Paper wedding flowers for sustainable weddings:
7 ways to use paper flowers to meet your zero waste wedding goals
Paper wedding flowers can be your secret weapon in planning a sustainable, zero waste wedding. No more piles of wilting flowers at the end of the night, no more hefty carbon footprints and less paper in landfill. At Page & Bloom we love doing weddings, and here we share some of our top tips on how paper wedding flowers can help your wedding be more sustainable and less stressful, while even saving some money AND keeping the mother of the bride happy!
More and more people are opting for sustainable or zero waste weddings – the 2018 National Wedding Survey found that 39% of couples now consider the environmental impact of their wedding. Flowers are an important part of your wedding day, bringing joy to you and your guests. But how to make your wedding flowers as eco friendly as the rest of your wedding? From carbon footprint, to water use and wedding waste, your floral dreams can quickly become a sustainability nightmare.
Opting for paper wedding flowers is a great way to reduce waste and help the environment, without compromising on your wedding style. You’ll also find that paper flowers provide lots of cunning ways to make the last minute wedding day preparations a bit less stressful- and save some cash!
As a social enterprise making handmade paper wedding flowers, we’ve learned a lot from working with couples to design their perfect wedding flowers. Here are our top tips for using paper flowers to make your wedding beautiful, sustainable and waste free. Whether you’re planning to make the flowers yourself or commission them from a paper flower company, these are some of the key things to think about when it comes to flowers in your sustainable wedding planning.
1. Switch to paper flowers to reduce your carbon and water use
Real flowers are beautiful, but they can come at an eye watering environmental cost. A single cultivated bloom can take up to 5 litres of water to grow- so multiply that by a bridal bouquet, some bridesmaids bouquets, table centrepieces and a floral arch….ouch.
Cultivated flowers can also dramatically increase the carbon footprint of your wedding. Research from Cranfield University found that growing 12,000 cut roses in Kenya emitted 2,200kg of CO2, and up to 35,000kg in the Netherlands- that’s a whopping 2.9kg of CO2 per flower.
Paper wedding flowers don’t take any water to produce (well perhaps a little to wash your paint brush out!) and the raw materials can be as close to home as the local charity shop, freecycle route or car boot sale! So they’re a great choice for truly sustainable wedding flowers.
You could jump in with both feet and take a paper flower theme throughout your whole wedding, or use paper to add a quirky touch here and there like a paper flower buttonhole for the groom (comic book rose buds anyone?) or bouquets of paper flowers as gorgeous mother of the bride and groom gifts. Every little helps in the quest for a more sustainable wedding!
2. Make your paper wedding flowers from recycled paper
Having your wedding bouquet made from paper flowers opens up lots of possibilities for recycling. Whether it’s upcycling old novels from the charity shop, rescuing unwanted maps from the attic or giving a new lease of life to wallpaper that would otherwise end up in landfill, your flowers will be helping to reduce the amount of paper waste in the world. Although we often think of paper as an easily recycled material, books surprisingly often find their way to landfill because the glue used in the binding makes it hard to recycle them.
Much better to turn some unloved paper into a stunning paper flower bridal bouquet or zero waste wedding decorations! You can get really creative and have your flowers made from paper that means something special to you. A favourite novel or poem? That pile of magazines dating back to 1998 that your other half would be delighted to get rid of? The old road atlas you’ve been hoarding from your first holiday that you never use now you have a sat nav? They can all be turned into beautiful and sustainable wedding flowers.
3. Reduce waste by repurposing your paper wedding flowers throughout the day
Paper flowers are great for helping to save resources at a wedding- both the planet and your bank account will thank you! Because they won’t wilt during the course of your big day, you can be inventive and re-use the paper flower bouquets at different points during the celebration.
For example, bridesmaids’ bouquets can double up as table decorations- how many weddings have you been at where the lovingly made bridesmaids bouquets get abandoned to wilt in a corner after the photos are done? Instead, just pop them into simple vases or jam jars and they’ll look amazing as table centrepieces. Or display them on a pile of vintage books to really draw the paper theme together. Without vases of water, they are super easy to move around, and will withstand an evening under the hot lights without drooping. So the bridesmaids can still take their bouquets home at the end of the night in perfect condition.
4. Keep your paper flowers forever without resorting to plastic or resin preservation.
Your wedding flowers are special, and can be a fantastic souvenir of the big day. But let’s face it, a bouquet of dried flowers that slowly becomes more brown and dusty each year isn’t exactly what you had in mind. There are some very popular resin and plastic preservation options out there, but it’s difficult to do in an eco friendly way that fits with your sustainable wedding.
Paper wedding flowers are a naturally eco friendly option, as they are designed to last. They look great transferred to a vase, or framed in a pretty box frame. No mess, no nasty chemicals, and the colours will stay as vibrant as they were on your wedding day.
A sneaky tip (we didn’t tell you this), but if you’re stuck for a last minute present for your one year anniversary present, your paper flower bouquets can save the day! The first year anniversary theme is paper, so take a bloom or two from the bouquet, wrap in coloured paper that recalls your wedding colours, add a matching ribbon, and hey presto- a personalised anniversary gift…..
5. Have your paper flowers delivered in advance, with no refrigeration required
Weddings are amazing, but let’s face it, they are stressful too! So, the last thing you want on the morning of the wedding is one more thing to worry about. By choosing paper flowers that can be ordered as far in advance as you like and don’t need to be refrigerated, you can relax and get on with getting ready, safe in the knowledge that your flowers are in the venue and are in peak condition. Plus there’ll be no flower fridge working overtime and no van to courier them to the venue at the last minute. Good news for your wedding carbon footprint!
6. Choose exotic and out of season flowers with zero guilt
So you’ve chosen your wedding theme, selected your perfect colours and have your dream wedding flowers in your mind. Only to discover that they are out of season for your autumn or winter wedding, and are only available as expensive cultivated blooms that are forced under glass or imported from the other side of the world. Does having a sustainable wedding really mean only using flowers that are in bloom in the UK in December? While there are some gorgeous greenery bouquets out there, it’s not easy if you have your heart set on roses or daisies!
Paper flowers can be a great way of having flowers that are out of season, whenever your wedding. Or even flowers or colour schemes that you’re never going to find in nature- gold lilies, or rainbow orchids perhaps?
7. Rent your wedding flowers
For extra zero waste points, how about renting your paper wedding flowers? Sounds crazy, but how many of your wedding flowers are you actually going to keep? With the average wedding generating 400lb of waste, making sure your flowers don’t end up on the rubbish heap is a major win.
So, with paper flower rental, you can hang on to the bridal bouquet and whatever else you want as gifts, and have the rest returned to be recycled again! Whereas real flowers won’t survive more than a few days, paper flower bouquets and centrepieces can be dismantled and much of it re-assembled for another display.
As a social enterprise committed to reducing paper waste, Page & Bloom is trialling a paper flower rental service for weddings. We will take the component parts of the paper bouquet and re-use them for other products (so don’t worry another bride won’t get your second hand bouquet!). If you’d like to be part of our wedding recycling pilot, just get in touch.
If you’re making your own paper wedding flowers, think about how your leftover flowers can have another life after the wedding. How about donating them to a local charity or old people’s home? Or take them round to a neighbour who might be lonely and isolated to help brighten up their day? That way, your sustainable wedding can keep on doing good long after you’ve set off on your honeymoon!
People as well as planet
We hope this has provided some useful tips on using paper flowers for your sustainable and zero waste wedding.
But your flowers can do more than just help the planet. By buying your paper flower bouquets from Page & Bloom, your big day will also be helping women. We are a social enterprise helping women who have experienced domestic abuse to get back into work and build career skills. We work with domestic violence charities to recruit our flower makers, and also run free flower making workshops for women living in domestic violence shelters in London as a therapeutic and social activity.
Check out our range of paper wedding flowers, from paper bridal bouquets and bridesmaid bouquets, to paper buttonhole flowers, gift bouquets and wedding place name cards, all made from recycled and pre-loved materials!
If you fancy having a go at making your own paper wedding flowers, we also run flower making workshops- perfect for hen parties! Click here to visit our wedding flowers page.