Making Memories At Unforgettable Summber Balls
May and June play host to lots of special evenings amongst the Oxford Colleges. An evening where only black tie and elegant ball gowns are on the menu, drinks a plenty and thousands of students enter the doors into the renowned Oxford Balls.
We have had the privilege of working on many different briefs allowing us to use our broad range of creative skills along with Sarah’s Art and design background to erect some impressive floral installations. In some of the finest architectural buildings in Oxford. From floral walls and archways to provide a perfect backdrop for photographs, to giant urns and gladiator mannequins providing a unique welcome to the many guests, and transforming dinning halls into themed banquets.
Oxford is the most wonderful setting for these grand occasions and our first ball took us to St Hugh’s College, where we designed two pedestals that lined the red carpet entrance that greeted guests to the ball. They were full of seasonal flowers such as gladioli, delphiniums, stocks, antirrhinums as well as a whole mixture of foliages.
We then designed two huge arrangements which completely transformed one of the first spaces the guests visited. Full of seasonal delights such as British foliages, white lilac, white delphiniums, gladioli, stocks and ruby red hydrangeas.
Our following weekend saw host to Balliol College, St Hilda’s and Brasenose College. Each of these balls presented very different themes and along with my dream team we created some simply stunning pieces.
Armed with a flower wall, a floral lined walk way and 6 pedestals the Balliol ball committee were a pleasure to work for.
St Hilda’s College
In one of the most beautiful settings looking out over the river where people were happily enjoying the warm British spring days in the punts and little rowing boats. We were just set back from the river bank, and it was simply quintessentially British! Our floral arch made for the perfect backdrop for couples and groups of friends to take photographs by which to remember a great evening.
Being able to get creative with florals and fashion working with the committee we designed an stunning welcome of gladiator mannequins, whilst transforming the dining hall into a ancient greek themed banquet in olive greens and gold.
Up next was Christ Church, probably one of Oxford’s most famous colleges, being the setting for some of the Harry Potter films. With grounds that are unbelievably stunning attracting hundreds of tourists everyday! The ball was based around ‘The Seasons’ and we were designated ‘Spring Quod’ where we went all out designing a 8 ft by 15 ft flower wall. Made totally of natural flower material in a pretty mix of whites, pinks and pale yellows using flowers such as, peonies, roses, hydrangeas, chrysanthemums, carnations, campanula and delphiniums all tied together with British foliages.
Although we had been designated ‘Spring’ there was nothing spring about the weather… with over 30 degrees scorching sunshine we battled to keep the flowers hydrated whilst flaking ourselves! This tedious task was maintained perfectly with the utter dedication of Mick (my loving Daddy!) who filled our trusted watering can hundreds of times throughout the day! I couldn’t have pulled this installation off without my absolute team of gems- a huge thank you! But WOW what a photo backdrop!!
Last but by certainly no means least came St John’s and Worcester College. St John’s took their guests for a evening of fun at the circus, so we had to come up with something bold, bright and full of colour… so here’s our take of hot air balloons!
Having previously had the privilege of working at all the above Colleges the one that had me most excited was Worcester College. From the first site meeting with the wonderful committee members I knew we were going to be in for a treat! The grounds at Worcester are truly something else, maintained to the highest of standards by the dedicated head gardener Simon and his team. So it was only fitting to create designs which had a natural feel, incorporating the visual delights of the grounds into our final pieces.
Large British Foliage filled the entrance gateway leading guests into the cloisters which were filled with 4 huge naturally over flowing foliage based Urns with gladioli, delphiniums, stocks and hydrangeas.
The tranquil bridge that leads over the lake and water feature, was lined with double garlands full of many different shades and textures of foliages to be in keeping with the gorgeous backdrop.
And finally filling the ‘Chill out’ quod sitting just behind the College’s orchard was twisting garlands with a classic colour scheme of white and green with a splash of pink.
It was the perfect end to what has been a wonderful few months packed with college balls, each one was a pleasure to be part of, and yes there is nothing more satisfying than to see the months of designs and planning come to life to be enjoyed by thousands of students making fond memories with unforgettable nights! Now someone pass the champers, my team thoroughly deserve some!
love, sarah x