I see articles all the time informing brides about how to prepare for their meeting with their florist. These articles range from what flowers to select based on season to good questions to ask to pricing expectations. The tragedy of these well meaning articles is that they are 1) not written by florists and 2) written for a national audience, when the answers are really dependent on where you are located!
So, I'm going to start a series of articles that address these questions with a focus on the Chicago area. Today, lets talk local, seasonal flowers.
First of all, not every florist specializes in working with local flowers. You can ask any florist to use local flowers, but at the end of the day, you are one of many event that they are working on and if they aren't already used to working with local farmers, they probably aren't going to make the effort. I recommend finding one in your area through Slow Flowers. This is an online database that connects you to florists and farmers who have pledged to focus on using local and seasonal flowers.
Lets back up a bit, why should you prefer local flowers?
- You get the freshest and healthiest flowers. Your flowers will have been cut within a few days of your event and will have minimal handling (as opposed to flowers that have been flown from another country and been through multiple processing facilities).
- It's the green choice, less shipping means less pollution!
- The US has regulations on how much pesticide you can use, whereas in other countries, especially our South American friends, have almost no regulation. So when you go to smell your beautiful bouquet, you put your nose into harmful chemicals.
- Its not the prettiest thing to talk about, but when flowers aren't local, you can't be sure you aren't supporting a labor force that is being paid or treated fairly.
- You are supporting your local economy!
- You are celebrating the season you are getting married in.
So what are some things you should be conscious of when working with local flowers?:
- You may not be able to get everything you want. Even if you have selected only flowers that bloom in the month you are getting married, some flexibility is still necessary. I'll put up list of Midwestern bloom times in a later article, but the exact timing of this changes every year depending on the weather. Pests are also a factor in whether a crop will be available or not. Selecting a florist that you trust to know your preferences and setting up backup plans is the best way to ensure perfect wedding flowers.
- Expect to pay more. When the people growing and picking the flowers are being paid fair wages, it means the product will ultimately cost more. Well worth the cost to me!
- Expect extraordinary flowers! Depending on how much freedom you give your florists, you may find gorgeous flowers you've never seen even before. If that excites you, tell your florist to get creative. If that terrifies you, let your florist know exactly what you're looking for.
Congratulations on making it to the end of a long article! In the next few weeks and months, I'll be putting out more articles that cover: What's available locally in Chicago and when, How to find the right florist for you, What to ask a florist in you first meeting, choosing flowers based on meaning, why do florists cost so much?And more!