An ode to sweet peas: floral inspiration for a summer wedding in celebration of a British bloom that keeps on giving
As it’s British Flowers Week, we thought it would be the perfect time to share another feature in our ‘an ode to’ floral series, and this time it’s the turn of a quintessential British summer flower: the fabulously fragrant sweet pea.
When we moved into our first house, my mum gave us a pot of sweet pea seedlings she had nurtured from a packet seeds and we had flowers all summer long. The more we picked, the more they kept on blooming and we ended up with flowers to decorate every room. Now, even if we grow nothing else, (which is usually the case!) we always make sure we have sweet peas for summer.
Charlie’s written several of these lovely ‘an ode to…’ posts dedicated to one flower (previously featuring, spring blossom, snake’s head fritillary, old-fashioned roses and dainty violets) so if you’re a spring-time bride looking for inspiration, do have a look at all her gorgeous ideas.
I must admit that the idea of using a seasonal flower ‘en masse’ and making it a feature is something that really appeals to me, purely for it’s beautiful simplicity.
I’ve put together this feature with the help of some of the wonderful businesses listed on the directory. We have a creative bunch of florists and flower farmers up and down the country who are always ready and willing to share their knowledge and ideas. Sweet peas are in natural abundance from from June to early September in the UK so they’re a great choice of seasonal bloom.
Here are a selection of ideas including aisle decorations, miniature bottles, bouquets and flower crowns that you could easily incorporate into your summer wedding.
Bouquets and posies
Sweet peas are delicate frilly blooms, available in a rainbow of colours, from pretty pastels to vibrant coral and opulent plum, which makes them the perfect versatile bouquet ingredient.
You could go simple and choose a mix of sweet peas for your bridal bouquet (like this one below from Campbell’s flowers) with you maids each carrying different shades of one colour (a nod to the ombre trend).
I can imagine you would constantly be sniffing the posies, breathing in their heavenly scent and this would make for some really cute photos!
If garden style is your thing, then opt for a mix of textures and blooms in a loose gathered style like this one below by Tamara from the Wild Bunch in Shropshire.
This bunch was picked from her flower paddock for a bride who got married in her own garden (how lovely!) and also features roses, lavender and dahlias. I love how the pastels come alive by accenting them with a little pop of colour.
This bridal bouquet and bridesmaid posie duo below are from Rachel of Catkin, whose wedding flowers were featured on the BBC2 gardening series ‘The Great British Garden Revival’ earlier in the year.
The flowers are from her walled kitchen garden in Lincolnshire and the soft lilac sweet peas and scabious and pale pink garden roses look gorgeous against the grey-green senecio foliage. I particularly love how she’s used the tendrils to become a little trailing feature in their own right.
The final bouquets I’m showcasing are from Angela of Petal and Twig in Lancashire, who wrote a guest post on modern vintage flowers. Featuring sweetpeas against feathery ferns, this is the kind of style you’d find in those treasured family photos from the weddings of previous generations.
Angela tells me: “This is the one type of sweet pea bouquet where I’d advocate using a foam holder as this would help them last for several days.”
Angela describes this one below as a nosegay – literally meaning a scented posie – created using sweetpeas coupled with herbs such as various lavenders, thyme and sage.
Beyond the bouquet there are countless ways to incorporate sweet peas into your wedding flowers. Perhaps the most simple is using them in miniature bottles or glassware like these ones below right by Forage For, on their own or with your other favourite seasonal summer blooms to create groupings.
You could then form a tablescape, decorate a mantel piece or even use them as place names by putting them in ink wells and attaching a handmade tag.
Flowers in your hair
I don’t need any excuse to showcase a flower crown. If I had my way, wearing flowers in your hair wouldn’t just be reserved for special occasions! This flower crown by The Garden Gate, Southwold is quite a statement and looks lovely against the model’s red hair.
It’s a fun accessory to add a bit of colour to plain bridesmaid dresses. If you’re after a delicate alternative, perhaps for flower girls, this circlet of gypsophilia, sweet peas and nigella by Catkin is very sweet.
Don’t be limited to cut flowers, living plants can be a decorative feature in their own right. I’ve taken inspiration from TNWC recommended venue River Cottage’s ceremony spot in the vegetable garden where sweet peas grow under a hazel arch…
…and are potted up around willow and canes lining the aisle…
Grow your own
If you fancy growing a few of your own but don’t have green fingers then worry not. The fab team at Green and Gorgeous have put together a sweet pea grow-along, full of top tips and a step-by-step guide. The post also includes a recommendation of where to source seeds to produce the desirable long stemmed variety that are great for flower arranging.
Arranging a few extra flowers yourself in addition to those provided by your florist is a budget friendly option that allows you to get hands-on, but without the the pressure of doing it all yourself. If you’re getting married next summer, my advice is to bookmark the page for January and by June you should be filling a trug with armfuls of lovely sweet peas!
Images: (1) Saipua; (Collage 2 + 3) Erin Kate Photography via Grey Likes Weddings, and Julie Anne Images; (4 + 5) Helen Jerym with flowers by Paul Thomas; (6) Niel Stewart with flowers by Campbell’s Flowers; (7) Wild Bunch; (Collage 8 + 9) Catkin; (10 + 11) Petal and Twig; (Collage 12 + 13) Lillian and Leonard via I Heart Flowers, and Forage For; (14) The Garden Gate, Southwold; (15) Catkin; (16) Helen Lisk; (17) Lime Leaf; (18) Green and Gorgeous
Categories: DIY + Inspiration
Seasonal wedding ideas:
Browse the blog:
Brides Sign Up
Sign up and save your favourite businesses, add ideas to your wedding wish list and receive beautiful inspiration straight to your inbox