Sometimes I truly feel like this is the “Great Debate” of the wedding and elopement community.
Both live and faux flowers have their own sets of pros and cons. But many of the considerations that go into the decision of faux vs live flowers is dependent on the environment you’ll be in for your elopement. If you’re including activities, the climate, and seasonal availability all play huge roles in deciding.
I’ve broken down the pros and cons of each …
All Natural& Bio-Degradable, Live flowers are native and natural to the earth, there are no synthetic fibers in the flowers. When you’re done with the bouquet, it degrades back into the earth.
Larger Selection of Local Florists to Choose From, There are many florists who will only work with live flowers, and some who only work with faux ones. There are some who can & will do both, but the trick is finding one in the area you are getting married in.
Authentic, There really is something different and special about live flowers. Their scent & texture isn’t something that can be easily duplicated.
Dependent on the Season, Like all plants, there are only certain seasons they grown in and specific climates as well. This can limit your choices based on the time of year you get married in.
Very Delicate, live flowers are very delicate and can lose their petals & leaves if they are not carefully handled and depending on the weather the flowers could wilt or freeze quickly. If you’re incorporating activities into your elopement day, such as hiking, a live bouquet may lose some of its leaves after being carried for several miles.
Not Allowed in Many National Parks or Regulated Outdoor Areas. Most land and parks that are regulated limit or banned live & dried bouquets to enter or be used in those areas. With live and dried bouquets you risk spreading non-native floral and fauna to the area, which can cause disease or infect the area.
Time, Since live bouquets are on a “clock” of sorts, there is a limited window of time from when the bouquet can be prepared, picked up and used.
Durable, Faux flowers don’t have a limited span and can be “tossed around” without any damage occurring to them. They don’t change in various weather conditions and can hold up through elopement activities
Wide Year Round Selection, In every flower and color you can think, you can get it year round! There are florists who will purchase & arrange the bouquets. You can also purchase the materials at craft or online stores.
Environmentally Friendly & National Park Approved, It is suggested by the National Park Service and other land management agencies, that if you are including flowers in your elopement day, to use a faux bouquet because they can’t spread disease among the native flora & fauna.
Early Pick-Up, Since you can pick up the bouquet as far in the future from your elopement day as you’d like, you don’t have to stress about timelines or disliking the design. If there is something in the design of the bouquet that you aren’t in love there is plenty of time and opportunities for that to be fixed.
Can Be Rearranged as a Home Decor, I’ve seen and done this myself. After you’re done with your bouquet on your elopement day, you can have it rearranged to be a floral wreath or piece of home decoration to keep with you throughout the rest of your life.
Smaller Selection of Local Florists, Not all local florists will arrange faux flowers, but you DO have the option of ordering from an online shop that specializes in faux bouquet arrangement.
Similar Cost to Live Flowers, this isn’t necessarily a con, but a myth. It’s commonly believed that faux flowers are cheaper than live ones (which can be true depending on location and time of year), but sadly most faux & live bouquets are similarly priced.
Dependent on the Bouquet:Cheap materials & unnatural coloring, with such a wide range of colors and options available, there are some (not many) materials and wild colors that make the bouquet look unnatural. Most faux flowers made of silk & wood look incredibly realistic, but flowers made of cheaper fabrics or paper look and feel unnatural.
A Photographers Perspective
Most bouquets that my couples have chosen, have almost always been faux. And I can’t tell the difference. And neither can the photos. (All the photos in this post feature faux bouquets)
This is slightly dependent on the materials & colors chosen for the bouquet. As long as higher-quality fabrics or thin-crafted wood are used, there is very little difference in the physical appearance compared to a live bouquet.
Plus, I feel very strongly about Leave No Trace principles and the effects non-native flora & fauna can have on an area.
However, if you do choose a live bouquet, there are many steps and precautions we can take (as long as the areas allows it) to ensure your bouquet stays beautiful and intact for as long as possible!
Check with the land management agency for the area you will be getting married in. Many of them list their regulations on the area website. If they don’t, I suggest emailing them to ensure you have the most up to date information. The last thing you want is a hefty fine on your elopement day for bringing a bouquet of flowers into the area.
If you need help planning and researching regulations for your elopement, I’m happy to help and document your day for you! Let’s chat, and we’ll plan your adventure!