I have a garden of my own
Shining with flowers of every hue
I loved it dearly while alone
But I shall love it more with you
And there the golden bees shall come
In summer time at the break of morn
And wake up their busy hum
Around the Siha’s fragrant thorn
Thomas Moore, 1835
How romantic would it be to marry at dawn – a Spring dawn, with a glorious sunrise winking through the trees; slipping down to meet your groom in a ethereal garden laden with buds and blossoms; embracing under a canopy of thick foliage; climbing roses and towering boughs gleaming in the soft romantic glow of the early sun. It would feel like standing beneath the dome of a great cathedral and declaring your eternal love to each other with the pink and yellow sky above and the glistening sunshine all around. It would be a small gathering – circled only by the loving faces of long-familiar family and friends.
The bride would carry a simple bouquet of fragrant lavender, berries and rosemary tied with vintage lace. She would wear something so fabulous she could and indeed would wear it again and again.
Nothing welcomes Spring more beautifully than dining outside. There is nothing more splendid than a table illuminated with crystal that bounces around a confetti of coloured sunlight and overflows with all kinds of deliciousness.
So, after a relaxed but heart-warming ceremony, laughter and conversation will bubble out as guests indulge in the sweetest champagne and a precious home-made breakfast while soaking up the intoxicating scents of Spring.
On the menu – French toast sprinkled with mixed berries, buttermilk pancakes ladled with cinnamon butter syrup, soft-boiled eggs with asparagus and caviar, warm buttered rolls with salads of chicken and herbs garnished with lemon, sweet, nutty muffins, a delightful spread of cheese, fresh fruit, jams and of course, endless coffee.
For dessert – silver platters dripping with cake, cake and more cake, strawberries and cream served with more champagne, romantic French desserts and old jars still bearing faded French labels filled with truffles.
Faded grandeur and otherworldly beauty is my inspiration. The garden is a place of fantasy and guests will feel as though they were stepping out of a wardrobe and into an enchanted forest.
Antique chandeliers will hang from low branches and catch the first light of day within the crystals and time-worn mirrors with ornate frames and dull glass will lean against tree stumps, enticing you to stare deep into the magical world beyond your reflection.
Food will be served on silver platters, in etched crystal bowls and on mismatched porcelain plates. Tea will be served in dainty porcelain tea cups. An eclectic array of antique candlesticks and a confetti of blossoms and petals will be scattered across the sun-dappled table which will be draped in muslin, vintage lace and gorgeous French linens embroidered by hand.
Hand-made paper garlands made from the pages of old books will hang from the trees. Terracotta pots filled with herbs and lavender will serve as earthen centrepieces, perfuming the air with delicious aromas. The tinkling of silver spoons will chime gently to an old, record player crackling out French folk songs. Guests will be gifted with hand-made soaps and old books of poetry, gorgeously wrapped in lavishly patterned voile and richly-coloured ribbon.
After a slow and sumptuous breakfast, the happy couple will retreat to a quiet corner; with the sun now high and hot, they find coolness in the shade of a big, handsome tree; they stare into the heavens and smile...
"Ah, what happiness it is to be with people who are all happy, to press hands, press cheeks, smile into eyes…And the perfect afternoon slowly ripened, slowly faded, slowly its petals closed".
(Extract from The Garden Party by Katherine Mansfield, 1922)