In the U.K. we are often surprised and sometimes shocked when brides walk up the aisle wearing a red, pink or even purple dress. As a society we have become accustomed to wedding dresses being white, ivory or cream but this is only a recent tradition.
Wearing a white dress is thought of as a symbol of purity but this is not the case. It was in fact a sign of wealth. In the 18th and 19th Century, when washing was painstakingly done by hand – scrubbed on a washboard to remove stains, a white dress was virtually impossible to clean. It was simply a garment that could only be worn once so the wearers were only the very affluent and wealthy.
It was the royal wedding of Queen Victoria to Prince Albert where today’s fashion of wearing white really began. Victoria wore a white dress, which was seen as unusual at the time. It was more traditional for brides to wear colours, with gold or silver embroidery running throughout their gowns. Instead She opted for a white silk dress, made from silk spun at Spitalfields in London, and added some rather beautiful Honiton lace from Devon.
Victoria loved her wedding dress so much that she wore if many times which resulted in her dress becoming so well known. She also had a christening gown made from the same fabric for her daughter and her subsequent grandchildren to great great grandchildren wore it for their christening services.
When some society brides are spending in excess of £30,000 for their dress it is refreshing to read about weddings such as Keira Knightley’s who chose to to wear a dress she had worn (and been photographed in) already. “I’d worn the dress lots. It was my something old” she said. “I just wanted to be in something I had had a great time in, something I would have a great time in again.”
At the end of the day it really doesn’t matter how much your dress costs; whether it is old or new; white or shocking pink. Wear what you love!
With it being Valentine’s Day we have been looking at the tradition of Valentine’s greetings. These were in fact popular as far back as the Middle Ages from about C1400. At about the same time the first written Valentine was put on paper The Pilgrims Rest herself was also being built adjacent to Battle Abbey.
Over the centuries 600 Valentine’s may have been written from within the walls of this historic house; 600 smiles may have crept across the faces of young (and old) lovers. How many of those Valentine’s might have turned into marriage proposals?
We describe The Pilgrims Rest as having historic soul and you can probably understand why. We love to think of all those people who have lived, laughed and loved under her eaves – it is what makes her special and far more than just an old building.
So, to add to many hundred Valentine’s wishes already sent we would like to say …
“A Very Happy Valentine’s Day” from all of us at The Pilgrims Rest!
When we made the decision to re-launch The Pilgrims Rest as a wedding venue we wanted to work with young businesses as well as enthusiastic older ones. We were delighted to discover that Cara who had opened a flower shop from her shepherd’s hut at Great Park Farm in Catsfield had decided to branch out into wedding floristry.
Cara’s enthusiasm for all things floral is infectious which, alongside her talent for floristy is why we recommend her so highly. We interviewed her last week to find out how her business started but, more importantly how her love of flowers all began…
“My love of flowers and becoming a florist all began as a little girl helping my Granny tend to her beautiful English country garden. If I worked really hard, I was allowed to collect some eggs from the hens & pick myself a beautiful bouquet full of scented flowers (even back then, I’d make a bee-line for her David Austin Roses!).
Each year we would open the garden to the public & serve cream teas on the lawn where I filled little jugs with flowers from the garden & place them on the tables as pretty center pieces. This was my first taste of seeing the effects flowers have on people, the visitors always seemed happy in the garden & I’m sure the birds & bee’s were smiling too!
My love of the outdoors stayed with me into my adulthood, where I was lucky enough to be selected to return a rundown estate garden back to it’s former glory for the public to enjoy.
I worked from very old plans left by former gardeners & managed to get the Rose garden looking beautiful once more. Working around the Roses alluring scent proved too tempting for me; once more I found myself rewarding my efforts by picking the most gorgeous seasonal blooms & making myself a bouquet to go along with my end of week pay packet!
It was then I decided I needed to do something about my flowery fetish & enrolled at flower school where I finally became a florist!
My favourite flowers in a bouquet are of course, roses. The beautiful natural garden varieties such as 'Sweet Juliet’ & 'Gertrude Jekyll' are among my favourites. I also have a soft spot for Spring flowers. To me, they bring hope & promise of brighter days ahead.
Ranunculus are my absolute favourite flower in all their beautiful silky textured shades. I also love Anemones, again for their cheery variety of colours and Narcissi varieties such as “Paper Whites & Winston Churchill” for their sweet scent. Ohhh! did I mention Peonies?..!”
Look out for our future “Pilgrims Loves” articles where will shall be letting you know Cara’s top tips for wedding flowers and her views on flower trends for 2017.
For enquiries please see Cara's website www.theenchantedflower.co.uk