When I first thought about how the flowers and foliage would look for our wedding recently, I wanted to go rustic and natural. I thought this would be a good idea as my vision was one of botanical abundance, and otherwise, I might have to virtually buy out a florist shop for the day to conjure up the vision.

This is a departure from my usual topics that revolve around the theme of textile crafts, but I was pleased about how the wedding flowers and foliage turned out so I thought I would share some tips.

The degree to which flowers were centre stage ranged from high (in a traditional centre piece on the head table), to moderate (on guest tables) to low or non-existent in other small ensembles here and there.


Traditional centrepiece on head table

I’m lucky that my mother-in-law is very experienced at flower arranging as my creative skills are questionable in this area. She created all of this for the day almost single-handed. My only contribution was to throw out ideas (mostly generated from Pinterest), run around during the preparation gathering foliage from the garden, removing waste trimmings to the compost bin, and making up some mini arrangements myself.

I realized, whilst researching my preferred style, that our garden was brimming with the kind of foliage needed. I’m always behind on trimming shrubs and greenery, so why not be resourceful and use it?


At a guess I would say that the arrangements were, overall, about 80% gathered from three gardens (my mother-in-law’s, my brother-in-law’s and mine). Here are some tips, relevant, I hope to any event, based on how I went about the DIY approach:

  • If you’re not great at flower arrangements, find a willing person who is, and/or stick to a simple naturalistic approach
  • Research – try Pinterest, Googling, Wedding/home and garden magazines etc
  • Look around your garden and consider what will be at its best in the month of the event. If you have no garden, have you gardening friends willing to donate to the cause? Gardeners are often keen to showcase what they grow in their gardens.
  • Consider foliage – different tones, leaf shapes, plain and variegated. Ideally, choose glossy leaves. Shrub leaves are often good, but not fragile, wilt-prone foliage
  • Not enough flowers and greenery available? Try single examples (like a fern leaf or a rose) in a narrow-necked vase or bottle, or small bunches in jam jars
  • Try out combinations in advance and leave them out for a few days to test for wilting

During the preparations on the penultimate day , the dining room table was piled high with all kinds of greenery. It smelt like the garden – of wet leaves and the faint scent of lavender brought in from outside. It was a hive of industry, but we were waiting for my brother-in-law and Best Man to turn up. His mother and I tisk-tisked and wondered where he had got to. Eventually he appeared with a big crate of flowers and greenery, claiming there was nothing left in his garden. We set him to work. I said ‘What can you do with some bottles and foliage? ‘. The creative mind (day job – toy designer) set to work and turned to foliage. This is what he come up with.


They made a nice addition to the family history photo table. He was just warming up. With tuition from mother, and flowers from his own garden, next up was….


Some mini-arrangements, quickly put together, around the place added a little herby freshness. The smell of bay, rosemary, mint, lavender and conifer mingled on a mantlepiece.


Seeing as these were on a mantelpiece in a room which housed the bar, I don’t know how much they were noticed in the drive to get another glass of wine or beer!

We did splash some cash. We bought hop bines from a Herefordshire farm, which we hung up high. West Worcestershire into Herefordshire is one of two major areas in the country for hop growing (the other being Kent), so we thought we would take advantage of a local tradition.



Thinking about flowers and foliage for an up and coming event? You might look at your garden (or dare I say it, your neighbour’s, or your friend’s) with a different eye.