Slow Flowers, Green Weddings: Inspiring and Sustainable Floral Ideas for 2017 Ceremonies

Branching Out: Branches like mock orange create an open latticework that’s less compact (and thereby less formal) than an orb of similarly-sized flowers,” says Betany Coffland of Chloris Floral, based in Petaluma, California. Credit: Paige Green Photography

With the average cost of a wedding pegged at $28,000, according to The Wedding Report, it is clearly a buyers’ market for betrothed couples. Slow Flowers members reveal that mindful couples who care about spending their dollars in a meaningful way are choosing local and seasonal bouquets, boutonnieres and floral decor.

“Our couples really enjoy hearing about the process we go through to bring local flowers to them.  Knowing the farms and learning about our local sources can help to further create the personality of their wedding,” says Slow Flowers member Andrea K. Grist of Andrea K. Grist Floral Art, based in Lees Summit, Missouri.

Mary Coombs, partner in A Garden Party, LLC, in Elmer, New Jersey, echoes these sentiments: “The popularity of the farm-to-table menu along with the demand for rustic wedding venues has opened up the conversation about locally -sourced flowers. Our couples are wanting to know where the flowers are grown and we are proud to boast blooms from our many local flower farms and our own garden too. Supplying locally-grown flowers to our clients is not only the more eco-conscious option, it allows us to highlight the beauty of home grown blooms and the families that grow them, ” Coombs says.

This late-summer centerpiece features ‘Cafe au Lait’ dahlias with other seasonal blooms in persimmon and peach hues. Created utilizing a long, low box handcrafted by Buckeye Blooms with reclaimed barnwood, the lush design has a low prifile for easy viewing across the reception table. Credit: Buckeye Blooms Photography

As conscious couples invest their wedding budgets closer to home, they are turning to local flower farmers and sustainably-minded florists to help them achieve their vision. Creatives who rely on the muse in all four seasons and participate in the Slow Flowers Movement pluck stems straight from the garden, meadows and fields near them.

“They believe the most authentic expression celebrates the place and the moment in time, as well as sentimental fragrances, palettes or botanicals that bring meaning to the ceremony,” says Debra Prinzing, founder and creative director of Slowflowers.com, which promotes American grown flowers.

“Inspired couples want to set their wedding apart by telling their story through the florals they carry down the aisle or pin to the lapel. They’re aware that there is meaning in every bloom and that flowers communicate where words may not. By keeping floral choices close to home, there’s a ‘green’ aspect that conveys their sustainable values, as well,” Prinzing says.

Here are some of the emerging styles that best reflect the 2017 Wedding Season with a environmentally and locally-conscious aesthetic:

A lush combination of native sword fern, and California-grown acacia and willow-leaf eucalyptus establishes the foliage-strong foundation for the cream and pink lisanthus and buttercream larkspur in a bouquet designed by Kim Richards of Lollie Fleur, a Seattle-based design studio. Credit: Cassie Pepper Photography

FOLIAGE FIRST
Go Bohemian with layers and textures in all shades of green. Fine or softly-draping leaves give a bridal bouquet its carefree attitude, ideal for a ceremony with a casual, personal style. “I used a lush combination of native sword fern, and California-grown acacia and willow-leaf eucalyptus to establish the foliage-strong foundation for the cream and pink lisanthus and buttercream larkspur,” says Kim Richards of Lollie Fleur, a Seattle-based design studio.

Thornless blackberries, dogwood berries and dusty miller leaves create the framework for garden roses and white-blooming accents like the cup and saucer campanula, delphinium and scabiosa flowers in a design by Isabella Thorndike Church of Jacklily Seasonal Floral Design and flowers from Le Mera Gardens. Credit: Allie Harrington Photography

PURE WHITE . . . PLUS
Designer Isabella Thorndike Church of Jacklily Seasonal Floral Design in Ashland, Oregon, partnered with her family’s flower farm, Le Mera Gardens, to gather and compose a blithe bouquet with intricate garden flowers and uncommon foliages. “Thornless blackberries, dogwood berries and dusty miller leaves create the framework for garden roses and white-blooming accents like the cup and saucer campanula, delphinium and scabiosa flowers.” 

The Café Au Lait dahlia takes center stage in this bouquet by Kim Richards Credit: Jonathan Gipaya Photography

SIGNATURE BLOOM
Inspired by a must-have diva flower, such as the blushing Café Au Lait dahlia, designer Kim Richards added a quieter lineup of silvery and white botanicals to support and showcase that signature bloom — the season’s epitome of beauty. 

BRANCHING OUT: Flowering branches are just as luxurious as flowers, especially when added to a hand-tied statement bouquet. Design: Betany Coffland, Chloris Floral. Photography: Paige Green

BRANCHING OUT
Flowering branches are just as luxurious as flowers, especially when added to a hand-tied statement bouquet. “Twigs and stems bearing dogwood, cherry, magnolia, peach, quince or apple blossoms lend a lighthearted quality to a gathering of spring flowers, as they appear to dance on their stems. Branches like mock orange create an open latticework that’s less compact (and thereby less formal) than an orb of similarly-sized flowers,” says Betany Coffland of Chloris Floral, based in Petaluma, California. 

Edibles in a design by A Garden Party, Elmer, New Jersey. Credit: Love Story Studios Photography
This aesthetic is just right for a foodie couple and their farm-to-table reception festivities. Design: A Garden Party, Elmer, New Jersey. Credit: Love Story Studios Photography

EDIBLES AS ACCENTS
Nothing says local like fresh-from-the-farm herbs, vegetables and fruits integrated in a garden-inspired wedding bouquet. This aesthetic is just right for a foodie couple and their farm-to-table reception festivities. “From blueberries and cherries to plump, fresh apricots, adding edibles lends an organic and sensory quality to our arrangements and bouquets,” says Mary Coombs, partner in A Garden Party, based in Elmer, New Jersey.

All Ohio-grown flowers, including Ohio roses from Rose Girl Farm, given this couple a breathtakingly beautiful elopement. Design: Buckeye Blooms and Passiflora Studio. Credit: Connection Photography

LOCAL AND LOVELY
Floral and event designers Buckeye Blooms and Passiflora Studio used 100-percent Ohio-grown blooms from theirs and other local farms to design florals for a highly personal elopement. The couple is photographed at The Wilds, the largest wildlife conservation area in North America and one of the country’s greatest reclamation success stories, located in the rolling hills of rural Southeast Ohio.

In the hands of an inspired colorist, vivid annuals and perennials that you might find at the Farmers’ Market can comprise a beautiful bouquet, hand-tied with natural jute. Design: Andrea K. Grist Floral Art. Photography: Nomadic Newlyweds Photography

All flowers were grown by Missouri cut flower farm, Rosco’s Flowers. Design: Andrea K. Grist Floral Art. Credit: Nomadic Newlyweds Photography.

FARMERS’ MARKET WITH A TWIST
In the hands of an inspired colorist, vivid annuals and perennials that you might find at the Farmers’ Market can comprise a beautiful bouquet, hand-tied with natural jute.
“Elongated berries and fresh greenery form an upscale cascade with everyday flowers like coral zinnias, pale pink yarrow, buttery feverfew and lavender ageratum,” says designer Andrea K. Grist of Andrea K. Grist Floral Art in Lees Summit, Missouri. “Plus, all these flowers were grown by one of my best farmers’ market resources, Rosco’s Flowers.”

FORAGED AND GATHERED: When you can’t restrain yourself from using everything the garden has to offer, choose a color palette to keep things visually coherent. Design: Tobey Nelson Events and Design, Langley, Washington. Credit: Kim Nowell Photography

FORAGED AND GATHERED
When you can’t restrain yourself from using everything the garden has to offer, choose a color palette to keep things visually coherent. Weave stems into the bouquet at different depths and levels to create a natural “effortless” effect, says designer Tobey Nelson of Tobey Nelson Events and Design, Langley, Washington, whose gardenesque design includes ranunculus, tulips, peonies, pieris, magnolia, anemones and roses with plum and viburnum foliage, much of it foraged from her own farm and private landscapes she maintains. 

DARK-LIGHT CONTRASTS: Dark burgundy dahlias are stunning here, contrasted with peach and cream petals of companion blooms. Design: Isabella Thorndike Church of Jacklily Seasonal Floral Design in Ashland, Oregon, with flowers from Le Mera Gardens. Photography: Juliet Ashley Photography

DARK-LIGHT CONTRASTS
Amp up the drama with the palest and deepest of hues in one bouquet. Dark burgundy dahlias are stunning here, best showcased when contrasted with peach and cream petals of companion blooms, says Isabella Thorndike Church of Jacklily Seasonal Floral Design in Ashland, Oregon, who partnered with her family’s flower farm, Le Mera Gardens. “This bouquet also features Italian flowering oregano, ‘Black Knight’ Queen Anne’s lace, red shuttle flower and clematis vine,” she says.

SWEET ROMANCE WITH PASTELS: Cottage garden flowers in a soft palette of pinks and baby blue have their moment in feminine bouquet. Design: Dawn Clark, A Garden Party. Credit: Brianna Venke Photography
SWEET ROMANCE WITH PASTELS: The pastel palette gets a shimmer of elegance when contained in a gilded compote. Design: A Garden Party. Credit: Brianna Venke Photography

SWEET ROMANCE WITH PASTELS
Cottage garden flowers in a soft palette of pinks and baby blue have their moment in feminine bouquet featuring local peonies, sweet peas, delphinium, astilbe, ranunculus and honeysuckle vines. “This same floral palette gets a shimmer of elegance when contained in a gilded compote for reception centerpieces,” says Dawn Clark, partner in A Garden Party, based in Elmer, New Jersey.  

FRAME THE CEREMONY: An alder-pole arbor handcrafted from trees foraged from the farm of Whidbey Island florist Tobey Nelson is lavishly decorated with sherbet-toned flowers sourced from local farmers. Design: Tobey Nelson Events and Design. Credit: O’Malley Photography

FRAME THE CEREMONY
An alder-pole arbor handcrafted from trees foraged from the farm of Whidbey Island florist Tobey Nelson is lavishly decorated with sherbet-toned flowers sourced from local farmers. “I selected the trailing amaranth and delicate clematis to echo the art-deco lines and beadwork in the brides dress.” Nelson engineered the floral arbor without using floral foam. Instead, she created “jelly rolls” of moss and chicken wire, which were soaked overnight and zip-tied to the structure on the day of the wedding. Flower and foliage stems are inserted into the moss base and water-hungry flowers like dahlias were inserted with floral tubes.

ILLUMINATE FOR AMBIENCE: Dawn Clark and Mary Coombs of A Garden Party, Elmer, New Jersey, turn simple glass vessels into a glowing canopy of suspended votives. Credit: Femina Photo + Design

ILLUMINATE FOR AMBIENCE
Every wedding needs candles somewhere, right? The inventiveness of design duo Dawn Clark and Mary Coombs of A Garden Party, Elmer, New Jersey, turns simple glass vessels into a canopy of suspended votives that set the romantic mood for vows.

 

Debra Prinzing

Debra Prinzing is the founder of Slow Flowers and the author of several books.

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Slow Flowers Journal is brought to you by SlowFlowers.com. Slow Flowers is an award-winning online directory created to help consumers find florists, studio designers, wedding and event planners, supermarket flower departments and flower farmers that supply American grown flowers. Founded in 2014, the site has grown to 700 members across the U.S.

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