the grand car reached the abbey, the television cameras were able to pick up some pretty good shots of the bouquet, Princess Catherine waving with her "bouquet-free" hand.  Immediately it was apparent that the grand cascade style would not be making a comeback... (but I hate that word) ahem... will not be making a "return", there, that's better.

I was really hoping for trends to set with this bouquet, and I will be honest and say that I was just a little bit disappointed with the bouquet.  The flower content will be difficult to emulate.  With the majority of the flowers being Lily of the Valley, pricing this bouquet for a proposal would send any bride into fits of distress.  Then the Hyacinth pips... lovely and fragrant, but only available for such a short time each year.  Interestingly, Sweet William was included for obvious reasons.  Actually I have never thought of adding Sweet William to wedding work ever, so there might be a good idea to try and go with.  If a bride today would ask for this bouquet, I would definately suggest using stephanotis as a substitute for the Lily of the Valley, if for nothing but the fragrance factor.  I will say that even though the size was slightly disappointing, I did very much like the shape.  The official wedding site from Clarence House is describing it as "shield" shaped, but I am going with my first impression of "heart shaped" which certainly is more a romantic description.

Surely everyone noticed that Pipa Middleton carried not one flower, only wearing flowers in her hair.  Of course she had charge of the two youngest bridesmaids, so out of necessity, her hands had to be free.  Let's hope this does not become the trend. 

Another notice to take is that none of the women, mother, step-mother, aunts, cousins, or Majestic Grandmother... none of these ladies wore a corsage!  This is a trend that I wouldn't mind having catch on.

                                               white Hyacinth pips
                                                          Lilly of the Valley
                                                        Sweet William

                                         So many similarities... I do hope that this dress will wake up the thousands of brides to be and show them that traditional can be elegant, tasteful, and most importantly... fashionable!

Royal Wedding Tid-bit for the day... just hours after the conclusion of the wedding, I heard from a good friend in England, by email.  She tells me that news shows there report that the trees from the Abbey aisle will be replanted soon at Highgrove, Prince Charles' country estate.  Nice way to keep it GREEN!