Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Flora and Philanthropy

Flora and Philanthropy:

How to use your wedding to link them

When I think of weddings I've been to this past year, I think of how pretty the bride looked and how joyous a celebration the event was.  I may remember the color of the bridesmaids' dresses or possibly the linens.  I might remember how sweet the cake smelled or how handsome the men looked dressed in their suits.  However, I couldn't tell you anything at all about the flowers.  The color, the type, the arrangement; my brain just doesn't remember those details.

Planning and budgeting my own wedding has made me realize two major things:

1) There are going to be flowers everywhere and man, they are not cheap!

and, more importantly,

2) I feel guilty about using so many beautiful flowers for such a short period of time.

So, keeping in mind that my fiance and I have been looking for opportunities to give back during both the planning stage and the actual wedding, I searched for ways to use our flowers toward our goal of being socially conscious and as 'green' as we can.  Luckily, the Washingtonian's "Bride & Groom" publication had an article on getting the most use out of your flowers and how to shrink your florist bill at the same time!  Here are some suggestions:
Buy local! (Gnome not included)

Choose flowers that you can buy locally from a neighborhood florist.  You'll be giving back to your local economy, plus saving money by using gorgeous flowers grown in your area!  Buying locally reduces your carbon footprint and increases your community spirit.  (Added bonus: using local flowers is a great way to show off the unique natural resources of your city or state to friends traveling from other parts of the country)
I love how each one is so different and gorgeous!

Try to only use flowers that are in season!  Chances are you can find at least a few different types that can tie in with your color scheme, and it gives you the opportunity to give your bouquets and arrangements character with the many textures and adornments that flourish during that season.  For example, check out that Fall bouquet.  It's so rich in color and texture and fits right in with the season!  The cost is lower when you buy in season, so you can choose to buy more flowers or use the extra cash to boost another area of your wedding.
Look at those poor, sad flowers wasting away on the floor

There are several ways you can reuse your event flowers.  The easiest is to use the bride's and bridesmaids' bouquets to help round out the decorations at the reception.  You could quickly put them in vases for the head table or use them to surround the cake or guestbook.  Another way to reuse your floral arrangements is to have them delivered after the reception to somewhere special to you, like a nearby hospital, nursing home or women's shelter.  An easy yet memorable way to brighten someone's day by not being wasteful!
A very green thumb planted these lovely stems!

Finally, you can plan ahead to use your garden and green thumb to plant what you'd like to use in your wedding.  This is something that I personally am terrible at (gardening is not one of my talents), but there are several family friends I may call on to see if they could plant a specific bed filled with flowers that I would be able to freshly cut the morning of the wedding.  How special would that be?  Less flowers will go to waste and, as a bonus, it decreases your cost!

Using one or all of these techniques can save you stress and money while still delivering the lovely wedding flowers you've dreamed of!  I'm sure years from now I may forget the names of the flowers at my wedding, but I'll never forget the way they framed the joyous occasion.   Going 'green' never looked so gorgeous!



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