Are you stuck in the age-old debate of red roses vs. white lilies? Escape the drudgery entirely by choosing colorful native flowers for your wedding. Wildflowers present a range of textures and shapes that evoke an old-fashioned and innocent charm. From delicate wreaths of violets to exotic flowers with names like "baby blue eyes" and "buttonbush," wildflowers can add charm and variety to your wedding.

Why Go Native?

There are a score of reasons to use native flowers in your wedding. First, you won't be supporting the factory-flower industry, which has notable problems with harmful chemicals, unhealthy worker conditions, poverty-level wages, and other human rights violations. There's a reason that imported flowers are cheap; somewhere, someone is paying the price. As an added incentive, you can often find local wildflowers for a fraction of the price of imported blooms.

Second, by supporting local farmers, you'll be enriching the community you live in. You'll also be encouraging flower growers to practice sustainable and eco-friendly farming, which is an easy way of improving the world. 

Third, native flowers require fewer chemicals because they are adapted to their growing environment. This means that they're often organic and pesticide-free. Not only is this good news for the groundwater supply in your area (toxic pesticides end up in your tap water), but it means you can also use your flowers on dinner tables and as garnishes without worrying that they'll taint the food.

Fourth, native flowers don’t have to travel long distances like imported flowers do. They'll generate less fuel waste and exhaust fumes on their way to you. This also means that the flowers will arrive more quickly and stay fresh longer for you. It's a win-win situation.

Finally, you'll have a bouquet that will stand out from the sea of red roses and calla lilies that clutter most weddings. If you're stuck in the "dreaded wedding cluster" (that is, if your friends' weddings land uncomfortably close to your own wedding date), your unique flower design will give your wedding a little something extra. You'll be assured of having colors, textures, shapes, and scents that the other weddings simply don’t have. Native flowers are a great way to impress guests from out of town, too, which will make your wedding seem more exotic and unique.

Finding Native Flowers

Clueless on where to start? It's actually very easy to find out which flowers are native to your area. First, try an Internet search with "native flowers" and the name of your city or state. The Internet is full of native plant societies and databases which will give you the names, and often photos, of all of the native flowers in your area. If you can find an online discussion forum, this is the best place to ask specific questions like, "What is a sturdy blue flower that will be available for a Northeast US wedding in April?"

If you live by an eco-friendly florist or nursery, you can visit in person to get recommendations from a specialist. University horticulture programs, local botanical gardens, and farmers' markets are also good sources. Be cautious when taking advice from a florist that doesn't place an emphasis on environmental sustainability, however, as you may receive advice that's skewed toward getting you to purchase the flowers that the florist has on hand.

Benefits of Live Native Flowers

Your wedding flowers aren’t limited to your wedding bouquet. Use live, potted flowers and plants as table centerpieces, wedding favors, and room décor. You can take these home after the wedding and plant them as a living reminder of your special day. Watching the plants grow and blossom will be a source of happiness to you and your partner for years to come.

Not only will live flowers be a thriving symbol of beauty on your wedding day, but planting native flowers in your garden afterward is a lovely way to help the planet. The flowers will attract local wildlife (like hummingbirds and butterflies) and provide them with food in an age where many native habitats are in danger.

Using native flowers in your home landscaping is the ultimate "gardening cheat," too. Since wildflowers are used to the environment and don’t need to be watered or sprayed like imported plants, you can sit back and watch your garden thrive while your neighbors are out sweating in the sun. Native flowers even inhibit weed growth–take that

Native Seeds Make Great Gifts

Using native flowers isn't just about your wedding flower design. If you fall in love with wildflowers (and who wouldn’t?), you can give native seed mixes as wedding favors. Present them in decorative pouches so your guests can have a keepsake from your wedding as they watch their flowers grow. You can also use paper studded with flower seeds for your wedding invitations, which can be planted after reading.

Beautiful, Vibrant, and Healthy

Your choice of wedding flowers will ensure that your celebration stands out as unique and vibrantly beautiful. It will also go a long way toward improving your community and your planet. Is there any better way to start your new life together than by knowing you've done a good deed? Once you see the gorgeous array of wildflowers decorating your festivities, you'll wonder how anyone could prefer a bunch of toxic, boring roses. Native flowers are the best way to make your wedding floral design all "green."

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Julie Mason | Report Abuse

We're looking at wildflower centerpieces. They're so much more colorful. And cheaper.

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