Nosegay from About

When we shut our eyes and think of weddings our heads become filled with many iconic images of these ceremonies. The cake with plastic bride and groom toppers, the dress worn by the bride, and the cute little flower girl tossing petals!

Flowers (and flower petals) play a big role in some wedding ceremonies. They are used in the flower girl’s role, decorations, and that famous bouquet tossed by the bride.

Commercial flower production is labor intensive and growers often use herbicides and pesticides to deal with “damaging pests” like caterpillars, mites, beetles, and whiteflies.  Tina M. Smith, the Extension Educator at the University of Massachusetts’ Floriculture Program states: “Unfortunately, not all of the material you apply actually reaches the target insect” What doesn’t reach the insect ends up in our air, soil, and water. Commercial flower productions can also be an unhealthy and abusive environment for those who work there. One article from organic consumers called the working conditions “sweatshops in the greenhouses.”

But don’t fret! There are options for finding beautiful, socially and environmentally responsible flowers for your special day.

Be Organic

Along with helping find local farms, vegetarian restaurants, and farmers’ markets Local Harvest can also help you find  organic flower growers in your area. Just enter your zip code!

California Organic Flowers also offers a wedding / party pack of 12 large bouquets that can be shipped overnight to anywhere in the US.  These flowers come from CCOF Terra Bella Farm in Pleasanton , CA.
EcoFlora the Fair Trade & Organic florist for my friends to the North.

Be Fair 

TransFair USA started a fair trade program for flower growers and workers. This fair trade label would assure that those working with the flowers are protected from pesticides, fair wages, child care, and more.  The label also assures that flowers are grown organically and sustainably.

If you are involved with flowers in retail, wholesale, import, or production I highly recommend you look into this fair trade program.

Be wild!

You can cut back on electricity, emissions, and cost by picking your own local wildflowers in place of flowers that are shipped across the country or stored in a fridge at the florist. If you have time (and space) you can also try growing your own wildflowers so you can get the colors and styles you would prefer.

When creating your own bouquet think about what style you would like before you go picking. This will make it easier to decide what you need to pick. If you don’t know your nosegay from your sceptre check out these links:
http://www.aboutflowers.com/holidays_b1e.html

http://www.weddingflowersdenver.com/weddingbouquetstyles.htm 

You may also find it helpful to read up on flower arranging or how to make specific types of bouquets you might be interested in, like a hand-tied bouquet, prior to starting your own.

If you do decide to go with a vendor, make sure you are getting bang for your buck. Check out these questions to ask a vendor prior to placing your order: YourWeddingCompany

Incorporate you conscious blooms beyond your bouquet.  Flower girls can easily toss  small wildflowers or fair trade rose petals, the groom and groomsmen can use local greens, mosses, berries, and flowers in their boutonniere, centerpieces and other decor can incorporate wild flowers, fruit, branches, and vegetables or you can use potted plants that guests can later take home.

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