by BRÆR Studio·
When we were invited to be involved in the 10th Annual Byron Bay Wedding Fair we began dreaming up an installation we had in our mind for quite some time…
An opportunity to dream up something big and bright doesn't come by often and when we were asked to create something at The Earth House we took inspiration from the design of the building, made entirely of rammed earth and wood. The Byron Bay Wedding Fair is held in deep winter, when weddings and events are slower in our region so naturally we were thinking of winter blooming flowers we could forage or purchase from local farms.
We started the design by sketching some ideas down on paper and discussing it with the team at Byron Bay Weddings to ensure our visions aligned. This part in the planning process is unpredictable as we rarely know until the installation day which final materials we will be working with. There are so many variables working with flowers, the shape of the flowers, colour-tone and size of the bunch or branches will dictate how we can work with the material. The idea to make a tornado shape in the middle of the Earth House was to mimic the pitched roof shape and create soft movement against the earthen walls.
We chose to work with Acacia Podalyriifolia or typically called Queensland silver wattle which we hoped would be bursting everywhere in late June, but due to the strange seasons lately and the non-stop rain early in the year it wasn’t popping in our usual foraging places. So we hit the road and headed south west to cooler & dryer areas.
We returned, the van filled to the brim with bright yellow wattle and wearing our thrifted colourful berets (perfect for foraging) feeling like we were living in a Wes Anderson film. Sometimes the places the flowers take us are just like a dream. We are always grateful for what nature provides and when foraging we never snip flowers from national parks or private gardens (unless we have permission).
The next step was to remove all of the silver leaves from the branches, leaving only the yellow pom-pom flowers. This took over 8 hours with our team so we could start hanging the wattle cloud on the frame. We worked late into the evening before the event making sure the flowers looked effortless and ethereal for the following day.
When we design flowers we are thinking about how we can create something with a sense of movement and the feeling of effortlessness. We don't use floral foam in our designs at Braer so our floral creations are able to be easily composted at the end of their short life and excess plastic is avoided. The mechanics behind floristry is an art in itself. There is so much that goes in to a design in the pre-production stage, from the rigging of the flowers, the vessels to hold the flowers, the possibility of wind, extreme heat or rain on the day and how it might affect the designs. We are always learning from each work of art we create, the response of the client and the final produced work versus our expectations.
We simplified the colour palette for maximum impact in this design with just two hero colours of yellow and vibrant purple. We used colours opposite on the colour wheel and flowers and other botanicals that work within these tones. For the arrangements to flank either side of the fire place inside we created free-standing organic shaped sculptures with over 40 bunches of golden rod flower. We created a wire base to place on top of clear perspex plinths provided by the Wedding Shed and covered them in hundreds of stems of golden rod flower. We chose golden rod because it dries beautifully and doesn't require being water sourced to maintain its form. We picked lemons from the Earth House's citrus orchard and placed them around the yellow floral sculptures.
We sourced "blue" iris grown in Victoria for the ceremony space with local dried almond branches and native grasses. The iris were placed in shallow trays of water filled with rocks to weigh them down. The almond branches were wired together in a tangled thicket and some light sand coloured grasses were used to cover the mechanics and blow in the wind.
The tables were dressed elegantly by The Wedding Shed with calligraphy stationery by The Black Line Bottega. We chose to keep the focus on the suspended wattle cloud opting for interesting yellow quince along the long tables instead of flowers.
We think yellow is a fitting colour to evoke a feeling of ethereal beauty and softness. Flowers are such a special part of the wedding tradition. Flowers are chosen to tell a story in some of our most significant life events. Wedding flowers will live on in photos with loved ones and dear friends forever.
by Mary Oliver from Evidence (Beacon Press)
There is the heaven we enter
through institutional grace
and there are the yellow finches bathing and singing
in the lowly puddle.