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Fake it till you make it?


Most of us LOVE flowers.

My absolute favorite are peonies, but I also adore giant, milky-white magnolia blooms, the intoxicating scent of gardenias, jasmine and lilac...and the otherworldly beauty of king and pincushion protea.


Flowers have the ability to make us happy.

We give them as tokens of love and caring, and humans across all cultures have used them for centuries for rituals and adornment. The Egyptians were decorating with flowers as early 2500BC.


I think flowers remind us that Mother Nature is the greatest designer...they are impossibly beautiful, and intricate...it's difficult to imagine mankind being able to create anything to match them.


The coronavirus has caused the horrific crash of an 8.5 billion-dollar global flower trade, impacting thousands of businesses across the world, with the wedding and event industry taking a lot of that hit.

Nobody really knows what weddings and events in the future might look like.

They will probably be a lot smaller for a while, more intimate, with people not likely wanting to travel to attend.

But, I wondered, if people start getting married before the flower industry gets back on its feet....is it ever okay to use artificial or non-living flowers at your wedding?


Now, I've always had an aversion to fake and dried flowers.

Artificial flowers always seemed to be made of faded-to-ombre petals, in colors never seen in nature...almost a sepia tint...and layered in dust....while dried flowers languished in baskets on top of armoires, crumbling to splinters if ever touched.

Fortunately, I've had the pleasure of shooting some amazing events and weddings where the creations of talented designers could change anybody's set-in-stone opinions.


Archways of vibrant, exuberant blossoms; magical trees and feathery pampas grass, luminous when backlit by late-afternoon sun; dessicated pods and fronds given a new lease of life.

Perhaps when design has fewer physical limitations ( not wilting in the sun or easily damaged; ability of being made days in advance ) imagination can be given a little more free rein.

The more successful examples I have seen are when real and silk flowers have been used in tandem: complementing, not competing with, each other, and the man-made not pretending to be anything but.


Jeff Brown of BrownHot Events explained his design decisions for Veuve Clicquot's Polo Classic:

" Silk flowers are often more expensive than real flowers, so cost is not a deciding factor. Rather, durability, shelflife and structural stability are. When you are designing events that will have 7,000 people in attendance and include fantastical 40' trees and out-of-scale archways, construction needs to start weeks in advance...and pieces need to be structurally sound. At such events I like to have real flowers in more intimate settings, where guests will be in close contact with them, and use the silk flowers for elements more often viewed from a distance.

Another factor that has to be considered is brand color. Sometimes Mother Nature doesn't produce the perfect color match to tell the brand's story. "


Before this terrible pandemic became the worst-imaginable wedding crasher, one of the biggest trends for 2020 was to be "non-traditional" flowers.

Paper flowers are lovely but dried flowers, grasses, leaves and seeds have an ethereal beauty all their own. Appreciated for their sculptural qualities, texture and muted, earthy tones they can be used to create stunning decor designs.

These designs seem to signal a new direction, one where "anything goes". Elements chosen, not for scent or symbolism but as media for artists, culminating in beautiful creations which express an appreciation for what once was.

We'll always love fresh flowers, now we might appreciate their fleeting beauty even more , yet pehaps we're also open to different elements, ones that suggest harvest, dormancy and new beginnings.


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