Today we’re introducing our new feature Ask McQueens where you can shower us with all your floral questions and we’ll do our best to come up with the answers! We kick off with one of the most popular topics within the floral world, weddings. One of our lovely readers has written in with a question about her upcoming nuptials abroad and, more specifically, how to deal with the flowers. Our selected agony aunt this week, Emily Mathison, has been part of the McQueens team for five years and has a unique take on the place, having worked across all of our major departments and with her fair share of brides. Now the head tutor at the McQueens Flower School, here’s Emily’s advice on the best flowers to use when getting married abroad.
“Dear McQueens team, I’m getting married to my fiancé next summer and we’re planning on having the wedding near to his family home, on the French Riviera. I absolutely love the area but am really struggling when it comes to decor and flowers. Do you have any advice on what would work best? We’ll be hosting around 80 guests in the stone-paved courtyard of a traditional French chateau.”
Dear Annabelle, I feel your pain! Planning a wedding abroad can be quite a challenge. My advice is that you could approach this two ways — firstly, the local surroundings would be an excellent starting point. Think scented garden flowers, lavender, herbs de Provence, olive trees and locally-grown fruits. Terracotta pots, galvanised metal vases or milk jugs would add the finishing touch to a rustic, country-inspired look, perfectly suited to your surroundings.
On the other hand, you could truly embrace the glamorous side of the Côte d’Azur and go all-out with a luxurious, St. Tropez theme using all-white flowers and graphic foliage. Tropical varieties, such as orchids and calla lilies, will withstand the local temperatures well. White vases of varying heights and even a touch of gold will tie together for a glam, Orient-meets-Med look.
Whatever look you go for, it’s important to choose flowers that will work in the heat. If you’re unsure, I’d advise avoiding anything notoriously temperamental, such as lily of the valley; ‘soft’ flowers which are prone to wilting, such as stock, or peonies which, despite being a summer flower, do love to make their own minds up about when they want to open, or not! Good luck.
Emily Mathison, McQueens
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