Why seasonal wedding flowers are so important
Why seasonal wedding flowers are so important
Seasonality might not be something you initially think about when planning your wedding flowers, but it is one of – if not the most important factor to consider when working with your florist. Whether they’re used to bring life and colour to your other décor, sourced to give you a more ethical and eco-friendly approach, or simply chosen to keep the costs down on your ever-expanding budget; choosing seasonal wedding flowers is so important.
First up, let’s consider the thing most likely to be at the forefront of your mind when planning your wedding: how it will all look. In our insta-led, Pinterest-perfect world, everyone is looking to capture a particular feeling with their wedding and this is reflected in all our choices – from the photos to the food, and everything in between. We want a day that is both bang on trend and also timeless. Informal, yet chic and stylish. Relaxed and effortless – even when we’ve spent 12+ months tearing our hair out and breathing through a paper bag to get there.
The most frequent word that I hear when talking to brides is that they want the look and feel of their nuptials to be totally ‘natural’. It follows that if you want to achieve a natural wedding style, you need to choose flowers that reflect this. It seems obvious, but seasonal flowers look natural because they are. Whether we’re aware of it or not, our brains are hard-wired to recognise and enjoy things that look right and feel familiar. Seeing a crocus or daffodil in February is pleasing because it reminds us that Spring is coming; honeysuckle in July give us nostalgia for hazy summer days gone by; amaryllis and poinsettia have us reaching for the selection box with their undeniably festive feel.
So, if you want peonies in your bridal bouquet, do not get married in December (more on that later). It will probably not come as a shock to you that I chose my own wedding date based on the flowers that I knew would be in season for that time of year. But that’s not just because I love flowers; floral design was the basis of how I built the image and style of my entire wedding – but for you it might be something different. Whether it’s the cut of your dress, the colour of your napkins or the type of venue you’ve chosen – find that one thing that gives you the starting point for the style of your wedding and build from it. Designing an event where the look and feel comes together effortlessly is reliant on you being consistent with that one style and then allowing everything else to spring from it. Seasonal flowers will always be crucial in helping to create this.
THE ENVINRONMENTAL FACTOR
In an increasingly eco-conscious world, we also can’t ignore the environmental impact of choosing to not use seasonal flowers. As a country we import 90% of our cut flowers, and whilst imports from Europe still dominate within the UK, producers in regions elsewhere are now challenging the Netherlands’ traditional hold on the industry. Huge amounts of product used by florists in weddings now come from as far as Israel, Morrocco and Kenya where labour is far cheaper. The ability to grow flowers in ideal conditions in these countries without the limitations faced in Europe, has also meant an end to seasonal production and the beginning of a 365-day-a-year international competitive trade. This means that in some cases, it is indeed possible to get the afore-mentioned peonies in December.
However, such convenience brings with it other huge compromises; cut flowers have to be transported quickly using a “cold-chain” – a series of refrigerated facilities on farms, lorries, planes, and boats – which put the flowers into a dormant state so that they stay fresh. This allows a rapid transfer from farm to shop within 24-48 hours if going by plane, but at what greater cost to the environment?
For many weddings and events, using a selection of imported flowers is unavoidable; the unpredictable nature of our native weather and the inability of local producers to supply vast quantities consistently means that imported flowers will continue to play an important role in our industry. However, reliance on these producers, especially in the summer months, starves our British flower farms of much-need revenue and support.
Due to some of the concerns I mentioned above, many florists in the UK are now opting for a ‘grown not flown’ approach when selecting wedding flowers for their clients. Thanks to loud and influential voices in our space, the British-grown flower industry is now worth c.£121m – up from £82m in 2015 – following years of decline owing to imported stems.
In 2018, home-grown flowers accounted for 14% of all stems sold in the UK, compared with 12% three years ago, according to a report by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. Without the need for the lengthy transportation and refrigeration process, British blooms look better, smell stronger, and stay fresher for longer. Not only that, but buying British brings with it other environmental benefits, including increased biodiversity from flowers grown across local farms that support wildlife such as bees and butterflies.
The variety of flowers you can find in a local grower’s cutting patch is in my opinion, far superior to anything you will find at a generic wholesaler when it comes to choosing flowers for an event as special as a wedding. The best piece of feedback I could get from a bride is that her wedding day included flowers that she hasn’t seen before; a bloom or two that she wasn’t expecting, or scents that reminded her of garden flowers from her childhood. British flowers and foliage lend themselves to giving designs a completely unique look, not only because of their delicate and slow-grown nature, but also because small-scale local production means that each grower’s varieties will all be slightly different in their colour, form and structure.
There is a saying in the florist world that ‘things that grow together, go together’. Chances are, the blooms that all naturally occur at a given time of year will look beautiful when included in one design. It’s the job of your wedding florist to understand that aesthetic and demonstrate how it will come together for you on your day. Be sure to ask your wedding florist to explain to you what is in season when you’re getting married, and familiarise yourself with the look of those flowers and foliages. Choose seasonal wherever and whenever you can; you won’t regret it.
For more information on seasonal flowers and to find the best British growers in your local area, take a look at these websites: