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!







Cherry Blossom Photos Washington DC a DIY Guide - Parking and Photography

While notorious for meticulous planning when it involves my clients, when it comes to fun projects just for me, “Spontaneous” is probably the nicest word that could be used to describe me.

When I heard peak Cherry time had been moved up a couple of days, I wanted in on the action, and I wanted in now. My first thought was to ping a couple of my professional photographer friends to see if they had any “Cherry Blossom Sessions” left, but most were completely booked or couldn’t work within my last minuet time frame. Most professional photographers only guarantee a handful of time slots because of the unpredictability of the Cherry Trees blossoming.

ashley-spring-blossom-bouquet-jefferson

Following so many #igdc photographers I realized that I could probably get some great photos with just my iPhone and good lighting. So next I tapped a few people I identify as “creative hustlers” who would probably be down for an early morning if it meant some good content. I also put a flyer up on my Instagram Stories asking if anyone wanted to join me in the joy of waking up at 5:30.

Brittany-iphone-cherry-blossoms

Within a few hours, By Brittany Branson, Calligraphette & Co, and even a real photographer, Marie Windsor Photography were all on board! Now technically there are rules to taking photos at the monuments, and if you are working with a professional photographer they need to apply for a permit. Since we were going as friends, and working mostly with our iphones we thought we were probably ok. Just no props and no tripods, I have haerd that fines can be issued in the thousands of dollars range.

cherry-blossom-friends

Never having been part of a Cherry Blossom session myself, I really didn’t know what to expect. Would there be parking, how early do we really need to get there?

I have heard that the best time to be there is before sunrise, so since sunrise was at 6:59 am we decided to meet at 6:30am. This was a good idea, and meeting at 6:15am might have been an even better idea, but really that is just way too early!

Coming from Alexandria, VA I took the parkway over Memorial Bridge, bore to the right and then turned left to follow the road along the water towards the Jefferson Memorial. My idea was to park in the lot closest in front to the memorial but it was closed. I continued to follow the road closet to the Jefferson and eventually saw a sign for Public Parking. I wasn’t sure exactly what I was doing, but decided to trust the signage and turned left. Just a little down that road there was a parking lot with lots of spaces at 6:28am. It is pay parking and I used my Park Moblie App, zone 5811 and was on my way. The walk from the lot to the steps of the Jefferson is about 10 minuets.

IMG_1392.JPG

Brittany had been the first to arrive and remarked that waiting alone at 6:25 in the morning had been kind of creepy, but that in the time she had gone in to use the ladies room (so yes there are some restrooms) and come back out, 2 couples were already in the midst of their engagement sessions.

Having been admiring Connor Studios portraits, for a year, I wanted to try and get the same angle so we walked clockwise around the water from the memorial. By 6:55 another photographer and family, were in the spot I had spied on our walk in. Trust me, jockeying for position gets real, which is why you may want to come even earlier than 6:30. I guess it’s just human nature, but sometimes I forget to be all zen and polite.

IMG_1393.JPG

By 7:05 the sun was making its way up, and the sky was showing signs of brilliant yellow and red. We took turns posing in pairs of two and as a group. We captured the cherries with the Washington Monument, and the Jefferson and then took a few through the blooms themselves.

We photographed until about 7:30am which by then the place was drawing with couples, families, photographers, instagram models, joggers and bikers!

JEFFERSON-BOUQUET

Brittany and Nika had appointments to head off too and Casey Marie and I wandered a little further down the path. Eventually we were tired and felt we had enough photos, by 8:00 I was back in my car and heading home.

marie-windsor-photography

The Cherry Trees were not quite a peak, and something about being up and in the presence of such powerful elegance is intoxicating, so I may just have to do this again!

Ashley-sPRING-bLOSSOM-bOUQUET

















Cherry Blossom Photos Washington DC a DIY Guide - Parking and Photography

While notorious for meticulous planning when it involves my clients, when it comes to fun projects just for me, “Spontaneous” is probably the nicest word that could be used to describe me.

When I heard peak Cherry time had been moved up a couple of days, I wanted in on the action, and I wanted in now. My first thought was to ping a couple of my professional photographer friends to see if they had any “Cherry Blossom Sessions” left, but most were completely booked or couldn’t work within my last minuet time frame. Most professional photographers only guarantee a handful of time slots because of the unpredictability of the Cherry Trees blossoming.

ashley-spring-blossom-bouquet-jefferson

Following so many #igdc photographers I realized that I could probably get some great photos with just my iPhone and good lighting. So next I tapped a few people I identify as “creative hustlers” who would probably be down for an early morning if it meant some good content. I also put a flyer up on my Instagram Stories asking if anyone wanted to join me in the joy of waking up at 5:30.

Brittany-iphone-cherry-blossoms

Within a few hours, By Brittany Branson, Calligraphette & Co, and even a real photographer, Marie Windsor Photography were all on board! Now technically there are rules to taking photos at the monuments, and if you are working with a professional photographer they need to apply for a permit. Since we were going as friends, and working mostly with our iphones we thought we were probably ok. Just no props and no tripods, I have haerd that fines can be issued in the thousands of dollars range.

cherry-blossom-friends

Never having been part of a Cherry Blossom session myself, I really didn’t know what to expect. Would there be parking, how early do we really need to get there?

I have heard that the best time to be there is before sunrise, so since sunrise was at 6:59 am we decided to meet at 6:30am. This was a good idea, and meeting at 6:15am might have been an even better idea, but really that is just way too early!

Coming from Alexandria, VA I took the parkway over Memorial Bridge, bore to the right and then turned left to follow the road along the water towards the Jefferson Memorial. My idea was to park in the lot closest in front to the memorial but it was closed. I continued to follow the road closet to the Jefferson and eventually saw a sign for Public Parking. I wasn’t sure exactly what I was doing, but decided to trust the signage and turned left. Just a little down that road there was a parking lot with lots of spaces at 6:28am. It is pay parking and I used my Park Moblie App, zone 5811 and was on my way. The walk from the lot to the steps of the Jefferson is about 10 minuets.

IMG_1392.JPG

Brittany had been the first to arrive and remarked that waiting alone at 6:25 in the morning had been kind of creepy, but that in the time she had gone in to use the ladies room (so yes there are some restrooms) and come back out, 2 couples were already in the midst of their engagement sessions.

Having been admiring Connor Studios portraits, for a year, I wanted to try and get the same angle so we walked clockwise around the water from the memorial. By 6:55 another photographer and family, were in the spot I had spied on our walk in. Trust me, jockeying for position gets real, which is why you may want to come even earlier than 6:30. I guess it’s just human nature, but sometimes I forget to be all zen and polite.

IMG_1393.JPG

By 7:05 the sun was making its way up, and the sky was showing signs of brilliant yellow and red. We took turns posing in pairs of two and as a group. We captured the cherries with the Washington Monument, and the Jefferson and then took a few through the blooms themselves.

We photographed until about 7:30am which by then the place was drawing with couples, families, photographers, instagram models, joggers and bikers!

JEFFERSON-BOUQUET

Brittany and Nika had appointments to head off too and Casey Marie and I wandered a little further down the path. Eventually we were tired and felt we had enough photos, by 8:00 I was back in my car and heading home.

marie-windsor-photography

The Cherry Trees were not quite a peak, and something about being up and in the presence of such powerful elegance is intoxicating, so I may just have to do this again!

Ashley-sPRING-bLOSSOM-bOUQUET

















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What You Should Know about Planning a Cherry Blossom Wedding!

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