It is often assumed that because flowers grow from the earth, they are inherently environmentally and eco-friendly. Although this can be true, many flowers you come across for purchase are not all they seem.
Many flowers purchased in the U.S. are shipped from overseas. These flowers can be grown with artificial lighting, heating and cooling elements. They incur the carbon cost of being shipped from location to location in temperature controlled trucks or containers. They also may contain chemicals and pesticides that are used to keep them fresh during transportation. All of this increases the flowers environmental footprint but also increases the cost of the flowers to you.
With a little research and ingenuity you can include flowers into your wedding that are naturally grown, local and organic. Read our 5 tips for environmentally friendly wedding flowers.
1. Look around (and down)
There are natural organic flowers growing all around you. Regardless of where you live, you can find natural flowers, greenery, and plants right at your feet.
Kirsten Ballew of Chico, California did just that. Growing up she had always chased her siblings between the eucalyptus trees in her parents’ backyard. When it came time to plan flowers for her wedding, she wanted to incorporate these memories, while making her sure the floral décor for her wedding was environmentally sustainable. It helped that she was able to clip the braches and include them in her bouqet for absolutely no cost.
There are many other opportunities to forage for floral elements for your wedding. Ask a neighbor who has a backyard full of vegetation if you can take a peek. Find patches of wild flowers (make sure these aren’t on private property or in a state or national park). Don’t forget other non-floral elements that can add to your wedding décor; branches, stones, feathers, weeds, moss, and wild grasses can all add to the natural look of your wedding.
2. Find an environmentally focused florist
Any good florist should be able to follow your wishes for a natural and eco-friendly floral wedding. But working with a floral designer that already has this mind set, can be easier and less expensive for you. A floral designer that keeps the environment in mind should already have local contacts for sourcing flowers. They may work directly or contract with flower farms in the area. They also will have a strong knowledge base of flowers that are in season, local and organic. If this is something important to you make sure you ask these questions before or during your floral consultation.
3. Be flexible
The beauty of nature is that it is natural! If you want an entirely organic floral wedding, you will have to go with the flow. Perhaps the flowers you want may not be in season or the flowers you reserved at a local flower farm might not bloom in time. Don’t let this deter you. Make sure you and your florist have a back up plan to handle whatever gets thrown at you.
4. Mix and match
If you have a favorite flower you are dying to incorporate into your special day but would have to order it, go for it. Not everything you include has to be 100% organic. You can still keep the environment in mind, by adding elements here and there. Use what you can that’s natural and organic and supplement with other flowers as you see fit. Although if you want to go all natural, we fully support that too.
5. Don’t stop with flowers
Your flowers don't have to be the only environmentally friendly thing about your wedding. Think of ways to repurpose items for your containers and decor. Don’t stop at mason jars. There are many other creative ideas to add a vintage touch; use wine bottles, old cans, hollowed out branches or driftwood for centerpieces or bistro tables. Vases from your local thrift store, a collection of tea pots or other family treasures can add little touches around your reception space.
If using paper products, consider simple swaps like plates made from fallen palm leaves, wheat straw, or sugar cane. Cutlery can be made from corn stalks, sustainable wood products, or 100% recycled plastic. Great creative.
Having a beautiful wedding is the goal of every bride. But having a wedding that is naturally beautiful, represents your values, and respects the environment will give you and your guests memories you can look back with pride for years to come.