More and more people starting to adopt eco-friendly lifestyles, it comes as no surprise that many brides and grooms want to incorporate planet-saving ideals into their wedding days as well. Going “green” on your wedding day allows you to make a positive contribution to the environment and make a clear statement to family and friends about your commitment to the environment as well as to one another. But planning a green wedding requires some non-traditional thinking, especially when it comes to floral décor.
When planning the floral décor for an eco-friendly wedding, you may need to make some sacrifices and incur a few extra costs. However, there are still many options to choose from, both in the types of flowers available and where to acquire them. The popularity of green weddings has prompted many florists and growers to embrace the change, which has resulted in a large variety of green floral resources. Below are some helpful tips for planning eco-friendly wedding floral décor:
Some couples worry that planning a green wedding will limit floral variety. However, this is not necessarily so. Thanks to an increased awareness of earth preservation and conservation, it is easier than ever before to plan a green wedding with earth-friendly flowers. Organic flowers are becoming more popular, and the number of available growers is increasing every year. If you have a florist already in mind, ask him or her to research organically certified growers in your area. To be certified, all growers must comply with organic growing and handling standards established by the USDA National Organic Program (NOP). Some of these practices include abstaining from the use of synthetic chemicals and limiting unnecessary transportation. Eliminating long distance transportation of flowers cuts down on the pollution caused by fuel emissions. (For more information on organic growing certification, visit ams.usda.gov/NOP.)
In addition to cutting down on fuel emissions, purchasing from local growers helps support your local economy. Many of the most popular wedding flowers –– roses, tulips, hydrangea, and cymbidium orchids (these are just a few suggestions) –– are grown in the U.S. and may be considered local depending on where you live; just ask your florist. If out-of-season flowers are desired, look into purchasing from international organic farmers who eliminate pesticides from the growing process, which makes up for the fuel emissions incurred by shipping. The Internet is another great option for locating organic flowers, especially if you live in an area lacking organic options. Sites like OrganicBouquet.com have ideas and resources for planning green floral décor regardless of your location.
Flowers and Beyond
Purchasing organic blooms is just a small part of creating an overall green décor. Making eco-conscious decisions about location and recycling are additional steps in the right direction. If you choose to have your ceremony and reception in a setting such as a botanical garden, winery, or bluff overlooking the ocean, you can limit your flower use by relying on the natural beauty instead. If a traditional, flower-filled décor is your dream, incorporate potted plants into the ceremony and transfer (i.e., recycle) them to the reception as centerpieces. You can even go a step further and send your guests home with the plants as favors or donate them to a local hospital, school, or park.
Rather than sprinkling the ceremony aisle with real rose petals, opt for renting silk flowers, which can look just as realistic and may be used again to decorate another couple’s event. When adding variety to your floral arrangements, consider using fruits, vegetables, and their leaves, as these products can be organically grown while other types of foliage may not. Inquire about renting glass vases for your arrangements in lieu of other more elaborate stands and vessels, because glass can easily be reused or recycled after the event. Rather than using regular wax votives or pillar candles, opt for soy or electric candles to save energy and prevent further pollution.
A green wedding is a wonderful way to create awareness and make a positive impact on the planet while celebrating your momentous occasion. While planning a green wedding requires straying from the norm, it creates a more meaningful and personal day for the bride, groom, and their lucky guests.
Opening photograph by Walters & Walters