Back to Vintage
Everywhere you go, vintage fashion is all the rage. It's now even sold in high street, high-fashion shops - not just in specialist boutiques.
Found a gorgeous retro wedding dress and want to know what flowers will look best with it? Take inspiration from your favourite era in days gone by and re-create the vintage look in your flowers.
The main way to get this look is through the florists' technique, so make sure you find a great florist through recommendation or here. Between the 40's and 70's, florists' foam was only just coming onto the market and was very expensive, so bouquets were made from a frame of moss and wire, with all the flowers individually mounted onto wires and taped specially to retain moisture. The effect was vintage through and through, so choose your favourite era and pick a style best for you!
40's and 50's
Flowers were threaded through a moss-and-wire frame in a flamboyant 'shower' style, which looks like a huge tear-drop shape. The richer you were, the grander the shower! The most popular flowers were carnations and chrysanthemum with lots of trailing asparagus fern foliage. It's true that all things come back into fashion – chrysanthemums are enjoying a huge style revival in modern times, especially striped or big, blowsy blooms.
60's – true flower power!
More flowers were becoming available or were simply more popular with the coming of an era where celebrations always included flowers, and people enjoyed expressing themselves with floral motifs. Brides carried 'S' or crescent shaped bouquets most popularly. Some had extravagant shaped bouquets, consisting of a side 'shower' shape and flowers cascading from the other side. Modern versions can be created with grasses for the trailing effect rather than always using (occasionally stiff-looking) wired blooms. Brides had the choice of lily-of-the-valley, roses, stephanotis and freesia, so there was an emphasis on scent to add to the bride's allure. Some brides carried simpler, smaller nosegays of one or two flowers such as lily-of-the-valley and freesia.
Bridesmaids' bouquets were what is known as a Victorian posy, with flowers arranged in concentric circles. The central flower would be a rose, then a carnation would be 'feathered' (where the petals are carefully removed and wired into pretty florets) and placed in a ring around that. Then there would be a ring of hyacinth buds, then more feathered carnation. A lot of technical skill from the florist who made it!
Gents always had carnation button holes and ladies always wore orchids.
There's so much choice now, isn't it fabulous you can choose your flowers to match your style, theme and colouring?
Bouquets were moving from all white to more colourful arrangements. The most popular styles were a smaller version of the shower from the 40's and 50's. Peaches and oranges were popular colour themes and bigger, blowsier blooms like dahlia and carnations were being used.
Everything was bright, big, and flashy! Lilies became popular as wedding flowers, especially stargazer lilies (which are white with a pink stripe down the centre). Wedding flowers were more abundant as people began to spend more on weddings, so there began the fashion for a more mixed bouquet of many types of flowers such as Diana's bouquet of roses, orchids, freesia and stephanotis. Big shower bouquets were popular.
The early 90's still resembled the 80's, with fairytale, puffy-sleeved gowns and blowsy shower bouquets. The later part of the 90's saw the rise of the handtie, with flowers being more natural, and more varied and unusual choices for wedding flowers such as sunflowers and garden-type flowers. The bouquet shape in contrast became more compact and modern, often using one type of flower such as roses or peonies (in a tight bunch); and this is still a very fashionable look for today.
Top tip: if your favourite era is the same as when your Mother or even Grandmother got married in, have a memento from their wedding like lace from their dress or a brooch incorporated into your bouquet.