The Thoughtful Bride: Flowers

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It’s finally spring! And after months of grey winter the flowers are starting to bloom and tiny green shoots are popping up from the earth. Now is a great time to start to plan the flowers for your wedding or grab some flowers for Mother's Day this weekend! Luckily there are some great options for those eco-friendly and ethically minded couples planning their nuptuals or amazing kids that want to celebrate fairness this mothers day. 

 
Cut Flowers, the Traditional Choice
A traditional route is to use fresh cut flowers for your bouquets, centerpieces and decorations. Most florists source their flowers from Latin America and South America where there aren’t necessarily good growing practices (loads of pesticides, etc) or sound labor standards. Also these flowers have a huge carbon footprint because they travel so far. 
 
For an eco-friendly option consider getting seasonal flowers from a local farmers market. You’ll reduce your carbon impact since the flowers don’t have to travel far AND you’ll be helping local farmers! LocalHarvest  has a handy search engine where you can find local flower growers near you. 
 
Buying local flowers in bulk is a great idea for the DIY couple who want to make their own floral arrangements (for tips and arrangement ideas be sure to check out some tutorials on Pinterest). Not handy? Check with the flower farmers and see if they would be able to do some of the arranging for you for an extra fee. Or ask a friend or crafty family member to help you with the flowers.
 
There are also growing number of organic flower growers and eco-friendly florists these days so check local listings and speak with your florist to see if they source any organic blooms. Organic flowers will bare the USDA Organic logo. You can find organic flowers at natural food stores, Whole Foods and a growing number. 
Another eco-friendly option is to buy Rainforest Certified flowers from such places as Wegmans and Trader Joes. Rainforest Certified blooms are consciously grown with people and planet in mind. Rainforest Alliance flowers standards protect ecosystems, conserve water and soil, and promote safe working environments. 
 
There is also a growing market for fair trade flowers, which is great for ethically minded couples. One World Flowers sells fair trade certified roses and is one of the leading growers. You can also find fair trade flowers at Whole Foods Market under their "Whole Trade Label." Some Whole Foods floral departments are even able to do your arrangements as well as your bouquets and boutinieres! 
 
Forever Flowers
Perhaps the most eco-friendly option is to have live plants for your centerpieces. My husband and I planted succulents for our centerpieces and then handed them out to interested guests as a takeaway. Amorillus, hyasyth, daffifils, paperwhites, and orchids also make great centerpieces. You can also try your hand at terrariums by repurposed mason jars, vintage candy dishes, or old apothecary jars as you glass container. Terrariums add a little whimsy to your day and are something that can be shared with guests or brought to your home after the wedding to remind you of the day.
 
Another Eco-friendly option is to create or buy fake flowers (No, I'm not talking about your grandma’s faux flowers of silk or plastic!). There are loads of fabric and paper flower tutorials online if you’re feeling crafty. To make your DIY flowers Eco-friendly be sure to use recycled paper or repurposed fabrics. Mr Ellie Pooh Paper carries eco-friendly and fair trade paper made from a mix of recycled and elephant processed fibers. They sell craft paper and cardstock in a variety of colors on both large and small sheets. 
 
 If you don’t have a green thumb with plants let alone with paper and glue, you can buy some really phenomenal fair trade “flowers.” Global Goods Partners has some lovely felted wool flowers from Nepal that come in a variety of colors and types from sunflowers, lilies, roses and tulips. It’s a fun option for the quirky couple who want flowers that will last a lifetime! Ten Thousand Villages sells some tasteful red, paper roses as well as some funky recycled paper blooms.
 
Whatever flowers you choose be sure to do your homework, be thoughtful and have fun with a pop of color on your big day!
 
 
- Tegan
 
For more wedding and event inspiration visit Tegan's blog at Intandem Fair Trade Weddings