I’m finishing this series with possibly one of the hottest topics in the wedding industry right now. It’s an element of the wedding my couples (and I) like to go to town on. It forms the focal styling but quite rightly is a component that is possibly the most environmentally wasteful.
Traditionally, flowers at a wedding were used to ward off evil spirits and mask the unpleasant personal odours. Nowadays, they create the look, feel, smell of our weddings and as a rule of thumb, 10% of the overall wedding budget is spent on flowers.
So many florists are now jumping on the sustainability bandwagon; with toxic, plastic floral foam slowly becoming a thing of the past and considered buying, minimising the importation of “out of season” varieties.
Ruth Davies, CEO of All For Love London told me her tips on making sustainable floral decisions:
Sustainability in floristry can be tricky but it’s certainly achievable.
Where possible avoid using floral foam, instead have flowers and foliage in water vessels and buckets which then can be hidden. The scale of an arrangement or installation doesn’t have to be limited to oasis, there are so many mechanical techniques possible to achieve the scale and ‘wow’ factor.
If you can, try to donate your flowers to a charity rather than have them thrown away. Here at All For Love London we have an initiative called Loved Again, where we try and ‘recycle’ our wedding and event flowers as much as possible to charities. Although depending on the weather, not all of the flowers can be re-used so we then empty these onto a compost.
We always try and use seasonal flowers to the reduce carbon footprint.
This is such a hot topic I also chatted to Brigitte from Moss and Stone, who I’m currently planning a wedding with. She specialises in wild, organic, natural and romantic wedding & event flowers and holds flower workshops, teaching her sustainable ethos. Her arrangements are designed into water, completely avoiding the use of floral foam, minimising the environmental impact of her work. She “keeps the design brief considered and thoughtful – it’s not necessary to have flowers everywhere…quite often less really is more.” And thinking through the mechanics of an installation to allow you to avoid floral foam is an important part of the design process.
She tells me “I also source the best British seasonal flowers from carefully selected growers and suppliers, wherever I can, limiting the need for imported varieties.” She also has a cutting garden so some of her arrangements couldn’t get more “local”.
Jane Benefield, the floristry course manager at Moreton Morrell College has told me that they are always on the look out for new and different ways to become more environmentally friendly.
Within the floristry department at Warwickshire College, we always like to discuss with students alternatives ways of creating something that are more planet kind, and actively promote these methods. We recycle as much of our floristry waste as possible and have banned the use of single use plastic bottles.
Warwickshire College Group has been award The Planet mark for the 5th consecutive year for it’s continuous improvement in sustainability and reducing our carbon footprint. We only uses recycled paper and have tried to reduce our energy consumption as much as possible. We also endeavour to reduce waste and recycle as much as possible. The college has recently set up a ‘Green team’ of which Jane Benefield is a member to share ideas, knowledge and information across the college group. To influence behaviour changes and actions that make it easier to reduce our carbon footprint even further.
The use of potted plans and trees is certainly a great way to dress your wedding. Conscious designing to make an installation foam free, gifting your arrangements after your wedding and sourcing seasonal, British grown flowers are all great ways to enjoy your wedding flowers, knowing you are being kind to the environment.
I’ll leave you with a photograph of an incredible suspended circular hanging installation Fiona Perry created for a wedding I planned back in September. She used a range of British grown flowers, which filled the marquee with most incredible fragrant smell, as well as incorporating dried flowers. This whole installation was foam free and took 3 incredibly long days to make, with a large team of florists. But after the wedding, the dried bunches we saved, ready to use again and the fresh flowers were bunched up and gifted to guests.
WITH THANKS TO ALL FOR LOVE LONDON + MOSS AND STONE + FIONA PERRY + MORETON MORRELL COLLEGE