Being a wedding florist can be high pressured but always rewarding, 2020 however, has been very different…Doing wedding flowers at The Langham Hotel, London, for a small intimate wedding of 16 people last week was my first wedding of 2020.
It reminded me how important a wedding day is for all involved, I realised how much I have missed the buzz of doing wedding flowers, being there on the day and seeing it all come together.
This blog is for all the couples forced to postpone their wedding day due to the Covid-19 Pandemic. I’m still in shock at the devastating impact it has had on the wedding industry, the pandemic has caused severe distress for all involved – couples, suppliers, venues, families, friends, retailers and more.
We are all just hoping 2021is a turning point and weddings will resume for more than the current limit of 30 guests.
Couples, this is for you…
Collaboration №4 — The Fernery
8 years since their first collaboration, Amy Knight talks to Rebecca Marsala about the glasshouse, filled with flowers, that inspired the poem ‘Unfurl’
Q1 to Amy. How did you meet the artist for this collaboration?
I was asked to model for a bridal shoot in 2012, which was an amazing experience for me. Not just because I got to be “a bride” for the day (although it did feel pretty perfect to put on those dresses, and to hold and wear some incredible floral creations by Rebecca). What was amazing about it, was that I got to watch, like a doe-eyed fly on the wall, a collaboration between a group of super-talented women; each one an artist and an entrepreneur in her own right.
I watched them work around me, and felt such incredible energy as their skills combined to create something beautiful and unique; something that would showcase the flair of each one of them, in the culmination of a shared vision and in the celebration of a shared passion. It was as though their individual auras shone brighter as their colours combined.
I definitely see floristry as a visual artform. The idea to collaborate with Rebecca came to me recently when I was looking through my own wedding photos. I stumbled upon the images that Kate took of me in the 2012 shoot and was transported back to the pollen-laden haze of that field, and that feeling of playing a small part in something amazing.
Q2 to Rebecca. Please tell us about your experience at The Fernery and the flowers you chose for this shoot.
Ashridge House is a firm favourite of mine; I love the history, architecture and setting of this beautiful building and have worked there dozens of times on real weddings. The Fernery is an old glasshouse at the back of the main house — it took our breath away! With light pouring through the glass roof and the charm of the old lead windows, it was so exciting to bring this space to life!
This shoot was a chance to get really creative and have free rein on the styling. The obvious choice was to go green — lashings of foliage with muted tone flowers and just a pop of peach using exotic Anthurium flowers.
Over the years my wedding style has evolved with the industry, becoming much more ‘boho’ and relaxed, incorporating natural movement. The emphasis has certainly moved towards nature, with brides choosing seasonal flowers, more texture and green. This style works beautifully at The Fernery.
Q.3 to Amy. Can you share some insight into how ‘Unfurl’ was written?
It was such a joy to write this poem as I love this style of floristry and the Spring flowers that Rebecca chose to use at Ashridge House. Imagining the reopening of all the wedding venues that had to close during lockdown — watching the world start to open up again — leant itself really well to the analogy of spring flowers and ferns unfurling.
Rhythmically the poem could have been written with 4 lines per stanza, but I chose to structure it in 5 line verses because I know that flowers always have an odd number of petals. I have italicised ‘we’ and ‘us’, in recognition of the way that Latin names for plants and flowers are italicised. I have tried to capture the way that couples have (hopefully!) grown together throughout lockdown, putting down stronger roots, like a living plant.
Flowers are such an important part of any wedding, and can be incredibly personal. My mother grew the flowers and foliage for my sister’s wedding in her garden and her allotment. The bride and three bridesmaids each had a bespoke bouquet that was homegrown and hand-tied, just for us. It was so special for all of us, and I can’t imagine how hard it would be to have a wedding put on hold because of the pandemic. My heart goes out to everyone affected, and I hope my poem reaches some of them.
Q4. to Rebecca. What does it mean to be able share this poem with your clients whose weddings have been postponed?
This shoot was taken just before lockdown at the beginning of March, when Covid-19 was beginning to feel very real and rumours of lockdown were spreading. I’m so glad we got to do the shoot, and I love how Amy has found a way to connect my work with her poetry, and with the amazing physical space of the The Fernery.
It feels so poignant now — with couples being forced to postpone and feeling utterly devastated and uncertain about when they will have their big day.
I want to say to them, “you will have your day, and it will be even more special than ever before; truly embracing and appreciating being together with friends and family”. I love the poem and hope it brings some comfort and hope. Now that restrictions are starting to lift, we can begin to get excited again about the weddings later this year and in 2021!
Q5. To Amy: What’s next for this collaboration?
Well, the weddings that were scheduled for Spring/Summer 2020 may now be happening in Autumn/Winter. The new season offers up a different ‘living palette’ for a floral artist to work with and I’m fascinated to see Rebecca’s creative approach to that, this year and into next. I’d love to make this a regular collaboration, where we explore each season together in words and flowers.
Our love in spring was tightly wound:
alone, together, bound to wait.
But time locked-in relaxed those threads;
freed us to grow –
The spring of us rolled into summer.
Days of longing have unfurled,
new details of our love
while we waited to rejoin the world.
Behold us, like anemones:
we opened up between these walls.
Outside they fought the enemy,
while more in love
we dared to fall.
We kept on growing, bold as tulips!
Our hair like wild grass, left uncut.
A canopy of blossom burst,
while we stayed ‘just us’.
Now open up those doors and diaries;
and behold the size, and strength —
the power — of this partnership
to live, and love
at any length.
Out of the shadows, through the palms;
before their eyes, we’ll shine our light.
I’ll walk with you, shrowded in Ammi,
through the moon gate
on our wedding night.