We are all aware of the varied environmental challenges the planet is facing. As wonderful and unique as your wedding will be (you certainly deserve it!), it will only last for one day. So many parts of a wedding will only be used for that one-making their environmental impact greater.
Climate Care estimates that the average wedding emits approximately 14.5 tons of carbon dioxide. To put that into context, it’s the equivalent of flying from the UK to Thailand and back again ten times! It’s no wonder then that the 2018 National Wedding Survey found that 39% of couples are considering sustainability when planning their wedding.
But there are many ways to reduce the environmental impact of your wedding, and they don’t mean missing out or compromising on your wedding style. Some of these changes can even save you some money and leave you with lasting momentos of your special day!
Let’s look specifically at wedding flowers.
You may not initially think of your wedding flowers as being ‘bad’ for the environment-after all, plants are good for the planet right? But when we look a little closer (and consider that wedding flowers are only for one day) we can see that your petite bouquet can have some big impacts on the planet.
The first thing to consider is seasonality. We are not exactly blessed with the hottest weather in the UK, meaning that the variety of flowers that can be successfully grown here throughout the year are limited. This leads to many wedding flowers being imported from hotter countries (with the associated carbon dioxide emissions) or being grown in energy-intensive hot houses.
Flowers also need water-a lot of water in fact! This is, ironically, a major problem for hot countries (where a lot of imported flowers are grown) due to low rain levels. There has been, for example, controversy around the drought-stricken Lake Naivasha in Kenya, which sees significant amounts of its water used in local flower greenhouses.
There is also the issue of fertilisers and pesticides for any flowers that are not grown organically. These can have negative impacts on local wildlife and/or lead to run-off (where excess fertilisers are washed off the soil into nearby rivers and lakes) causing further damage to the ecosystem.
For wedding flowers there is the added problem of refrigeration. Most wedding flowers will be prepared the day before the wedding and then kept cool in fridges to prevent any deterioration. These refrigeration units are big, energy hungry appliances!
Overall, your wedding flowers can have some significant environmental impacts on the planet. These can be mitigated, though, by considering some sustainable alternatives to wedding flowers.
So let’s meet your new sustainable wedding flowers-paper flowers!
Paper flowers are, unsurprisingly, blooms and foliage that have been made from any type of paper.
Why are paper flowers a more sustainable choice for wedding flowers then?
The most obvious benefit for paper flowers is that they do not need to be ‘grown’, therefore they require no water (or fertilisers). The carbon footprint is also significantly lower for paper flowers (I would never say that carbon footprint is zero because nothing is!)
To add to their eco-credentials, paper flowers can also be made from vintage papers such as sheet music, comic books, old novels and maps. This means that no new paper has to be manufactured for your wedding flowers. Vintage paper also adds an extra layer of personalisation to your wedding.
Being made from paper means no wilting or deterioration! Therefore those energy hungry refrigeration units are not required.
The benefits of paper wedding flowers are not just limited to the environment (great as those benefits are!)
Paper flowers are always in season! Want roses in the depths of November? Have your heart set on sunflowers in May? No problem!
Imagine spending hundreds of pounds on flower arrangements that you will only be able to enjoy for one day? Well, that’s real wedding flowers for you! Paper flowers will last forever.
You can save money by using your paper flowers as gifts for your attendants. Bridesmaids and flower girls can take their bouquets home (remember, they are going to last forever!). Table arrangements can be taken home by guests or other important members of your wedding party.
Wedding days are busy days! There are a lot of suppliers arriving and setting up to provide their service-photographer, wedding planner, cake maker, hair and make-up artist, chauffeur etc!
By opting for paper you can say ‘tick’ to your wedding flowers and know that they are completed and ready for you to take to your venue!
Real flowers are beautiful, but you don’t always have a choice when it comes to colours. Paper flowers can be made in any colour you want! Whether you prefer something ‘natural’ or something a bit different-hello black roses!
I hope you have found this guide to paper flowers, a great sustainable alternative to wedding flowers, useful. If you would like to have paper flowers for your wedding then do visit my wedding flowers page for more information on how I can help you. Have any questions about paper wedding flowers?? Just pop them into the comments below!