All photos of Molly Oliver flowers by CLY by Matthew

If you’re serving local, organic food at your wedding, then make sure that ethos extends to your flowers!

Just like asparagus and strawberries, flowers are agricultural products that have seasons where they are the most beautiful and fragrant. And conventional flowers suffer from the same ethical quandaries and poor quality as conventional food. Most flowers sold in the U.S. today are shipped in from South America, industrial farms that go heavy on the pesticide and chemical fertilizer use, plus exploit farm workers. Not the kind of energy you want at your wedding. And you can tell the difference, visually. These industrial flowers come in unnaturally bright colors, are uniform with stick-straight stems and weirdly glossy leaves.

But local, organic flowers have a wild, untamed beauty that yields bouquets and arrangements unlike any other. They’re perfect for the bride who wears just enough makeup to look her most beautiful self, who is getting married in a farmhouse or raw loft space in Brooklyn, and prefers a farm table to white linen and polyester table runners.

Finally, you cannot discount the heady, rich scent of local flowers, which provides another layer of sensory experience to you and your guests. Luckily, there’s a whole crop of florists who source thoughtfully in New York City for events huge and tiny. Here they are:

Ranunculus/hellebore from New Jersey; Tulips from New York; Peonies, Dogwood and Huckleberry from New York; and Lambs Ears right from from Brooklyn; all tied with natural waxed black twine.

Molly Oliver Flowers

Molly was the natural choice for me. I would consider her the leading sustainable florist in New York City and Brooklyn. Molly not only sources the blooms seasonally from local Brooklyn farms, regional growers, and NYC farmers markets (with supplement from NYC floral district wholesalers), she’ll even plant the seeds for the flowers you want for your wedding at Youth Farm if you give her enough notice. Now that is bespoke. Proceeds from flowers purchased from Molly’s partner educational farms support sustainable agriculture educational programs for youth and adults around the city.

Working with Molly was a dream. Illich and I sat down with her over wine and showed her our Pinterest inspiration board, and she patiently let us talk through our disparate and crazy visions until we settled on a victorian goth style that would go well in our warehouse. Then she set up a Pinterest board with all the flowers that would be in season, plus inspirational bouquets, and from there we kept iterating and refining until we were both clear and confident on what exactly we wanted. She did the bower, bouquets, boutonnieres, lush table centerpieces, bud vases for the tall tables for cocktail hour, decorated our hanging birch cutouts, and even put a few flowers in the bathrooms.

 

At the wedding, after the ceremony, a team moved the bower inside behind the DJ booth. And after the dinner was done, she and her team stripped the tables that had to be moved off of the dance floor and bad bouquets that our guests were able to take home when they left. She also moved one of the table garlands to the DJ booth. For all of this – her flowers really did transform a giant space – we thought her rate was more than reasonable. I think she should be any conscious NYC bride’s first choice!

Taproot

Taproot is a Brooklyn-based floral design studio and school that aims to support the local flower community. In addition to floral design classes, they provide locally grown and eco-friendly wedding flowers. Resolute about purchasing local blooms, since their launch in 2014, they’ve purchased flowers from 25 local flower farms in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania, prioritizing women-owned and small to medium-sized farms. If they can’t find what they need locally, they’ll first look to farms further south on the East Coast, then west to California, and from there prioritize purchasing from farms that are certified through the Florverde Sustainable Flowers, Veriflora Sustainably Grown, or Rainforest Alliance certification programs.

 

BW&P Floral 

Servicing the New York Tri-state region, upstate and beyond, BW&P’s aesthetic is mixes vintage and modern with loose, wild, asymmetrical style of creations. They use locally-sourced flowers and foliage, season permitting, and source from growers who are in line with sustainable agricultural practices. Founder Allison is educated in sustainable agriculture and nurturing flowers from seed to centerpiece – she has a certificate from the Urban Farm Training Program at The Youth Farm in Crown Heights, Brooklyn and also completed an apprenticeship with Eagle Street Rooftop Farm in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. 

Saipua

Saipua in Brooklyn is a rather odd but charming company that makes olive oil soap and the kind of wild, decadent flower arrangements that T Magazine swoons over. The odd, delicate varieties that Saipua uses don’t ship well, so the owners and partners Sarah Ryhanen Eric Famisan bought an upstate farm a decade ago called World’s End. The farm has a flock of icelandic sheep, runs almost entirely on solar energy, and composts the scraps from Saipua’s NYC events and other florists.

Larkspur Botanicals

Larkspur Botanicals sources American-grown flowers for their pretty designs. Theyever use floral foam and only use paper-based tapes in arrangements, compost all plant remnants for use in their pollinator-friendly adopted garden, package sustainably by eschewing the use of plastic wrap and plastic containers and instead opt for recycled cardboard to package their arrangements, use organic whenever possible, and will even work with you to use vessels that you own already. A popular design they do is a living centerpiece, a round or square wreath-like form with moss and soil that acts as a base for living plants such as ivy, succulents or herbs with candles in the center. After the event is over, your guests can take home the arrangement and either keep it on their tables or hang it on a wall or door. Depending on the plants used and the care given, these wreaths can be enjoyed for many years.

Gardenia Organics

The first sustainable florist in NYC, Gardenia Organics only sources from U.S. farms within a 20-mile radius and South American farms that have gone through extensive effort and passed stringent inspections by governing bodies. They recycle and compost their own generated waste and continuously ask suppliers to reduce the packaging they use. Their shopping bags, business cards, tissue and wrappings are all recycled and/or biodegradable. They even have vases made from recycled glass. We never use any additives, preservatives or flower foam.

Le Fleuriste 

Le Fleuriste specializes in editorial shoots and large events, but will also do a unique wedding, “something different – that isn’t on Pinterest and that has a real story,” owner Elena told me by email. They use foraged elements, and source from local farms, the farmers market, small nurseries, and at certain spots at the wholesale flower market. If they do have to go farther afield, they source domestically from top farmers in California and Florida. Above and beyond just looking for ‘green’ or ‘eco’ labels, they carefully choose the people they work with, making sure that the quality of their materials are as high as possible, and the global impact as low as possible.

Stems Brooklyn

Located in the front of a popular cocktail bar in Ditmas Park, Brooklyn, this slow florist specializes in wild, romantic bouquets. Stop in for a flower arranging workshop to get to know them to see if they’re right for your wedding!

Aurora Botanica

Recommended by the rooftop farm Brooklyn Grange, Rawan Rihani creates flower crowns, arrangements, and hanging garlands for weddings and parties, and simultaneously repurposes flowers to create natural dyes for textiles. Aurora Botanica specializes in creating work with a dreamy, serene, and wild aesthetic.

Emily Thompson Flowers

Emily Thompson sources flowers locally when possible, and works with foragers to find local materials for giant, immersive floralscapes that transform a space.

Fleursbella

Uses seasonal wildflowers, organic flowers, and recycled containers whenever possible.

 

Kat Flower

Uses seasonal and organic elements whenever possible, including vines, known for incorporating fruit and herbs into her creations.

BONUS: Bloomerent

This company takes flowers from an event and sells them to a second event, so they have twice the life! You can either choose to work with florists in their stable, and get 10% back on the price if someone else reuses your flowers, or look for an event that is the day before yours and get their flowers heavily discounted.