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Glycerin Rose – The Fresh Flower Alternative

Glycerine roses are the ideal fresh flower alternative.  You will have seen glycerine  roses featured on this site previously when I made a glamelia or ‘carmen’ rose from the petals of a glycerine (stabilized) rose – by the way,  this is still as perfect as the day I made it!

I have been busy in the last 5 days making two sets of candelabra flower displays from stabilized/glycerine roses and greenery.  It was a mammoth task, each rose had to be wired and covered in wax tape (I was dealing with roses in the hundreds here!!!!!!!) before the piece was assembled.   The customer wanted a set containing red roses and a set containing pink and champagne coloured roses.  The brief was to keep the posy so as to avoid contact with the candles.

I find it very difficult to photograph red roses – I have tried to do it with and without a flash to try and show the beauty of the rose.  The colour is so vibrant  and striking (the Polish hotel staff who came along to have a look could only come up with one adjective – ‘sexy’, which I was fairly pleased with).   The candelabra in the pictures are displayed on high pod tables.  I think when they are on dining tables en-masse  they will look fantastic.


Pretty ‘n Pink Wedding Flowers

Pink was the winning colour when selecting flowers for Laura and Stephen’s March wedding.  Teal satin was being worn by the two bridesmaids and  the options on the brides list were sun-flowers,  white roses and perphaps  red roses – there was no mention of pink at all!  When I saw the the bridesmaids dresses I felt that pink would be a fantastic option.  When the bride and groom saw some pictures of  hot pink flowers they were bowled over instantly.

The bride wanted her bouquet to be different from the bridesmaids so opted for a mixed flower posy bouquet – I choose gorgeous pink bouvardia, sweet avelanche rose, avelanche rose, ammi, aqua and sweet duet roses for depth of colour and finished it off in a collar of leather leaf – I dressed the handle in the usual double faced satin ribbon.   The choice for bridesmaids was mixed roses – hot pink and white.  I like to include a few white roses as it enhances the pinks.

The flower-girls had a small posy similar to the bridemaids with the handle left about 2″ longer for ease of holding.  The smallest flower girl had a wand which she loved – I loved it too.  It was just one fabulous sweet avelanche rose with a collar of opened bouvardia.

Flower-girl Flowers

I always have great fun making flower arrangements for flower girls – it’s like my play time.  It gives me the opportunity to uses fun accessories such as mini-bows and sparkly paper and be as creative as my imagination allows.

For the very young flower girl the wand is always a hit.  I leave the stems long and covered completely with double-faced satin ribbon.   In the ‘head’  of the wand I have incorporate shredded sparkly paper – there are lots of colours to choose from which provides great interest for the very young.  I have also incorporated 3/5 small 8-loop bows among the flowers – I have found that wired organza (1/2cm wide) makes a very dainty bow.  Alternatively, I collar of satin ribbon is soo cute.

Older flower girls want to be treated just the same at the bridesmaids, in which case I make a smaller version of the bridesmaids, but leave the stems a little longer (approximately 2″ longer ).

Another popular choice for flower girls from about 6 upwards is the pomander.  I don’t recommend pomanders for younger children as some care is needed when handling them and they prove tiresome after a short while.  To date I have only made them with gypsophilia but they can be made with germini,  chrysanthemum blooms, hydrangea blooms, the unfairly under-rated carnation ImageImageImageImageImageetc etc. 

Fresh Flower Alternatives

Not every bride wants to be surrounded by fresh  flowers at every turn on her wedding day.  It is possible to create a nice mixture of fresh flowers and quirky alternatives that can be arranged by your florist.  For the bride who wants to be that little bit different while pleasantly surprising her guests  here are a few fun alternatives.

My favourite,  the Strawberry Tree, is a novel way for guests to start wedding celebrations – accompanied with a glass of champagne.  Properly arranged, it looks lavish and sophisticated.  A definite WOW start to proceedings.

A sweet alternative to the Strawberry Tree is the Ferrero Roche Tree, or also popular, the Marshmallow Tree.

My last word on fresh flower alternatives at a wedding is reserved for the Unity Ceremony part of  the marriage celebration.  There have been occasions where a bride and groom marrying in a Church have been asked to keep the altar free of flowers, typically the traditional long-low candle arrangement.   This is easily solved by using  crystal candle-sticks.    If you down-size the diameter of the centre candle  you can arrange a few tiny blooms around the base which would not be going against the wishes of the celebrant.   Also, if you are having a civil ceremony, very often you will find that the ceremony takes place in front of a small table and there isn’t that much space available for flowers.  It is also a lovely fresh-take on a lovely tradition.

Table Centre Flowers

Many venues include a floral guest table centre-piece as part of their wedding day package.  Normally I find that it is a lily placed in a tall slim vase – done right these can be beautiful.  By ‘done right’ I mean having at least one open bloom on your lily stem, soft foliage to give both height and drape.  The overall effect should be soft and detailed and not too two-dimensional.  If filling a lily vase for a centre piece I use 2 lillies (one of which is in full bloom), 6 stems of steel-grass, a decorative leaf such as aspidistra and ivy.

Emerging as a trend is wedding venues providing a budget for brides to supply their own flowers, and this is where the fun starts.  There are so many styles to choose from.  Very popular is a large fish bowl filled with fresh flowers placed on a mirror disc and surrounded by tea-lights – this is very effective for a winter/autumn wedding.  Spring weddings can go for a selection of vases filled with a single variety of flowers.  There is also a great opportunity to personalise your wedding tables with personal touches such as photos of the bridal party at a young age, loved ones who cant be with your on the day.

I have put together a slide-show  a few of my favourites from last year.  I made all of the examples except where I have credited Magda – Petals and Posies  who designed  and built them.

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The Bridal Shower Bouquet

You either love the ‘shower’ bouquet or you don’t.  When I meet a bride for a consultation one of the first things I do is out-line the basic options open to her for her own flowers – posy,  over-arm, tear-drop, crescent, semi-crescent, extension, pomander, glamelia or shower, and I always get an immediate reaction to the shower and it will be an absolute yes or no – there is no middle ground.

I love making shower bouquets – the introduction of the osasis holder has made life so much easier and enjoyable.  When I did my training I was told to wire every bloom.  I found this made the bouquet very heavy, not to mention a considerable drain on time.

A bridal shower bouquet is at its best when carried by a bride wearing a full a-line skirt and train.  They compliment each other  perfectly and can be made as voluminous or as dainty as the bride wants.   I like to use at least three flower varieties (my favorites are roses, freesia, dendrobium orchids and eustoma) and two foliage types – I generally only use two colours in a shower as I feel that any more just makes it a jumble.

Thankfully the  ‘shower’ has come a long way from the 1980’s of just open lilies, red roses, ivy and leather-leaf fern and is something any trend-setting bride would be proud to carry on her wedding day.

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Vintage Wedding – Cafe Latte

Vintage Themed Wedding

Vintage BridemaidHere come the girlsA popular rose for weddings with a vintage theme is Metallica.  It’s colour can only be described as faded – there is a hint of pink at the tips of the seratted petals, a hint of washed/faded mauve in the centre while overall the dominant colour is cafe latte.   The bride in the picture wore a white dress and her bridesmaids wore a pale gold with black bolero that gave fantastic focus to the overall colour scheme.   The bride had only Metallica Roses in her bouquet while the bridemaids carried a bouquet of mixed pale pink and metallica  roses.   All bouquets were dressed in a moss-green double face satin ribbon which continued the vintage theme.

Vintage Wedding – Dusty Pink

Dusty Pink and Off White was the theme for this early winter wedding.  The bride saw pictures of my work on Facebook and liked the vintage themed flowers.  There are a few excellent varieties of rose that provide the vintage look.  The one chosen here is called Amnesia – I choose Amnesia because the bridesmaids […]

Glamelia Rose

This is my latest creation, a Glamelia rose made from stabilized roses.    A Glamelia rose bouquet is made from rose petals and is supposed to be the perfect rose.  It can in fact be made with the petals of any flowers, I have seen examples made from cymbidum orchids, lillies and gladoli.    They take a long time to make –  the petals must first be graded according to size and colour and then be attached one at a time ensuring the shape is maintained throughout.  It is not a bouquet for the faint-hearted florist.  Traditionally/historically each petal was wired, but thankfully I was taught by a Lithuanian Master Florist  to assemble it with a hot-glue gun, this saves so much time and assures me that the petals will stay secure. Apparently a glamelia rose is historically a traditional bridal bouquet (Katherine Heigl had one for her recent wedding).Top view of  Glamelia Rose

As this glamelia  is made from stabilized roses it can be kept as a memento of the wedding day for months, even years.   I often get asked about preserving wedding bouquets for sentimental value and I my advice is to have the bouquet make from pre-treated flowers rather than putting the fresh flower bouquet through a drying process which leaves it drained of colour and very brittle.  I have found a supplier of the highest quality stabilized roses, they are just like fresh flowers – seeing is believing.    With so much time going into making a glamelia rose, using the pre-treated roses really makes it all the more worth while. 

A moment to yourself.

A moment to yourself.


This is my favourite picture of a bride on her wedding day .  I know there are only a few wedding flowers visible in the picture but it captures the essessence of what a wedding is all about – a little bit of magic.  When I plan wedding flowers in Castleknock, Dublin 15, I try to capture the mood the bride wants create on her big day.  The above picture is the only one taken from this position.  Everyone had gone into the church, leaving the bride and her father with just a minute of calm before the show begins.