How many flowers do you need for a six-day wedding? Bucketloads, flower arranger Cynthia Scott, who was lucky enough to be invited to a Hindu society ceremony, tells Sharon Griffiths.

CYNTHIA SCOTT says it with flowers - even half a world away. Already known as one of the top flower arrangers in the North-East, now Cynthia is making a new name for herself in India.

Cynthia, who lives in School Aycliffe, was founder of the both the Shildon and Sedgefield flower clubs, gives classes twice a week, has organised many flower festivals including large scale events in Durham Cathedral and Raby Castle, and also worked on the flowers for Prince Andrew's wedding at Westminster Abbey.

But earlier this year she branched out and spent a month in Oman and India, giving workshops and demonstrations as well as helping do the flowers for a top Hindu society wedding.

"The celebrations in Oman went on for six days with lunchtime and evening functions hosted by members of both families. On the actual wedding day there were 3,000 people at the evening reception at a seven-star hotel. The bride changed her outfit six times and each time she changed all her jewellery too. It was breathtaking.

"Every morning in the week beforehand people gathered at the house and we all worked on the flower displays for the house on the big day. At the hotel, the flowers were done by a top florist from Dubai and I worked with him too."

The bridegroom entered the wedding ceremony in the traditional Hindu way, on a white horse.

"The display lining his route in the entrance way alone took over 1,000 red carnations. Then there were 100 tables, each with its own huge individual decorations. Stunning. There were flowers everywhere and all very up-to-date styling."

Cynthia, in celebratory sari, was there as a friend and guest as well, and joined in all the celebrations, including one evening in the country. "They said we were going to a farm, but actually it looked more like Hyde Park - an enormous house and gardens, all lit up with huge displays of lights."

The wedding over, from Muscat Cynthia flew to Delhi. "What a contrast. Everything in Oman was white and absolutely immaculate. Delhi was all hustle and bustle and chaos."

There she gave demonstrations to a top floristry company. "They use lots of things like tuber roses, which grow almost like weeds out there. They also have lots of orchids, lilies, gladioli, and wonderful foliage. But they use flowers a lot every day, weaving garlands or taking them whenever they go to the temples.

"But what I couldn't get used to was seeing wallflowers and dahlias growing at the same time of year. It seemed very strange."

Cynthia's invitation to India had come from Kavita Poddar, a member of the PushpaBitan flower club in Calcutta , who had first met Cynthia when they had adjacent stands while exhibiting at Chelsea Flower Show some years ago. She had visited Cynthia in County Durham, competed in Harrogate, accompanied Cynthia when she was doing some judging for Northumbria in Bloom and then reciprocated with the invitation to India and the wedding in Oman.

In Calcutta, Cynthia gave a number of workshops and demonstrations and her energy and enthusiasm turned her into quite a celebrity, with her picture in the papers and a number of interviews, smiling happily with groups of sari-clad ladies.

"The designs and styles of flower arranging in India are very contemporary, not that different from ours. Form, texture and scale all apply wherever you are in the world. They're very go-ahead and keen. Three people from the Calcutta group were going to exhibit in the world show in Japan and I was able to offer some tips and guidance.

"The difference between flower arranging in India and here is that they have so much more marvellous foliage available to them, which either we can't get here or would be much too expensive for flower club members," says Cynthia.

There were other differences too.

"When these ladies came to the Calcutta flower club, they just walked in - while their servants came behind them carrying all their flowers, foliage and artefacts." And when they needed fallen leaves, they sent the servants out to collect them.

You don't get that in Shildon....

"These ladies were very wealthy and lived in amazing houses with gardens almost like parks," says Cynthia. "But they all spend a lot on charitable work too. Kavita's family provide three clinics - buildings and staff - where people receive free medical treatment."

They also support the work of Mother Teresa and Cynthia visited her centre in Calcutta and managed plenty of sightseeing - and some shopping.

"But I did an awful lot of flowers. What made it interesting was the different artefacts they use - lovely bowls, pots and vases."

Not just those. Intrigued by the twig brushes the street sweepers used, Cynthia incorporated some into an arrangement.

As soon as she was back in this country, Cynthia was busy organising last month's very successful flower festival in Heighington. Then there were flowers for a wedding in the Lakes. "Modern wedding flowers are using more flower arranging skills," she says.

Then there was Chelsea, and the classes, the flower clubs, the contemporary design, the judging.

"But I've already agreed to go back to India in February for more workshops and demonstrations."

Anglo-Indian petal power continues to flourish.

* Cynthia Scott can be contacted on (01325) 313055.