Wedding trends are continuously evolving, in the last few years we’ve seen an eclectic and luscious array of fashions coming and going. The use of flowers at a wedding is a key component for creating the mood and and the feeling of this special day. When it comes to floral design, there are impactful arrangements that have inspired us for centuries, and they are not going anywhere anytime soon!
Since the earliest days, humans have used flowers as adornment and decoration. To create memorable events, today’s floral designers still look to the past and continue to be influenced by five European historical styles: Renaissance, Baroque, Rococo, Georgian, and Victorian. Let’s look at them more in detail.
The Renaissance, or Rinascimento to use the Italian term, began in Italy in the 1300s and spanned until the 1600s. This is an age that looked at the Classic world to find its inspiration, the artists of the Renaissance painted impressive floral arrangements in bright, contrasting colours, often together with foliage, vegetables and fruit for a still-life effect.
Today, wedding floral design influenced by the Renaissance art is recognisable by the use of vessels popular at the time, such as classically shaped urns and vases, tall and highly decorated compotes, or woven baskets. Despite that, these floral arrangements still have an open and airy feel.
Common flowers and foliage of the Renaissance period include roses and primroses, olive and ivy branches, daisies, lilies, irises, tulips, poppies, jasmines, lilacs, violets, and laurel dianthus.
Following the Renaissance, Dutch and Flemish painters set the floral design styles evoking the works of Michelangelo in Italy.
The Baroque artists increasingly took liberties; painting using the C-curve or the S-shape and improbable floral combinations. Baroque arrangements were more asymmetrical than their predecessors, and used many flowers of a flamboyant colour palette.
This style features bold designs with big branches of large, warm coloured leaves paired with large flowers. Arrangements that cannot be found in the natural world but that are incredibly ornamental.
The typical Baroque design is arranged in a huge metal, porcelain, or glass container containing an abundance of large richly colored flowers, such as iris, marigold, lily, peony, canna, narcissus, hollyhock, and roses.
In the early 18th century a new decorative style emerged from the French palaces of Luis XIV. The name Rococo derives from the shell and rock work popular in the garden grottoes of the king.
This new style was more delicate, feminine, and elegant. Its floral designs were sophisticated and enchantingly pretty.
Rococo florals feature lighter coloured flowers, including delphiniums, blue hyacinths, white roses and pale pink hydrangeas. The playful femininity of youth was revered during this period, resulting in more delicate glass or porcelain used as containers.
In the Georgian design, mostly popular during the early the 18th century in England, floral arrangements were symmetrical and practical. Flowers were brought into the houses and used essentially for their fragrance.
Fresh flowers, such as candytuft, anemone, larkspur, dahlia, chrysanthemum, narcissus, statices, salvia, sunflower, and Queen Anne’s lace, were typically arranged in heavy containers like ginger jars, tureens, baskets and Wedgwood urns.
Georgian fashion also introduced the nosegay (also known as Tussy Mussy or posy), used to carry small bunches of flowers to help mask odors.
English interest in flower arrangement and design continued in the 19th century Victorian era. This period is marked by lavish floral designs, and the use of a mix of any type of flower, feathers, dried fruits, and shells.
The designs of this period showcase large masses of flowers placed tightly into flared vases, alabaster, porcelain, and silver containers or pewters. These arrangements were typically round or triangle-shaped and used strong contrasts and bright colours.
Victorian-era florals didn’t follow a precise design, but were often the product of the whimsy of wealthy Victorian ladies that ordered excessive and opulent arrangements.
Nonetheless, this period was marked by an attempt at establishing official floristry rules.