I take making bouquets for brides very seriously. It’s such a personal thing. The bouquet is going to be there gripped tightly between her hands as she takes the most important walk of her life down the aisle to her love.
As soon as I meet with a bride and start to understand her desires for flowers my imagination starts to run wild. This connection to them and their flowers stays with me right from conception and all the way till the moment I hand over the bouquets to the budding bride. No matter how far away the wedding is I start dreaming up and thinking of ideas. I also start considering the seasons and watching the landscape.
Having a bouquet that reflects your environment means so much more. I lovingly and thoughtfully watch as trees and plants around me change, wondering if they will last till the big day and then something new and unexpected will burst just at the perfect time. Having a theme but remaining constantly flexible and fluent is the way for me.
I climb over hills, through fences, and wade across creeks for bounty. Growing up on a hundred acre tree farm I have plentiful resources to begin with. Then my favourite addition is weeds. I would NEVER take indigenous flowers from their natural environment but naughty plants out of place I will remove with pleasure!
Blackberries, pampas grass, wild fennel or artichoke and bridal creeper just to name a few. No thistle prickle, or snake infested mud pit will get in the way of retrieving the precious pretties. Ending up with bruises and cuts, is the continuous price you pay for a love of plants and the wild hunt.
On the first weekend of autumn the beautiful bride Andrea was to marry her sweetheart Alex in the wilderness of Walpole. When she sent me her inspirational pics I got so excited because her style was right up my alley. Wild, textured and bright coloured with any seasonal flowers was her brief….
I had so much fun foraging for the materials in this particular bouquet. At a first glance, the end of the summer presents as worn out and harsh with no flowers but if you start to look deeper you find all sorts of treasures. Grasses are in full flower with the willowy seed heads softly dancing in the breeze like feathers. Trees have pods of seeds hanging off them turning into a rich old gold as they dry out. The Golden Rain tree is mimicking the sound of raindrops as it dances on the tree saying “pick me pick me”! The Pepper trees beautiful lacey strands of flowers that I used in last weekend’s pretty blush bouquet now has shiny red glistening beads hanging like a crystal necklaces.
Andrea and Alex’s wedding location was a pretty out of this world fairy garden at her parents place. Nestled amongst the Tingle forests on beautiful Karri loam they had mountains of Dahlia’s and Fuchsias and many other precious things that we just can’t grow in the Balingup heat still looking exuberant at the end of summer. It was literally a dream to be allowed to wonder and collect extra botanical treasures to add to the bouquets.
But most of all it’s the fruits and berries that get me excited. Excited enough to spend an hour with my trusty assistant and life long friend Cindy cutting every little thorn off ferocious unripe wild blackberry branches and squealing as they catch your skin every time. For this wild harvest bouquet the Pomegranates were the absolute stars of the show. Nestled in amongst the bursting bright textures they just oozed romance and fertility.
Our retro little Air B’nB beach shack right on the Walpole inlet was a pin up poster for 70’s décor and soon became a sweet smelling, thriving florist shop full of buckets of autumn abundance. Each time we do a wedding away we move into our accommodation, rearrange the furniture and turn into busy bees. It becomes complete floral mayhem. I’m not sure why I start throwing flowers and stalks willy-nilly but for some reason when I get in the creative zone I make a completely chaotic but lovely botanical mess of the place.
Andrea’s bouquets ended up having over 30 different species in them. They were like a whole little mini ecosystem. Full of soft golds, crimson, burgundy and rusty tones they were infinitely detailed, luxurious and full of drama.
As I always seem to do, I started to over think it all and was becoming anxious that I had overcooked the bouquets with too much love and just too much of everything. Also unusually I didn’t get to hand the flowers to Andrea myself so it wasn’t till Jeremy my husband came home from DJ’ing her wedding at 1am that he told me Andrea had cried when she received them. This means everything to me and makes it all so worthwhile. She told me later on that her bunch of autumn was so special that when the photographer asked her to put the flowers down for a photo with her husband she refused because she didn’t want to let them go!
It warmed my heart even more when we rocked up to pack down the stretch tent the day after to see that she had all the bouquets in beautiful vases on display. Then I even saw her carry her vase down to the table where she was enjoying a wind down lunch with her friends just so she could admire it more. Heart melts.
Botanical creations once picked and arranged have such a fleeting moment of fame. Really it's just senseless beauty, but when it brings people to tears and touches their heart, the memories of those flowers will last a lifetime.