Sweet and delicate gypsophila, otherwise known as Baby’s Breath, rose to floral stardom this summer when Victoria Swarovski, heiress to the Swarovski empire, married her partner Werner Mürz. In an all-out, lavish Italian setting complete with a fairytale backdrop, the bride modelled a cathedral-length train with a star-studded celebrity guest list in attendance.
Victoria’s glittering, princess-style ballgown was reportedly adorned with 500,000 Swarovski crystals – worth over a million dollars – and captured the attention of the wedding pack, while florists everywhere were equally captivated by the flowers; masses of frothy white gypsophila as far as the eye could see.
Already experiencing a resurgence as a popular wedding flower of late, this extravagant and stunning use of gypsophila firmly earned it a place among one of the most-asked-for wedding flowers of the year. And a well-earned position indeed, as McQueens head of events, Alison Lythgoe, explains.
“Gypsophila is probably one of the most versatile flowers out there when it comes to wedding flowers. It lasts forever, looks great on its own and you can use it en masse for your bouquets, buttonholes, aisle decor, pedestals, table centres and more.”
Granted, gypsophila hasn’t always had such popular appeal. During an initial rise to fame during the 19th century, gypsophila became a staple of the Victorian garden, revered for its dainty delicacy and long shelf-life as a cut flower. Its symbolic meaning as a flower of love, purity and innocence further established it as a favourite among the era’s romantics, when cryptic posies were commonly used to communicate veiled messages of love.
Fast forward a century or so later, however, and gyp tends to ignite somewhat of a divided opinion, having picked up an unfortunate reputation as a ‘supermarket flower’ a few decades back, thanks to its hardy and cost-effective qualities and over-zealous use as a filler flower. The truth of the matter, however, is that it looks simply striking when used the right way.
“We absolutely recommend using gypsophila on its own,” Alison continues, “when used in abundance it creates a frothy, romantic look which is ideal for weddings and elegant affairs. Its light nature really lends itself to lavish designs which can be more challenging with weightier materials. If you’re looking for one flower to do it all, you can really go to town with gypsophila.”
Little known to some, this dainty multi-headed bloom isn’t just reserved to a white palette; gypsophila also comes in pink and both are available all year around. The size of the blooms varies, too, as Alison explains.
“There are many varieties of gypsophila available but the main difference between the varieties is the head size. Million Stars, for example, is a small headed variety — ideal for delicate headdresses, flower crowns and buttonholes. Larger varieties such as Gypsophila Perfecta and Double Time are better suited to larger designs such as pedestal arrangements and table decor.”
Regardless of how one feels about gypsophila, there’s no denying its versatility and hardy qualities. Add to that its striking effect when used en masse — and its classic connotations with love and romance from a bygone era — and it’s easy to see how this humble bloom earned its place at the most sparkling wedding of the year.