Wedding flowers question: Miss Havisham edition
April 20, 2022 8:07 AM   Subscribe

I'm getting married! And having a proper wedding! Did not expect the last part but here we are (dreams of a city hall elopement dashed for now). Have some questions about design and flower ideas.

Wedding will be held in a turn-of-the-century mansion in a town in the middle of the country. It's smallish but beautiful, with lovely gardens outside. Small wedding (about 60-70 guests). Will be indoor and outdoor.

The wedding will be in August. For whatever reason, my mind--design-wise--is heading to something like Miss Havisham's house in Great Expectations BUT the house has been opened up and refreshed for a celebration. But it is still kinda decaying (but not as horrifyingly so as in Great Expectations--don't want a huge layer of dust and grime on everything!).

(And let's say she's finally taken off her wedding dress and done a lot of psychotherapy and is maybe even on meds and is generally in a better place--just go with me here! I haven't read the book in a million years and yes it's a little odd that's where my mind has gone to Miss Havisham to celebrate what I hope will be a very happy life-long union, but the unconscious does weird things!)

With that in mind, some ideas of design: mismatched china, teacups, saucers; tarnished bronze vases/ serving platters; candelabras and in general tons of candles. A few birdcages?

My questions for you: what would flowers look like in a setting like this? I LOVE flowers and would like them in abundance, but am a little stumped on perhaps what kind of flowers would fit an affair like this? (I'm also generally uneducated about flowers, just love them.) Dry? Dry + fresh? If fresh, what kind would Miss Havisham have (and also I love any and all symbolism certain flowers may hold)?

Grateful for any thoughts the collective brilliant meFi minds have about flowers and general design
posted by namemeansgazelle to Home & Garden (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
definitely fresh, but there are some flowers which have an old fashioned, Victorian vibe which would hint at old-fashionedness. I'm thinking lots of lavender and roses in a color scheme like this. They are simultaneously lovely and fragrant but also have a hint of... potpourri-ness. Do you know what I mean?

(This is as opposed to more typical wedding stuff like hydrangeas.)
posted by fingersandtoes at 8:28 AM on April 20 [2 favorites]

you can also go with a rose color scheme like this which I think takes the "old" theme a little far, but shows commitment!
posted by fingersandtoes at 8:29 AM on April 20 [1 favorite]

Don't use any dried flowers unless you really want to play up the "dusty" angle here. The classic Victorian-era flower for weddings were roses, and I think that would fit well with your cool mismatched teacups and tarnished vases idea. Your florist will probably have some ideas you tell them about the "Great Expectations" angle. Wedding vendors have heard it all and if they are worth their salt they will be able to help you with this idea. One thing - I like what you're going for, but I probably wouldn't really shoot for "decaying" as being a design element at your wedding.
posted by cakelite at 8:33 AM on April 20 [1 favorite]

I think big, blowsy flowers like peonies are what I picture as arrangements in Miss Haversham's house. The sort of pinks, corals, whites with the long sprigs of greens like the first picture here are giving me "just grabbed out of the vase" vibes.
posted by hollygoheavy at 8:33 AM on April 20 [3 favorites]

Peonies will be out of season. Dahlias might be available for the giant, nodding flower head.

Stock is a very sweet smelling old fashioned flower that comes in white and faded purples and pinks.

Talk to a florist or someone who grows flowers about what will be available!
posted by Lawn Beaver at 8:44 AM on April 20 [6 favorites]

I would totally do a mix of dried and fresh stuff with lots of greens. I'm loving the vibe.

Dried stuff: poppy seed heads, cockscomb, dyed pampas grass and curly willow stems would add drama and texture.

Fresh stuff: fern fronds, love-lies-bleeding, dahlias, snapdragons, spider mums (green ones please), delphinium, and ranunculus for sure.

I would not do: roses (expensive, overdone, and hard to source ethically), hydrangea (they are notorious for wilting in the heat), or lilies (pollen, stinky).

posted by RobinofFrocksley at 8:46 AM on April 20 [1 favorite]

Honestly, you might be able to just send your florist a mood board and leave it up to them. That’s what I did and it worked out beyond my wildest dreams!

We had an existing level of trust because I’d worked with them before (so ymmv), but I just pinned a bunch of florals I liked the vibe of and included some other images of our reception space, my dress, etc. so they could get a feel for what we wanted, then just shared it with them.
posted by stellaluna at 8:53 AM on April 20 [5 favorites]

Apricot stock. Stock is a type of flower. It's a little misshapen, but dainty, and smells divine.
posted by amtho at 9:09 AM on April 20 [1 favorite]

Dusty Miller (Jacobaea maritima, sliver ragwort) is the prototype Mrs. Havisham flower. Mostly the leaves are used as a filler. The flowers themselves aren't fantastic.
posted by sevenless at 9:13 AM on April 20 [1 favorite]

Please let's just appreciate that there's no reason you can't have decaying as a wedding theme.

I realize that none of these links may fit your aesthetic, your cultural background, or your unconscious desires, but I am sharing them in hopes that they inspire both your flowers and your ability for you two to do you on your wedding day.
posted by shadygrove at 9:59 AM on April 20 [2 favorites]

I've been following this florist on Tiktok and he does a lot of interesting arrangements based around edgy ideas. I imagine you could even ask him, as he does theme bouquets around fictional characters already.

I also disagree about dried flowers mixed among fresh ones as a way to incorporate that feeling of aging and decay. Adding colored dried flowers like hydrangeas or roses to an otherwise white bouquet, or adding unusual dried elements like lotus pods could be really beautiful.
posted by Mchelly at 12:25 PM on April 20

I think for the aesthetic you're going for, the vases/vessels will also matter maybe as much as the flowers themselves, too.
posted by Charity Garfein at 3:44 PM on April 20 [1 favorite]

The aesthetic your describing makes me think of the flowers spread throughout Downton Abbey. I frequently pause dining scenes in order to get a better look at the arrangements on the table and sideboard - they are always so absolutely lovely.
posted by WaspEnterprises at 10:24 PM on April 20

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