peach wedding

My own small wedding!

The current tight restrictions on the number of guests you can invite to your wedding has reminded me of my own small wedding. Back in the dim and distant past when I was too vain to wear my glasses and my husband had hair!

We actually chose to have a small wedding reception of only eighteen of our closest family. Admittedly we didn’t have the awful worry of Covid-19, social distancing and wearing face masks. But the idea of a large reception of people we hardly knew just didn’t appeal to us. I only had one bridesmaid, my sister and my husband’s cousin was his best man. The small number of guests also allowed us (my parents!) the luxury of a beautiful four star venue.

church wedding

Our ceremony was held in my parents village church, as was traditional in those days. We especially chose 11.30am to get married so we could have our reception at lunchtime, just like an extended family Sunday lunch. The tables were positioned in an open square so everyone could see each other. Although we followed the traditional seating positions for the head table it wasn’t set apart, just one side of the square. It was a lovely day, so intimate and personal. We shared our special day with those who meant the most to us.

My bouquet was a fully wired relaxed teardrop shape. Each flower was individually wired and taped to help keep it fresh, and then carefully bound into place. It was a beautiful bouquet of scented Freesias, spray Carnations and roses, mini orchids, Alstroemeria, Gypsophila and wispy ferns. It must have taken the florist many hours to make, but that was how it was done in the 1980s.

1980s wedding

This was way before silk flowers were as beautiful and realistic as they are today. So I didn’t think twice about having anything other than fresh flowers. When it was time to leave for our honeymoon I left my bouquet at my parents house. It was put in the cool downstairs cloakroom and I naively thought it would still be fine when we returned a week later. I’m not sure why I was so surprised and heart broken that it had died and been disposed of. If only they had been artificial flowers!

Maybe one day I should try and make a replica bouquet for myself.

Sorry for the poor quality of the images, my scanner didn’t like our textured wedding photographs – no digital cameras in the good old days 🙁

22 October 2020

Sunflowers and maple leaves

The best of both worlds – fresh flowers and artificial foliage

While I was pondering the attraction of fresh flowers compared to artificial flowers in our homes, I had a couple of thoughts!

I like artificial flowers of course but the fact that they last forever isn’t always desirable. Personally I get a bit bored of the same silk flowers on my dinning room table after a few weeks. Even though they still look beautiful I fancy a change. Of course I have access to lots of different flowers and can quickly put a new arrangement together. But what about everybody else? Not many people have the room or desire to house multiple flower arrangements or boxes of different artificial stems.

So are fresh flowers the answer? Well, of course they are beautiful, and cheap in the supermarket, but they can lack interest. Just like everyone else I’m drawn to the colourful flowers displayed in the local supermarket whilst doing the weekly shop. The bunches of sunflowers at this time of year are especially tempting. But will five sunflower stems and a couple of Chrysanthemums make a beautiful arrangement?

If you have a garden you could pick a few pieces of foliage to add to the flowers. But what if you don’t have a garden to raid or the appropriate shrubs to trim? Well, a few artificial foliage stems could be the answer.

Sunflower arrangement with artificial leaves

Here I have added three artificial autumn Maple leaf stems to some fresh flowers. The arrangement has gone from a few simple flowers in a vase to an arrangement of interest and beauty.

Once the sunflowers have died the artificial Maple stems can then be kept for another day. Below is a different colour scheme. Picking up on the autumn theme of the leaves I have added some Michaelmas daisies from the garden with a couple of white Chrysanthemum stems. A new look for very little cost or effort!

Artificial leaves with white daisiesThe Maple stems are easy to store flat in a draw for another day and will last for many years if displayed out of direct sunlight. See more table arrangement ideas on my Artificial Table Arrangements page.

8th October 2020

passion4photos a wedding bouquet

Photographs of your bouquet on your wedding day

Your wedding day can go by in a blur of excitement, with little time to stop and really take in everything around you. This is where a good photographer is worth his/her weight in gold.  Capturing all those details and fleeting moments that make your day special and keeping them for you to enjoy for years to come.

When thinking about the images you want your photographer to take, don’t forget to include a few close-ups of your bridal bouquet. They will show the beautiful details of the flowers you specifically chose for your bouquet.

If your bouquet is made from real flowers the best time would be early in the day whilst the flowers are still fresh and undamaged or wilted. Of course, if you choose an artificial flower bouquet it will look beautiful all day long!

Although I take all my own bouquet photos for my website, I wanted a professional’s opinion on taking photographs of a bridal bouquet on the actual wedding day. So I contacted Matt, from Passion 4 Photos, who has many years experience taking beautiful photos of weddings around the south west, and a jolly nice chap too! We had a lovely chat about photographing  bridal bouquets. And the wildlife around his home area which also happens to be where my husband and I own a small piece of woodland!

Fortunately, Matt had time to photograph one of my bouquets at his home to illustrate his style. Showing how he personalises an image and how different compositions highlight the flowers.

“Ideally, I will carefully take the bridal bouquet to photograph when it first arrives.”  Matt told me. “Maybe whilst the bride is busy with the first stages of her makeup, when she doesn’t want to be photographed!”

“When photographing things like bouquets, shoes, details etc. I always try to find some nice light and cool backgrounds. I like textures and patterns.”

Wedding bouquet on stone floor

Bridal bouquet in dappled shade

Silk bouquet on wooden floor“And incorporate personal things into the photo. It could be jewellery, a photo of the couple, lace detail of the dress, etc.” Here he placed the bouquet on a tree stump with a romantic heart, and next to a cute little hedgehog. Not a real hedgehog, though he does rehabilitate them and has three young ones in his garage!

Bouquet with personal item

With a mixed colour bouquet such as this, a simple background is most effective. But even with a cluttered background Matt took a beautiful photo, cropping it close and reducing the depth of field to isolate the bouquet from the background.

cooper floral design wedding bouquet

Your beautiful bouquet is an important part of your special day and worthy of a photo or two all by itself. Choose a simple background and let the flowers shine. 

Many thanks to Matt for his time and taking such super photos of my bouquet.

Matt photographs weddings, micro-weddings and elopements in Devon, Cornwall, Somerset and Dorset. His photos tend to lean towards being as natural as possible and he loves to bring the countryside, scenery and flowers into his photos. Of course there are oodles of beautiful images on Matt’s website and full details on how to contact him.

16 September 2020

Hand painted replica calla lilies

Hand painted Calla Lilies for replica bouquet

Silk flowers are becoming more and more realistic, no longer cheap and nasty in gaudy colours and simplified shapes. But even with the great advances made in recent years there is still a limit to the varieties available.

Fresh flowers come in many subtle colours and combinations that you just don’t find in artificial flowers, which makes replicating wedding bouquets such a challenge.

When Katie asked if I could replicate her lovely bouquet I knew it was going to be a real challenge. Her Calla lilies, called ‘Picasso’, were a combination of creamy white with burgundy centres; beautiful but unavailable as artificial flowers. After considering a pure white and plum flower only available directly from China, we decided to go with plan B!

Plan B was to take inspiration from the Calla’s name, Picasso, and paint the burgundy part onto a plain flower. But even that was a challenge! The first flower I tried was made of latex and reacted badly to the paint, absorbing it and changing colour. I tried a different paint, but that wouldn’t dry, so I ordered a different type of Calla. Finally everything came together, the paint was stable and the flowers were complete. I was pleased with the result and proud to have created a replica bouquet (right) so similar to the original (left).

The extra effort was all worth it when Katie received her bouquet and was so delighted with it.  “Thank you so much to Sharon for my beautiful wedding bouquet replica! I cannot praise Sharon highly enough. Her communication was fantastic, keeping me posted all the way along the process and her attention to detail is flawless! Thank you again!”

19 August 2020

Contemporary calla lily bouquet

Contemporary Calla lily wedding bouquet

Reminiscing back to one of my first weddings. And what a wedding it was!

Very contemporary and architectural with white Calla lilies and large leaves in tall glass cylinder vases for the tables. Rolled leaves and plaited palm leaves added extra interest.

Architectural arrangements

The bridesmaids carried over arm bouquets of three calla lilies with bead details to match the bride’s bouquet.Over arm bouquets

The gentlemen wore rolled leaf and hanging Calla lily buttonholes and Nina’s bridal bouquet had the real wow factor!Contemporary buttonhole

When I started my floristry business I worked with fresh flowers and loved creating unique contemporary designs. Nina was one of my first clients and I was thrilled to help her realise her wedding flower dreams. Her bouquet was especially striking with 15 mango Calla lilies attached to hand beaded wires and a handle of lager beads. It took many hours to make but the effect was amazing!

I now work with artificial flowers which are even easier to design with and make into unique contemporary bouquets and arrangements, all with the added benefit of lasting forever.

26 June 2020

Artificial meadow flowers in jars

Summer meadow flower in jars

When lockdown is over and things start to get back to normal, whatever that is? What could be nicer than an outdoor party with summer meadow flowers in jars to decorate your table.

These simple but beautiful jars full of artificial meadow flowers look so summery and inviting. They would also look lovely on the tables at a festival themed wedding and make great gifts for your guests.

Silk flowers are ideal for wedding table centres, either simple like these or as larger displays as shown on my arrangements page.

8 May 2020

Replica rose and freesia bouquet

Replica bouquet of silk roses and freesias

When Kerry first contacted me at the end of January she sent some great photos of her wedding bouquet (left). I thought this is a bouquet I would really like to try and reproduce, it was so lovely.

But artificial flowers are more limited in their colours, shapes and sizes. Searching the websites of my usual wholesalers, the roses were either the right colour or the wrong size – very frustrating!

Not willing to be defeated next I searched the general internet. At last I found some roses to show Kerry. She was happy for me to go ahead and order them directly from Hong Kong!

Once the roses arrived I ordered the Freesias from my local wholesaler as usual. Within a few days the wholesaler was closed because of Covid-19, fortunately I had ordered them just in time.

I proceeded with the construction of the replica bouquet (right image), by this time we were all in lockdown and Kerry said it was nice to have something lovely to look forward to.

On receiving the bouquet Kerry sent me this brilliant review – “Thank you so much for my beautiful bouquet Sharon. I really wanted a replica, initially thinking it might be impossible. But luckily I found Cooper floral design who were not going to be beaten. Sharon managed to find what looked like replicas, but we could not be sure until they arrived. They turned out to be perfect and my husband and I couldn’t be happier with the finished product. I highly recommend Cooper Floral Design, not just for the finished product but also for the outstanding service throughout. Many, many thanks.”

Thank you Kerry, I hope you enjoy your silk bouquet for many years to come x

29 April 2020

Spring silk flowers window display

A window of artificial spring flowers

It’s always a great pleasure to supply the flowers for Not Just Brides window display. This lovely wedding boutique is located opposite the old Market Place in Westbury and has a wonderful range of bridal gowns, bridesmaids dresses and proms dresses. Also available are  gentlemen’s suits to hire.

The silk bouquet contains yellow and white daffodils, blue Forget-me-nots, white blossom and bright fern leaves. The vase arrangement also contains daffodils, with Forsythia and Maidenhair fern. The matching buttonhole is pinned to one of Not Just Brides handsome waistcoats.

12 March 2020

White silk wedding bouquets

White and green wedding bouquets

These beautiful white artificial bouquets are ready for the Lanes Wedding Fair on 1st March, organised by When We Wed.

Whilst placing the bouquets on the windowsill for this photo I dropped the bridesmaid’s bouquet right on it’s head! If it had been made of real flowers it would have been a total disaster, with crushed petals and broken heads. But the artificial flowers just bounced and carried on looking perfect 🙂

Bridal bouquet of ivory roses, Lily-of-the-valley, apple blossom, Freesia and Tweedia with fern leaves. Bridesmaid’s bouquet of ivory roses, Lily-of-the-valley and Tweedia with fern leaves, and small child’s bouquet of rose buds, apple blossom and ferns.

There will also be matching buttonholes and table arrangements on display at the wedding fair.

I’m looking forward to chatting to lots of lovely couples about their wedding flower dreams and showing them just how beautiful silk flowers can be (and robust!).

20 February 2020