What Happens to Flowers After an Event?

What happens to flowers after an event? It’s one of the most frequently asked questions I get. But, it’s often posed at the end of an event, when the floral or design team is ready to start breaking down. There’s quite a range of possibilities for how the flowers are handled, that are best to know ahead of time. Keep reading to learn how to extend the lifetime of your floral arrangements post-event.

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Consider Scope and Scale

What happens to flowers after an event? It’s all about scope and scale.

The size of the arrangement, type of flowers in the composition, and the format it takes (handheld, centerpiece, installation, etc.) are just a few of the factors under consideration.

Personal arrangements, like bouquets, boutonnières, and corsages almost always go home with their owners.

Centerpieces, installations, and intricate floral arrangements are a bit tricker. Some floral designers will transport flowers back to their studios to upcycle arrangements for a different occasion. Florists may also partner with organizations that accept donations of flowers post-event. Or, the flowers could sadly be discarded as trash.

All of the above possibilities can vary based on the type of floral arrangement.

For example, flowers that were intertwined onto the frame of a chuppah, or strung from the ceiling, are not left in the best condition for reuse when an event concludes. They sit without water for at least a few hours, likely much more depending on when the floral team returns to the venue for strike, becoming wilted and less structurally amenable for reuse.

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Alternatively, flowers in bud vases or small centerpieces are great candidates to live another life, either in the client’s home, at another event, or as a donation.

Chat with Your Florist

It’s important to have a conversation with your floral designer about their typical practices for strike post-event. Some may be less inclined to assist with your preferences for the flowers, depending on their standard approach.

Broach the topic well in advance and work with the florist on the best plan of action for your arrangements. It’s rarely possible to accommodate end-of-night requests without prior discussions.

Donate to a Place of Worship, Hospital, Shelter or a Philanthropic Organization

This is typically a bit easier said than done. Usually, floral donations are only allowed under certain conditions; relative to the size, type and quantity of arrangements being donated.

Many hospitals won’t accept floral donations at all, or have restrictions on the type of flowers they accept. Connect with these institutions a few months prior to the event to inquire about their policies and best practices for floral donations.

Before COVID-19, companies like Repeat Roses would send a team to collect flowers during strike, and rearrange them for donation to a Rolodex of charities and hospitals. I hope they’re back up and running soon as our industry pushes through this challenging time.

Send Family and Friends Off with Bouquets

As a flower lover, there’s nothing better than leaving an event with a bundle of gorgeous flowers to enjoy in my home for the next week. If you can, invite family and close friends that stay until the bitter end to choose their favorite stems, and make small arrangements to take as parting gifts.

Repurpose arrangements to create turnkey centerpieces at your post-event brunch.

Clients can usually request that a few arrangements are set aside for pick up or delivery the following day.

Other clients will take home smaller, less cumbersome arrangements straight from the event. In these instances, florists will typically require that clients remove the flowers from the vase they were originally displayed in, as the vase could be a rental item, or intended for use at an event the next day.

Either way, the flowers can make for great centerpieces when hosting family or out of town guests for a post-event brunch. Just make sure to have the vessels and time to arrange them!

Click here to learn how to transform stems into floral arrangements at home.

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Fresh Floral Arrangements at Home

I have an affinity towards fresh floral arrangements. They’re an easy upgrade to any space, and always boost my mood. They can be dramatic or simplistic, widespread throughout the home or featured in a few select spots.

I should preface by saying I’m extremely fortunate to be in the events industry for a number of reasons. There are a lot of perks, and being around fresh florals with the occasional chance to take some home is definitely one of them.

Floral Arrangements at Home

Any time I’m given the opportunity to take an arrangement home from an event or table sample, I gladly will! But more often than not, I’m creating my own arrangements at home.

I love a larger floral arrangement in the kitchen, a bud vase on the nightstand, clusters of flowers on the coffee table, or an arrangement on the dresser.

If I’m planning to have guests over, I may opt for a bud vase or two in the restrooms as well. Essentially, the more flowers, the better!

Budget & Buy

I build the cost of flowers into my weekly grocery budgets. I typically pick up stems at the flower market or bodega and arrange them at home, so I allocate between $15-25 seasonally (or more, depending on how often I’m hosting).

Taking the time to compose an arrangement is a creative outlet that I really look forward to each week – it’s a great way to inspire creativity!

Check out this post by B Floral for tips on how to navigate the NYC flower market.

Take advantage of flowers that are in-season for arrangements that are cheap and cheerful. I personally love bunches of eucalyptus in a white pitcher, or 5-6 single stems in bud vases, all in a row on a mantle or dresser.

Simple Supplies

When creating your own arrangement at home, two useful tools to have on-hand are chicken wire and floral tape. Floral foam is also helpful when creating more sculptural arrangements.

Form a grid pattern on the outside of the vessel with the chicken wire or tape, fill your vase with water, and begin adding your stems.

This next part is entirely up to you; use your artistic eye to create an organic shape for a whimsical arrangement, or pack the flowers in clusters for a tighter arrangement.

Floral Delivery Services

If you’re short on time, or seeking an elevated look, consider subscribing to a biweekly floral delivery service. I use URBANSTEMS when I need a more sophisticated arrangement for a specific occasion, like my Friendsgiving dinner, and to send flowers to friends and family.

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