“Going Green” with wedding floral arrangements

Plantable invitations, recyclable wedding programs, organic reception menus and bio-dynamic wines… brides really seem to be going “green” lately! We would like to applaud our clients for being so environmentally conscientious, and we thought we’d do our part as well by suggesting ways for brides to make the greenest part of their wedding, the flowers, become even “greener”! Thanks to Stacey from Stunning Stems, who answered our questions on how to make our flower arrangements environmentally-friendly. We are excited to share them with our readers!

Forego arrangements that require floral foam (Oasis)

Floral foam, also known by the popular brandname Oasis, is used to secure flowers and provide continuous hydration.  As Stacey says, “It works wonderfully for certain designs (pomanders – balls, tall arrangements without stems showing etc.) but unfortunately it is made out of plastic and chemicals that negatively impact the environment: it’s not biodegradable and can leach chemicals in landfills.” Ouch! Stacey suggests: “If possible, opt for designs that don’t require floral foam for stability or where your florist can use other armatures, such as balled up branches or recyclable balls of wire”.

Willow branch floral ball with solar powered lights inside

Reuse containers

Get creative! Work with your florist to incorporate reusable containers into your arrangements. As Stacey said, “For my home I tend to scour garage sales, second-hand and antique stores and trade amongst friends.

Garage sale tea cup with local flowers

I’m now applying this approach to my business and hope to acquire a supply of unusual containers.” Your vendor might be open to being creative and finding other materials: Stacey adds, “I love to make structures from used lumber and found items when possible. These items will then be made available for rental for weddings and events.” Brilliant!

DIY recycled floral tin containers


DIY tin floral finished product

If possible, buy seasonally, locally, and organic

As Stacey says, “By buying seasonally and locally, brides can keep their wedding carbon footprint to a ‘strappy-sandal’.”  According to Stacey, the fuel cost to grow plants in a green house or to import them via plane is huge: the U.S. imports nearly 70% of all its fresh-cut flowers from Colombia, and transportation costs (and the carbon footprint) just to get them to Miami are astronomical: flowers are shipped via a 747 or large cargo plane, which on average burns five gallons of fuel per mile. The distance between Miami and Bogota is 1,500 miles, resulting in 7,500 gallons of fuel each way for each plane used! And this number seems to be increasing annually: in 1971, the U.S. produced 1.2 billion blooms of the major flowers (roses, carnations and mums) and imported only 100 million.  By 2003, it was reverse; the US imported 2 billion major blooms and grew only 200 million. (For more reading on this trend, Stacey suggests a great article on Columbia and the flower industry in the Smithsonian’s February 2011 issue.)

To be fair, Stacey also notes that this is just one side to the story. She adds that William Miller, a professor of horticulture at Cornell University, said the carbon footprint of imported flowers is not fully understood yet; however, he states that “There’s definitely more CO2 production in the transportation process of the imported flowers… but in Colombia they can effectively grow roses using less greenhouse emissions because the weather is better. Growers in California might have to heat greenhouses to produce quality flowers.” We are glad to see both sides to the story… but regardless of the pros and cons of transportation and growing costs, we think that buying organic and supporting local growers is always a good idea!

The best option, of course, is to focus on flowers that thrive in the local ecosystem and do not need greenhouses. This also means buying flowers that are in season. Consult your local florist to find out what flowers will be in season during your wedding, and make sure to ask if they use local flowers to cut down on transportation.


Donate your flowers

Sadly, all arrangements must eventually wilt… but they still have some life in them after your wedding day! We absolutely love the idea of sharing the beauty of a wedding day with those who could use a little cheer. Stacey reminded us that “Hospitals, convalescent homes, hospice etc. house many people who could use the positive effect of flowers in their day.” Couples can choose a charity or organization to donate their stems to, and then designate a bridesmaid or groomsman to donate their flowers after the wedding.

Stacey adds that “some cities have organizations that will appropriate flowers and deliver them to folks in need. San Diego has an organization called Blooms from the heart (http://www.Bloomsfrom theheart.org).  Check your community for similar options.”


Opt for potted plants

Aisle ways, centerpieces, and other floral arrangements don’t necessarily have to be cut flowers: opting for potted plants is an incredibly green (and economical!) option for brides. After the wedding, plants are still alive, well, and ready to be transplanted into your home or garden. We love this idea!

We have to admit, we had NO idea that there were organizations like Blooms from the Heart, and wish we had known about before our own weddings! Thanks again to Stacey for giving us these incredibly helpful suggestions for how to make floral arrangements environmentally-friendly. We hope we inspire our brides to not only make their special day colorful and “green”.


One Comment to ““Going Green” with wedding floral arrangements”

  1. I rarely comment, but i did a few searching and wound up here “Going Green”
    with wedding floral arrangements | La Vita Bella Events.
    And I do have a couple of questions for you if it’s allright. Could it be just me or does it seem like some of these comments look as if they are coming from brain dead folks? 😛 And, if you are posting on other sites, I would like to keep up with everything fresh you have to post. Would you make a list of all of your public sites like your twitter feed, Facebook page or linkedin profile?

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