I am so excited to be sharing with you...
My trip to London for the Sustainable Wedding Alliance Summit of 2024
I am writing the second entry of February from my desk in Cornwall; a place of calm and comfort, slow and steadiness; a little different from my busy few days in London last week. Last Thursday I was extremely fortunate to attend the Sustainable Wedding Alliance Summit hosted at the BMA house, the very first of it's kind to be hosted face to face. I was surrounded my like-minded suppliers and listened carefully to the powerful words of leaders paving the way for a more sustainable industry. It was an incredible, eye-opening experience, it exceeded my expectations in more ways than I could have ever imagined. I will continue to share all the wonderful advice and resources that were so kindly given to me, whilst marking this event as a pivotal point in my journey to sustainably for Sophie Flowers.
If you have found yourself here because you are newly engaged, a fellow wedding supplier, or just someone who wishes to learn more about sustainability... I am so excited to me sharing more with you!
What is The Sustainable Wedding Alliance?
Founded by the utterly brilliant Michelle, the Sustainable Wedding Alliance aims to create a more sustainable wedding industry through education, support and accreditation. Michelle and her wonderful team work with businesses to create long term sustainable strategies. "It’s about adapting the way your business works, understanding the relationship between your business and our planet and balancing the two. Sustainable principles should run through all elements of a business."
The alliance empowers business owners, offering the support and resources to succeed in achieving sustainability. You can find out more at www.sustainableweddingalliance.com
I urge any wedding supplier to immerse themselves in this resourceful platform. Couples are looking for more sustainable wedding solutions (as they should be!) and sustainability should be in the forefront of our minds.
Sustainability Truths in the Floral Industry
All wedding floral suppliers shared their own setbacks within the industry when it came to sourcing flowers sustainably. Alongside florists, some incredible flower farmers joined in the conversation too and it was refreshing to hear views from a grower's perspective. Featherstone Flowers, a wonderful florist and flower farm in Hampshire were incredibly inspiring and very knowledgeable, they reveal that "a standard bunch of mixed flowers grown in the UK has a carbon footprint 95% smaller than that consisting of imports" but shockingly "only 14% of flowers sold in the UK are grown here". (We have a lot of work to do!)
Jess and Katie of Featherstone flowers have put together a beautifully written post detailing how you can start choosing sustainable flower options, from wedding flowers to the flowers you select for your kitchen table. Read all about it here. Their key message is to simply ask the questions, although it may seem like a super simple thing, asking questions is the most powerful form of identifying gaps in our understanding and finding solutions. It paves the way to engage in meaningful conversations, build trust and develop an organic relationship with both ourselves and others.
Whilst we spoke, listened, shared and connected, we were reminded of the fundamental reason for striving for sustainability in the industry: Mother Nature. Foraged branches with garlands of catkins, evergreens, frothy old man's beard, moss and more, adorned a wooden chair proudly positioned in the room. Rebecca from Lilac and Lace Floral Design had created the most beautiful floral concept which truly represented all that mid-winter had to offer. The chair was an invitation for Mother Nature to be with us throughout the whole day, and it was truly magical. (I am wildly passionate about foraging and embracing the often overlooked mid-winter season, so this was incredibly touching.)
What am I doing at Sophie Flowers to achieve sustainability?
After working with flowers for some time now, I have realised that is is far too easy to 'add to cart' from the big Dutch wholesalers and have flowers shipped over in their masses. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is, right? You can get hold of mass produced flowers with a click of a button but this makes me ask the question, but at what cost? The Earth?
Accessibility to flowers that are not typically in season does not feel right, especially when we can clearly see that nature is not ready. Simply looking out from our windows or taking ourselves outside, we can clearly see that branches are still bare, the time for flowers is not now. We know that the right time will come, so we must remain patient and hopeful. It is essential that our values align with our slow and seasonal approach, and so...
It's time to hold ourselves accountable!
My biggest mission for this year is to source only British grown flowers wherever possible (which feels so scary to say given my thoughts on the Dutch v British flower market) but this is so important for our journey to sustainability.
It will require more work, more networking, more searching and essentially more patience, but with guidance from the seasons and the trust from our dream clients, I remain confident that the hard work during the quieter months of winter will be a helping hand to achieve our mission as the year unfolds. I feel hopeful, inspired and connected.
Photography: Zoe Mills Photography
A big thank you to all of the wonderful suppliers and businesses that I had the pleasure of meeting at the Sustainable Wedding Alliance Summit (every single one, utterly brilliant) as well as fellow florists who are forever inspiring. Not forgetting Michelle and her team for making the magic happen, my own dream clients who continue to respect our values and make it all worthwhile, and of course, everyone following along on our journey to sustainability.
So much love!
If you missed my first entry of February, you can turn back the page here....