Green Wedding Vendors Unite!

The folks at Pollen, Spilled Ink Press and Logan Square Kitchen have been hatching a plan.  A plan to get like-minded wedding vendors together.  And we did it!

Earlier this week, we pulled together a group of eco-friendly Chicago area wedding vendors to talk about ways we can work together to educate consumers, ourselves, and other vendors about being mindful of the choices we make when planning events.  Some of the ideas we’re talking about are to create a directory of eco-friendly wedding vendors, put together a website for the green wedding vendor community, and host a green wedding show.  And of course, we’ll be holding regular networking events to bring together the community of mindful wedding vendors.

If you’d like to join the group, please send an email to me at lynn(at)pollenfloraldesign.com.  We’re so excited to get this community together!

An Eco-Friendly Option: VeriFlora Certified Flowers

I’m often asked what makes Pollen an eco-friendly florist.  One way we are a green florist is in where we get our flowers from, and, more specifically, how the flowers have been grown.  Locally and organically grown flowers provide the most eco-friendly option, as explained in a previous post.  But being in the Midwest, locally grown flowers are most widely available only about half of the year.  What to do from November through April?

Another eco-friendly option is to buy cut flowers and potted plants that have been certified by a third party as being grown in an environmentally and socially responsible manner.  One such certification program is VeriFlora, administered by Scientific Certification Systems.  To qualify as VeriFlora certified product, the flowers must be sustainably grown, not only with regard to the environment, but also with regard to fair labor practices and a sensitivity to the community in which the product is grown.

What does VeriFlora certified product look like?  No different from conventionally grown product.  In fact, VeriFlora also has a quality component in its certification.  I recently used VeriFlora certified Black Beauty roses for a winter wedding.

Here’s a look at the Veriflora label, on a package of Black Beauty roses: VeriFlora Label on Roses

And the VeriFlora product, a Black Beauty rose:A VeriFlora Certified Black Beauty Rose

When you can’t go with locally grown product, VeriFlora certified flowers offer another option for ensuring your wedding or event is working toward the goal of sustainability.

Chicago Honey Co-op’s Beeswax Candles

The quest to offer greener options to my clients continues.  Piece by piece, I’m trying to find eco-friendly wedding items as alternatives to  the less eco-friendly ones!

Nothing beats the flicker of candles at a table for creating a warm and soothing environment.  For this reason, votive candles are often used as a part of wedding table centerpieces.

The most commonly available candles are made of paraffin, a (non-renewable) petroleum product that creates indoor pollution.  An eco-friendly alternative is to use beeswax candles.  Beeswax is a renewable product, and beeswax candles burn much longer than paraffin candles.

Recently, I came across the Chicago Honey Co-op‘s beeswax candles.  The Chicago Honey Co-op not only raises bees sustainably, but also provides job training for people getting back on their feet.  I am now offering these locally produced and chemical free candles to couples looking to green up their weddings!

More resources:

Chicago Honey Co-op buzzes on Chicago’s West Side

Where to Buy Chicago Honey Co-op Products

Are Candles Bad for the Environment?

Green Wedding Tip: Choose an Eco-Friendly Wedding Date

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Creating a sustainable event can begin with one of the very first steps of planning a wedding: choosing the wedding date.  The process of selecting a date is a complicated one.  Season, holidays, availability of key people… these all factor into the wedding date selection.  Add one more factor–locally grown product availability–and you’re on your way to a greener wedding.

For a green wedding, choose an eco-friendly wedding date by planning the wedding for the season when the best selection of locally grown food and flowers are available.  For Chicago and the Midwest, this means between between June and September for the best selection of locally grown cut flowers.  According to Molly Schemper of FIG Catering, “July through September are great months for local produce.”  Work with a caterer, such as FIG Catering, that offers locally grown organic menu options and create a menu to take advantage of the season’s best locally grown food.

To get the best of both worlds, schedule your event to feature locally grown food and flowers between July to September!  And, of course, go for organic!

Green Wedding Tip: Skip the Aisle Runner

For a greener wedding, skip the aisle runner!

The use of an aisle runner, rolled down the aisle of the church before the bridal party processional, is a tradition that has outlived its necessity.   Historically, aisle runners were used before the days of asphalt and concrete to protect the bride’s gown from dirt tracked in by guests.  These days, few guests are coming in by gravel or dirt road, so the aisle runner isn’t really necessary.  But the aisle runner has remained a tradition nonetheless.

Modern aisle runners are disposable, single-use purchases.  Once they’ve been torn up by the wedding guests’ heels, they’re headed for the landfill.  Beyond that, modern aisle runners are typically made of plastic, which is not biodegradable and requires oil in its production.  According to the Green Bride Guide, if every wedding in the US this year used a disposable aisle runner and they were laid end to end, they would circle the globe twice.  For a green wedding, skip the aisle runner.  Proof that a green wedding can be cheaper… by eliminating the unnecessary!

If you really want to define the aisle, an alternative is to line either side of the aisle with flower petals.  Just be sure to steer clear of dark-colored petals as they may stain your dress.  And of course, use flowers that have been grown in an eco-friendly way!