Sustainable, Local, Pesticide-Free Flowers: The Bride Carried Green

Say it with flowers. Locally grown, organic blooms speak of your love for one another and your love for the earth.

| May/June 2007

Giant sunflowers tango with tangerine zinnias on the gate of a tiny stone chapel in Baldwin, Kansas, welcoming guests to the wedding of Darci Mathison and Patrick Wedel. Nearby, the bride checks her bouquet: lisianthus, zinnias, gomphena, tuberoses, statice, feverfew, sunflowers, all freshly plucked from nearby Pendleton Farms. “Perfect,” she declares.

Mathison’s casual, herb-scented, pesticide-free bouquet is much different from those found at a floral shop, says Karen Pendleton, co-owner of Pendleton Farms near Lawrence, Kansas. “Many brides walk the garden to see the flowers and pick them out themselves,” Pendleton says.

Locally grown foods and flowers are gaining favor everywhere as couples become more conscious of earth-friendly options, says Carley Roney, editor-in-chief and cofounder of The Knot, a popular online website. More brides want their flowers to be seasonal, she notes. “Part is style; part is consciousness. A lot of couples use flowers as a way to express their interest in the environment and their love of gardening.”

Pick an earth-friendly bouquet

Supporting local, organic farms is a great idea, but—just like a marriage—it requires flexibility. While conventional florists reach globally to provide flowers on demand, weather and soil conditions constrain local growers. Summer options at Pendleton’s, for instance, include celosia, cosmos, rudbeckia and playful butterfly weed. A fall wedding might feature apples, gourds and pumpkins; a winter event, evergreen boughs and berries.

Local flowers often cost less than bouquets purchased from a conventional florist. While costs vary by region, brides typically spend 8 to 10 percent of their wedding budget on flowers. (For a $25,000 wedding, flowers generally average $2,000 to $2,500.) Pendleton’s weddings have ranged from $35 to $6,000 and average about $1,000. To cut costs even further, consider using single stems or potted plants.

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