Monthly Archives: April 2011

Wedding flowers

Well, it’s that time folks. Another update on the Hostick Boakye wedding.

We have the date set, the venues are organised, the outfits bought – including both our shoes for the big day- the save the date cards are out, the rings are bought, the caterers booked, the bridesmaid dress bought, and the best man lined up. So, next on the list to tick off would be honeymoon – more on that another day – and flowers.

I mentioned in passing (via Progress) a few weeks ago that we’re having the wedding ‘reception’ in my parents’ garden. Now, to some this conjures up images of grand marquees, masses of space, posh temporary toilets and a big catering company. Not our wedding. My parents’ home is a modest 1930s semi in Anlaby, a West Hull village. Here’s some background on Anlaby for you:

A 9th Century Danish Viking called Anlaf set up his by (town) four miles west of the ancient settlement of Wyke (which would later become Kingston upon Hull) and called it Anlafby (Anlaf’s town). His direct descendents (the Anlabys) were one of the two dominant families in the area (the others were Normans the Legards). In the 19th Century, when Hull’s seaport started to flourish, rich merchants looked to live beyond the city of Kingston upon Hull. Between 1800 and 1900 the population of Anlaby grew by 500 to 800.   Now it’s home to a few thousand.

Back to the wedding. We’re having a relatively small wedding, despite my outrageous guest list (or maybe not), in my parents’ modest garden. We are primarily sorting this out ourselves, and I’ve set us a task to make lots of bits for the wedding. This means we have a fair bit to sort out. My parents’ ex-neighbours, the Couplands, are lending us the marquee they used for their daughter’s wedding last Autumn; we are borrowing tables, chairs, crockery and cutlery from the Danish Seamen’s Church in Hull rather than a banqueting hire company due to their extortionate costs (we were quoted £1452 by London caterer Palette for such paraphernalia for 55 people); my Dad will be making a floor for the marquee; we will be decorating  the marquee, tables and the garden; and we’ll be sorting out flowers for the tables (my parents already have seedlings coming on and I am keeping an eye out for second hand cut glass vases).

I had originally thought I could also make my own bouquet, the bridesmaid’s bouquet and the fellas’ button holes. I even considered whether I needed a bouquet, but my Dad kindly quoted a newspaper article saying that “the bouquet helped to steady my shaking hands”. And besides that, what a shame to not have a bouquet. With loads of tutorials on YouTube, making my own bouquet should be child’s play.

However, the fact that we will have so much other stuff to sort out the day before and the day of the wedding, has led me to find an easy way out – we’re using a local florist. And the first thing she asked me? What’s the colour theme? I don’t do colour themes. Instead, our wedding is multi-coloured, a mish mash of colours, cultures and styles. No particular theme, no particular colour. This led the florist to suggest the on-trend gerbera bouquet (below), which doesn’t float my boat and makes me think of Ask restaurants the country over. Needless to say I knocked her idea back, and instead told her some of my favourite flowers – dahlias, open roses, frescias, lisianthus, and so on. Very country garden. Very locally grown. Very old-fashioned (according to my Mum). Very relaxed. And very much better priced, and low on air miles to boot.

So ignore the gerbera bouquet below, and forget about the boring and overly exotic two-tone bouquet examples below (especially the last – URGH!). These most certainly aren’t my cup of tea, and I’m pretty certain they’re not Jeffrey’s either.

If I had plenty of cash I’d be tempted by one of these beauties:

Instead, I’m on the real flowers, and here’s what has inspired my flower choices. I think they’re just beautiful. I’m looking forward to what the florist comes up with come 20th August…

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123 days to go.

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Wedding favours

You may remember that in my last post (Progress) I rather smugly listed where we’d got to with our wedding planning, being very proud of  finding ourselves ahead of schedule according to our gantt chart. Well, we’re still going strong and I can now add that we have picked up Jeffrey’s suit – it looks great – and have bought him a shirt and tie. And we’ve exchanged Jeffrey’s wedding ring for a size down too. And I’ve bought a suitable bra.

Last Sunday, when Jeffrey and I were in Hull for the weekend, we visited Hull City Hall to see the room where we will be having our wedding ceremony. We hadn’t seen it yet, relying on my Mum and Dad’s opinions and some slightly blurred photos they sent our way, so it was lovely to go and actually see it. And it is beautiful. The part where we will say our vows is a lovely tall, light, bright and airy room. The only problem is that I am now starting to feel a tad shy. The idea of walking down the aisle, in front of a load of people (how on earth Kate Middleton is going to fare with her thousands I don’t know) is slightly filling me with dread. I better make sure I look good!

So now my attentions are turning to wedding day detail. And this brings me on to wedding favours…

But what on earth is a wedding favour and why do we give them?

Wedding favours are small gifts given to wedding guests as a gesture of appreciation from the new couple. The first wedding favours (bonbonnieres) were common in the weddings of European aristocrats and were usually trinket boxes made of crystal, porcelain and precious stones and filled with sugar cubes or other delicate confectionery to symbolise wealth. Sugar gradually became more affordable, and so sugar cubes soon became sugared almonds, which are the traditional wedding favour given today – symbolising fertility, longevity, wealth, health and happiness.

I’ve only been to one wedding where sugared almonds were given as wedding favours – other newly married couples have tended to opt for individual chocolates. However, apparently anything can be given as a wedding favour.  Jeffrey and his friend Peter were today discussing the pointlessness of favours – with many ending up left on the tables or left to perish in a drawer when guests get them home. However, it turns out sweets are a popular favour, often getting scoffed during the reception. I guess sweets are an obvious alternative, linking to the traditional bonbonnieres, and endlessly popular with people of all ages. A quick scout of such favours has thrown up a few I imagine are very popular, including ‘Just Married’ Love Hearts, penny sweets mix and personalised rock.

Also available, and seemingly increasing in popularity, are alcohol miniatures, CDs with the bride and groom’s favourite songs, handmade soap and candles.

Now, in my opinion, some of these can be nice. However, wedding favours, whatever they are, can also be very very naff. Here are some particularly naff examples for you:


For those of you wondering WTF that silver thing is on the left, that’s a pumpkin coach trinket box. As for the others, they’re a classy Eiffel Tower candle high-heel bottle opener and a ‘the perfect pear’ fridge magnet. Yep, naffness galore.

In my search for favours, and as a result of looking at Unicef’s Save a Thousand Mothers this Mother’s Day campaign (which definitely deserves a plug), I came across charity favours which are particularly floating my boat. Now I’ve never seen or heard of anyone giving these as favours, but I think it’s a great way to go. Instead of spending £76.50 on 30 naff Eiffel Tower candles that (I promise) NO ONE is going to use, why not spend £75 to nurse a severely malnourished child back to health in a month? You save £1.50 and can have a happy conscience. Or, instead of spending £78.30 on 30 shit pumpkin coach trinket boxes, why not spend a little bit extra and spend £84 on 300 (yes, 300) measles vaccinations for children? I know which I’d prefer to receive.

But what about our wedding favours? Well, we’re making them. And by ‘we’ I mean my Mum and me. Not Jeffrey. We started some time ago and are making something that can be used as decorations for our marquee, and which guests can then take away with them and continue to use as a decoration. We hope they won’t just end up in a cupboard, drawer, or in the bin like most other wedding favours, but instead remind people of our day, and of us, while making their homes that little bit prettier! And they’re reflective of me – sewing and craft. Intriguing eh?!

But I am increasingly tempted by the Unicef favours…

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