6 top tips for sustainable wedding flowers
If you want to plan an eco-friendly wedding, your choice of florist is critical to reducing the impact your event will have on our planet. While keeping in mind that perfect sustainability is an ideal that is not entirely practical - after all, your florist is most likely driving a large truck to your wedding to get everything there in time - there are still steps you can take towards a more eco-conscious wedding.
So if you want to limit the environmental impact of your wedding flowers, here are some key questions to ask your prospective florists, from Minnesota floral designer and Fine Art Curation member Rose and Laurel, who is committed to sustainable floristry with USA grown produce.
Where are your flowers from?
Language can be tricky here. Locally sourced doesn’t necessarily mean that your flowers came from the farm down the road – they could have been 'sourced' and then flown across the country. Instead, you’ll want a florist who specifically says that they prioritize purchasing local blooms from surrounding farmers in your area. If flowers must be imported, ask which varieties, why, and if there is a more local substitution.
Some flowers we must fly into our area and garden roses are an excellent example of this. If flying in blooms cannot be avoided, ask for domestically grown over imported. This way you can support your domestic growers and reduce the emissions impact of flying flowers across the globe. To make the most of these special varieties place them in highly photographed areas, such as your bouquet and your cake.
Will you use seasonal flowers?
Flowers that are in-season are a growing trend for weddings, and for good reason! In-season flowers are of higher quality since they are not being forced to bloom outside of their natural cycle. Seasonal flowers are generally a more sustainable choice, since they are most likely sourced from your local area. This means that the per stem price will be less than out-of-season flowers, which are typically imported from around the world. In-season varieties spend less time in cold storage, meaning you are getting a fresher bloom that you can enjoy for longer.
Flowers are kept in cold storage while they fly in from the Netherlands, South America, even Italy and Japan. Besides the environmental impact of flying flowers across the world, the expense of this means you will pay more for the privilege of accessing out-of-season flowers. Besides the cost and environmental factors, your wedding loses the sense of context and season, which is a critical design element in floral design.
Do you use bleached or dyed flowers?
Besides being completely saturated with chemicals (that can leave your skin smelling like you’ve just cleaned the lavatory), processes that artificially alter a bloom render the flower trash. Literally. Chemically treated flowers cannot be composted and instead must be thrown away. While current marketing efforts have advertised these flowers as 'everlasting,' they have just been pumped full of dyes and preservatives to keep them that way. These are to be avoided completely if your wedding is going to be eco-friendly.
Do you use floral foam?
Floral foam is a green brick of chemical-laden micro-plastic that has been a mainstay of floral design since the 1950s. It is essentially the equivalent of formaldehyde-soaked glitter, and because of this, the Royal Horticulture Society has banned it’s use at the globally-renowned Chelsea Flower Show. This product should be completely avoided at your own event as well.
Instead, look for a florist who is 'foam-free' and designs your blooms directly into water using different techniques. Beware of florists who say they use biodegradable foam as this is simply marketing jargon that means nothing. This alternative is just as toxic as the original.
How will my flowers be packaged?
Flowers covered in plastic should be avoided if at all possible, and instead wrapped in recycled paper and carboard, or even renewable resources like shredded aspen.
What happens to my flowers after the wedding?
Most florists will clear a wedding and throw everything away at the end of the night. Instead, you want a florist that is composting organic matter after the wedding. While donating floral arrangements is certainly a lovely option to share the joy of your day, the flowers will most likely end up in a landfill. So if eco-friendly is your priority, compost directly from your day and look for a florist who offers this. Flowers that are donated can still be thrown away.
To learn more about sustainable floristry and local blooms visit:
Photography: Shasta Bell Photographie | Creative direction and floral design Rose and Laurel | Venue: Villa Bellezza | Day-Of Coordination: Honey Hill Weddings | Stationery: Shasta Bell Calligraphy | Gown: Monique Lhuillier from Anna Be Minneapolis | Brides jewelry: vintage | Tux: The Black Tux | HMUA: Kevin Kohler | Models Pearla and Idris Aileru | Flowers Sourced from Blue Sky Flower Farm Green Earth Growers Twin Cities Flower Exchange Rose Story Farm Mayesh | Cake design: Rose and Laurel | Ribbon: Silk and Willow