"Greening up" wedding and event flowers
Flowers add so much to a celebration, from an intimate get-together, to a large formal wedding, to corporate launch party. They can also be a source of waste, and a producer of a large carbon footprint. With flowers coming from farms worldwide, as well as from our own back yard, making choices that reduce an event’s impact. yet keep it “eco-chic” can, at first, be daunting.
Beyond the flowers themselves, the choices about containers, arrangement styles and accent pieces can mean large amounts of chemicals, and waste headed to the landfill. A simple thought to keep in mind along the way is, where will piece this end up, a week, a month, or a year from now.
Here are some ideas to get started.
Choose locally grown or Fair Trade flowers
Favorite wedding flowers, such as roses, orchids and hydrangeas are almost always imported from other continents, and are grown under varying standards for labor and environmental practices. An informed florist will know which flowers require little or no pesticides, be familiar with countries having fair labor standards, and will use and promote flowers with Fair Trade, Eco-sensitive certification, such as Veriflora. Inquire which locally grown blooms are available, and whether there is access to those that are organically grown. Local greenhouses offer a good assortment of year-round flowers, as well as seasonal field crops that require less energy to grow.
Keep it real
Flowers are naturally beautiful, but they are often dyed or spray painted to match a bridesmaid dress or corporate logo. Insisting that no dyes or aerosol products, such as leaf shine, spray paint, or adhesives are used will not only reduce chemicals, but will ensure the flowers may be composted.
Fresh flowers or plants are much better than artificial stems that are produced in overseas factories, often under poor working conditions. Even though they may be used again, they will ultimately end up in a land fill, and will not bio-degrade.
Choose bouquets styles that don’t need a plastic holder, and opt for ceremony and reception arrangements styles that do not require floral foam, the unfriendly spongy material used as water source in many floral arrangements. Lower arrangements or collections of small containers and candle holder are ideal. Many accents, such as colored lights, are one-time use, or require batteries that are discarded after one use.
Rent whenever possible
Many florists will rent vases for ceremony and reception arrangements, and the containers are often high quality, made of glass or ceramic and will be used several times over. Choose center piece styles that can be hand-tied, and guests can simply lift them out of the container to take home. Candle holders are usually available to rent as well.
Remember, taking even small steps towards a greener lifestyle can make a big difference, all the difference in the world.
Photos; organic peonies and veronica, Captured Soul Photography
Locally grown fall bounty, Two Tone Studios