I must confess to having a sweet spot for Laura Ashley and the whole English country garden look after all these years. I also think that it makes a lovely inspiration for a wedding, in a slightly whimsical, vintage, quirky, shabby chic sort of way. Picture masses of freshly cut garden roses, faded florals, slightly tarnished silver bowls, mixed prints, old family pearls and brooches, fabric bunting, and maybe a couple of dogs wandering about. Get inspired by this vision of an English country garden wedding.
Flowers are certainly at the heart of any garden wedding. To capture the essence of the English country garden, think of rambling roses, thistles, heather, and lots of shades of pink. Pull it all together in loose, natural arrangements that look like you gathered the blossoms from your mum’s garden the morning of the wedding (even if you actually paid a professional florist to artfully arrange your “unarranged” flowers!). Bouquets should be soft and flowing and the centerpieces should be arranged informally in non-traditional vessels. Display flowers in an eclectic assortment of old crockery, tea cups, pitchers, tarnished silver compotes, that sort of thing. Mix and match for the best effect; nothing should look too perfect or contrived.
When decorating a wedding in the English country garden style, continue the vintage / eclectic / floral concept. Set the tables with mis-matched tea cups in different prints, use non matching sets of silver (again, not too well polished), and use pretty printed napkins or tablecloths. Best of all is the bunting: colorful banners of patterned triangles hung around the wedding for a wonderfully festive effect. You can easily make your own wedding bunting from a variety of shabby chic style prints or you can order it from a place like Etsy. The whole idea is to create a slightly thrown together look, as if you just decided to throw a party and gathered up a collection of pretty china, flowers, and other odds and ends from around the neighborhood.
Vintage style wedding attire is wonderful for the English country garden theme. Lace is an excellent choice, particularly in a tea length dress. The bride in the picture above captures the essence of the style perfectly in her vintage lace dress, pretty headpiece, and little bit of netting. We know that the British are great at carrying off fascinators and other headpieces, so feel free to choose one with a whimsical style. Keep your wedding jewelry selection simple, as this is not the place to bring on the bling. Given the typically rainy weather in England, an umbrella and a pair of Wellies are the perfect finishing details!
Finish it all off with a pretty wedding cake covered in garden flowers. The roses and hydrangeas seen on the cake above are ideal. I also like the rough frosting texture that gives the cake a homemade look. In keeping with English wedding tradition, one of the layers of this cake was a fruitcake and another was carrot cake. If you think that your American wedding guests would not go for those flavors, consider a rich spice cake instead. What a beautiful English country garden wedding you will have!