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The Old Barn, Kelston - behind the scenes wedding flower styling - photo by Martin Pemberton (22)

How to do amazing statement flowers for a relaxed barn wedding

If there was another job I wish I could do – if I’d trained, had talent and wasn’t freaked out by spiders(!) or really early wake ups – I’d be a florist. I’d grow my own flowers and style beautiful, modern weddings in a wildflowery, informal and breathtaking boho style. I’m lucky to have gotten to know some amazing folks in the wedding flowers game since I started the English Wedding Blog, and Claire from Wild Spirit is one of the very best – her eye for styling is just spot on, every single time.

So when Claire got in touch to tell me about the Somerset Flower School I was absolutely thrilled for her. Alongside Jodie from Walled Garden Weddings, whose work I also adore, she’s teaching workshops so folks like you & me can learn their craft. Claire and Jodie put together this fabulous shoot to show you how to style that sought after floral look for a beautiful barn – and Claire’s tips are absolutely invaluable if you’re hiring a barn for your wedding day.

Huge thanks to Kelston Roundhill for letting this loveliness happen in their wedding barn – what an amazing space to celebrate a wedding!!! and to Martin Pemberton for his photographs of the day. (All of Martin’s images have his name underneath; Claire also took some gorgeous pics of her own later in the day, which you’ll also see in this blog post.)

 

The Old Barn, Kelston - behind the scenes wedding flower styling - photo by Martin Pemberton (9)

Credit: Martin Pemberton Photography

 

The first and most important tip is to take inspiration from the building itself and the landscape around it.

The chances are that your barn is surrounded by beautiful countryside, use that as your inspiration and bring that into your floral decorations. Ask your florist to truly observe the colours, textures and forms around your venue and build some of that into your designs, a good designer will be able to include subtle elements inspired by their observations which will elevate your wedding flowers from the samey and stereotypical to the unique and different.

If you’d like to go the DIY route, meadow, garden-y and woodland style flowers work wonderfully in a rustic barn. Again, take inspiration from what’s around your venue, are there things you could forage to bring the outside in? Cow Parsley in springtime? Beautiful Beech or Oak foliage in summer? Rosehips in autumn? Pinecones? Bracken? What colours do you see, is there a certain stone that is prevalent in your area such as slate or granite, could you find containers, pots or slabs of it to use with your floral decorations? When choosing your flowers, you can’t go far wrong with grasses, lots of foliage and garden style flowers and herbs such as delphiniums, roses, scabious, Ammi, rosemary, sage, mint and dahlias. Think flowers arranged loosely to create a laid back just gathered feel. From around March to October blooms from local growers are perfect for this, so why not seek out your local flower farm, there are several popping up all over the country now. Just google ‘British Flowers’ or ‘Flower Farm’ and you’ll find one!

The Old Barn, Kelston - behind the scenes wedding flower styling - photo by Martin Pemberton (12)

Credit: Martin Pemberton Photography

Fill the space and do it wisely.

Barns are generally quite substantial buildings with tall ceilings, and huge doorways. Often just having table decorations, no matter how lovely or expensive they are, can leave the space feeling a little empty depending what else is in there. If your budget is limited it’s best to go for one or two statement pieces that make an impact rather than lots of little things that don’t get noticed. Why not invest in a large foliage ball or hoop to hang from one or two of the beams and have something very simple on the tables, it fills the void between the ground and the ceiling, brings the space in helping it to feel less vast and empty, and will create a ‘wow’ that people will remember. Alternatively, you could have a beautiful arch installation created over an entrance doorway or window, it doesn’t need to go all the way around, in fact something natural and asymmetrical, looking as if it has just grown there looks incredible on an old building and will live on in the memories of your guests, as well as making a fantastic backdrop for photographs.

The Old Barn, Kelston - behind the scenes wedding flower styling - photo by Martin Pemberton (18)

Credit: Martin Pemberton Photography

 

Use decorations that suit and are coherent with your venue.

Barns are the perfect backdrop for relaxed country style and informal weddings. There’s nothing worse than a beautiful rustic barn being trussed up within an inch of its life with plastic decorations and heavily themed props. In most situations if you try and dress a rustic barn in a heavily themed style it will cost you a great deal to buy the props and décor to do it and it will look at best disjointed and at worse tacky as it’s just not coherent with the venue.

Don’t go overboard with the ‘rustic’ props either though!

A barn does lend itself to apple crates, wellies and milk churns for sure, but don’t go crazy, let the beauty of the venue and its surroundings speak for itself and enhance it with a gentle touch, there’s a fine line between tasteful touches carefully placed and full on overboard theming! Try to think outside the box, your guests will know they are in a barn, does it really need a huge entrance display of piled up apple crates, wheelbarrows, watering cans, milk churns and wellies just to remind them of that fact!? One or two of these things thoughtfully placed can enhance a venue but there is a risk of it becoming a bit ‘too much’, not only that, it’s all been done before, so why not make it personal instead? Get your creative thinking caps on, chat with friends and family to get ideas that are unique to you and see what else you could come up with.

 

The Old Barn, Kelston - behind the scenes wedding flower styling - photo by Martin Pemberton (16)

Credit: Martin Pemberton Photography

Use organic wild shapes and styles for your flowers.

Think, trailing, rambling and unstructured. Barn weddings suit loose and wild bouquets, asymmetrical unstructured installations and lots of foliage and natural textures and materials. Formal balls of flowers, diamante, dyed flowers and stiff and structured arrangements just don’t sit right in a beautiful old barn… just no!

The beauty of a barn is that it is a blank canvas and can take almost any colour and often the more colour the better. When planning your wedding look, think not only of the outfits you are going to wear but also the building that you and your flowers will be sitting in. If your barn venue has stonework that is light and beige coloured sometimes the very popular paler white and blush wedding flower schemes can get a bit lost in it and fade into the background, adding in bolder colours will help your floral decorations stand out and make an impact. Equally if it is brick built barn with darker walls then paler colours would stand out, just something to keep in mind to ensure your overall wedding ‘look’ works well all the way through from the personal to the venue flowers.

Always consider the seasons.

A barn wedding in summer should look very different to a barn wedding in the winter. Looking back at the advice above to study the landscape of your venue, it’s also important to consider how that landscape will look in the month you are getting married, bring elements of that into your designs, it will elevate them into something special I promise! In this day and age, we have become used to being able to get almost anything we want, when we want it. However, when it comes to flowers this is not a good idea. Using seasonal and readily available flowers and foliage will always be more cost effective and the materials better quality. It is possible for florists to get some imported flowers out of season now but the quality is often poor and it is very expensive, not only that but they just don’t look right when used out of season. Embrace the season you are in and all the wonderful colours and textures that it offers! Why use pale blush in autumn when you have all the wonderful muted or rich autumnal hues available to you? Why use just white in summer when there is an abundance of joyful colour! ?

Think logistics. Often beautiful old buildings are fragile and some listed.

It’s unlikely that the venue owner will allow every wedding party that comes through to bang nails into the walls to hang things in different places, the building would soon become very damaged. So before setting your heart on something it’s a really good idea to look at where there may be existing fixings, discuss this with the venue, ask them what they allow and what kinds of things have been done before, they should be able to give you great advice on what has worked well. Do a venue visit with your florist if they are unfamiliar with it, and discuss what may or may not be possible with them, many will have lots of experience in designing mechanics for installations and will be able to give you some great ideas.

Finally, relax and enjoy the process!

Despite all the advice above ultimately, it’s important to just do what speaks to you, {but try not to follow ‘trends’ as trends soon date and become ‘untrendy’!} Try not to get too hung up on theming and small details, barns don’t need it, just simple, natural and classic will look tasteful, timeless and beautiful. If you feel overwhelmed there is no need, just let the experts you have hired do their jobs, it’s what they are trained for after all, and if you have chosen them because you love their portfolio’s (which you should have!) then trust them, they’ll give you great advice and create something amazing just for you.

The Old Barn, Kelston - behind the scenes wedding flower styling - photo by Martin Pemberton (1)

Credit: Martin Pemberton Photography

 

The Old Barn, Kelston - behind the scenes wedding flower styling - photo by Martin Pemberton (2)

Credit: Martin Pemberton Photography

 

The Old Barn, Kelston - behind the scenes wedding flower styling - photo by Martin Pemberton (3)

Credit: Martin Pemberton Photography

 

The Old Barn, Kelston - behind the scenes wedding flower styling - photo by Martin Pemberton (4)

Credit: Martin Pemberton Photography

 

The Old Barn, Kelston - behind the scenes wedding flower styling - photo by Martin Pemberton (5)

Credit: Martin Pemberton Photography

 

 

The Old Barn, Kelston - behind the scenes wedding flower styling - photo by Martin Pemberton (7)

Credit: Martin Pemberton Photography

 

The Old Barn, Kelston - behind the scenes wedding flower styling - photo by Martin Pemberton (8)

Credit: Martin Pemberton Photography

 

The Old Barn, Kelston - behind the scenes wedding flower styling - photo by Martin Pemberton (10)

Credit: Martin Pemberton Photography

 

The Old Barn, Kelston - behind the scenes wedding flower styling - photo by Martin Pemberton (11)

Credit: Martin Pemberton Photography

 

The Old Barn, Kelston - behind the scenes wedding flower styling - photo by Martin Pemberton (13)

Credit: Martin Pemberton Photography

 

The Old Barn, Kelston - behind the scenes wedding flower styling - photo by Martin Pemberton (14)

Credit: Martin Pemberton Photography

 

The Old Barn, Kelston - behind the scenes wedding flower styling - photo by Martin Pemberton (15)

Credit: Martin Pemberton Photography

 

The Old Barn, Kelston - behind the scenes wedding flower styling - photo by Martin Pemberton (17)

Credit: Martin Pemberton Photography

 

The Old Barn, Kelston - behind the scenes wedding flower styling - photo by Martin Pemberton (19)

Credit: Martin Pemberton Photography

 

The Old Barn, Kelston - behind the scenes wedding flower styling - photo by Martin Pemberton (20)

Credit: Martin Pemberton Photography

 

The Old Barn, Kelston - behind the scenes wedding flower styling - photo by Martin Pemberton (21)

Credit: Martin Pemberton Photography

 

The Old Barn, Kelston - behind the scenes wedding flower styling - photo by Martin Pemberton (22)

Credit: Martin Pemberton Photography













The Somerset Flower School offers creative workshops for brides to be and anyone wanting to explore their inner artisan using beautiful seasonal flowers and foliage. There are also opportunities for more structured and in-depth training for people considering a career change into the floristry world or professionals who may feel they have lost their creative voice and who feel in need of a little fresh inspiration!

Images created by:

https://www.thesomersetflowerschool.com

https://kelstonroundhill.com
https://walledgardenweddings.co.uk

https://www.wildspirituk.com
http://www.martinpembertonphotography.co.uk

Claire Gould

Claire spends her days writing - either in beautiful calligraphy or online. She lives on the edge of the English Lake District only minutes away from the beach, where she loves to escape and unwind. Claire's calligraphy can be found at www.byMoonandTide.com. Claire launched the English Wedding Blog in 2011 - it's been a top 10 UK wedding blog ever since, with a regional focus we hope you LOVE.

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