Ms JB and Mr No.11
Summer Wedding 2017
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Flowers and Lavender
New Covent Garden Flower Market
Did you know that the word Covent is actually a spelling error – a bit like Google. The word should have been Convent. This is because the original market was built on land which Henry the V111 acquired from the Church during the Reformation.
In 2017 the Flower Market moved to a new location in Nine Elms, London.
Forever flowers have been associated as a special symbol of love, romance and a portent for future happiness and joy. This being the case, how can you have a marriage without at least one blossom?
Did you know anyone can visit Covent Garden Flower Market? The only criteria to catch it at its best, is the prerequisite of getting up super early and arriving at the start of trading.
In 2017 Zest Flowers occupied the centre of the market. Readily contactable by email, as well as selling to Florists, they sell to the public and will arrange delivery.
Many of the traders obtain their flowers from the Dutch Flower Auctions and as with auctions the prices fluctuate on a weekly basis.
Availability also depends on the season so Top Tip, if you visit initially in May, do not expect Lisianthus or Sweet Peas to be available and a reasonable price when you order flowers in August! The good news is that in the summer months there are still a wide range of beautiful flowers available.
This wedding event required:- 1 Brides Bouquet, 6 Bridesmaids posies, 1 flower girl posy, 14 pew end arrangements, 3 table arrangements and two boutonnieres.
Roses, Oriental Lilies (poisonous to cats), Ranunculus, Peonies and other traditional, formal blooms were banned for this occasion!
A pastel selection of Lisianthus in a Trade box
Instead more relaxed and scented types were ordered to form loose bunches and pew end posies. Pictured are alstroemeria Lilies (not poisonous to cats), Freesia’s, Stocks and Phlox, the last three being heavenly scented. Our contact at the market chose a pastel pallet of white, pink and mauve with one wrap of violet phlox for contrast.
Wraps of scented flowers standing in water prior to construction
Top Tip… avoid at all costs Gypsophila, more commonly known as Babies Breath unless you know the florists trick of spraying it with a trade secret solution which counters its stench!
Alchemilla Mollis makes a great alternative with delicate lime green sprays. Did you know that older gardeners refer to the dew or rain drops which sit on the leaves of this plant as Witches tears?
Eucalyptus leaves soften the rich opulence of a multitude of stems.
Formal Flower Arrangements
To disguise the wet oasis in the three formal flower arrangements, variegated ivy leaves were attached to it using moss pins. Cut the oasis slightly smaller than usual to allow room for the leaves to slip into the container without curling up. White ribbon parcel tied around the container ensured the oasis stayed within it. Garden ivy is a great source of greenery but remember that unlike the market flowers which will have been sprayed and treated for little creatures, the more organically grown ivy will come with residents. A bath of cold water encourages most to reveal themselves ready for a quick carry back into the garden.
Pew End containers were ‘square’ lidded Kilner jars. The lids were removed by squeezing the metal clasp at the hinge. The metal fixing around the neck of the jar made a perfect attaching point for the ribbon which was used to hang the jar to the seats at the end of each row. Hand stitching makes a perfect and neat finish to the point at which the ribbon attaches to the jar. However, a good knot is far quicker and just as effective and possibly just as therapeutic!
To decorate the point at which the ribbon attached to the jar, small plain die cut balsa wood hearts were stitched onto the ribbon and then a fine white organza ribbon bow added.
Again, the stitching could be substituted by a quick knot which would have been just as effective.
The gap in the metal fixing was covered with a small piece of celebration party drinking straw.
Berties Bows supplied the industrial quantity required to hang the pew end jars. Their website is great and has a brilliant selection to choose from. A simple wooden heart shape was attached using the sweetest white ribbon. The heart was sewn onto the suspending ribbon but could equally and more easily have been tied on using the white bow as mentioned above.
The linen/white heart ribbon came in a length of 25 meters. Two reels were more than enough with plenty spare for a new project.
The next ingredient was new to me, totally funky but environmentally dubious*. Gel crystals and clear water deco beads which were used to avoid water splashing during transit and to look interesting. Top Tip. You do need to allow 4 – 6 hours for these tiny items to sit in water to swell up to 100 times their original size. Once fully hydrated, the deco beads look like clear glass marbles and yet weigh no more that the water they contain. They look fantastic in the jars and keep the flowers moist.
The following mixed white, pink and mauve flowers were ordered:-
5 Bunches of Eucalyptus
All delivered two days before the event. In cooler months more time should be allowed for the flowers to open up in readiness for the ceremony.
The stems were divided into the number of arrangements required. As well as the 3 arrangement containers and 14 pew end jars, additional jars / containers were filled with water for the bouquet and posies. Working methodically and starting with the tallest stems first, the flowers were divided into the containers with the 3 formal arrangements being constructed as each set of flowers were added.
Greenery was only used for the formal arrangement. This was thoroughly washed before hand to remove any unwanted dinner guests!
As well as Ivy, Rosemary and other garden herbs make a aromatic and interesting textured addition to bouquets, napkin and table decorations.
Time was tight and the bouquet and posies were tied on the day. This was a little hairy for a novice! In the event, though lots of designs for boutonnieres are available – Pinterest – a single, simple, white freesia stem were used for the Groom and Brides Father’s button hole.
At the end of the ceremony, Mr. and Mrs. No. 11 and the wedding party moved to the reception venue. The pew end jars were hastily cut away from the seats and travelled to Brixton East to become the table decorations.
A last minute request for Lavender for use with Rosemary as a napkin decoration required some creative problem solving. In late summer lavender is well past its best. However, the seed heads look not unlike the flower itself. So, using watered down acrylic paint, the seed heads were dipped into the colour and left to dry. Too messy to hang up to ‘drip dry’, the Lavender was laid onto non-stick grease proof paper. The advantage is that yes, the stems do not stick to this paper as the acrylic dries. The disadvantage is because this paper does not breathe, the underside of the stem does not dry and therefore there is the fiddle of turning the stems. However, judge for yourself. A good last minute solution.
The Asylum, Peckham
The ceremony took place in The Asylum, Peckham. The Chapel is a Grade 2 listed building and located in Caroline Gardens a complex of Alms Houses originally known as Licensed Victuallers' Benevolent Institution Asylum.
The Chapel is curious for a number of facts, one of which is the shape of the grand door at the centre of the Portico. Classically designed to look impressive to the visitor, it is wider at the base than at the top and looks incredibly tall as a result of this illusion which is so often seen in ancient architecture.
The inside of the chapel remains derelict following years of neglect. However with the current vogue for distressed surfaces the internal structure makes a stunning back drop for photographers.
The significant point to note is that although the south London location was heavily bombed during World War 2, the stained glass windows remained intact throughout the entire conflict.
On the day of the wedding the weather was perfect throughout the arrival of guests, the Bride, the ceremony and the garden plein air photographs. However, minutes after the photographer Aden Priest took the Groom and Bride back into the Chapel to capture atmospheric shots, the heavens opened and out of the blue came lightning and thunder. A final twist to this bizarre event was the fact that once inside the chapel and in the dry, an observant person may have looked up to see the corrugated metal roof. The tempest passed in moments and through a local building was struck by lightning and set ablaze, the Chapel was again spared.
Brixton East. The venue for the reception was as funky as the Asylum. Once a furniture factory, this three floor space made a great pop up party place. Steven and Andy effectively made everything run very smoothly before, during and after the event.
On the day, underneath the arches at Brixton East a gentleman with a cream and black VW car very kindly moved his car so one of the guests at the wedding reception could park. The partner of our guest had recently had a procedure and could not walk more than a few steps. Additionally, she needed transport close by to be able to get to hospital pdq if she had an allergic reaction. By moving his car this gentleman enabled this special guests to stay and be part of a very special day. Whoever you are - Thank you.
Brixton Soup Kitchen
London locations are great for celebrations. However, what do you do with the food which is surplus to requirements? With so many questions to ask the caterer as we plan weddings, how many of us think to ask "what will happen to the left over food?" The Brixton Soup Kitchen is a service for the homeless and is based in Brixton. However the charity helps people who are homeless from any area in Greater London. They rely on donations and volunteers to continue their work. Click on this link to find out more Brixton Soup Kitchen.
You too can share your celebration. Plan in advance to arrange for the food to be stored correctly and then collected the next day for local distribution by a charity in your area. Also, why not visit their website for details on how you can share your good fortune by donating online to their project.
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