The "Pippa" Bouquet with Northern Virginia Style

The team at J. Morris Flower’s loves Pippa Middelton’s bridal bouquet. It’s delicate and sweet with a very pretty, cascading shape. The bouquet is small. In fact, it’s nearly diminutive. We love the delicate cascade but note that it is quite different from the trendy, cascading bouquets that many brides in the United States are carrying. Cascading bouquets in this country are less organized as we try to accomplish that “loose” and “gathered” feel so popular for weddings. We focus on draping greens and blooms and interesting spaces between focal flowers.  

I searched the internet a bit to see if I could find a larger explanation for why Pippa and Kate carried such smalle bouquets. I found a lot of information about the flower varieties used, much less about the size of the bouquet. I did, however, find this wonderful review of the history of bouquet styles among royalty written by Shane Connolly (Shane Connolly & Company) for The Telegraph in April 2013. Mr. Connolly designed the bouquet for the Duchess of Cornwall when she married the Prince of Wales.

Sister Kate Middleton’s bouquet included Lilies of the Valley, Sweet William, Hyacinth, Myrtle and Ivy. Several on-line sources in the British media world explain the signifigance of those flowers.  I also found a quote from Sue Barnes, Founder of Lavender Green Flowers, and lead floral designer for Pippa's wedding on a People site. She lists the flower varieties and mentions the inspiration.

The floral arrangements “reflected the British countryside in early summer and were filled with fragranced flowers including Sweet Peas, Peonies, garden Roses, Philadelphus, Freesia, Astilbe, and Jasmine,”
— Sue Barnes, Founder of Lavender Green Flowers, PEOPLE.COM
This bouquet holder has a foam insert so that the flower stems have a source of moisture.

This bouquet holder has a foam insert so that the flower stems have a source of moisture.

We spent time in-studio this week working on our own “Pippa” inspired bouquet. There are two possible techniques used for designing this style of bouquet.The team from Lavender Green hand-wired each flower before designing. After careful planning and placement, these wires were then gathered, wrapped with floral tape and ribbon and bent to form a holder. A technique used throughout the 20th century to create a dramatic but structured look. Floral designers can also design in a small bouquet holder with water soaked foam. Careful consideration goes to hiding the mechanics.

The “Pippa” – Northern Virgina style.

We decided to make a version of the “Pippa” that might just appeal to you, our Northern Virginia bride. Guess what our first consideration was? The heat. It’s a lot warmer in Northern, Virginia than it is in “jolly old” England. Pippa’s bouquet was wired much like a giant boutonniere which means there are no long stems to place in water. We decided that for a June bouquet, we had to use a foam holder, preserving the life of our flowers.

From left to right: Peach roses, cream Garden Roses, purple Freesia, white Stock. On top Feathered Eucalyptus and Variegated Pittosporum.

From left to right: Peach roses, cream Garden Roses, purple Freesia, white Stock. On top Feathered Eucalyptus and Variegated Pittosporum.

We chose popular flowers for June brides. Katie Black gathered white Stock and Spray Roses, lavender Freesia, peach Roses and a sweet cream Garden Rose. We knew that if the design were to appeal to our brides, it had to have some greenery. She pulled some summer-time favorites – Variegated Pittosporum and Feathered Eucalyptus. Myriam Marquez formed the design with the help of one of our sweet little white vases. The thin mouth served as a great anchor for her work. She reminded us that these tight cascades are a specialized skill and the team gave rapt attention as she demonstrated the technique that we both learned a couple of decades ago.

Our own "Pippa" inspired bouquet sitting in a white porcelain vase. Click here to view a photo of the original.

Our own "Pippa" inspired bouquet sitting in a white porcelain vase. Click here to view a photo of the original.

We love a wedding… thank goodness! It’s really fun to see florals for a big event like Pippa Middleton’s wedding drawing so much attention. My team and I wonder if the “Pippa bouquet” will become a trend in the United State. It's very structured, almost the opposite of the popular loose and gathered style. We know that today's bouquets are inspired by the way flowers grow in our natural environ which, for now, is wild and vast. English Gardens are more elegant, manicured and formal and the “Pippa” bouquet design reflects that style so perfectly. I guess we wait and see. For now, we’ve had a lot of fun exploring different frontiers and re-acquainting ourselves with techniques from decades past.