My Creative Workbook

Christine de Beer - effortless floral craftsman

How to avoid your wedding treasures from becoming “after the event trash”

DY Weddings Magazine:

Right now, while still in the planning stages of your wedding, is the absolute best time to consider exactly what happens to all your design details after your wedding. You most certainly don’t want it to become trash!

Making only a few small and easy changes to your design elements at the planning stages can make a huge difference in the trash free (or trash-less) outcome. Here are a few suggestions on how to minimize the impact of design details:

 How to avoid your wedding treasures from becoming “after the event trash” floral art design

Tell everyone! Share your goal of having a less trash kind of wedding so that your guests can support your goal with their actions. You can even have really pretty recycling bins (even compost bins) - just to add a stylish-eco touch to the festivities.

Favoured favours: Favours left behind by guests just gets trashed by the clean-up crew. What a waste! Make sure the favours you choose for your guests are actually something they would want to keep and make it clear that these little gifts are for the guests to take home.

Phalaenopsis and lily grass basket

Skip “use once and trash it” elements: Floral foam, for example, is going to be trashed. No, there really is no other end to the story. Floral foam is an open-celled phenolic foam that easily soaks up water and is often used as a base for floral arrangements. Unfortunately it can only be used once as a water source, and it is either not biodegradable at all or will biodegrade by only 51.5% in a year in biologically active landfill conditions. Most environmentally aware designers shy away from using foam. I rarely, if ever, design with foam and you can find loads of examples of more environmentally friendly design solutions that are foam-free on my website. Try to also avoid single use napkins, plastic water bottles and disposable containers when designing for your event. Make even the garnishes count so that they become more than just something added to look pretty.

Re-usable design details: Can the flowers be donated to brighten up someone else's day? Or used for more than one wedding at the same venue on the same day? Just a few additions or subtractions can give basic design elements a whole new look.

How to weave a basket from grass

Use what is already there: Take a slow walk through your venue and see what you can use to its absolute maximum prettiness without adding too much to this. Using what you already have (for instance glass vases) or using existing beautiful features that is already at the venue or even renting or borrowing what you need can minimize the amount of waste you generate. Buy quality if you really need to buy some design elements, so that you want to keep a few for yourself as keepsakes, turn them into double duty favours, thank you gifts or even sell or donate after the event.

Make it, at worst survive the reception, at best flourish for a long time thereafter: Knowing how to properly condition and design with flowers and floral material will extend their life looking beautiful and also limit the amount of material needed. If you are planning to do your flowers yourself, take a class or order at least your focal flowers from a great florist who can advise you.
Tiny terrariums are popular as favours. Create flourishing terrariums by respecting the growing conditions of the plant- you don’t want to gift your guests with a dying or decaying plant! As a rule: terrariums are for shade loving forest plants or water growing plants. Avoid growing air-plants, cacti and succulents in a closed terrarium as these terrariums are designed to increase humidity, limit free airflow and lower light levels. The goal is to mimic the plant’s natural growing environments.

Weave a sturdy basket from grass floral design

Don’t create waste in the first place: Do you really need so much stuff? Often one really great, well executed idea is better than loads of tiny design details that get overlooked when taking in the big picture.

Share the excess: You can use what someone has in excess of to create a really impactful display, minimizing waste on an even bigger scale. You can even share excess by inviting guests to take leftovers home with them… maybe even packed in a pretty container you give as a wedding favour, like my gift basket centrepiece design for this issue.

Floral arrangement of woven grass and orchids

Part of my design philosophy as a floral artist is to always take responsibility for my designs once they fade. What happens to the items you make after your event? Have a creative plan for re-purposing the used items other than it becoming trash. Designing with the full life cycle of every detail in mind is such a simple but hugely effective way of minimizing the environmental impact of your event.

Every week I add a new design with related tutorials. Be sure to subscribe to receive an email notification with design inspiration.


13 March 2019 Interweave an enchanted gift basket

A bit of a planned-messy woven basket that is sturdy enough to carry small items.

8 July 2015 Using a pin to place tiny dew drop crystals

It's sometimes difficult to place a tiny crystal or bead exactly where you want it.

4 January 2011 Drinking straw "test tubes"

When you need to keep a tiny stem hydrated this is just what you need.

8 June 2011 Foliage Weaving

For this tutorial I focus on a simple weave pattern that does not require you to soften or prepare the leaves to be more durable or flexible. This is the starting point in...

3 April 2013 Twin Leaf Weave

Weave two palm leaves together to create a floral grid

1 February 2012 Weaving a diagonal green grass basket

Once you figure out how to do the corners weaving a diagonal shape is actually not that hard to do.

25 January 2017 Detailing a messy edged grass basket

Weave a basket from lily grass and then cut and curl the edges

1 October 2012 Weaving a ball shaped Dew-drop Catcher from grass

Weave a sphere from grass

Favourite Flowers


Phalaenopsis, Moth orchid

Related Designs

29 May 2019 Creative Competition

This week I am so excited to share my article and design that was published in the recent issue of the Floral Art Society of New Zealand's Academy Magazine for NZ qualified...

26 June 2019 “Ok wow”

A design so fine you can easily miss it... if it were not for the interwoven pebbles catching your eye.

24 July 2019 Up to much?

Dress up a single lily stem with a few blades of grass.

18 March 2020 Aerial Odyssey

A closer look at my design at Canada Blooms and The Toronto Flower Show last week. The show was cancelled right after we staged the designs due to COVID-19 concerns.

22 April 2020 Yes… but what would she put in it?

Some floral fashion inspiration: weave a pretty clutch purse

10 March 2021 The way we curve

Tiny minimal design that explores curves.

26 May 2021 From all sides

An all on one side design to admire roses from all sides.

13 April 2022 Hop on… it’s Easter!

A cheery Easter basket for a new beginning

19 October 2022 Point Witch (or Wizard) Way

A wire framed witch or wizard hat that can be reshaped.

5 April 2023 Where do you even start looking?

Easter egg... egg for Easter eggs

1 May 2024 Favourite Take-Away

Basket weave container for some Spring floral treasures.

3 April 2013 April showers bring May flowers

After a long winter it is always fun to use the first spring bulb flowers!

25 January 2017 What is in a basket of spectacular?

Weave a basket with dangling edges for a single orchid display

1 October 2012 How to catch a dew drop:

Weave a sphere from grass to catch a precious and exquisite and perfect glistening early autumn dew drop

5 April 2017 Easter Bonnet

Weave a delicate Pillbox hat