Well, excitement is in the air across the Commonwealth, as the spectacle of another royal wedding is upon us! Millions are waiting for the first glimpse of the groom, er, I mean bride, and her gown, and for florists all over, a look at her bouquet! Dutchess Catherine’s bouquet was pretty understated compared to what royals before her carried. Remember Princess Diana and her massive cascade of flowers? I think she carried that to make her groom’s ears look smaller.

There’s a lot of time, energy, and money that goes into creating any wedding, as we all know, so just try and imagine what it takes for a royal wedding! When royalty get married, it’s pretty much “all hands on deck!” I should know: when David and I wed, it was a madhouse of activity. Imagine having to do flowers for us?!
The flowers at William and Kate’s wedding cost about $800,000, give or take a rose or so. It’s predicted that this one will cost a little less. The royal family is paying for the flowers themselves, so there’s that to consider I suppose. I think the bride-to-be “likes” pretty things (except having her hair done!), so time will tell how understated this affair will be. I contacted the appointed florist, but unsurprisingly, I didn’t get a reply.

I fantasize sometimes about what I would do for this couple’s wedding and have been asked by many. After the initial shock of it all, I think I would suggest a beautiful and colourful selection of flowers from many of the Commonwealth countries, with a Tropical Nouveau feel, and a bit of a cascade of course. They probably will go for a more traditional look using white product, but whatever they have, it’s gonna be quite something! Of course, there will be a sprig of myrtle in the bouquet, which is a tradition now for British royal brides. You know, there is also a second bouquet, so at no time will the bride be seen with wilted or otherwise diminished flowers.

“Protocol” is a massively important word in the world of weddings and one that I, as many of you know, don’t follow much. However, when doing work for royalty, adhering to a strict set of rules and traditions is pretty much a must. When I’ve designed for the British royal family, I had to have conversations with the Office of Protocol and the Office of the Lieutenant Governor. We needed to hammer out likes, dislikes, where the flowers are to go, what the flowers will be, the precise colours wanted, and where the flowers will come from. When I placed each arrangement—after being checked out ahead of time by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, of course—I was escorted about by handsome officers, and took great care not to miss a stray petal. ALL EYES would be on these flowers—no pressure at all, ha! Imagine the Queen getting a thorn in her thumb or having a sneeze because of MY flowers! The SCANDAL!

Honestly, creating floral designs for monarchs is tons of fun, but, at the same time, more stressful than trying to fit back into your spring clothes after Christmas!

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Neville MacKay
Neville MacKay, CAFA, PFCI, WFC is the owner of My Mother's Bloomers in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and a design director with Smithers-Oasis North America. He designed flowers for the 1988 Winter Olympics, as well as a long list of celebrities including Glen Close, Sir Elton John, and members of the British Royal Family. MacKay appears regularly on Canadian TV and travels internationally giving presentations about the impact of flowers.
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