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Holly Valance tied the knot last week with English millionaire Nick Candy.  Their fairy tale wedding is said to have cost £3 million in total.  The couple celebrated with 300 friends and family including Strictly Come Dancing judge Bruno Tonioli, Elton John, Simon Cowell, Tracy Emin as well as royal guests Sarah Ferguson and Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie.

The bride wore a £35,000 wedding dress made with fine silk, hand dyed with silver and grey detail, with a full skirt and revealing bodice.  It was made by Australian designers Jacob Juppino and Anthony Pittorino of J’Aton.  Holly has received some rather unflattering comments about her gown.  The Daily Mail said the bride wore a “Barbie-meets-Miss-Havisham frock with cascades of pigeon-coloured frou-frou about the hem.”

The telegraph were even more critical saying “This dress had more going on than a fortnight at Butlins – and about as much class” they  added the “rag-taggle skirt which looked like it had been concocted from endlessly layered lettuce leaves faithfully reproduced in singed white silk.”

Designers Juppino and Pittorino have said the dress was largely Holly’s design and that she wanted to create a modern day heirloom piece.  For me there are too many different aspects competing on the dress, and the grey edges unfortunately just make the dress look dirty.  What do you think about the dress?

I am obviously more interested in the flowers, although we can’t see many in the image Holly and Nick released.  The couple are said to have spent £60,000 on wedding flowers and from what I’ve seen they were beautiful.  Although they all appear very contemporary and don’t really tie-in with the style of the wedding dress.

Holly carried a simple hand tied bouquet of black calla lilies.  She walked down a petal strewn aisle and said her vows under a large canopy of twigs adorned with clusters of trailing amaranthus, black callas and purple orchids.  Guests said there were towers of cream coloured flowers dotted around as well.

I often find brides are so excited about their wedding, they see lots of things they love and they want them all, but you can’t mix a hundred and one things together and expect it to still look tasteful.  You need to consider what colours and textures will work together for the look you want to achieve.


1 Holly Valance via media.whosay.com

2 FlowerCouncil of Holland

3 Holly Valance via media.whosay.com

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The 1920s is always a popular era for vintage weddings.  The Fabulous flapper dresses and glamorous flowers make for an elegant look that you can still have fun with.

The items in my montage are all inspired by the 1920s.  I’ve based them on a black, white and silver theme with a splash of sparkle.  If you want more colour in your 1920s theme, try a strong pastel shade, reminiscent of art deco colours.

This theme adds a bit of life to a white colour scheme, with pearls, feathers and sparkle.  Headdresses were very popular in the 20s, there are lots of fabulous handmade creations on etsy and folksy, with intricately beaded designs.

The dresses featured are from LeLuxe, who make amazing reproduction 1920s dresses.  The shimmering designs are encrusted with beads and crystals, perfect for a vintage style wedding dress and your bridesmaids if your budget will allow.

The 20s was a time of prohibition, you can play on this with flower cocktails for table arrangements.  You can use groups of normal martini glasses with a couple of flowers, or large martini vases with bigger floral arrangements.

Crystal bouquets are perfect for this theme, with vintage brooches, pearls and diamantes.  You can also include lots of vintage touches in your fresh flower designs, like strings of pearls or crystals hanging from your vases. To complete a roaring 20s theme hire an authentic jazz or charleston band.

Image montage (clockwise):

Ostrich feather centrepieces – saveoncrafts.com

Phalaenopsis orchid vase and candelabra – cbsweddings.com by Darin Fong

Bridal headband – Erica Elizabeth Design on Etsy

Crystal floral candelabra – cbsweddings.com y Darin Fong

Invitations – StellaJenn on Etsy

Crystal brooch bouquet – lovemydress.net by Jo Barnes Vintage

White beaded dress – LeLuxe Clothing

Ostrich Feathers – saveoncrafts.com

Black and silver beaded dress – LeLuxe clothing



White phalaenopis orchids – Flower Council of Holland

Flower cocktail design – Sprout-flowers.com

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There were a number of contemporary floral design classes at Southport Flower Show.  The show theme for 2012 was ‘cool’ and the competitors had free reign to interpret the theme as they chose.  The floral design classes included Ga Ga, MacQueened, All the Angles and Threadless Light.

I didn’t agree with all the places awarded, but you can’t please everyone.  I’ve included a few of my favourite pieces in today’s article. The MacQueened class attracted some unusual entries, most competitors made dresses out of fresh materials and textiles.  This design by Margaret Whittaker was awarded second place.  The design was a complex shape with that appeared to defy gravity; it has lots of curved lines covered with intricate textiles and flowers.  I felt this design was worthy of first place.

This piece by Paul Lomax was entered into the class, ‘All the Angles’. It had a lovely reflective quality as it was contained in a large mirrored cube.  The outside was covered in layered foliage and inside was filled with a compact design of all white and green flowers.  It featured lots of green lovelies like sedum, eryngium, green trick carnations, and alchemilla mollis.  The design was awarded third place.

Myerscough College made some gorgeous pieces, their entry into the Threadless Light class was my favourite piece overall.  The design was to be viewed from all sides, and was simply stunning from all angles.  The flowers were arranged in vibrant groups dotted with tiny echeverias and tillandsia.

Craig Bullock’s piece entered into the Ga Ga class won the award for best Contemporary floral design.  His flamboyant piece featured hanging heliconias, roses and chrysanths, mimicking the eccentric outfits Lady Ga Ga is famous for wearing.

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The BFA Young Florist of the Year qualifying heat was held at Tatton Flower Show last week.  Four talented finalists will now go through to the final at Fleurex which takes place in October.  Competitors had to create four innovative designs live in front of visitors, within set timescales.

charlotte-baker-tatton-flower-showThey made a body accessory, hand-tied design, free expression piece and a surprise item all inspired by their theme.


Charlotte Baker was the overall winner of the competition.  Her vibrant designs used flowers in cerise, purple and oranges.  Her free expression piece was an impressive structure made with perspex circles holding the flowers. She used light bulbs and martini glasses as containers.


Sophie Watton created a screen for her free expressive piece using used vivid gloriosa, callas, craspedia and gerberas in her designs.



Many competitors made a necklace design for their body adornment piece.  Victoria Richards created a modern take on an Elizabethan collar, in vibrant colours with striped fabric, coloured wires and flowers glued on.



Kirsty Berridge made a beautiful necklace design for her body adornment piece.  She used phalaenopsis orchids, de-constructed gloriosa, craspedia and hypericum in her design.  Kirsty also included some lovely hand braided textiles in her piece.



Congratulations to all the finalists, I think you produced some gorgeous designs.

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All these displays were housed in the Floral Design Studio at Tatton Flower Show.  The hub for all things floristry related, exhibits, competitions, demonstrations and workshops. Several colleges took part in the first specific College Competition at Tatton which I blogged about on Saturday.  Young florists took part in the WorldSkills competitions, which I’ll feature soon.


The displays above are from local florist The Black Rose, based in Knutsford and Hale.  The Black Rose has exhibited at Tatton for many years and always does a fantastic display.  This year’s designs featured their trademark contemporary style using a white theme.  These fabulous 5ft tall vases hold arrangements of hydrangeas, delphiniums and Singapore orchids.


The stunning floral table runner features roses, hydrangeas, stocks, orchids, and chrysanthemum blooms.  The garlands that trail down the sides of the table are made from Singapore orchids.


Reaseheath College from Nantwich used very vibrant colours in their display. They used cerise, lime, purple and orange set against black display stands.  They cleverly filled storage units from a well-known Swedish furniture shop with flowers too.


This circular design features gloriosa, roses, orchids, chrysanths, carnations and anthuriums, with loops of flexi grass.


Manchester based florist Verdure produced an impressive display based on Plato’s Atlantis.  The huge wave was constructed out of willow branches and adorned with fresh flowers.  They used hydrangeas, delphiniums, vanda orchids, and amaranthus in shades of blues and purples, with white phalaenopsis orchids at the crest of the wave.


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