Romance at it's finest

HED: On Wedding Floristry

DEK: The floristry industry brings unparalleled beauty and natural whimsy to weddings. But is it worth the environmental cost?

For many couples, selecting floral designs can be one of the most enjoyable aspects of wedding planning. Like finally finding your dress, laying eyes on one’s dream florals brings a little frisson of excitement, a surety: this bouquet is perfection.

Perhaps this is because floral arrangements bring with them a natural perfection we don’t find anywhere else. They are beautiful and fragrant literally by nature’s design.

 

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Wedding Floristry and the Environment

“I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I began researching the environmental impacts of the floral industry,” says Madeline Barber, a writer from Vancouver, BC, who recently published an investigation into floristry at large with Montecristo Magazine. “The further I read and the more experts I spoke to, the more dizzying the reality became.”

“From the growers, to the wholesalers, to the individual shops, the floral industry is a tangled web of sustainability concerns. Name an environmental issue—pesticides, water usage, carbon output, waste, etc.—and you'll find it in the floral industry,” Barber adds.

How can such a beautiful industry be so ugly? The answer is right in front of us, but is often obscured by the finished product. After all, who wants to think about carbon emissions when holding a bundle of gorgeous fresh lilies?

As many of us know, not all flowers grow in all climates, and no flowers are in season year round. So if a bride holding a December wedding requests fresh peonies, the florist has no choice but to fly them in from abroad—sometimes from thousands of miles away. This is strike one.

Then, for flowers to be incorporated into a bride’s dream design, they may be chemically bleached, processed or altered to obtain a desired colour, resilience, or rigidity (and this is to say nothing of the pesticides used in the growth phase). This is strike two.

Afterwards, the flowers are arranged using floral foam, which breaks down into harmful microplastics and finds its way into our soils and waterways. And when our florals begin to wilt and fade, they’re tossed. Strike three.

The entire process is rife with irony: it is contingent upon farming, transporting, and altering a naturally occurring beauty. So what can we do to change it?

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Supporting Local, Sustainable Floristry

DEK: The floristry industry brings unparalleled beauty and natural whimsy to weddings. But is it worth the environmental cost?

For many couples, selecting floral designs can be one of the most enjoyable aspects of wedding planning. Like finally finding your dress, laying eyes on one’s dream florals brings a little frisson of excitement, a surety: this bouquet is perfection.

Perhaps this is because floral arrangements bring with them a natural perfection we don’t find anywhere else. They are beautiful and fragrant literally by nature’s design.

But there is a seriously dark underbelly to the wedding floristry industry: its environmental impact is huge.

But what’s a bride to do? Skip florals altogether? Thankfully, no, but there are ways you can help change the tides. We spoke to an expert to get her take on the industry and where we must go from here.

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