A Tuesday in April for Lamber de Bie, Dutch Master Florist

Wedding in Waterford Castle Hotel

Today started as almost any day does with a strong mug of coffee for me and a healthy breakfast for the dogs.

While waiting for the water to boil I can’t resist taking a photo with my phone of the beautiful pink tulips in our kitchen that are now so wide open that the hot pink tulip is turning purple and will have possibly lost its petals by the time I arrive home later.

Pink and purple Tulip

Open pink tulip.

While drinking my coffee I take time to admire the latest spring growth in my garden.

The magnificent Gunnera plant seems to have almost doubled in size overnight after last nights rain fall.

It is a wonderful pleasure to see this plant growing to over 3 meter in a matter of a few months from now.

Fast growing Gunnera plant

Halfway trough my coffee I find myself thinking about the flowers on our Easter lunch table this weekend. Hope there won’t be to much rain so these fab. pure white daffs will still look good on sunday so I don’t need to go to my local florist.

Pure white daffodils for my easter lunch table.

Now that I am awake it’s across the garden into our flower studio and work shop and straight into the office to check on the emails, what often means, deleting lots of incoming spam, answering urgent mails and forwarding the rest to any of our 3 flower shops or to Diana in accounts.

Downstairs into the store and loading up all I need for todays wedding in Waterford Castle. But before traveling to Waterford I have to drop off 60 white roses from our cold room to our flower shop in Kilkenny where they will need these this morning for an order for funeral flowers.

Grateful that Julie opens her news agent store right beside our flower shop in Kilkenny well before 9 am gives me my second caffeine intake of the day while driving to Waterford.

Coffee from Julie in the News agent next door to our Kilkenny Flower shop.

Arriving in Waterford at our flower shop in the Superquinn, Kilbarry shopping centre on the Tramore Road just after 9 o’clock where all the outdoor display of flowers and plants is looking bright and inviting and the shop floor glooming after just been washed down is a nice welcome for anyone to walk in to.

My welcome got even better when Mashy, one of our multi-talented wedding florists in Waterford, arrived with her Hungarian style chocolate cake she baked last night in her Grandmother’s enamel baking tray that looked just as beautiful as the the cake tasted fantastic. And as you can imagine this had to be accomioned with some coffee.

Mashy and her Chocolate cake for our breakfast.

After our joint breakfast it was time to get on with the task of the day. While Mashy finished off the last of the floral displays for today’s wedding in Waterford Castle and Tanja was kept busy with orders that had come in overnight trough Interflora and our online florist website I made a start on the bridal bouquet.

The brides bouquet that the bride has chosen for today is one of my very own favorites. An unstructured hand tied bouquet made with white/greenish Avalanche roses, white Ranunculus flowers, white Lilac flowers and the ultimate in bridal flowers; the white Lily of the Valley.

Taping the Lilac flowers before the are used in to the bridal bouquet.

Starting with the white Lilac flowers, a scented flower that needs lots of water. In order to make sure the Lilac will last for the day each stem of flowers is wired and taped after the stems are covered with cotton wool soaked in water to allow for drinking.

The same routine is repeated for each individual Lily of the Valley stem before I start putting the bouquet together.

Preparing Lily and the Valley and white Lilac flowers before they are used in a bridal bouquet.

Creating flowers for someone’s wedding day is no different that most jobs we do on a daily base when it comes down to preparation and planning. “Failing to prepare is preparing to fail” .

From the first contact with the than “bride to be” well over six months ago, the 3 times myself, Mashy and the bride and her mum have met up to discuss all the details and the many emails back and forward with ideas, suggestions, questions and much more.

After all details were finalized it was up to me and Mashy to order the correct varieties of flowers from the Dutch flower auction and for some direct from the growers as well as deciding on what day did we want the flowers to arrive into our shop in order to have them all at the perfect state of ripeness on the day of the wedding. For instance the white Lilac takes aprox. 5 to 7 days before blooms are perfectly open as with the Lily of the Valley we like to have these come in to us direct from the growers in Holland only one day before the wedding.

Putting the bridal bouquet together

After all flowers are prepared the putting together of the bouquet is a delicate but very satisfying job.

Lamber de Bie, Dutch Master florist creating the wedding bouquet of lily of the valley, lilac, roses and ranunculus.
Mashy wiring the Ranunculus flowers for the bridal bouquet
White wedding bouquet
Detail of bridal bouquet

I love the movement in the bouquet that is achieved by both the Lilac (Seringa) and the Lily of the valley.

All is left is the finishing of the stem of the bouquet. All stems are tied together and taped to create a neat and comfortable stem to hold. After that we cover the stem with a thick layer of dry cotton wool and tape this once again to soften the handle and take out any uneven surface. Last than is the ribbon around the handle what will match the colour of the brides dress.

This can be a daunting task for many as you want to make sure the finished product reflects the perfection given to every detail of the wedding flowers. The best lesson I ever got was from a nurse who thought me how they put bandage on to someone’s finger.

Mashy emailing some queries to brides at lamber de Bie Flowers in Waterford

While Tanja and myself are loading all flowers and arrangements into our van for delivery to Waterford Castle, Mashy checks her emails and replies to some of the brides that we will be doing flowers for over the next few weeks and months.

Mashy creating a wedding arch in the reception at Waterford Castle

As the Civil wedding is held in the main entrance foyer of the Castle the bride asked us to provide a natural green arch with some white flowers from where she will enter the ceremony. Most of the arch was made up outside and finished off inside in the hotel.

We used a selection of different greens to create some interesting texture to the arch such as the Cypresses branches, natural green Ivy trails, soft fluffy Asparagus foliage, silver Eucalyptus foliage and small leaved high gloss dark green Ruscus foliage.

Wedding Arch at Waterford Castle with white flowers

The open scented white lilies and than the white baby’s breath (Gypsophylla) are added at the last moment.

Detail of wedding arch with white babies breath and scented lilies

Opposite the arch we placed 2 large upright modern pedestal arrangements as a focal point to where the vows will be read by bride and groom.

White wedding flowers

The flowers used in these dramatic displays are the large open white Amaryllis flowers, the white Avalanche roses, white ranunculus flowers the babies breath and for scent we added some creme/white stock to the arrangements. An equal important element of those displays is the selection of foliages and branches used arrangements such as the large green Monstera leaves at the base of the arrangements, the silver gray Eucalyptus foliage, the upright Aspidistra leaves and seasonal Pussy Willow at the top and dark green Ruscus foliage throughout as well as tied around the base of the stand.

Large white wedding pedestal arrangement
Wedding flowers for civil wedding at Waterford Castle.
Civil wedding in front of the fireplace at Waterford Castle, Ireland

The magnificent foyer in Waterford Castle Hotel with it’s imposing grand fireplace makes for a beautiful rich but also intimate setting for any civil wedding were comfortably up to 80 guests (and possibly more) can be seated.

Waterford Castle, spring garden.

As Mashy went back up to the bridal suit to give the bride, who she had got to know and like during her many discussions on planning the flowers for her big day, a big hug and wish her a wonderful day, I had a few minutes to walk around the garden and admire the flowering Camellia’s as well as the first of the Rhododendrons that were starting to open.

Lamber de Bie Flowers delivering wedding flowers at Waterford Castle, Ireland

On the way out while we were waiting for the ferry that brings us from the Island on witch Waterford Castle is positioned we were greeted by some of the deer living the the Isle.

Wild deer on the Isle of Waterford Castle Hotel, Waterford, Ireland

On the way back to the shop, after stopping whit Margaret in our flower shop in the Ardkeen Quality Food store on the Dunmore Road in Waterford I discuss with Mashy our weddings coming up later on that week and over the next few weeks.

While I arrive home todays bride is about to sit down to no doubt an unforgettable meal by Michael Quinn, the award winning head chef at Waterford Castle Hotel in Waterford, Ireland.

For me it’s in front of the fire watching the last two episodes of “True Blood” I recorded earlier.

If you like your wedding flowers to be looked after by a team that is guaranteed to care as much about their work as you do about your special day, and who’s inspiration lies with all that is beautiful in nature, contact us via our website;

www.lamberdebie.com

Royal Wedding Flowers

Victorian Wedding Flowers
Vintage Weddings

Royal Weddings from Victoria to Kate

Royal weddings have been the inspiration for many brides-to-be when it comes to planning their own wedding. wether it is the dress, the flowers, the cake or any other detail of the last big wedding.

I am looking at some of the biggest royal weddings in europe and what they did with their flowers.

As a Dutch Master Florist, with great love for our Dutch Royals living and running 3 Flower shops  in Ireland, where we do not have our own Royals but more or less adopted the british Royals, I have put together a chronological list of royal weddings focussing mostly on the Dutch and British Royals.

Queen Victoria 1840

Queen Victoria. She married her first cousin, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, in 1840.

As for her bouquet, Queen Victoria carried a small posy made up solely of snowdrops (Prince Albert’s favorite flower). In reference to bridal bouquets, there is a royal wedding tradition of brides including a sprig of myrtle in their bouquets. This bush was grown from a cutting brought from Coburg by Prince Albert. Sprigs have been included in the bouquets of all royal brides since the 1850s.

Queen Victoria Wedding Day

Queen Victoria Royal Wedding

The 19th century bride even decorated her gown with this symbol of fertility.  But it was Queen Victoria who created the vogue for the sweet smelling blossoms when she wore them in a grand wreath for her 1840 wedding, and the classic floral theme for the Victorian bride was set.  The very influential etiquette journals of the 19th century dictated that every bride include the blossoms in her wedding.  This was so opulently obeyed, that by the 1870s, one of the powerful arbiters of good taste in England, John Cordy Jefferson, was begging for a change from the all-white headdresses, stating ” ‘not one lovely girl in a thousand could wear without disadvantage the solely yellow-white orange-flowers’ “, according to Ann Monsarrat. And it seems that “he also found the connection between orange blossoms and fertility extremely distasteful”.  Those Victorians!

When real orange blossoms were in short supply or in northern climates where citrus fruits did not flourish, wax replicas were used instead. However, reports in society newspapers of some extravagant Victorian weddings would specify “real orange blossoms” were used and the effusive accounts of the nuptials told of lush scents wafting through the air! These exquisite folkloric flowers, either genuine fresh blossoms or wax replicas, continued to be used to “fulfill the demands of tradition” well into the 1950s.  The wax reproductions so prized during the Victorian era have become extremely precious today. Whether it is an entire vintage wax flower wreath that has been restored to wear again or some individual flowers saved to nestle into a newly made headpiece, these  harming wax replica orange blossoms are being treasured again, and being used for their uniqueness, beauty and sentiment.

Lady Alice 1935

In August 1935, Lady Alice became engaged to Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester, the third son of King George V. They were married in a private ceremony, in the Private Chapel, Buckingham Palace, on 6 November of that year. A much more elaborate wedding was originally planned for Westminster Abbey; but after Lady Alice’s father died of cancer on 19 October 1935, and in consideration of the King’s own failing health, it was decided that the wedding should be scaled down to a more private setting. Her bridemaids were her sister the Lady Angela Scott, her nieces, the Lady Elizabeth Scott, Miss Clare Phipps, Miss Anne Hawkins, her husband’s nieces Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret Rose of York, her cousin Miss Moyra Scott and her husband’s cousin the Lady Mary Cambridge.

She wore a large traditional “Crescent” bridal bouquet of mainly english garden roses.

Wedding Lady Alice Montagu Douglas Scott,

Grace Kelly 1956

On April 18, 1956 Grace Kelly and Rainier had both civil and religious weddings. The 40-minute civil ceremony took place in the Palace Throne Room of Monaco , and was broadcast across Europe. The following day the church ceremony took place at Monaco’s Saint Nicholas Cathedral. Kelly’s wedding dress, designed by MGM’s Academy Award–winning Helen Rose, was worked on for six weeks by three dozen seamstresses. The ceremony was watched by an estimated 30 million people on television.

Grace Kelly Wedding

Grace’s bridal bouquet was of lily-of-the-valley, and the ribbons of her bouquet had small sprigs attached to them. She left the bouquet on the altar of the Chapel of St. Dévote after the wedding.

Grace Kelly’s “Juliet cap” headpiece was decorated with orange blossoms.

Grace’s matrons of honor carried bouquets of tea roses, and the flower girls carried white daisies.

Queen Beatrix of Holland 1966

On the 10th of March Crown Princess Beatrix marriages Claus von Amsberg, First in a civic ceremony and later that day in a religious ceremony in Amsterdam.


Queen Beatrix of Holland
Queen Beatrix of Holland on her Wedding Day

The balcony of the Palace in Amsterdam was decorated with white tulips.

Beatrix on her wedding day at the palace in Amsterdam
Beatrix on the Balcony of the palace in Amsterdam

The bridal bouquet for  Queen Beatrix, than princess Beatrix, was made from the pure white, stunning Eucharis flowers and white Lily if the valley flowers.

Wedding bouquet Queen Beatrix of The Netherlands

The Eucharis flower is a stunning pure white flower that at times looks like a perfect open single daffodil flower. It is however part if the Amaryllus family and is available in the spring.

Eucharis Flower

Camilla’s first wedding 1973

On 4 July 1973, Camilla married Andrew Parker Bowles, at the Guards Chapel, Wellington Barracks, London. Camilla wore a bouquet of large open “Longi” lilies and Stephanotis flowers (also called the brides flower).

Diana, Princess of Wales 1981

On 29 July 1981 Twenty-year-old Diana became The Princess of Wales when she married Charles at St Paul’s Cathedral, which offered more seating than Westminster Abbey, generally used for royal nuptials. It was widely billed as a “fairytale wedding,” watched by a global television audience of 750 million while 600,000 people lined the streets to catch a glimpse of Diana en route to the ceremony. At the altar Diana accidentally reversed the order of Charles’s first two names, saying Philip Charles Arthur George instead.  She did not say that she would “obey” him; that traditional vow was left out at the couple’s request, which caused some comment at the time. Diana wore a dress valued at £9000 with a 25-foot (8-metre) train.  The couple’s wedding cake was created by Belgian pastry chef S. G. Sender, who was known as the “cakemaker to the kings.”

Diana & Charles - The Fairytale Wedding

Diana wore a large cascading wedding bouquet of white roses white scented stephanotis flowers. The wedding bouquet that Diana, Princess of Wales carried for her wedding in 1981 was made by Longmans Florists, who also designed and made the bouquet for the Queen when she married in 1947. The bouquet was a gift from the Worshipful Company of Gardeners.

The bouquet, 42″ long and 15″ wide, was of a cascading shower design similar to those from Edwardian times. It set a trend for wedding bouquets which up to that point at been comparably small. The designers of her wedding dress, David and Elizabeth Emanuel wanted Diana to have a large bouquet, as a small one would have obviously been dwarfed by the size of her dress. The flowers that comprised the bouquet were:

Gardenias, Stephanotis, Freesia, Odontoglossum Orchid (Royal Wedding), Lily of the Valley, Earl Mountbatten Roses, Hedera (Ivy), Tradescantia, Myrtle and Veronica (Hebe)

It’s worth noting that it is a royal wedding tradition for a sprig of myrtle, from the bush grown from the original myrtle in Queen Victoria’s wedding bouquet, to be included. The Earl of Mountbatten roses were a tribute to Prince Charles’ “Uncle Dickie” Lord Louis Mountbatten, who had died in 1979. The yellow color of the rose incidentally inspired the bridesmaid dresses.

Three bouquets were made, one for the practice the night before the wedding, the second was delivered to St. James’ Palace. The third was taken to Buckingham Palace on the day of the wedding and used for the formal photographs. As per royal wedding tradition, at least one of them would have been placed after the wedding on the tomb of the Unknown Warrior in Westminster Abbey.

According to the press release for the wedding bouquet: ‘It is well balanced,and although heavier than most carried nowadays the distribution should not be too tiresome for the Bride.’

Whatever the weight, lets hope there was no bouquet toss; she could have seriously injured someone in the process!

Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson 1986

On 17 March 1986, Prince Andrew, Duke of York (the second son of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh and fourth in line to the throne) and Sarah Ferguson announced their engagement, having met at a party at Windsor Castle the previous year.

After securing the Queen’s permission (which is required by British law for children of the monarch) Andrew and Sarah were married in Westminster Abbey on 23 July 1986.

In her arms, Sarah carried a crescent-shaped bouquet created from gardenias, cream lilies, yellow roses, lilies of the valley and a sprig of myrtle – traditional in all British royal wedding bouquets.

Dutch Crown Prince Willem Alexander Maxima 2002

Dutch Crown Prince Willem Alexander marries Maxima from Buenos Aires (Argentinië) on 2nd of Feb. 2002.

After the wedding ceremony Prins Willem-Alexander and Prinses Máxima tour trough Amsterdam in the golden Carriage.

This carriage was also used in 1966 for the wedding of the current queen of The Netherlands, than, Princess Beatrix en Prince Claus, in 1937 for the wedding of Beatrix’s mother than Prinses Juliana en Prins Bernhard and in 1901 for the marriage of queen Wilhelmina and Prins Hendrik.

Willem Alexander and Maxima wedding carriage
Dutch crown prince willem alexander wedding carriage

Maxima choose a compact bouquet with a slight teardrop shape with the magnificently scented Gardenia flowers, pure white roses and Lily of the Valley flowers for her wedding bouquet.

Maxima weds Dutch crown prince Willem Alexander

The balcony was decorated with large white lilies, white roses, green Viburnum flowers and white gypsophylla flowers.

Maxima White Wedding Flowers

Camilla Parker Bowles 2005

On April 9 2005 Camilla Parker Bowles wed Prince Charles. Williams father. As this was a second marriage for both of them it was kept low key and Camilla wore a silver silk wedding gown, teamed with a stunning hat created by milliner Philip Treacy.

Prince Charles & Camilla Parker Bowles Wedding

Her bouquet consisted of yellow, purple and white primroses with traditional lily of the valley flowers and myrtle foliage. Like many Royal weddings, her bouquet contained flowers mostly taken from Queen Victorias garden on the Isle of Wight.

Laura Parker Bowles 2006

On 6 May 2006 Laura Parker Bowles, daughter of Camilla Parker Bowles, married Harry Marcus George Lopes (former Calvin Klein Model), born 7 October 1977, son of the Hon. George Edward Lopes and his wife, the Hon. Sarah Violet Astor. Lopes is also a grandson of the 2nd Baron Roborough and the 2nd Baron Astor of Hever. The wedding took place in St. Cyriac’s Anglican Church, Lacock, Wiltshire. Laura wore a diamond tiara on her wedding day that belongs to her mother’s family. Some 400 guests attended the wedding, including Kate Middleton, the fiancée of stepbrother Prince William.

Laura Parker Bowles wedding bouquet

She had a very simple choice of flowers for her bouquet, all one type of flower, and her choice was Lily of the Valley… and lots of it.  Laura’s bouquet was in a cascade shape, and surely was the result of some floral designer going home with terribly aching fingers and hands.  Each spring of L O V has to be individually wired and taped, and with meticulous care, for their stems are very fragile.  I would think that a team of designers and floral shop employees teamed up for the wiring and taping of all these tiny stems, probably to be brought together into one bouquet just hours before the ceremony.  Lily of the Valley, not only fragrant, delicate and pretty, is also difficult to keep fresh once the smaller shoots are cut from the main stem or “pip”.  At any rate Laura’s bouquet is a lovely one, and well worth the intense labor and technique involved.

Prince William & Kate Middleton 2011

Three florists, including Simon Lycett (who did Prince Charles and Duchess Camilla‘s wedding) are preparing flowers for the grand event. Among the stems: gardenias, lily of the valley, delphinium and roses all grown in Britain. “It will be white and very scented, along the lines of an English garden.

Royal Engagement
Prince William & Kate Middleton Engagement

 

For more inspiration on wedding flowers go to:

www.lamberdebie.ie