Wow! When I started this Eco-Friendly Wedding series a few weeks ago, I knew that I was going to learn a few things, and it has been my hope that it would help, or at least inspire, a few of you. But I got to this week and the topic of Eco-Friendly Wedding Flowers & Food and oh…my…goodness! This topic is HUGE!
For that reason, I want to start off by encouraging you to continue your research on this topic if it’s something that you’re seriously interested in learning more about or implementing in your Big Day. You can start by looking through the Sources I have listed at the bottom of the post. These are the pages, articles, and posts that I obtained my information from. We’re just going to scratch the surface today (or tonight, or tomorrow…this has been a tough week!).
If you’re at all like me, you love flowers. They’re colorful, most of them smell pretty, there’s just something about them. And if you’re also like me, you’ll be disappointed when you stop and think about the fact that all of those pretty flowers in bouquets and arrangements are far from “green.”
What Is There To Consider?
- Many of the flowers purchased from large, main stream shops are grown in greenhouses in South America, Africa and Asia
- These greenhouses often use pesticides and other toxins not permitted for use in the US
- The transport of these flowers from other parts of the world leaves a large carbon footprint
- The preservation chemicals used to keep flowers fresh during their transport from other parts of the world damage the ozone layer
- The pesticides and fungicides that traditional growers use can drift from the flowers in the field into food and water supplies, exposing people to potentially carcinogenic chemicals
- In addition to using toxic chemicals, some growers even add harmful dyes to their flowers to enhance their colors
- Purchasing the traditional Wedding Flower combination (including arrangements for the ceremony, arrangements for the reception, bouquets for the bride and bridesmaids, and boutonnieres for the groom and groomsmen) produces a lot of floral waste
What Are The Alternatives?
- Buy locally grown flowers–this allows you to find an eco-friendly grower that doesn’t use toxic chemicals to treat the flowers, as well as reduces the carbon footprint left by transport
- Buy your flowers in season so that they don’t have to be shipped from other parts of the country, or world. For a list of flowers by season and color, check out my printable availability guide
- Look for VeriFlora Certified flowers, which are guaranteed to be free from harmful chemicals and pesticides, and aren’t grown under harsh working conditions
- Add succulents to your bouquet, which are actually a root system and can be planted after the wedding
- Use flower arrangements from your ceremony to decorate your reception, reducing the overall amount of flowers you’ll use
- Use potted plants for your table centerpieces and allow your guests to take the plants home as favors
- Pick wildflowers for your bouquet–however, make sure this is permitted in the area where you would like to pick
- If you have the time and a green thumb, grow your own flowers, or have a friend grow them for you
- After the wedding, donate the fresh flower arrangements to a house of worship or a local hospital
- Skip the fresh flowers all together
- Use silk or paper flowers, such as those found on paper-source.com
- Have your bridesmaids carry matching clutches, which also double as a gift
- Make your bouquet from buttons or brooches
- Make centerpieces from fresh, locally grown organic fruits and vegetables
- Set a theme for your reception, and decorate accordingly – think old cars, antique books, countries you want to visit, shabby (and eco) chic, et cetera
Where Can I Find Eco-Friendly Wedding Flowers?
Flower Bud (Not All Are Certified)
Etsy (For Alternatives)
Believe it or not, even the food we eat can have an impact on the environment. Add 100 guests, and that impact grows!
What Is There To Consider?
- The transporting of ingredients such as fruits, vegetables, and meat from other parts of the country and world leaves a large carbon footprint, and adds to the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere
- Much of the world’s produce is treated with pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, and preservatives that can be harmful to the environment and to your health
- The animals used for typical meat production (as in cows, chickens, pigs, etc.) are frequently injected with growth hormones and antibiotics, and are fed diets full of animal byproducts and other chemically treated foods
- Globally, livestock produces more greenhouse gases than all of the cars on the road
- It takes 2,500 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of meat, and only 25 gallons to produce 1 pound of wheat
- Much of the coffee and chocolate that we consume is grown by small farmers around the world that receive unfairly small proportions of the profit made, leading to poor living conditions for the farmers and their families
What Are The Alternatives?
You’ll notice that these alternatives are becoming a theme with this series…
- Go local, organic, and in season
- This allows you to support your local economy
- Certified Organic food is produced without pesticides, genetic engineering, and most other chemicals
- By purchasing local and in season, you reduce the distance that your food has to travel, therefore reducing the size of the carbon footprint
- Opt for a plated meal as opposed to a buffet, as buffets create the most food waste, and require the most water and chemicals for dish clean-up
- Donate your leftover food to a local shelter or soup kitchen
- Go organic with your wine, beer, and liquor, and try to buy locally produced products, if possible
- Going Vegetarian or Vegan with your meal is the most eco-conscious choice, but if you choose to serve meat, choose organic (avoid products only labeled “natural” or “sustainable”), as by law the Organic label means the animal was fed organically, hormones and antibiotics weren’t used, and the animal was treated humanely
- Serve Fair Trade coffee, tea, and chocolate and find a baker who is willing to bake with Fair Trade ingredients (such as sugar and vanilla), meaning the items were grown on small farms by farmers and laborers receiving a fair price
- Find a caterer who composts leftover food and scraps
- Make it very simple…hire an organic caterer!
Where Can I Find Eco-Friendly Wedding Food Options?
Google (Not to Oversimplify, but It’s True!)
Making your Wedding Flowers and Food Eco-Friendly doesn’t have to be hard. And you don’t have to go “all green” to make a difference. Just be conscious of the choices you are making, and know that they DO have an impact. You don’t have to go Vegan and 100% organic to support your local economy and reduce your carbon footprint.
Are you making any choices for your Flowers and Food to make your Wedding more Eco-Friendly? Share with the rest of us!
Regardless of what you decide to do, HAPPY PLANNING!
SOURCES: http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/home/green-living/ways-to-go-green-5 http://www.perfectweddingguide.com/wedding-blog/index.php/2009/01/08/seven-eco-friendly-food-and-beverage-choices-for-your-wedding-reception/ http://www.bridalguide.com/blogs/bridal-buzz/eco-friendly-appetizers http://www.environment911.org/137.15_Eco_Friendly_Wedding_Ideas http://www.greenbrideguide.com/learn/green-wedding-faq http://www.dexknows.com/local/weddings/guides_and_videos/eat-your-greens-eco-friendly-menu-ideas-2339/ https://www.recyclebank.com/live-green/us-serve-eco-friendly-food http://www.vegan-nutritionista.com/eco-friendly-wedding.html http://styleunveiled.com/ecochic http://wedding.theknot.com/real-weddings/green-weddings/articles/eco-friendly-wedding-guide.aspx?MsdVisit=1 http://ruffledblog.com/eco-friendly-wedding-inspiration/ http://www.sheknows.com/love-and-sex/articles/817073/Make-your-wedding-flowers-environmentally-friendly http://www.prweb.com/releases/eco-friendly/wedding-flowers/prweb9652276.htm http://weddings.weddingchannel.com/wedding-planning-ideas/wedding-flowers/qa/what-are-some-eco-friendly-flower-ideas-for-my-wedding.aspx http://www.mywedding.com/blog/other-inspirations/guest-bloggers/green-your-flowers-green-bride-guide/ http://tlc.howstuffworks.com/weddings/10-eco-friendly-floral-arrangements.htm http://www.veriflora.com/ http://www.care2.com/greenliving/why-organic-flowers.html