Your wedding flowers will be a big part of your day. You hold them as you walk down the aisle, you may get married surrounded by them and they will decorate your venue to make it look more beautiful than you even imagined. The big question on many couples minds is... what happens to them afterwards?
Well the great news is that there are loads of options. Many couples are becoming more eco-conscious and considering the impact of their wedding on the environment. Your flowers will have spent weeks or months growing and your florist will have nurtured them for several days before they appear at your wedding so why not prolong their life a little more?
One option is to have a wrapping station placed somewhere in your venue, maybe repurposing the cake table after it's been cut or alongside your card/gift table. All you need are some brown wrapping paper (recycled), some natural twine, scissors and mason jars if you want to make it easier for your guests to carry. Your florist will be able to provide all of this for you, but if not, make sure they know you'd like to do this. Flowers in little vases on the table will be the easiest to pick up, wrap and go. If you have more structural designs, in foam or moss, the flowers might be harder to get out or too short to reuse, so chat about which ones are best beforehand and this can be factored into the design to make it easy for your guests to take.
This option definitely works for guests who are heading home after the party's over, but if most of your guests are staying with you, it might be harder to keep them hydrated and happy. One thing to bear in mind is that your blooms won't last as long as those you buy from a florist on the high street. These are sold nice and early, usually still closed or just opening so you get maximum enjoyment. Wedding flowers need to be at their peak for your big day so your florist will have spent several days looking after them, changing temperatures, water, sunlight (sometimes even praying...) to ensure they're fully open and at their most beautiful.
If a wrapping station isn't for you, there are other options to reuse your wedding flowers. There are charities around the UK who specialise in 'recycling' flowers to give to care homes, hospices and other places who would benefit from some natural beauty. Flowers really are a little bit magic and have been shown to increase mood, decrease anxiety and even reduce hospital admission lengths in some instances. Even if they don't work miracles in all cases, a bright array of fresh posies will cheer anyone up. These charities are often run by volunteer or retired florists who dedicate their spare time to spread the joy of flowers. The charity I donate to is called Floral Angels and they take in wedding flowers which they turnaround into many little bundles of happiness delivered where they're most needed around London the South East. If you mention this to your florist, I'm sure they'll be happy to help you work out how to make your donation and what designs will be suitable.
If your focus is more on savouring your gorgeous flowers for years to come, there are some incredibly artistic and beautiful ways to capture your blooms for all time. These tend to work with the smaller headed flowers and less 'fleshy' blooms. Where you want a hint of the beautiful roses from your bouquet, you can take off the petals to press/dry instead. For things you can do yourself, take a look at drying your flowers or pressing them individually. These look beautiful in a simple frame or for the more personal, there are lots of artists who seal flowers in resin which can be worn as jewellery.
For something a little different that will last a lifetime, there are incredibly talented illustrators like Charlotte Argyrou who capture the very essence of your bouquet and flowers, even from photographs. Charlotte Hupfield presses the blooms into clay to make gorgeous ceramics for you to keep forever.