William and Kate were wed way back in 2011 but as proven by industry sales since then, royal weddings really do set trends for a long time after the big event. Experts at Bridebook shared the stats, “Ever since Kate and William’s wedding, lace has dominated wedding dresses in the UK, with 45% of UK brides wearing lace on their big day in 2017 and only 16% wearing satin or silk. Just as with Kate’s influence, we are sure to see Meghan’s dress completely transform the wedding dress styles for many years to come.”
While Meghan chose to carry a small bouquet, her royal nuptials with Prince Harry were dominated by an enormous flower wall which adorned the entrance to Windsor’s St George’s Chapel. It was no doubt one of the most show-stopping elements of the wedding and most memorable among the general public, inspiring brides and grooms around the world to opt for similar floral décor.
Royal wedding florist Philippa Craddock did an incredible job but with a reported team of 28 it took immense manpower as well as flowers and foliage worth thousands. An event of this size involves huge amounts of labour, logistics and even heavy machinery to reach such heights, not to mention serious health and safety requirements.
For advice on recreating the look, we spoke to award-winning florist Jenny Murphy of Flowers by Moira who shares her insights on large-scale venue dressing below.
Invest in planning and timing
“It always takes longer than you think! For large-scale designs, we always create a sample, even if it’s only a small-scale version, as it allows you to walk through the process. From this, we estimate how long it will take to create and can plan our tool box list and mechanics, making any improvements as we go. Ensure you have tall enough ladders and know your insurance limitations. A stem count is also essential for costing and keeping your profit margins in-tact.”
Recce the venue and access points
“A marquee for an event will usually offer access the day before, while a wedding venue may only allow you access on the morning of the wedding which means more hands will be needed to install quickly and efficiently. A site visit is essential to ensure that the venue will allow you to install large displays, and to confirm there are no health and safety issues. When you visit, make sure you take correct measurements for the size of the designs and check that you’ll have easy access to transport them into the site.”
Work in a timely and efficient manner
“Ensure you’re given clear timings for installation so that the event team have time to set up the rest of the ceremony or tables after you install. Clean as you go and use drapes and dust sheets to minimise debris and clean-up. Hire more people than you feel you need as when you’re on-site setting up time will fly by and any hold-ups or delays in access to the area will cause knock-on problems.”
Insurance and health and safety are major elements to consider
“Review your policies for health and safety and working on ladders. For some large-scale events we’ve had riggers install our displays as the rules for corporate events can be much stricter, although booking your own rigger can be very costly.”
Make sure you have a fast and efficient team
“The size of your team will depend on the size of the installation. We have a team of five and if needs be everyone will be there, and extra hands might be drafted in too. You don’t necessarily need a huge team of trained florists though, often extra pairs of hands to load and unload vans, assist with feeding flowers to florists and sweeping up will create an efficient team.”
Bear in mind the breakdown
“Breakdown in wedding venues always takes place early the following morning. Timing will be dictated by the venue and you must clear as agreed. For us, it’s usually done before 8am the next day. Breakdown is brief; it takes a few hours to install but it all comes down so quickly. Make sure that if you agree to do the breakdown, it must be included in your costings along with disposal of materials.”
Make a base for your blooms
“In super-hot weather, especially if in a glass marquee or venue, we’ll often use faux foliage as a base for a hanging installation. We might also use plants with sealed roots and mosses to add volume to displays, for example trailing ivy and Boston ferns work well.”
Products to aid the way
Foliage is still a huge trend with many couples opting for predominantly green floral décor, and Corsage Creations offer a great selection of faux flowers and foliage to include in your large-scale designs.
As Jenny mentioned, trailing ivy works particularly well, and you can buy green or variegated ivy sprays at 65cm long, bushes in 85cm and 182cm length or garlands at 6 feet long. You’ll also find large cherry blossom sprays at 95cm long in a range of cream, white and pink shades. We also offer smaller artificial rose bunches in cream and white, perfect for wiring onto beds or canopies of foliage, as well as anemone, baby’s breath and rose bushes in vibrant colours. Our stephanotis garlands at 175cm long are perfect for draping across venues and provide that elegant royal wedding look, as do our bushes of lily of the valley – the Duchess of Cambridge’s chosen flower.
Top image: King’s Church International on Unsplash