Top 3 Things to Know About Donating Your Wedding Flowers

As we become ever more mindful about the environment and the toll our modern existence is taking on it, more and more couples are looking for ways to repurpose or reuse their wedding flowers after the big day. Here are the top three things you will want to keep in mind when asking your florist this question.

Photo by Emily Alyssa Photography

Photo by Emily Alyssa Photography

1) Your flowers will probably not live longer than a day or two after your event.

From a young age, we are taught to value longevity in flowers over their ephemeral beauty. This leads to some confusion when it comes to the process of event flowers.

Unlike retail flowers, where the goal is to sell the blooms as soon as they come in the door to maximize enjoyment, event flowers are timed so that each blossom will be at its absolute peak perfection for the day of your wedding. For most florists, this means that roses on average will start arriving the Tuesday before a Saturday wedding with the remainder trickling in on Wednesday and Thursday.

After being transported to the venue and surviving untold abuses from your guests and those hot little tea lights that get nestled so close (seriously I see at least one charred centerpiece at every pick up), your flowers are tired and thirsty!

By Sunday, they are almost a week old and really have very little left to give.

Photo By Emily Alyssa Photography

Photo By Emily Alyssa Photography

2) Delivering and re-delivering costs time and money.

Most clients don’t know (and don’t need to know) how much time, people power, and money it takes to get flowers from point A to point B and that’s ok. Unless of course you want them to redeliver your leftover flowers to a charity after the event.

Can it be done? Of course, but this is what is involved. Before anything can happen prior coordination needs to take place. This usually involves an email chain of no fewer than eight back and fourths discussing what is to be donated, getting permission from higher-ups and scheduling a time when delivery is convenient.

I have yet to find anywhere that will accept a delivery at 12am on a Sunday morning. This means that the next available time is probably Monday morning and that in order to keep the flowers alive, they will have to be unloaded from the truck, re-cut, re-watered, re-worked and babied until Monday morning.

They will then need to be re-loaded onto the truck and un-loaded again at the final destination. By this time, they are a full week old and holding on for dear life. All of this will take between 5 and 10 hours and your florist will need to charge you for the time and van rental. At a minimum if you ask your florist to provide this service you are looking at between $600 and $1,500.

Photo by  Tracey Salazar

3) You have options.

Ok, so you have read this far but you’re not feeling great - please don’t fret you still have some good options.

A) Flowers are meant to be enjoyed, so encourage your guests to take them home. Most florists use rental vases with plastic dishes nestled inside that lift up so they are easy to transport. Now your family can enjoy the moment just a little longer every time they glance at your centerpiece.

B) Ask your florist what happens to your flowers afterwards if the guests don’t take them.

Personally, I will play flower fairy on my way home from a late night pickup, leaving random centerpieces at my neighbor’s doors. When they wake up in the morning they get a fun surprise! I have also been known to display them outside my front door for everyone to enjoy while out walking their dogs or taking a jog.

Maybe you can take some comfort in knowing that your wedding has brought some unexpected joy and pleasure to people you don’t even know. Call it a pay-it-forward moment.

C) There are companies designed to help you with just this quandary - they can transform your flowers into bouquets for hospitals or other charities. Repeat Roses made headlines when Meghan Markle did just that for her New York baby shower. Just like any business they will need to charge you a fee for their service, but since they have infrastructure and relationships already in place it is likely going to be less than your florist will charge. Here are a few to consider:

Repeat Roses

Random Acts of Flowers

Petals with Purpose - Florida Based

Floranthopy - Texas Based

4) Hire someone (possibly your florist) to make a keepsake potpourri. Again this is going to take some coordination, time and money, but wouldn’t it be fun to send little sachets to your parents and bridal party as a way of saying thank you!