What a fantastic day and well done to Wills and Kate or, as they are now officially known, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. The royal wedding went without a hitch and it didn’t rain, what more could you ask for?
Of course, everybody wanted to see the dress – but florists up and down the country, indeed around the world wanted even more to see the flowers. The very first glimpse of the wedding bouquet came when Catherine Middleton left the Goring Hotel to make the journey to Westminster Abbey.
I have to say that I was slightly surprised by the size of her bouquet, I was expecting something far more elaborate for the occasion. But I couldn’t fault the choice of flowers though, with Cornish grown lily-of-the-valley, white hyacinths, Sweet William, ivy and myrtle. The delicateness of the intricate lace in the dress worked perfectly with the dainty flowers, and the overall look was elegant and understated, much like the bride herself.
I’m glad to report that all of the flowers were sourced from the UK, and each one was chosen because it had a particular significance to both Catherine and William.
The main flower in the bouquet was the delicate and highly scented lily-of-the-valley, which, according to the language of flowers means ‘Return of happiness’. Sweet William is for ‘Gallantry’, and white hyacinth, ‘Unobtrusive loveliness’. The foliage, ivy and myrtle, stood for ‘Fidelity & marriage’, and ‘Love’ respectively.
Myrtle is a particularly poignant addition as it is traditional for every royal bride’s bouquet to contain a sprig of myrtle. This is taken from the bush grown from the original myrtle in Queen Victoria’s wedding bouquet.
The bouquet was wired rather than tied or in a holder, which is Royal protocol. It was also essential for the flowers chosen, as lily-of-the-valley is too soft stemmed for floral foam. Each hyacinth flower was individually wired as well, a process known as ‘pipping’. The workmanship was incredible and would have produced a bouquet that would be very light and easy to carry.
The neutral shades of white and green were carried on through the flowers in Westminster Abbey which were again very understated, chosen to reflect the natural, country style of the bride and groom.
Most of the flowers for the Abbey came from Windsor Great Park Valley Gardens in Surrey where almost 30,000 flowers arrived during the days before the wedding. They included azaleas, euphorbia, beech, wisteria and lilac.
And let’s not forget the trees! Six 20ft-high English Field Maple and two Hornbeam trees found themselves momentarily taking centre stage, growing in planters especially made by craftsmen at Highgrove, Prince Charles’s estate.
So, a beautifully made bouquet, but for me, lacking the wow factor needed for such a huge venue and prestigious occasion. I’d be interested to know what other people thought.
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