You would assume that anyone having an"eco-friendly" wedding or a green wedding would want lots and lots of flowers, but one of the little-discussed facts we've learned is that cut flowers can actually be bad for the environment. Of course, you don't want to give up on your dream of beautiful wedding flowers, and if you keep a few basics in mind, you won't have to do so!
Going local is almost always the easiest way to be environmentally friendly. Many flowers bought in larger stores are grown in green houses in South America, Africa and Asia. This is bad, not only because of the transportation involved in getting the flowers from Tanzania to your bouquet, but also because these greenhouses may use pesticides and other chemicals not used in the United States. Your local florist can provide you with environmentally friendly choices and can also serve as a great source of information on flowers and decorating options.
Even if you use a small, local florist, asking for out-of-season flowers is going to cost you some environmental points. Before getting your heart set on certain bouquets or arrangements, ask your florist which flowers will be in season in your area around the time of the wedding. If you don't mind giving up a little control, consider letting the florist design the centerpieces (or even the bouquets) with whatever is fresh right before the wedding. You may even want to discuss this with your florist before choosing your wedding colors, as certain colors might be hard to accommodate in certain seasons.
Many couples don't bother to consider their actual wedding flower needs, they simply go with what they've read is recommended. Depending on where you're holding your wedding, you may not need arrangements for the ceremony at all. If you're getting married outside, you can let nature take over for the florist. If you're getting married in a church or other house of worship, consider asking what flowers have already been ordered for the weekend. Or, ask if you can donate your flowers to the church or temple so that they can be reused (always an environmentally friendly choice). A recent trend that we've fallen in love with is thebrooch bouquet. Made from repurposed jewelry instead of flowers, a brooch bouquet becomes an heirloom.
One of the easiest ways to reduce both the costs and the environmental damage of flowers is to have your guests sit at tables larger than the typical "eight-round." Having tables that sit 10 or 12 guests reduces the number of tables you need, and thus the number of centerpieces you need. You may also want to consider environmentally friendly options, such as planted flowers like orchids, non flowering plants or even fresh fruit. Highly decorative table numbers can stand on their own without flowers. Whatever you choose as centerpieces, don't forget to give them a longer life by giving them to your guests, or donating them to a local hospital or other facility.
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