Are you worried about the impact on the planet with your wedding flowers? With so much inspiration coming from social media channels including Instagram and Pinterest for elaborate and exotic floral displays, the demand for flowers which are not in season or available in the UK has been booming, which is putting more and more pressure on the planet.
In the UK over 80% of cut flowers come from the Netherlands, and with an average bouquet creating 32kg/co2 compared to a British grown bouquet producing only 3.2kg/co2 – by making choices about blooms which are seasonal and British grown you can make a much needed saving for the planet.
As many flower farmers in the UK will tell you, it’s now possible to feature sustainably grown flowers at your wedding from February to December, with the summer months in particular abundance. When selecting flowers it’s important to think about the style more than specific flower – there are so many varieties available in an array of colours, there really is no need to look further than your local flower farms.
What is the carbon impact of British grown flowers?
The carbon footprint of British-grown flowers can vary depending on a number of factors, such as the type of flower, the location of the grower, and the farming practices used. Thanks to research carried out in 2017 by Rebecca Swin there is absolutely no doubt that British grown flowers have a considerably lower carbon footprint than imported ones. How do you know what flowers are in season locally? Ask your florist!
One reason for this is that imported flowers have to be transported long distances, often by air, which generates a significant amount of carbon emissions. In contrast, British-grown flowers have a shorter distance to travel, which reduces their carbon footprint.
Another factor that can affect the carbon footprint of British-grown flowers is the type of farming practices used. Organic and sustainable farming practices can reduce the carbon footprint of flower production by minimising the use of fossil fuels and other inputs that generate greenhouse gas emissions.
Using locally-grown, native wildflowers can reduce also the carbon footprint of your wedding flowers. These flowers often require less water and pesticides than imported flowers, and they support local ecosystems.
Harriet from the Cumberland Flower Farm writes:
“A Dutch and Kenyan bouquet that included 5 roses, 3 lilies and 3 gypsophila equalled 31.132kg/CO2 (Kenya) and 32.252Kg/CO2 (Dutch).
An equivalent bouquet using British alternatives (I’m assuming that this is because we don’t grow commercial roses in this country anymore) with 5 snapdragon, 3 lilies and 3 alstroemeria totted up 3.287Kg/CO2. That’s 10% of the carbon emissions! A locally grown bouquet using 15 stems of outdoor grown flowers had a carbon footprint of 1.71kg/CO2.”
What are the alternatives to cut flowers?
If cut flowers aren’t your thing, there are lots of other sustainable alternatives, that have minimal impact on the planet too…
Instead of cut flowers, consider using living potted plants as centrepieces and in arrangements. They can be gifted to guests for them to take home and continue to enjoy them after the wedding. But they don’t have to just be on the tables. You can use living plants to enhance the natural beauty of the your venue.
Dried flowers can be just as beautiful as fresh flowers and have a much longer lifespan. They also make unique and eco-friendly decorations. Pinterest has some wonderful inspiration for dried flower bouquets, button holes and centrepieces.
Foliage such as ferns, eucalyptus, and ivy can add texture and greenery to your wedding decor. They are a more sustainable option than cut flowers and can be easily sourced from local garden centres or markets.
Succulents are a low-maintenance, long-lasting option for wedding flowers. They can be arranged in unique ways and make great take-home gifts for guests.
For a truly eco-friendly option, consider making or buying paper flowers. These can be made from recycled materials and will last long after the wedding day is over.
There are some incredible eco-friendly alternative wedding bouquets that can be made using sustainable felt material. These are also perfect if you would like to incorporate themed details into your wedding too.
The benefits of having alternative wedding flowers go beyond saving the planet.
- Creating memories. By swapping cut flowers for longer lasting alternatives you will be able to cherish the memories for longer.
- Sharing the love. By using living flowers that you double up as gifts or favours, you will be able to share the love with your guests at the wedding
- Budget friendly. Cut flowers can be an expensive option, by switching to more eco-friendly options you could save money that you can use on other areas of your celebration.
There are many sustainable alternatives to cut flowers, and it’s possible to have a beautiful and environmentally responsible wedding by making a simple swaps which can also help with your wedding budget, and create everlasting memories.
Featured image photo from V and H Photography