It has to be said, I kind of went mad with the wedding flowers. In my defence, we did save a lot of money by having the reception at home... oh wait, no we didn't - after we'd paid for the marquee, the tables, chairs, glass, crockery and cutlery hire, the fridge, the Italian deli buffet, the catering staff, the midnight bacon paninis, the coffee machine hire for proper lattes, cappuccinos and espressos, and a rather large amount of prosecco, wine and beer, we'd pretty much paid the same as we would have paid if we'd hired a venue. But heck, it wasn't about saving money, it was about having a freakin' awesome day, and we totally got that part right :-)
Choosing our florist was easy - I went to have a chat with Lynsey from Living Flowers, a rather lovely local florist, and she totally got me so I hired her there and then. I wanted a very organic, natural feel that co-ordinated with the existing plants in our garden, and with a mediterranean influence to reflect Andre's Portuguese background. After a visit to the local flower market (a huge perishing cold warehouse in north Manchester), we settled on roses, olive, eucalyptus, hypericum berries, gypsophila, chrysanthemums and agapanthus as the main flowers.
I'd always fancied getting married in an olive grove, and we did consider holding the wedding in Italy, but we didn't want our guests to have to spend any money at all to celebrate with us (is it just me who finds the concept of a pay bar at a wedding a bit odd?) and paying for flights and accommodation for 40 peeps was a bit out of our reach. So I asked the church vicar if we could decorate the church with olive trees - "yes, lovely", he said. (I also asked if we could serve prosecco in the church immediately after the ceremony - "yes, lovely", he said.)
As well as the olive trees, we had pots of herbs and other fragrant plants at the foot of the olive trees, and on the pew ends. We transferred everything back to the house after the ceremony and added them to the general proliferation of flora and fauna in the house and marquee:
Andre and I had matching white rose and olive leaves for my bouquet and Andre's buttonhole - look, you can see actual tiny green olives among the flowers:
My bridesmaid carried a bouquet of white roses, and our two little flower girls each carried a wand of roses and chrysanthemums wrapped in spare lace from my dress (the youngest, Isabella, was given her wand and promptly and thoughtfully pulled one of the rose heads off it):
The gentlemen had lovely buttonholes:
And the ladies had corsages:
We had white rose petals as confetti, packed into handmade paper cones:
We enjoyed the confetti shower so much, we did the same thing when we entered the marquee - yep, that's our forsythia under white canvas:
In the marquee, we had kissing balls suspended from the ceiling, plus vases on the all the tables:
The cake had roses, hypericum berries and chrysanthemums between the layers:
And the living room had a lovely twiggy garland, plus agapanthus flowers in vases on the coffee table:
What I've shared photos of here is just a fraction of what we actually had - in addition to the above, we had another garland on the front door, flowers in the bathroom, flowers in all the vases on the living room shelves, flowers on the cake table, flowers draped all over the kitchen cabinets and suspended in tiny test tubes from the cabinet handles, flowers all over the shed roof, more kissing balls hung from the parasol at the back of the garden, flowers decorating the buffet and glass tables, a huge bunch of gypsophila hanging from the back door, the drinks menus tucked into little pots of herbs... and that's just the extra flowers we brought in for the wedding. On top of that we had all the existing flowers and plants in the garden - sweet peas, cordylines, olive trees, lobelia, bamboos - it was fabulously jungly and gorgeous, and exactly how I had envisaged it.
Finally, tomorrow I'll be sharing photos of two very special members of the wedding party. Watch this space!