FAQs and expert advice about flowers & bouquets

Here is a selection of Q&As from Your Glos & Wilts Wedding magazine whether it be about flowers, hair and makeup, fashion, wedding themes, health & beauty, cakes, stationery, legal advice. If you would like your question answered by our experts, please email it to editor@yourgloswilts.wedding


A sustainable day

A sustainable day

Q. How easy is it to prepare homegrown, sustainable flowers for our big day?

A. Sarah Raven says: Meet the expert: Sarah Raven is a garden expert, florist, writer and cook based in Marlborough, Wiltshire.

Sarah says: Growing and arranging your flowers for your wedding can be so rewarding but it requires plenty of planning. Decide what varieties you want on the day, what purpose they'll serve and what your sowing and cutting schedule is to ensure they'll be ready for cutting ahead of the wedding. Each couple will have their own taste and preference, some will prefer light and delicate flowers while others will lean towards more architectural shapes and sturdy blooms. It's important to choose varieties based on what will grow at the right time of year and not get fixated on any one individual type because they might not be in their best shape on the day so focus on colour and shape first and foremost.

I always pick a range of dominant flowers as central pivots for displays and bouquets, like dahlias, sunflowers, zinnias, echinaceas, roses and lilies. Don't be afraid to use contrasting colours or break the rules and use the opportunity to grow your wedding flowers to bring your personality to the palette. Use foliage and foraged items to bulk out displays and bouquets. Foliage can be useful for weddings early on in the season providing a beautiful display while lines of foxgloves and lupins give them a structural interest.

The scent is so important and sweet peas offer this. You'll never regret growing these because they'll make a fantastic addition to any flower arrangement. For buttonholes, lilies and sprigs of heather are great options. If you're set on having a rose or dahlia in the buttonholes, wrap the stem in cottonwool followed by cling film and buttonhole tape.

A wedding day isn't complete without confetti and natural confetti provides a wonderful touch and is often preferred by venues. Fresh rose petals and marigolds as well as dismembered cornflowers all work well, plus the petals of larkspur and delphiniums too. Consider catching the dropped petals that have fallen off the other flowers you're growing for the wedding and keep those as supplementary confetti.

When it comes to picking day, put the stems straight into cool water (removing all leaves on the stems first) which will make a big difference to the vase life of the flowers and keep them looking fresher for longer. If any of your blooms start to droopy before the big day, sear the ends in boiling water (five seconds for softer stems and 45 seconds for woodier varieties).

The most important thing to do once your arrangements are complete is to enjoy the day. Your venue will be brimming with the scent of your favourite flowers and you'll take immense pride in seeing the fruits of your labour as beautiful, natural decoration on your wedding day.

Sarah Raven, Sarah Raven


Big-day blooms

Big-day blooms

Q. We're keen to have locally grown flowers in our wedding arrangements - can you help?

A. Laura Awdry says: Laura says: If you're looking for a sustainable and eco-friendly approach to your wedding flowers, try searching for a local flower grower on www.flowersfromthefarm.co.uk. There are hundreds of members and growers like myself all over the country specialising in seasonal British blooms. In peak times, I use this wonderful network of growers to help keep me supplied for the busy wedding season.

Autumn marks the end of the British flower-growing season, but there are still October treasures to be found. The end of the dahlia season is normally October, depending on the first frosts, making these stunning flowers a real treat for an autumnal bouquet. Many growers will have these cared for undercover to extend their season. Chrysanthemums are another wonderful choice, not like the shop varieties, but those with bold, blousy heads.

Dried flowers are also very in vogue at present, so incorporating dried grasses, seed heads and flowers is another way to embrace the changing of the season. Being able to buy British flowers when they're out of season is made possible because many growers dry large quantities of flowers for the winter months. Why not pick dried flowers displayed in bud vases for table arrangements to create a different look? Choose a dried-flower hanging arrangement, or incorporate them into buttonholes and bouquets - the ideas are endless.

This bouquet, pictured, showcases chemical-free varieties grown on my farm that includes amaranthus, daucus dara, dahlias, honesty and scabiosa seed heads, dried grasses, jasmine, and viburnum mixed with artichoke. These are also examples of how dried buttonholes and table flowers can look.

A very environmentally friendly choice, British flowers are a wonderful way to style your wedding, embracing the style and seasonality of flowers for your big day.

Laura Awdry, Pinkney Farm Flowers


In full bloom

In full bloom

Q. We are planning a small autumn wedding and want our flowers to reflect the season, what varieties do you suggest?

A. Judy Ward says: Meet the expert: Judy Ward is the bespoke floral designer and owner of Blooming Chic, an awardwinning florist located in Chippenham, Wiltshire.

Judy says: Autumn is a glorious season for both flowers and foliage. It is, after all, the time of harvest when everything is golden, ripe and in abundance. I love creating floral arrangements for autumnal and late-summer weddings when there is so much to choose. The leaves begin to take on golden tones, flowers like hydrangeas change their personality for late summer by blending in darker, warmer tones to their heads – pink buds turn shades of burgundy and red while blues ones tend to look purple and green. Berries also begin to form in readiness for the winter ahead and look great in bouquets.

If you're planning an autumnal wedding, do not be afraid to choose your favourite colours for your flower arrangements. If these are summer pastels, allow the florist to add in deeper tones to complement your choices and suit the season.

We often think of orange as the dominant autumnal colour due to the shades that the leaves turn before they go brown although this bold colour looks fantastic when accompanied by luxurious purple, burgundy red and deep warm yellow tones.

My work here shows traditional orange and brown wedding bouquets and bridesmaids' flower crowns plus a miniature version of the bride's bouquet used as the groom's buttonhole. Some of the flower varieties used that work well at this time of the year were chrysanthemum blooms, miniature spray orange babe roses, sunflowers and deep purple clematis.

There's also an entirely different selection of warm colours shown in the centrepiece flowers doubled up to decorate the ceremony room beforehand. The varieties used were pale lilac scabious, carnations, miniature garden roses, heather and wax flowers. Reusing flowers is a good idea for smaller celebrations. Bridesmaid's posies can be displayed as table centrepieces while a floral arch can be taken down from one location and set up at another with added fairylights to create an atmosphere for the evening reception.

Judy Ward, Blooming Chic