Fake news: the rise of the faux flower

There’s nothing suspect about artificial flowers – you’ll have the pick of the bunch and an enduring keepsake

Sister company to the fabulous Floral Menagerie, Floral Renegade’s faux flower creations are absolutely gorgeous Photo: Tub of Jelly

Remember those beautifully sunny days we enjoyed at the end of May? That scorching bank holiday weekend reached highs of 26 degrees! For some sun-worshippers, that’s a dream scenario.

For me, it’s a recipe for endless sneezing, an itchy throat and stinging, watering eyes. As much as I adore the summer and the chance to soak up some vitamin D, I’m knocked out every year by hay fever and allergies. Freshly cut grass and bee-loving blossoms turn into my deadly enemies. I’m not alone – an estimated 25% of people in Britain suffer just as much. So what happens if you’re all set to tie the knot and it’s expected you’ll carry a pollen-infested posy two feet away from your nostrils? It’s time to fake it till you make it, honey!

Faux wedding flowers are not a new phenomenon. Gigha Lennox, owner of silk floral studio Meadow Isle, has loved the artificial substitutes since she and her sisters were children. “My mum had a synthetic bouquet for her wedding 35 years ago and it’s still in amazing condition – despite the abuse it suffered as a central prop in three little girls’ fake weddings!” she explains.

This vibrant rose and wildflower bouquet by Silk Blooms will last a lifetime

And that’s what so many people love about an everlasting wedding bouquet: it’s durable. “You’ll have it long after the party’s over,” rejoices Lisa Gaston, whose recently launched brand, Floral Renegade, is already making waves. “If you lay your flowers down and Uncle Bob accidentally sits on them, it’s not a problem!” Simply shift him out the road, fluff up the fleurs and you’re good to go.

There’s no risk of wilting, unlike the real deal. “Artificial flowers will look just as beautiful at the end of the day as they did at the beginning,” points out Fiona Kirk, the talented hands behind Brides2Bouquets

And, she adds, their long-lasting nature and stability means you can travel easily with them: “A bride marrying abroad then returning home for a party will be able to show off her bouquet at both occasions.”

A little like fresh flowers, the price you pay depends on size and quantity. “Our fresh lilac bouquet which features roses, thistles and bouvardia starts at £45. However, our larger shower bouquet is made of silk roses, hydrangeas, syringe and stephanotis and that begins at £60,” explains Anne-Marie Smith of Lanark’s Flowers of Scotland.

Quality affects price too, says Gigha. “I always try to source premium faux flowers which usually cost the same to source as fresh blooms.”

Artificial flowers are chosen and arranged just like real ones, so research your ideas and think about what you’d like before you approach your florist. “More often than not, couples come to us with something already in mind,” mentions Mara Rose Naismith, master florist at Silk Blooms, whose clients include Givenchy, Taylor Swift and Vera Wang. “Many also send us pictures of bouquets they’d like replicated.”

Gigha enjoys the process of putting ideas together. “I like to meet the couple to find out about their inspiration for their whole day,” she says. “I have sample bouquets in my studio which they can hold and see up close, so they can discover which styles they feel comfortable with.”

Thanks to Meadow Isle’s creations, this bride and her ’maids have a botanical memento of the big day. Photo: Jo Donaldson Photography

Not only will such a meeting give you a feel for how your flowers will look, but your florist can provide some expert advice. “Consultations are great fun,” comments Fiona. “The conversation flows and I listen to what is being said, making suggestions to try to bring in the couple’s style and personality to their arrangements.”

Still need convincing? “If a bride is undecided, we offer a service whereby we make a faux bouquet to her requirements ahead of the wedding to allow her to choose this or go for the fresh alternative,” reassures Anne-Marie.

You might wonder if people can tell at a glance that fake flowers aren’t real. “They definitely can’t,” says Gigha. “I have been at many wedding fairs where people approach me thinking my bouquets are fresh, only to be amazed that they are faux. I’ve also arrived at venues to be asked if they should put the flowers in water.”

Going faux means you can tick blooms off your list much earlier than their live counterparts. “You can order silk flowers well in advance and be safe in the knowledge that they will be ready weeks before your wedding,” reassures Mara.

It’s not just bouquets you can have whipped up either. “They come in all sizes so we can use shorter flowers for pew ends, medium-sized ones for alter arrangements and larger-stemmed options for pedestals or tall vases,” adds Anne-Marie. “They can be stunning used in archways, wrapped around columns or trailing over a staircase too.”

More beaut blooms by Floral Renegade. Photo: Tub of Jelly

Do you want to have your favourite flower in your wedding bouquet? Of course you do. But what if it simply doesn’t grow at that time of year? Your florist can’t work around Mother Nature. With the artificial variety, on the other hand, you can kiss goodbye to disappointment. “We can create absolutely any flower,” promises Mara. “We have a massive array of options and colours available.”

One variety that so many brides covet is the peony, that big, glamorous bloom that looks so stunning in a bouquet. Alas, it only flowers from April to June, ruling it out of weddings for the rest of the year – unless you choose silk. “You want them in October? No bother!” smiles Lisa.

“Peonies are among my favourites,” says Fiona, “and if they’re artificial, they’ll always be in season.” What’s more, she says, the fake options have come a long way and look really impressive. “I am very particular about the flowers I use – they must be of good quality and have a fresh look.” 

With a lot of effort, it’s possible to preserve some real blooms, but, says Lisa, “Faux flowers last ‘faux-ever’ – just like a marriage. It seems very fitting.”