Green Wedding Planning – Eco-friendly bouquets + florists

Flowers are one of the sweet details that make weddings unique. Why not make an intentional effort to go green with the green?! When you think about it, this element should be an automatic eco option, but many florists use harmful pesticides since the USDA does not regulate pesticides on cut flowers. Yikes! Who wants to walk down the aisle with a bunch of chemicals below their faces and surrounding their loved ones? Not our eco brides!

It’s important when choosing a florist to make sure that they are using safe and healthy practices in their shop and with their flowers. We asked two of the wedding industry’s finest eco florists for some guidance, here’s what Faxon of Faxon Green, and Hannah of Gardenia Organic had to say.

A beautiful bridal bouquet from Faxon Green, an eco florist

Why is Faxon Green intentionally an “eco florist”?

Faxon: I grew up in the country abutting a pond and woods. I was given my grandmother’s garden when I was 7.  Jelly jars were my first vases filled with ferns, flowers, jack in the pulpit [now an endangered species].  I was encouraged to have fresh flowers and foliage on the breakfast table whenever I wished.  I’ve had a garden where ever I’ve lived [city, suburb, country] ever since.

So, when I opened my studio 7 years ago, I returned to the spirit of my childhood bouquets.  Being a naive artist with some background in sculpture and painting, the art and science of floral design came together in a more conscious way.  I’ve always used nature’s elements in my work.  No floral foam, plastic, chemicals, etc.  We compost, recycle all packing materials by packing with them for delivery.  Tablescapes are made in long flower boxes. We also recycle flowers after weddings and events by picking up all vases and etc., bunching the flowers that are still fresh, and delivering them to local women’s shelters, hospitals and clinics.

Aesthetically, I’m more delighted by what the flowers, vines, and etc. “do” overnight after being placed in a vase.  Always there is surprise, and the flowers find their natural place in the vase. The implication of this is that I do not impose a pre-design by putting flowers into foam.  I “follow” the natural flow of the foliage and flowers.

Why is Gardenia Organic intentionally an “eco florist”?

Hannah: Because the industry’s impact on the environment is substantial and rarely considered. I think it’s hard for people to imagine that something grown in nature can be environmentally unfriendly. Aside from the chemicals used in mass produced flowers, the carbon emissions from flowers flown thousands of air miles and the working conditions for farmers in poorer countries – the waste in the industry from packaging and events is unbelievable! Do you ever think what happens to all the vases, cellophane, plastic forms and florist foam after a wedding? Most of it is thrown in the trash and it’s not biodegradable.

A bouquet from Gardenia Organic

Do you have any suggestions for brides planning their floral arrangements?

Hannah: Use seasonal flowers that are grown as locally as possible – this is better for the environment, supports our local economies and means that you’ll be enjoying healthier, fresher beautiful flowers. Ask your florist what they’ll do with the flowers at the end of your day – gift them to special guests or donate them to local care homes and hospices.

Faxon: Be sure you ‘groove’ on, and with, your designer. Feel comfortable engaging with your designer. Ask for references from brides or venues where they’ve worked. Go to a flower market high-end florist to see many possibilities for your wedding flowers. Be sure to see sample centerpiece designs and your bridal bouquet. Be sure you love them!  Otherwise, give the feedback that lets the designer create other ones. Ask about local flower farms with non-pesticide soils. Select flowers, such as tulips, roses, exotics, etc. from growers in the USA.  This ensures freshness and greatly reduces the carbon footprint. Perhaps this is the 3rd most important:  ask about the designer’s eco-practices.

White + green bouquet from Gardenia Organic

What eco practices make your shop special?

Faxon: A uniquely artistic eye coupled with sustainable materials and practices. There is no floral foam, plastic or chemicals. All unused living material is composted. The cardboard boxes and cartons from new vases are used to pack bouquets for delivery. The studio is cooled naturally with open windows and low level air conditioners when needed. All tools are cleaned with witch hazel and water. After a wedding or event, clients often give flower arrangements to their guests. When this does not occur, flowers that are still fresh are bunched and delivered the next day to local women’s shelters and hospitals. Vases are recycled for future use. It is our intention when working with clients that precious little is wasted. This is the natural way; the sustainable practice of no waste and no non-biodegradable.

Hannah: Pretty much everything we do. Our entire supply chain is focused on fair trade and environmental sustainability; it’s not just our flowers. We use recycled tissue paper, a biodegradable cellophane alternative, recycled glass vases, plant based cleaning products and we buy all of our flowers fresh everyday to order. This ensures the freshest most gorgeous flowers for our clients and reduces waste.

Hanna and Faxon, thank you so much for sharing your expert advice with us today!

Images from Faxon Green and Gardenia Organic