Herts’ florists talk (royal) wedding flowers
What's the Markle effect on foxgloves & foliage? I ask floral experts Forever Green and Urban Flower Farmer for the lowdown.
Ahead of Harry and Meghan’s big day, I ask two Herts’ wedding florists, Nicky Pritchard of Forever Green in Nettleden and Emma Sousa, Urban Flower Farmer in Barnet, to share their thoughts. What do they expect to see on Sat 19 May, and have they have been noticing the Markle effect on trends in wedding flowers?
Emma: I think that British flowers will get a big shout out in the lead-up to the big wedding. More and more of my clients are looking for seasonal, British blooms and that’s great news. A loose and natural style is still very popular and long may it continue. Lots of mixed foliage is still featuring but mixed in with whites, nudes and corals which are still on trend.
Any predictions about the style we will see on Sat 19 May?
Nicky: I think Meghan’s bouquet will be a loose dome, fairly large, of peonies and roses, with trailing bits of delicate foliage too. My favourite style!
Emma: I would like to say that Meghan’s bouquet will be loose and flowing but I have a sneaky feeling it will be a smaller bouquet along the lines of Kate’s and Pippa’s. I hope I am wrong and that Meghan will go big and blowsy!
Philippa Craddock, the florist charged with making the royal wedding a floral feast to remember, has revealed that she will be working with white garden roses, foxgloves and peonies. Are you using, or being asked for, these flowers for weddings this year?
Emma: Yes. I work with seasonal flowers so I will be using all of these over the next month or so. I have two weddings on the 19th and peonies will be a big feature in both of them.
Nicky: I always try and persuade my brides to use English David Austin roses, which are so delicate, and smell divine. Peonies are always a favourite of my brides, but with a limited growing period, Megan is lucky to be marrying in this window. I try and use foxgloves as much as possible in my venue arrangements. Such vivid colours and they give a real wow factor.
What about foliage?
Nicky: Eucalyptus is always a favourite, with herbs, olive, and ferns becoming more popular. Different textures always create more visual impact.
Emma: Eucalyptus is always popular with brides for its lovely silvery foliage and scent but it’s out of season at the moment and not great until later in the year. Rosemary and mint are great for adding that bit of luxury and scent to a bouquet. For bigger installations I use lots of hawthorn and white beam which are readily available here in the UK. I also use honeysuckle and ivy which give lots of movement to arrangements.
Does a royal wedding have a positive impact on business?
Emma: Yes, I think it does. Lots of brides will be watching closely on the 19th and I expect a few will tweak their wedding flowers as a result. Whether you are a royal fan or not I think it does give everyone the feel good factor when there is an event like this.
Nicky: Always. Brides are still keen to use Lily of the Valley even though Kate and William’s wedding was a few years ago now. Peonies will become very popular for brides going forward, definitely!
In recent years, we’ve seen a huge rise in natural weddings. Are flowers in jam jars still popular?
Nicky: Jam jars are still going strong in Hertfordshire! Love or hate them, they create a wonderful natural look at any wedding. My style is very natural, and larger blousy bouquets are becoming more popular.
Emma: They are still popular and they are great if you are thinking about doing your own table arrangements. But there are so many fabulous things going on in floristry at the moment and I think it’s time to move on!
Emma: Another big thing at the moment is trying to be kinder to the environment. There is a lot of talk about the plastic we generate and many people don’t realise the huge impact that our industry has on the planet. The current hot topic is floral foam, which is used in so many arrangements (pretty much every wedding you go to uses it) yet it is toxic and doesn’t break down. We have gone pretty much foam-free going back to old-fashioned techniques using chicken wire and moss. We wrap flowers in recycled brown paper, and there is a whole movement of foam-free florist emerging, alongside the growing popularity of locally grown British flowers – all of this has to be good news for everyone.