Bride stood infant of bell tent village

Ethical Blooms

We recently did a post about ethical vegan weddings where we briefly touched upon wedding flowers. Today we’re delving a little deeper to educate you on how you can do your bit when it comes to keeping your blooms as ethical as possible. The UK spends £2.2bn on cut flowers every year, but just 10% are grown here compared to 20 years ago, when half of flowers sold here were from the UK. This represents a significant environmental problem because of the impact on water resources, the chemicals used in the growing process, energy used on refrigeration and the carbon footprint associated with air freighting.

Local & Seasonal

Working with the seasons is a great place to start when thinking about your wedding flowers. Generally, whatever’s in season should be able to be sourced locally, which means no nasty chemicals damaging the environment, no air miles, and they’ll be cheaper too. Peonies, for example, are in season in May and June, so if your wedding’s in August and you have your heart set on Peonies in your bouquet, they will be grown artificially in heated poly tunnels which not only affects the environment but adds to your costs too.

Research local flower farms who grow their own seasonal flowers or speak to your florist about only using local blooms. A glamping outdoor wedding in the great British countryside lends itself to using sustainable, local suppliers anyway.

Ethical Wedding Flowers
Faux Bloom (photo Asun Olivan)


Industrial flower farms often operate sweatshop conditions. Buying Fairtrade means fair pay, decent working conditions and fair terms of trade for farmers and workers in the developing world. Fairtrade works with flower workers in Kenya, Ethiopia, Sri Lanka, Ecuador, Uganda and Tanzania. If buying local seasonal flowers doesn’t work for your big day, at least buying Fairtrade gives you peace of mind that workers are being treated fairly and are able to improve their lives by investing in healthcare, education etc.

Look carefully at where your flowers are coming from. For example, it might be more beneficial to buy Fairtrade flowers from Kenya than non-Fairtrade flowers from Europe, in terms of a lower carbon footprint and the benefits it offers the local community.

Bride stood infant of bell tent village
Photo: Curious Rose – Flower crown and bouquet: Petal and Feast

Alternative options

Just because it’s a wedding, it doesn’t mean you have to have fresh cut flowers. You can think outside the box when it comes to bouquets and centrepieces. If you’re having an outdoor wedding with tipis, small potted plants look great dotted along the rustic trestle tables and they’re great for guests to take home. Potted herbs work well too.

Get stuck into Pinterest for alternative bouquet ideas; origami flowers can be made from old maps or sheet music. We recommend Petal & Bird for beautiful, bright paper flowers. Pom poms, broaches, feathers and dried flowers can all be incorporated into alternative eco bouquets and buttonholes. Dapper and Suave do a great range of buttonholes featuring feathers, ideal with tweed suits for a laid-back, outdoor glamping wedding.

Using faux flowers means there’s no worries about flowers being in season etc but bear in mind that artificial flowers are often made with silk (therefore not suitable for vegan weddings). Have a look at Faux Bloom or Phohm for amazing display ideas such as arches which look so dramatic alongside our bell tents for an outdoor wedding.

Ethical Wedding Flowers
Blooming Cow Flowers


English garden flowers like roses and hydrangeas are charming. Could you grow your own? Could you enlist the help of friends and family to grow flowers for the wedding? Or do you know people with lush gardens who wouldn’t mind contributing? A mish mash of vases, old jugs, jars, tins etc gives an eclectic, rustic look. You could also forage for foliage; ivy is often found in abundance and, being an evergreen plant, it’s great for weddings as it represents eternity and fidelity. Your outdoor wedding venue might be happy for you to help yourself to some of their natural greenery.

Blooming Cow Flowers in Alton offer a service where you can pick your own seasonal flowers. Talk to them about what’s in season on your wedding date. You can either arrange your own flowers for that ‘wild’ look or they can design your bouquets, buttonholes etc using your chosen blooms.

Ethical Wedding Flowers
Kate Cullen Silks

Foraging and cutting gardens

Petal and Feast who are the resident flower girls and caters at The Secret Barn (as well as providing off site floristry) are renowned for the amazing abilities to turn ‘hedge’ into stunning hoops, flower crowns and other such beauty. They use foliage in their cutting gardens and add seasonal flowers to the mix for an array of colour with a true feel of the outside / barn bride.


Bear in mind that Oasis (not the band, the foamy stuff used to keep flowers in place) is non-biodegradable so speak to your florist about eco alternatives. Also look at natural ribbon rather than plastic. Kate Cullen offers a range of plant dyed silk ribbons. She uses organic peace silk that is approved by the Soil Association as silkworms aren’t harmed in the process.

As a bell tent hire company, we love flowers in wellies and photos of beautiful bridal bouquets against our fully dressed bell tents, but we love the environment more and have lots of respect for couples planning ethical weddings.

Check out our Weddings page for ideas of our packages including bell tent villages for outdoor weddings.

Ethical Wedding Flowers
Blooming Cow Flowers

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