Ulster born Shane Connolly, who is renowned for his beautiful floral creations at the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, offers an insight into the grand occasion
Shane Connolly designed the flowers for the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall for the Service of Dedication in St. George’s Chapel in 2005 and in 2011 was appointed artistic director of flowers for the wedding of the HRH Duke and HRH Duchess of Cambridge, including the bridal bouquet and headdresses for the Duchess of Cambridge and her bridesmaids.
Was he nervous doing the flowers for such an auspicious occasion?
‘‘Not until two days before. I think the thing that makes anybody nervous is the press - because I felt like it was just a lovely, normal family wedding and then suddenly you get asked questions by the press. I remember one of them asking ‘how do you feel thinking that millions of people are going to see your work?’ I hadn’t thought of that at all. You just don’t.
‘‘I knew that it was pretty epic to be asked but I was more concerned about the logistics. You spend time with the bride and you spend time talking about things, but you don’t think of Joe Public having an opinion.’’
HRH Duchess of Cambridge’s bouquet was small and subtle, dominated by whites and a little greenery.
‘‘Everything was British, everything was seasonal and everything was from the Royal estate.
‘‘She had Lily of the Valley, a little touch of hyacinth, because in the language of flowers they symbolise the constancy of love and we thought that was a nice message, and she had some Sweet William, which was a bit fun.’’
Shane was also responsible for the avenue of trees in Westminster Abbey - field maples and hornbeams.
‘‘Nature decided that the trees weren’t going to be blossom trees that they were going to be green trees, because it was a really hot spring that year, so we were not in control of that.
‘‘The Duchess of Cambridge didn’t mind at all, luckily. I’ve had brides hyperventilate over the shade of pink, never mind to suddenly tell somebody, by the way, you’re not going to have blossom. She was fine, she said ‘oh well, that’s great’. She was a very calm bride. Incredibly calm.’’
After the ceremony, everything was replanted, recycled or composted.