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How to Dazzle with Local Flowers & Support Native Plants at Your Wedding

Want to bring the best of all things LOCAL to your wedding's design plan? Trying to figure out how to use natural elements to make your wedding mellow and dreamy? Tired of all the glittery, bedazzled wedding inspiration out there? We are all about that, let's talk.

Bramble & Blossom specializes in sourcing locally and sustainably grown flowers for weddings in Western Pennsylvania. Flowers and other plants grown within 100 miles of Pittsburgh are our top choice, and nothing makes us more giddy than when we get a message like this in our inbox:

Hello, I want to incorporate native plants in my spring wedding and I'm not sure where to start. Can you help my fiancée and I make a plan?

Ooooh yes we can!

In recent years, there has been a growing trend toward incorporating eco-friendly and sustainable practices into weddings. Thank goodness! Three cheers, we say! Yay! One way that you can do this is by starting with a simple review of what's locally grown and / or native to your region.

Adding native plants to your wedding decor can mean bringing in actual flowers, but can also be so much more. You can include images of those flowers or their seeds, you can use them for color inspiration for your whole event, or you can choose a venue that supports sustainable practices and supporting local and native plants. While many native plants are potential showstoppers for your bouquet - some are also protected species that can't be cut or transplanted, so thinking more broadly about ways to include them is a fun exercise in wedding inspiration.

Native plants are those that have naturally evolved and adapted to a specific region or ecosystem. By using native plants in your wedding decor, you can support local ecosystems and biodiversity. Native plants provide important habitats for native insects, birds, and other wildlife, which in turn support the health of local ecosystems. Additionally, native plants require less water and maintenance than non-native plants, which can help conserve resources and reduce waste.

Native Plants & Wedding Design

Here are some ways you can incorporate native plants into your wedding:

  1. Floral Designs: Instead of using non-native flowers, consider using locally-sourced native wildflowers and greenery for your bouquets and centerpieces. Not only will this add a unique and natural touch to your wedding, but it will also support local farmers!

  2. Ceremony Backdrop / Installations: Talk with your florist about creating a beautiful and natural ceremony backdrop by using native plants and greenery. You can use vines, ferns, and other native plants to decorate a natural arch or canopy. Additionally, you might consider adding potted plants along the aisle that your guests could take home and plant!

  3. Favors: Give your guests a lasting and eco-friendly gift by giving them native plant seeds or seedlings as wedding favors. This will provide a meaningful and unique gift for your guests, and encourage them to support local ecosystems and biodiversity in their own gardens.

  4. Place cards and Table Settings: Use native plant leaves or pressed flowers to create unique and eco-friendly place cards and table settings. This will add a natural and personal touch to your wedding decor and will also support local ecosystems.

  5. Gifts: Don't need another blender? In lieu of gifts, you could ask guests to donate to a local organization that supports native plants and pollinators in your area. We've got some great options for Pittsburgh couples at the end of this blog post!

  6. Color Palette: We love a wedding design that is based on seasonal flowers, and a simple way to begin is by looking around. Say you're getting married in May...try looking on Instagram for photos from local farms, greenhouses, and State Parks during that same time of year last year or the year before. Use the photographs you find to pull colors for your own celebration. Or maybe you love the look of wildflowers along I-79 on a long drive in late August...snap a photo and use a color-picking tool to craft a palette that reminds you of that exact time of year.

Incorporating native plants into your wedding is a meaningful and sustainable way to celebrate your love and commitment to each other. It's also a wonderful way to ensure that you'll have something completely unique for your celebration! One of a kind! By using locally-sourced native plants, you can support local ecosystems, conserve resources, and reduce waste. It's a win-win for both you and the environment!

Western Pennsylvania is known for its rich and diverse flora, including a variety of native plants. These plants have adapted to the region's climate and soil conditions and play an important role in supporting the local ecosystem.

Some common native plants found in Western Pennsylvania include:

  1. Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis): A small tree with beautiful pink or purple flowers in the spring.

  2. Spicebush (Lindera benzoin): A shrub with fragrant yellow flowers that bloom in early spring and red berries that are popular with birds.

  3. Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta): A popular wildflower with bright yellow petals and a dark center that blooms from mid-summer to early fall.

  4. Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea): A showy perennial with distinctive purple-pink flowers that attracts pollinators like bees and butterflies.

  5. Wild Geranium (Geranium maculatum): A woodland plant with delicate pink flowers that bloom in late spring.

  6. Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca): A tall, tough plant with large, fragrant pink flowers that is an important host plant for Monarch butterflies.

  7. Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis): A striking red-flowered perennial that attracts hummingbirds and other pollinators.

  8. Wild Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis): A beautiful wildflower with red and yellow flowers that blooms in spring and early summer.

  9. Jack-in-the-Pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum): A fascinating woodland plant with a unique flower structure that attracts pollinators like flies and beetles.

  10. Goldenrod (Solidago spp.): A fall-blooming perennial with bright yellow flowers that provide an important source of nectar for late-season pollinators. And hey, goldenrod gets a bad name for being a major allergy attacker, but it's just not fair! Goldenrod often grows in the same spaces as Ragweed - and that's the one that's actually making you sneeze! Goldenrod deserves a seat at the wedding table and we've got the photos to prove it.

These are just a few examples of the many native plants found in Western Pennsylvania. By incorporating these plants into gardens and landscaping, individuals can help support local biodiversity and create beautiful and ecologically sustainable landscapes.

Now, the list above is focused on all things native, so I want to talk for a minute about the difference between native and local. Let's get into it, shall we?

Locally Grown Flowers & Pittsburgh Weddings

The most simple difference between these two is: native plants are those native to a particular region, while locally grown ones are simply grown in the region, but not necessarily native to that place. Bramble & Blossom works with dozens of local farms that specialize in growing cut flowers. Some are native, all are local. Makes sense?

Bouquet of peach, yellow, gold, and pink flowers, held by a bride in a white lace wedding gown.
Photograph by Erica Dietz

The photograph above is of a bridal bouquet from a wedding we designed at the National Aviary in the fall of 2022. It features the best of both worlds -- some native blooms and all locally grown ones! The goldenrod was foraged by our team in Butler County and by some of our farming partners in Allegheny and Armstrong Counties. This native pollinator was the secret ingredient we needed to give all the Western PA + autumn road trip vibes that we were after.

The rest of the flowers there are all locally grown, but not necessarily native. In Erin's bouquet, above, you'll see some of our favorite seasonal goodies for autumn weddings: Sweet Annie, Dahlias, Zinnia, Amaranth, Scabiosa, Jewels of Opar, foraged rose hips, and heirloom chrysanthemum and carnations. The mums and carnations were a rare treat, part of a trial grown by our friends at Sol Patch Garden.

We love bringing these unique and extraordinary blossoms to

Want to learn more about Pennsylvania Native Plants?

Bonus Free Color Palettes

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