Home advice Adventures in Getting Married: Sustainable Flowers

Adventures in Getting Married: Sustainable Flowers

December 6, 2014

I must say, my wedding day was the BEST day of my life. It was the most fun party I’ve ever been to.

When I got engaged, I immediately received all sorts of warnings from seasoned married couples: the planning process is so stressful!, you better book a venue FAST, shit’s expensive,the actual day will go by in a flash and it will be difficult to enjoy and savor!! But, you see, the thing is , all that advice was bullshit. The only stress I felt during the planning process was actually from all that {well intended} advice. I chilled out and realized that this journey is meant to be FUN and will only happen once in my whole life – why not embrace it and just trust the process?!

Justin  and I had but a few simple requirements:

good food

good music

a venue that reflected our tastes and aesthetic

beautiful flowers

to keep things as local and sustainable as possible

Easy – right?  Yes. Very easy if you have patience, are open to being flexible in your vision, and take the time to do your research. Now I’m not saying that you should accept anything less than what you want, so when I say “be flexible in your vision” I mean simply accepting the fact that perhaps peonies aren’t available that time of year and you just need to let that go, or maybe the venue you’ve chosen isn’t going to let you light things on fire – yes, Thai lanterns are lovely but your wedding will be just as wonderful without them – accept and let go.deep breath things are fine.

I honestly think we won in the venue department. I am still, over one year later, being told that we had the most beautiful location. If you’re getting married in the New England area, know someone who is, or just like to peruse wedding venues I would HIGHLY recommend paying a visit to Mount Hope Farm in charmingly historic Bristol, RI.  It’s also a public park with plenty of trails that lead to the bay – so we had our one year anniversary picnic in one of their fields.

So let’s get down to the nitty-gritty and the focus of this post: flowers.

Since the venue is stunning on its own, we did not want any decor that would detract from the natural setting.  I LOVE flowers (honestly, who doesn’t?), so finding the right floral designer was high on my priority list. We met with a few local floral design studios, all of whom were very friendly and lovely; however, they were ultimately WAY TOO EXPENSIVE, really didn’t understand our aesthetic, or didn’t seem to have any sort of commitment to sustainability.

Enter Polly from Robin Hollow Farm. We immediately vibed very well {this is important because you’re trusting and working closely with your vendors, so you want to like them} and she totally understood my vision. I was really hoping this would be the case because I loved the fact that she and her husband have a flower farm which is very close to where I live, so I really wanted it to work out. It did! Shortly before the wedding, my husband and I were able to take a tour of the farm and I actually saw the flowers that would be cut for our wedding!

Why might that be important, you ask?

Aside from wanting to support the local economy and business people I found that, in researching wedding stuff, the flower industry is actually quite wasteful.  Flowers are shipped from across the world so that florists can get flowers that are out-of-season in their corner of the world for brides or anyone else who want them.

There’s also this nasty thing called floral foam (also know as Oasis). Sounds benign enough, but the stuff is actually quite toxic,{floral foam dust is not good to breathe in!}, and never biodegrades. So, if you use floral foam just know that it’s going to sit in a landfill forever and ever and ever.

The reason it’s still around is because it enables florists to create beautiful, elaborate, and structural designs by providing scaffolding. It keeps stems in place while hydrating and has been an industry standard for ages and ages. It’s also super easy to use.

Happily, many floral designers are making the commitment to ditch floral foam in favor of alternatives!  If being friendly to the environment is important to you, ask your potential florist if they use the stuff. If they do, request that they don’t for your wedding.

Dahlia is my favorite flower, and lucky for me they are in season in September, which is when I got married. Polly grows TONS of Dahlia’s, so the assortment at our wedding was quite stunning.  She also grows succulents, which really went with our theme {which I started referring to as “rustic fiesta”} , so  they were potted and added to the tablescapes and my bouquet. Planted succulents and cacti are also a great idea, in terms of sustainability, because you can keep them and give them to friends after the wedding. Before drying my bouquet, I removed the succulents and planted them. I still have several from the wedding, and some of my friends do as well! It’s a nice keepsake!

Justin and I love collecting knick-knacks at antique fairs and flea markets.  In the year leading up to our wedding, we collected tons of interesting bottles, boxes, and decorative items. We used all of it as decor at our wedding, and as vessels for the floral arrangements.  Polly did include some additional vessels, but we kept those and I still use them for displaying fresh flowers and herbs.  This was great because there really wasn’t anything that was thrown out when everything was over. Reducing waste is always a plus! I also think adding your own elements to the decor makes for a more personal affair; after all, it’s a day to celebrate you and your new spouse, so everything should be all about you!

As favors, we made or own North Eastern honeybee variety “seed bombs,” so our friends could start their own little wildflower garden. We also gifted honey from my father’s backyard hives. {I realize that honey is not considered vegan. When we began planning our wedding, I was not yet completely vegan; however, although I am vegan now, I will still eat honey that comes from small local apiaries that are committed to both the environment and the welfare of their bees. I know some people do not agree with that, but I’ve given it a lot of thought and that is the choice I’ve made.}

We were so happy with everything and made a conscious effort to take moments to be present to enjoy everything, take it all in, and reflect on the importance of it all. If I could offer any advice it would be: make an agreement with your significant other to stay together the entire night {I’ve heard of couples who were torn in so many directions they hardly spent any time together}, and if you encounter a bump just breathe and remember that you’ll regret letting a small problem {oh no! The cocktail napkins are the wrong color!} ruin your whole day.

I hope that was helpful. If you’re interested in learning more, I’d recommend reading The 50 Mile Bouquet, by Debra Prinzing. It will introduce you to the slow-flower movement and goes much deeper into the importance of using of local, organic, and sustainable flowers.

Also – I should note that the flower crowns were created by the adorable Krissy Prince of Pollen Floral Design. She had done some work for friends of mine, so when I saw her crowns on Instagram I knew she was the gal to make them. She was kind enough to drive all the way from Boston to Newport to deliver them.

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