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  • Writer's pictureSteph & Tim

Which type of Wedding Flowers for you...Fresh or Artificial?

Updated: Feb 22, 2019

A Bride recently asked me the difference between real and artificial flowers...

I was puzzled how to react as a Master Florist after all high quality fresh flowers have been my life and to be honest there is nothing so beautiful, however, I do recognise that artificial flowers do have their place and have great advantages in wedding celebrations.

Chirpee Flowers can provide you with fresh, or faux flowers, they were originally named silk flowers, when they were first imported from China, they were made from actual silk, but very few are made from silk fabrics today.

A brief history lesson with a little quiz.........

About 1,500 years ago, the Chinese began using silk to craft artificial flowers. The ladies of the Imperial Palace ordered silk flowers to be worn in their hair. The practice spread to the wealthy courtesans who followed the Royal trends. In the 12th century Italian traders began crafting artificial flowers using silkworm cocoons. Though the Italians made silk flowers first in Europe, their French neighbours soon followed suit.

By the 15th century, French-made faux flowers were considered the best. Following the French Revolution, many artisans fled to England, spreading their craft to the British. Eventually, English settlers brought silk flowers to America.

With the opulence of the Victorian era came lavish floral arrangements of both faux and live flowers. Many were made of silk, but craftsmen used a number of other materials to make them too, including satin, wax,velvet, muslin, cambric, crepe and gauze. They were incredibly delicate.

The leaves of fabric were pressed in special moulds, to imprint them with the structure of a petal, the veins and texture. Every petal was shaped. Obviously real flowers have concave petals, not flat ones, so the flower-makers would have a tool with a round metal ball on the end, and heat it over a spirit lamp. Then they would press the petal to shape it around the ball. Excerpt from: "The lost art of flower making" Museum of London.

Dies and cutters from the Victorian era

By 1920, florists were supplementing live blooms with silk flowers to make up for shortages when flowers were out of season, especially in the long Winter months.

Modern good quality faux flowers, instead of being an artistic interpretation of the real thing, so closely mirror live blooms that many can’t tell the difference without a very close look.

Faux flowers are once again enjoying a greater popularity with couples often wanting to keep their flowers or to take them on destination weddings. The recent addition of "Real touch" flowers have a coating on their petals to even replicate the feel of real flowers.

Sometimes we use a mixture of both if a favourite flower is out of season, with the couples permission of course. Saying that, the majority of our wedding couples choose fresh flowers to be designed and and styled for them.

If asked for artificial flowers we only use high quality faux flowers which are accredited for realism by the British Florist Association, this is the National Trade body for quality in UK Floristry.

See if you can spot them in the photos below.

Real Flowers - Natures' beauties... their amazing features:

* Fragrance.

* Transience

* Subtle and wide range of colour choices.

* Beauty.

* Movement.

* Wide range of sizes, forms, textures.

* Huge range of flowers to choose from.

* Eco-friendly.

* Bio-degradable.

Real flowers - Things to consider...

* Can be difficult to work with.

* A skilled and qualified florist is essential for your special day.

* Great care has to be taken as flowers are delicate.

*There are people who are allergic to flowers/pollen

* Can be expensive when out of season.

* For bouquets choose carefully, colour themes and size.

* Sadly don't last forever...but are always a WOW!

Faux Flowers - Points to consider...

* The flowers can be kept afterwards.

* Bouquets can be prepared for you beforehand.

* Headdresses and Bouquets can be used for practice before the wedding.

* Large constructions can be made and put in place before the wedding

i.e. flower walls, ceiling decorations,arches. another choice is to mix fresh and faux.

* Faux flowers are lightweight.

* High quality faux flowers can be very realistic.

* Great for allergy sufferers

Faux Flowers - Worth thinking about...

* No fragrance - unless perfume is added.

* Not a lot of movement - wedding bouquets are quite static.

* Lack of texture.

* Limited forms and shapes.

* Can be more expensive than fresh flowers.

* Restricted colour choices.

* Only choose high quality

* Stems are often very large and chunky.

* Not eco-friendly due to plastic parts.

* Not bio-degradable

Comparison of cost

Clients often ask how the price compares and as with most things it comes down to quality and availability of the product.

If you choose fresh flowers that are out of season they will be more expensive than artificial.

However if you choose the cheaper artificial imports made from mixed polyester fabrics they will be cheaper, because of the quality of the product.

The very best quality faux flowers can be up to double the cost of fresh flowers, but you can appreciate the difference. It always comes down to what you choose.

Can you tell the difference?

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Did you guess correctly? Do send send your guesses/comments to:

Want to learn how they made flowers in Victorian times? Check out this amazing article from The Museum of London "The lost art of flowers making "

Photo Credit: The Museum of London - Victorian fabric flowers

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