by Christie A. Brogan {6.21.17}

In an era of environmental deregulation and as an active participant in an industry (“wedding and events”) known for being a tad (sarcasm) wasteful, it seems ever important to consider some of the sustainable wedding options available to today’s modern couples. Certainly, there are many ways to reduce waste when it comes to weddings, but today we focus on the beauty of the day with sustainable floral designs.

Recently, I sat down with Atlanta floral designer, Terry Furuta, of Terry Furuta Designs. This veteran blossom designer has more than 40 years of experience and a natural bend towards Ikebana-inspired designs ( According to Wikipedia, the etymology of the word “Ikebana” is from the Japanese ikeru “keep alive, arrange flowers, living” and hana, “flower”). Sounds just about perfect for our discussion on sustainable weddings.

Entering into Terry’s shop you might be struck by it’s diminutive size or by the dazzling symphony of orchids, air plants, trickling water features, succulents, and terrariums occupying every surface available. Here, in her petite shop, is where the sustainable design story begins. As is often the case, the bride had set the meeting with Terry not at all interested in booking her services, but instead appeasing her mother’s direction to “interview at least three florists before making a decision”. Three steps into the shop the bride’s eyes landed on the terrarium design Terry had just completed. In that moment, the bride had found her inspiration and Terry had the opportunity to showcase her sustainable “living flower” design style.

On the day of the wedding, the team was tasked with bringing the bride’s vision to life. Tucked among the trees and under the cover of a clear party tent on the family’s Atlanta estate, Terry and her team set about decorating sixteen 8-foot farm tables from end to end. The design elements included mood moss, ferns, succulents, Queen Anne’s lace, galax leaves (a special request of the bride) and votive candles. Anemones and ranunculus completed the bouquets and boutineer designs. (Thanks to Terry’s meticulous attention to detail, her team even wrapped the votives and plant pots in palm bark seamlessly incorporating them into the nature-inspired design.) The stage was set…dinner in an enchanted forest.

And, now for the visual “feast” with images courtesy of Franca Frossini. If the pictures say anything, it’s that a stunning wedding day design can be mindfully made. In this case, both beauty and sustainability were equally weighed. Success.

So how do the sustainable designs stack up? According to Terry, in terms of dollars, the designs should fall into the “mid-range” of pricing. It is not lost on designers that most of the components can be readily reused.  Although sustainable designs might not be as cheap as a typical hydrangea arrangement, they are certainly affordable. As with any floral design, if you select more costly design elements, the price increases. Just as easily, giving the designer some creative license to capture the elements of the your style using more cost effective elements can often reduce the price tag.


Christie Brogan {Co-Founder & Partner – 128 South and Bakery 105 in Wilmington, NC. Entrepreneur, Event Planner, Wedding Geek, Writer, Business Innovator, Idea Maker, Boot Camp Betty, Yoga Nut, Animal Lover, Avid Reader}