A Flash of Inspiration | The Wedding Bouquet: Just Married


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The Wedding Bouquet: Just Married

February 06, 2015  •  7 Comments

Around November time last year I contemplated starting 2015 with a  project dedicated to photography with a theme along the lines of capturing  beauty in imperfection. Ideas swirled round and round in my head and stayed there. It was frustrating. To be truthful I had other matters on my mind. My health took a blow last year and I was determined to be fighting fit for a special event at the end of January, plus I had a designer  dress I needed to fit into! I enlisted the help of a personal trainer and set out on a regime of exercise and healthy eating - I'll tell you all about that 'transformation' another time. My Weekend Walks still happened but I struggled to squeeze in the time to sort through the photos and write. I have a backlog but I'm unsure what to do with them.

So last weekend my eldest son got married. All the planning came together perfectly and the families celebrated a most beautiful wedding. The following day I felt a little deflated. I wandered around the house aimlessly. I blew the healthy diet with pizza and left-over wedding cake. My lycra exercise kit lay in a pile on the floor. I'd let all my camera batteries run low. After wallowing for a while I decided to stop feeling sorry for myself and 'have a creative day' the following Wednesday - to reclaim my studio and creative space which had played host to the wedding dress in the previous weeks. Oh my... it had been so stressful keeping the adventurous climbing kitten out of that room! 

Late Monday evening I was texting to and fro with my friend B. She'd commented on the wedding flowers. I felt like I'd been hit by a bolt of lightning. There was the subject of my creative project right under my nose and I'd only just realised. 

Our conversation ran like this:

B. "The flowers are gorgeous too, love the hydrangeas"

Me: 'Yes I have one of those vases of flowers - they're beautiful. I'm going to photograph them on Wednesday and then as they fade - a wabi-sabi sort of thing!"

B: " Wabi sabi??"

Me: "Along the lines of beauty in imperfection - I love photographing flowers as they start to fade and dry out - lots of lovely tones and textures. Hmmm… I have an idea for a series - this will keep me out of mischief for a long time! Lol"

B: "Glad you know what you're doing. I'm baffled!"

Me: I'm thinking A Year in the Life of a Wedding Bouquet or something along those lines. It's been a long day!"

B:"The hydrangeas will last forever, I love them in winter."

Me: "Exactly. So do I."

And so the project emerged.

The Wedding Flowers.

Fading Beauty!

As a starting point I thought it best to at least capture the bouquet whilst still fresh and 'perfect' . Well I hadn't reckoned on the kitten getting to it first! 

Little Olive is not so sweet and innocent as her appearance would suggest. She'd had great fun swatting the grasses and stems with her paw. 

The wedding venue was the Belle Epoque in Knutsford, Cheshire. The historic merchant's  house which was built in the early 1900s and decorated in Art Nouveau style was the perfect backdrop to the rich blues and purples in the bouquet.


I expect the long-term star of the project will be the blue hydrangeas. I'm wondering the best way of drying them so that the colour is preserved? Any advice would be welcome!

The roses are just starting to crinkle around the edges. They don't last long in a perfect condition do they?

I have plenty of vintage vases and bottles for still-life photography.

This photo gives a hint of my vintage lemonade bottle. It has an interesting history so I'll dedicate a shoot to it further into the project.

And a final thought...

My thanks to B. for accidentally getting my idea on track! I'm not sure where it will lead creatively but my mind is open to explore.


PS Weekend Walks will be back next week. It's my birthday and so the perfect excuse to go on an extra special walk of my choice! 



I've only dried hydrangeas once. I used the technique suggested by Debbie, letting the water evaporate from the vase, which I'd read about online. They turned out beautifully. Mine were purple rather than blue; the color darkened a little but was otherwise preserved. I'm looking forward to following your project!
Cathy H(non-registered)
A lovely wedding bouquet! I'm intrigued by your project to photography them this year! Hydrangeas always dry well, but I wonder what the others will look like in their drying stages. Happy Birthday to you!
Happy Birthday! You have had so much going on in the last little while. I know that feeling of being deflated after a big event. It takes a while to recover, you did great recovering so soon. It will be great fun to watch this bouquet through the year. And putting to use your still life exercises. I look forward to your walks returning. I went out yesterday and got some good stuff, but I am growing weary of the cold and the snow. Still trying to make the best of it though mainly because I don't have a choice.
Viv Halliwell(non-registered)
A great idea for a project so love the colours Helen...
Kelly L McKenzie(non-registered)
Yay! I'm so glad you were hit by your thunderbolt of an idea. I look forward to seeing it unfold here. I had success with drying hydrangeas for the first time this year by doing it the Martha Stewart way as suggested by Debbie. Happened upon it accidentally! Put them in a bit of water and then basically forgot about them.
Ms. Olive is so sweet looking - funny how the sweet looking ones can cause all the mischief!
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