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Eco styling ideas for a summer picnic wedding with Bohotanical and the Gilded Fern (42)

Wedding fauxliage – why fake blooms are no wedding winner

All images by One Love Pictures & flowers by Bohotanical

This one’s for all of you lovely brides and grooms considering alternatives to the traditional wedding bouquet and arrangements. Inspired by a press release which landed in my inbox the other week – it was one of those where I disagreed with pretty much every word! – I just had to write a little about wedding flowers.

Too many couples – if the report is to be believed – think wedding flowers are overpriced (they’re not).

And too many couples seem to be turning to artificial wedding flowers – which have some serious downsides of their own. So I thought I’d share a few thoughts, with my humble experience of being a wedding blogger for 10 years and hearing the thoughts of hundreds of couples when it comes to wedding flowers.

Let’s just say first of all that I don’t believe much research – I always suspect researchers are asking leading questions to a non-representative audience. That’s my marketing degree talking. A questionnaire about wedding flowers should be asking the opinions of a wide selection brides and grooms, and not a) their own customers only or b) the general population – because yeah, everyone’s grandad will say £900 is too much to spend on flowers. It’s not.

Eco styling ideas for a summer picnic wedding with Bohotanical and the Gilded Fern (41)

Nonetheless, Blooming Artificial wrote to me. They believe more and more couples are turning to artificial flowers – fauxliage – and other alternative wedding bouquets to save money on their wedding flowers. Google searches seem to support the theory, but honestly, I think it’s a real shame.

They told me:

  • 85% of people think the cost of real wedding flowers is unfair
  • 48% would rather spend their money on fake flowers they could sell, re-use or keep
  • Searches for artificial wedding bouquets have increased 250% in the last 5 years

So are wedding bouquets too expensive?

As a bride / groom you’re fully in control of your wedding budget. Plan carefully, and allocate your spend to the areas most important to you. If that’s £2,000 or £200 on a dress or £2,000 or £200 on flowers – fine. But don’t feel pressured to spend more than you can afford, or to borrow to finance your wedding. Once your budget is set, stick to it, and buy the best you can afford.

What’s “expensive” for me might not be expensive for you. Or vice versa. It’s a very personal definition, and it’s up to you to decide if your venue / cake / wedding flowers cost too much.

It’s not up to the internet, or market research surveys to tell you what’s expensive.

Back to flowers then…

I believe it’s important to support British grower / florists.

Often the cheaper-looking high street florist will import poor quality blooms – which means your budget is supporting a hefty carbon footprint and little attention to quality or care.

But a wedding florist who buys British grown flowers is conscious of their impact on the environment (and with flowers there are huge implications on nature) as well as caring about the quality of your bouquet and arrangements on the day.

Dorset wedding florist Clair Lythgoe has written the most helpful article about the cost of wedding flowers, and I urge you to read it. She explains the design and consultation process, the time it takes to set up and take down arrangements, and so many other considerations which go into planning wedding flowers. I learned a lot reading her article so do take a peek.

There are dozens of grower-florists around the UK specialising in weddings. If you’re keen to support local businesses on your wedding day, then do PLEASE find out your nearest grower florist and book a chat with them.

If you’re conscious of the impact of your wedding on the environment, then supporting a local business where flowers are growing in abundance for bees and butterflies to play in is a HUGE contribution you can make to your local wildlife.

And if your budget is an issue, pare back any flower ideas you’ve had before going to visit a florist. Be honest about what you have to spend, and don’t expect the world for less than it’s worth. Remember flowers don’t grow instantly, but take time to nurture and care for, and even that carefree ‘wildflower bouquet’ look takes months of careful growing to achieve.

Aim for quality over quantity. Clusters of hundreds of great big blousy David Austin roses would cost you a fortune. A more sparing approach with natural-looking arrangements and seasonal, home grown florals can be so much more beautiful. A little can go a long way, if it’s done artfully.

Real wedding flowers vs faking it

Perhaps you have other reasons for wanting an alternative wedding bouquet: perhaps you’d rather make your own alternative bouquet from paper or vintage buttons or brooches – and that’s fine. Maybe hayfever is your nemesis – and I hear you! (But 95% of us hayfever sufferers are allergic to grass pollen, with flowers being the tiniest cause of our summer sneezes!) If you’re sure you’re going for an alternative to wedding flowers, consider the downsides of artificial wedding flowers too:

  • wire & plastic stems are never a good thing
  • quality varies wildly – instead of Hobbycraft’s low quality fake flowers, try Afloral
  • creating your own alternative bouquet will take hours and hours of patient crafting

If you’re still set on an artificial bouquet, I’d recommend getting one made professionally – check out lovely Natasha at Pumpkin & Pye – her artificial bouquets are uniquely beautiful, and she sells them worldwide.

Other options to consider

I’ve featured a few weddings over the years where the bride and groom, or their families, have grown flowers from seed especially for the wedding. I think it’s a lovely idea, but it does take dedication and more than a little expertise!

If growing your own wedding flowers is your plan then I salute you! My advice for you is to be super flexible – weather patterns can mean flowering seasons are early or late, so a particular bloom might not quite be on time for your big day!

Then there’s foliage – which would be my choice over fauxliage anytime! Long, curving eucalyptus stems smell amazing – on wedding tables as well as in your bouquet. I’ve seen gorgeous displays of terracotta pots filled with ferns and herbs, and wedding venues decorated with bay and lemon trees – all of which create a laid back and romantic mediterranean feel to a summer wedding.

Grasses and dried flowers are a big wedding trend right now (Google searches in the UK have doubled in the last 5 years) – and one I love. The opulence of pampas grass is striking and beautiful – but consider also the more delicate grasses, and oats, wheat and seedbeds teamed with pretty dried flowers for a naturally beautiful alternative wedding bouquet. (We love The Artisan Dried Flower Company)


I hope I’ve made you think a little about where your wedding flowers come from, and their impact. I would LOVE to see more couples choosing home grown, seasonal wedding flowers.

And above all, if I can convince one couple that plastic & wire artificial bouquets are NOT a better option than spending on real wedding flowers, then I’m one happy wedding blogger. Thank you for reading!

 

 

Claire Gould

Claire spends her days writing - either in beautiful calligraphy or online. She lives on the edge of the English Lake District only minutes away from the beach, where she loves to escape and unwind. Claire's calligraphy can be found at www.byMoonandTide.com. Claire launched the English Wedding Blog in November 2009 - it's been a top 10 UK wedding blog ever since, with a regional focus we hope you LOVE.

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