Eco-Chic Flowers {Green Wedding Guide}

Since I'm the "California Eco-Friendly Bride" I think it's high time I start giving some tips about making your wedding eco-chic. Let's start with flowers, because who doesn't like flowers? Fortunately, there are some very easy ways to make your wedding flowers beautiful and earth friendly! Any bride or groom looking to add some Eco elements to their wedding, specifically when it comes to flowers, probably knows just how terrible the flower industry can be to the environment. The pesticides, the greenhouse gases involved in express shipping fresh flowers half way around the globe, not to mention really poor working conditions for many of the people who work in the fields. I was shocked to learn that the average wedding emits 12-14 tons of CO2 - that's more than a person emits in a full year!

So here are some ideas to kick start your eco-friendly floral planning! Now, I am definitely no expert, but I have done my fair share of research for my own wedding, so I'll share what I've learned with you :)

If you live in an area where someone provides the opportunity to rent plants, this is a great way to bring in some colorful citrus trees or cherry blossoms or whatever fits your theme. Kate Middleton did it after all!

   left: The Enchanted Home; right: Bridal Guide, photo by Meg Smith Photography

I really looked into doing this, as I thought some miniature lemon and mandarin trees would look gorgeous in my venue, but I can't find anyone who rents these trees in the Bay Area. {sad face}

You can also use smaller potted plants that you or your guests can keep after the wedding to decorate your house or garden. And if you do lots of mini potted plants, those can double as wedding favors!

My Sunny Wedding, photo by Erik Ekroth Photography

Or air plants! Air plants are some of the easiest plants, since they don't need soil and require little to no water to stay alive. I've seen some pretty awesome air plant bouquets and favors. I always think that a couple who uses air plants must be pretty badass. Maybe it's those wild, spiky fronds.

   left: Koru Wedding Style, photo by Mi Belle Photography; right: JL Designs, photo by Gabriel Ryan

Succulents are a big deal right now (in case you've been living in a hole and haven't noticed, silly). It feels like every wedding you look at has some succulents in them. They have great character, but better yet, they will survive your wedding day without soil and become a fun plant-able reminder of your wedding day later on!

Ruffled Blog, photo by Erica Ann Photography

Another fun and quirky option is to do paper flower bouquets made from recycled paper! I just love those paper flowers on the mini cake.

   left: Hatch Creative Studio, photo by Dave Robbins Photography; right: Wedding Chicks, photo by Hilton Pittman Photography

Lastly, you can go with the organic, local, seasonal flower option by using a sustainable florist. This really gives you the greatest variety of flower choices and allows you to choose specific colors and flower types. Although you may not end up with as enormous of a variety of flowers as you would if you went with hot house/imported flowers, there are more than enough options to make your vision come true.

Brides, photo by Mathew Kiang

This is the option we went with, and I was able to find an incredible florist in Berkeley called Gorgeous and Green who specializes in local, sustainable flowers (and has the cutest shop on the planet!). After meeting with her it was clear that she really is trying to change the industry, which we love. She uses ribbons made from recycled material, visits every farm she sources her flowers from so she knows their farming practices firsthand, and gives preference to local, seasonal growers. Kyle and I met with her a couple of weeks ago and were overwhelmed by the variety of flowers she recommended. I mean, is there a flower or color I can't have?! I don't think so.

In the Bay Area we're lucky to have a number of options when it comes to sustainable florists. I know that isn't an option everywhere, so you may want to consider potted plants and succulents. Wedding blogs are just overflowing with gorgeous photos of these floral inspirations, so eat your heart out eco-brides!

And even if you have your heart set on a certain flower in your bouquet, maybe there are other areas you can incorporate an eco-friendly flower option. Don't fret, it doesn't have to be all or nothing!

Are you planning on using eco-friendly floral arrangements in your wedding? Are there any great companies you've worked with who focus on sustainable farming practices? Give them a shout out so other brides can know about your great find!