I got married in May 2008 (and divorced in 2011 … but I’m keeping this blog post here because this idea is awesome), and did something that at the time just seemed like a neat idea, but ended up adding a very special touch to my wedding. Based on a suggestion from a friend, I decided to use only locally grown flowers in my wedding. (I’m an Illinois Master Gardener and my husband and I are both very interested in the organic, locally-grown food movement.) All the standing flower arrangements were live flowers that had been potted at a local greenhouse several weeks earlier. All the bouquets were local flowers snipped from friends’ gardens here in Quincy, IL.
I realize that a wedding is a special occasion anyway, and a small wedding like mine with only family and friends invited is probably going to have a nice, intimate feel to it. However, the live and local flowers seemed to me to add a special kind of magic to the atmosphere of the ceremony. The live plants and the incredible freshness of the bouquet flowers seemed to be adding a blessing of life to the proceedings.
The large arrangements of lilac flowers at the entrance to the church greeted all guests with a beautiful perfume. My own bouquet had wonderfully fragrant white flowers called viburnum, with the appearance of snow white puffballs. Small sprigs of pink bleeding heart added a romantic touch to my bouquet as well as the boutonnières and corsages. Below are pictures of the various flower arrangements and bouquets. I wish I had better pictures, but I was pretty exhausted (some were taken the day of the wedding, others the day after) so I just managed to get a few basic pictures.
My advice if you think you’d like to do this (for a wedding or any occasion): decide as far ahead of time as possible, if you want live and local flowers for your occasion. This gives you plenty of lead time to talk to local gardeners and greenhouses. You may even want to talk to your local extension office to find out what flowers are blooming in your area at the time of your party, so you’ll know what will be available. Remember that since these are live plants, or garden flowers, that they may not have the endurance of flowers that you would get from a florist (whose flowers have been bred to be long-lasting and to handle the rigors of being cut and put in arrangements). For example, all the flowers in my bouquet were wilting only a few hours after the ceremony. They looked fresh for the ceremony, though, which was all that I wanted.
I only wish now that I had had this idea several months prior when I first started wedding planning. My favorite flowers are roses. With the help of a local greenhouse, I probably could have had gorgeous fragrant rosebushes at my wedding, even though I got married in early May, before most local roses were blooming.
I am so glad I had local flowers and live plants at my wedding! And wise, talented, and generous friends who helped with the flowers and plants. My wedding was a very special occasion in many ways – and one way was for me to discover how many wonderful people I had in my life. I am truly blessed, and thankful.