Sustainable wedding florals
Why not! The signs are right in front of us – climate change, last summer’s bushfires, COVID-19. We no longer have a choice, nor should we want to. Couples are realising this and are seeking to reduce their carbon footprint, make ethical choices, and support their communities.
And we are here for it!
Kim McClelland of Dear Henri is a clever and creative force to be reckoned with when it comes to floristry, and more than just the beauty of her blooms, Kim is also a driving force in ensuring sustainable and responsible practices.
So, how do you ride the wave between sustainability and maintaining a stunning wedding display? And foam free – why does it matter? Read on, Kim has ever so kindly let us pick her brain on the topic of sustainable wedding florals.
Can a wedding be both sustainable and stunning?
Absolutely! Sustainability is THE vibe right now! Florists are creating modern gorgeous designs using responsible practices. By making powerful thoughtful decisions that respect our eco systems and communities while also delivering a stunning outcome, we can be the change that is needed.
We’ve heard a lot of talk about floral foam recently. Can you tell us about it and what it means to go ‘foam free’?
Floral foam is the dirty secret of the floral industry. It’s essentially a water absorbent foam brick used to create floral designs. It’s relied on all the time because it’s fast and convenient.
But it’s toxic, and because it’s a plastic product it will never break down.
Before floral foam came along, florists got creative with chicken wire, pots of water, and flower frogs to keep the stems in place and hydrated. There’s been a huge resurgence in these tried and tested methods as florists across the world adapt to using foam free techniques. With a bit of thought and planning, it’s easy to go completely foam free!
How has your business incorporated sustainability into your day to day?
Dear Henri is ALL about working responsibly and ethically. It’s at the heart of everything we do.
From day one we said no to single-use packaging to deliver our bouquets. We had wooden boxes custom-made so we could transport our bouquets in vases. We collect the boxes and vases at the end of the event to roll out for our next one. Not only does this eliminate single-use packaging, it also keeps the bouquets hydrated up until the big moment.
We are 100% foam free and we love it! It’s perfect for those on-trend designs with lots of flow and movement. Our tool-kit includes chicken wire, re-usable vials and buckets, and moss or green waste to provide internal support to an arrangement. We have designed wire structures for our free-standing installations that are reused over and over again.
Reusing and repurposing is also a major part of our pack-down process. We separate every single cable tie and vial from the arrangement, so that the green waste can be diverted to compost. The vials are stashed away to be used for future events.
We love it when the flowers are taken by guests at the end of the wedding, and on the rare occasions they are not we will dry the florals to use another time. Sometimes we will bunch together small posies to be gifted to others.
As well as the strong focus on reusing, we are all about reducing! Reducing waste, plastic, and our carbon footprint. We are so fortunate to have our new studio situated near local flower farms Soho Roses, Rook Blooms, Fleur de Lyonville and Pennyweight Farm. They provide us with (reuseable!) buckets of incredible blooms. There’s no nasty plastic sleeves, the flowers have not been flown in from overseas, and we get to buy directly from the farmer. This makes us very happy!
How can couples weave sustainability into their wedding day?
Start by choosing suppliers who live and breathe sustainability.
Ask your florist to provide a floral wrapping station so your guests can take home the flowers at the end of the evening.
Talk to your florist about what flowers are in season for your wedding date. Ask them to tell you about the designs and colour palettes that will work perfectly with seasonality.
Discuss with your florist about designing a ceremony backdrop that can be moved inside to the dance floor or photo booth later on. Makes it sustainable for your hip pocket too!
And of course it’s not just floristry that’s embracing responsible practices. Dress designers, jewellers, cake makers, hair and make-up artists – actually every wedding vendor – all want to be part of this movement.
See here a great display of an environmentally-conscious couple, Holly and Jason, who prove that sustainability doesn’t mean compromising on beauty!
Photography by Sarah Godenzi, Ashleigh Haase and Sergy Osipov.