Sunday, 2 June 2013


When our friends told us about 18 months ago that their daughter was getting married in Samlesbury Hall in May 2013, I offered to help decorate the hall if they would like me to. 
So from then on I thought of flowers a lot! Last year we all went off to the wholesaler to decide what we might like, Anna wanted lilac and lime. 
A year later and here we are. By this time I was committed to everything floral for the wedding, bouquets, buttonholes, corsages table centres, top table decoration.
I had many sleepless nights beforehand. I suppose my lack of professionalism made it difficult for me to judge certain things, especially quantity. I probably used too many flowers!

On Wednesday morning I drove to the wholesalers about 20 miles away (its the only one anywhere near who will allow non-professional florists to shop there) and picked up the ordered flowers. I nearly fainted when they said they hadn't got all I'd ordered, but they said they'd deliver the next day.

So I was up early the next day for the delivery.
Very early! In fact it was a time I thought there was only one of in a day .
I leapt in at the deep end and started the big important ceremony and  top table arrangement.
It was big and has a lot of flowers!
Many pictures: on the kitchen table......

 ...close up.....................lovely spray roses....

 stocks with lovely scent.....viburnum...tricky woody stuff.......

 and a photo in the garden.  My garden has never had so many blooms in it!

Next job, the table centres.
We'd bought cream enamel jugs for this and I had no idea how they'd turn out but I waded in.

Here they are outside 

I was thrilled with them. But I had a ton of 'material' leftover and I knew I wouldn't use it up in the little stuff so I filled up two old wine boxes for outside.

At three o'clock I filled my car with great difficulty, it was a squash, and drove to the hall.
I took the shortest route down country lanes where the cow parsley was almost above the hedges, the oak trees were in full spring growth and the fields were filled with buttercups. 
The sun was shining too for a change.

This is not my car but on this occasion it would have been useful.

I put the 'big' arrangement on the table in the chapel where I have to admit it looked fabulous. Such a relief.

Here's the grand hall before the 'do'. Samlesbury hall is one of those places that has a unique  atmosphere, just perfect in its Elizabethan 'rightness'

The big wine boxes went by the door. Another friend, Jenny, had made swags above the door and over the table in the chapel.

The jugs had to sit in a little quiet room until the next day with all the tablecloths and napkins.

Then I drove home and made a start on the buttonholes, corsages and bouquets.
I was delighted ( again!) with the way the bouquets turned out. 
The brides was white in the middle and lilac and green around the edges with spiky Veronica poking out. It was VERY heavy. I should have warned Anna not to throw it as it would have killed someone! It stood up all by itself. I'm sure a professional florist could have made the centre a bit more prominent but it didn't matter. Viburnum, ranunculus, lisianthus, hypericum, spray roses, veronica, statice, all went well together.

The bridesmaids were wearing green and their bouquets were slightly smaller with predominantly green centres and white edges. 

I finished them next morning with organza ribbon and pearl pins .
And guess what? I forgot to photograph the buttonholes (6 and a spare) or the corsages (three and a spare). 
I went to bed at just after midnight.
The plan the next day was to take these things to the men who would take then to the hall in a taxi but when I called there we decided it would be better if I drove them to the hall.
It was lovely to be there and it gave me a chance to see what the tables looked like with the jugs. I only had my phone with me so the pictures aren't great.

I'd been a bit concerned that the arrangements would be 'in the way' stopping conversations but they were just the right size for the tables.

I popped into the chapel where the staff were just decorating the chairs.

 I didn't see the ghost.

Here's the only 'White Lady' at Samlesbury Hall last Friday.
I hope they don't mind me stealing their picture. I'll add more as I find them. 
By all accounts they had a lovely day.

I've pinched this photo of the ceremony from above from one of the guests.

And this one from Natalie, one of the beautiful Bridesmaids.

We went in the evening to a lovely Ceilidh where we danced folk dances we thought we couldn't do anymore, ate fish and chips from paper cones and had many compliments about the flowers.

Oh and this..both the bride and her mother are in Rivington Ladies Morris team Anna put her trainers on and held her train up and danced the first dance in this glorious setting.

I enjoyed myself. I hope it makes a good blog post!
I just have one do Florists get their fingernails clean?


Magpie's Mumblings said...

Sorry I can't answer the question about the fingernails, other than to say that time will take care of it I'm sure. The floral arrangements you did are ever so pretty and the bride and groom look so happy. Congrats to all!

Chris Daly said...

Lovely to see all the photos Jackie. Beautiful arrangements and such a fantastic setting for this special day.

Celia Hart said...

What beautiful colours! And generously abundant arrangements and bouquets ... I sometimes think florists ones look a bit contrived and mean.
And what fun the bride Morris dancing in her dress outset that beautiful hall.
I bet you were glad your task was over!

Virginia said...

Jackie, you must be so proud of the results .. they all look fabulous. You were very brave to take it on! I would have had much worse than sleepless nights!

I also echo Celia's comments about how good it is to see the generous use of flower material. I hope you got to take one home after the event?

WinnibriggsHouse said...

Brilliant. I love those arrangements well done. The one in the chapel is stunning and What a great idea to fill the wine boxes. I'm sure you helped to make their day very special.

Amanda said...

Absolutely beautiful!! All of it!! Of course it makes a good blog post!!! (Love the Bride dancing!! )

Living to work - working to live said...

Is there no end to your talents?

How did they manage to stay so fresh?


Absolutely fantastic!!!! Flowers certainly make any occasion special and yours really did the job. I bet you get asked again...

Heather said...

Wonderful photos of your beautiful arrangements in a stunning setting. What a perfect venue for a lovely country wedding. I love the fresh colour scheme and using the 'left over' flowers and foliage to decorate the entrance was a great idea, as were the jugs for the table centres. I liked the informality of the bride's and bridesmaids' bouquets - they still looked professional. Congratulations on a fantastic achievement and a super result. As for florists' finger nails - I don't think they worry too much.

Gill said...

The flowers look stunning - Congratulations!
What a wonderful setting!
I love the photo of the bride morris dancing!

Maggi said...

What a fantastic job you did Jackie. You must feel really happy, even with your dirty fingernails.

Twiglet said...

What a fantastic job you did! It looks like a most perfect day. x Jo

Anonymous said...

I so enjoyed looking at those photos and the video at the end, thank you.

I am full of admiration for the job you did with those flowers. I felt exhausted by the time I'd read all that you did! Don't know how you managed.

As for the fingernails, how about a soak in warm water with some fresh lemon slices?

dosierosie said...

Everything looked beautiful and what an amazing place.

Ali Hogg said...

stunning floral displays and bouquets....a wee bit of felting to clean the nails perhaps!
thanks for sharing all the photos, Ali

Jeanette, Mistress of Longears said...

Such a loving labor!!!! The young bride is a very lucky lady.
As for the fingernails, I suspect it's the same thing gardeners do....let the dirt grow out with the nails. :-(

ferinn said...

For a non professional I think you did a stonking good job.Well done,they should be very pleased.

Rachel said...

I don't know about florists, but as a cook - a sugar-and-oil scrub took care of plum stone staining once - although it took two applications!

viv sliwka said...

Blimey Jackie, what an undertaking...of which you did such an incredible job. Beautiful arrangements...really enjoyed your post. xxx

Julie said...

Oh, my word, I have a huge lump in my throat. What a magical couple of days and the flowers are absolutely glorious. Very well done, you can be fantastically proud of yourself.

Terri said...

Thank you for the flowers and the video... you made my day. Oh, and the answer to your question... either wash your hair, or do dishes. I know it's quite drastic measures, but doing the dishes by hand works for me.

Carolyn Phillips said...

Those flowers look wonderful and fit so well in that setting.

Els said...

Wow Jackie, you're a girl of many talents !!!!

Miriam Weaver said...

It is a brilliant post. How clever you are Jackie, a lucky bride and groom!

Suztats said...

Oh, I think your bouquets and arrangements were so beautiful! How lovely it all looked. What a floral artist you are!

~*~Patty S said...

What an absolute delight from beginning to end ...
lovely of you to share such beauty and joy here!
The video was oh so sweet too!
You are a Lady with many talents ... what a sense of accomplishment and delight this must have given you!!!

Unknown said...

beautiful, beautiful, beautiful.

silverpebble said...

Oh how wonderful. I'm swooning over these beautiful muted colour combinations and the flowers.

Beacee said...

Well done, Jackie! You did a fantastic job and it looks like everyone had a wonderful day. xxxx

Gina said...

The flowers are glorious Jackie. And I had to smile at the bride hoisting up her skirt to join the Morris dancers. Wonderful!

Heather Leavers said...

Wonderful flowers, fabulous pictures and morris dancing too - perfect! My son and fiancee booked their venue today (eek) for August, I'm so excited!

WendyCarole said...

beautiful flowers

FeltersJourney said...

Jackie all of the flowers are stunning! You did a wonderful job with them! I can imagine the relief you must of felt when they were all done..
Love the photo of the bride in her trainers dancing! And what a lovely place to get married

Aileen Clarke Crafts said...

What a wonderful job you made of the flowers Jackie! Absolutely gorgeous! The wine boxes are an inspiration! Love the bouquets and the jugs and the alter arrangement is so perfect. Your sore finger is probably the tiny end of a rose thorn. A plaster might draw it out. xx

alice c said...

Beautiful colours and arrangements - lucky, lucky bride. I love the cream jugs and will be storing that idea away until I get the chance to use it. Congratulations Jackie - it was worth every sleepless moment and dirty fingernail.

Deb said...

This was just spectacular! "Heroic" comes to mind. I will be the mother of the groom come November and you will not hear ONE word from me about helping out with the flowers after seeing this magic.

Lyn said...

Oh it looks beautiful!
Well done.

st of my pictures can be enlarged by clicking on them.

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