Making Every Wedding Flower Minute Count

making flowers count

My most important rule of being a sustainable florist

As a sustainable florist, there are many ways I can promote green choices over the course of a wedding. I don’t use floral foam. I use minimal, reusable packaging. I do most of my administrative work electronically and when I need to write on paper, it is recycled or scrap. I source locally and from America and Canada first. But the most important aspect of my business, the guiding principle, is the No fifteen minutes of fame rule.

In browsing Pinterest, wedding blogs like Style me Pretty or Martha Stewart Weddings, or looking at local publications like Chicago Luxury Weddings, there is no shortage of incredibly beautiful images where no expense is spared. Layers of bespoke detail are depicted, from the innovative color schemes to the trendy materials to the super high stem counts. In my design work, I strive to never create pieces of a wedding floral décor that are only on display for a short time window at the event, in other words, the designs need to work beyond fifteen minutes. Great floral design can often add to the event until the last guest is leaving, and beyond.

ceremony hug bouquet

Don’t toss it ten minutes later, repurpose it.

Imagine this. A very elaborate assembly of vases, candles and greenery lining the aisle sets the stage and wows guests as the members of the wedding party enter and exit the vows area. I don’t believe in striking all these items (even if the budget allows!) and bringing out a totally new set of flowers, containers, and finishing details for the reception. I believe that the floral elements need to work harder than a fifteen minute show, and so I design decorations that will be repurposed, even in a small way, for the reception. In many cases, the reception can take on remarkable little details by careful thinking about using the wedding flowers collection to the max. After preparing bouquets or archways for the ceremony, there are always yummy leftovers to transfer to, or refashion elements of the reception. We love making chair swags with welcoming blooms at the sweetheart table to celebrate the wedding couple, or repositioning a statement piece that starts at a welcome sign, and letting it shine on a gift table.

See beyond the ceremony.

Of course, this “no fifteen minutes” rule sometimes presents challenges.  Clients sometimes worry that my aesthetic might be too skimpy in the end, so we look at the portfolio and I talk through past plans to reassure them.  They shape the process with me.  We also have to make choices to account for timing.  I aim to repurpose at least three times in a wedding. I talk with my team about the switches and change ups in a pre wedding team huddle. It’s always a thrill seeing the florals come together, whether we’re in a back yard or a ballroom.

This repurposing makes me so happy as a designer, as it is part of my sustainability ethic and my passion. I believe there is a balance between  doing something that feels like conspicuous consumption as the stem counts and pricing creep higher, and being smart about design, so the florals are fluid, magical, and a natural link between the different parts of the celebration.  Flowers are resilient and persevering in their lives before the wedding, they’ve made it so far!  These blooms are so special.  Let’s let them enjoy the party for hours, not minutes.  Their fame is much longer than fifteen minutes, and with any luck, the florals we create for you will be timeless and live on in everyone’s memories.

Pictured:  Amy and Matt’s September 2020 wedding at Ravinia Green Country Club, photographed by Ashley Hamm Photography.  The ceremony décor was repurposed from outside to inside, 100%, and the leftover flowers were donated to a nearby retirement home.

 – Kirsten Gordon



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