Floral stylist and author of Living with Flowers Rowan Lewis of Rowan Blossom and Johnny Gilmour met at the tender age of 16. “We really are the old cliché childhood sweethearts,” she says. Right before her 30th birthday on June 10th, Johnny surprised her with a weekend getaway to Marrakesh. “An incredibly sweet and romantic gesture, as our first travels together as teenagers was a road trip through Spain and Morocco.” After a full day adventuring, they took a stroll through a private rose garden at Dar Zemora, and he got down on one knee with “the sparkliest diamond” Rowan had ever set her eyes on.
Since Rowan’s parents were married at Our Lady and St Theresa in Painswick, Gloucestershire, and the bride was baptized there, hosting their May 25th, 2019 ceremony at the church was a no-brainer. “There is no pomp or ostentatious decoration, which meant we could go wild with the florals!” Rowan exclaims. Following in her parents’ footsteps, after the service, there was a champagne reception on the lawn at The Painswick, and from there, guests walked through the village to their family home. Dinner and dancing was held in a candy-striped and pink-carpeted marquee, designed by County Marquees, nestled in the secret garden of the house.
Below, Rowan shares more details on her custom Sewn Right dress, her Elizabeth Taylor-inspired headdress, style tips for brides-to-be, and more!
How did you choose what you wore?
“We did the usual routine of going to the swishy bridal atelier appointments to try dresses on, but this was more for the fun of it really, as I always knew I wanted to wear something completely unique and bespoke. I met Charlotte Sweet of Sewn Right many years ago, and she was at the forefront of my mind when I was trying to find someone to bring my design to life!”
“I knew what I wanted, and Charlotte completely captured my dream dress. It needed drama, froth, frills, puffball sleeves, and feathers aplenty—200 meters of which were sourced and specially dyed in Mumbai! I also knew that I wanted there to be an element of surprise with the dress, so we built in a little secret to the design, and it transformed into a mini party dress for the evening, perfect for dancing the night away!”
Can you walk us through your thought process for accessories?
“Elizabeth Taylor’s 1964 wedding to Richard Burton was one of my main inspirations when it came to the headdress I wore, and the flamboyant flower crown my team created for me was exactly this and totally fabulous! It was made using white fluffy peonies and garden roses, which smelt divine, all painstakingly wired by hand! The bouquet I carried used the same blooms, along with sweetpeas and dainty Lily of the Valley, and most amazingly, a special surprise inclusion of real life Rowan Blossom! I mean, I don’t even know where or how my florist team magicked that up, but it seriously brought tears to my eyes!”
Any style or dress trips you’d give a bride-to-be?
“Embrace your biggest dreams, inspirations, and wildest whimsies, and curate a day that is totally, unashamedly 100% YOU and your fiancé! This is your day to sparkle and shine, so try to be original, don’t listen to anyone else, and follow your heart! This might mean avoiding falling down the classic Pinterest hole if you can…and above all, be present and enjoy every single minute, as the day will absolutely flash before your eyes!”
What was your favorite part of the reception?
“My favorite part of the reception was entering our sparkling marquee in my little feather mini dress, which was a surprise to all! And, of course, Johnny’s speech which made everyone cry!”
Did anything funny or unexpected happen?
“Yes, a fair few comedic mishaps!
1. The best man broke his leg the night before the wedding! He was a true soldier and managed our entire wedding day on his feet, hobbling around but keeping a great big smile plastered across his face—and only revealed the following day the full horror—my father’s a doctor and was in on the secret, and kept him dosed up with plenty of meds, so he could smile through the pain!
2. Moments before being collected to go to the ceremony, my father and I, who were the only people left in the house by this point, decided to practice removing the veil, which had been expertly pinned in by the hairdresser. With a little too much enthusiasm, he ended up pulling the whole veil off!!!
3. The marquee was built over a pond in our garden, which we filled with rose petals—so beautiful! Despite a warning from my father in his speech, a merry wedding guest accidentally took a midnight dip whilst dancing around and had a very soggy rest of the evening!”
What’s one piece of marriage advice you like to give out?
“Cherish each other and each day.”