By Nicole Buckler
The Peer-to-Peer (P2P) sharing economy has really taken off in the past few years. It has led to everyday people collaborating in many different areas of life to get ahead. From car sharing (Uber) to house-sharing (Airbnb) to exchanging currency while avoiding banks (CurrencyFair), the P2P trend gets more exciting every day.
And now, a fascinating P2P service has popped up in the U.S. to help brides not only save money, but to cut waste and be eco-friendly. How? Brides can share their wedding flowers with another event in the same area, on the same day or the next day. The brides can get cash-back on their flowers that would otherwise end up in the bin.
In Ireland, the average spend for wedding flowers is around €1500. While these flowers will be entirely gorgeous and make the wedding event exquisite, the sad reality is that these beautiful blooms will be thrown in the bin just a few hours after they are put on display. And yet, flowers have a shelf life of anywhere between 3 days and two weeks, depending on the flower. It seems like a terrible shame that these beautifully presented bouquets end up in a bin bag after a 5-hour event. At least you’d think the bride could roll around in the petals on her bed for the next few days. But, sadly, no. That would be a hassle. And a bit weird.
Enter Danit Zamir, a U.S. bride who was entirely shocked not only by the price of flowers, but also by the terrible waste of these beautiful items after her wedding. After she was married in 2014, and after spending a lot of her wedding budget on gorgeous centrepieces, she was very upset to see her blooms in the bin at the end of her perfect night. Most of us would be bin-diving and getting those damn things out. And our friends would not have stopped us, they’d be helping.
Then it dawned on Danit: she could make this negative into a positive, and also make some money. So she hatched the concept of flower-sharing for events that are held in close proximity to each other. She realised the market was in fact huge, and she launched her business, called Bloomerent. It is an online platform for brides and event hosts to share flowers. By going to the website, anyone holding an event can see if another event is being held nearby and could use the flowers afterwards.
It’s not just brides that have been benefitting from this service. Event hosts have been connecting with florists to see if there are centrepieces listed that can be used for their own events. Bloomerent works with a community of florists who opt-in and can help the process along. For example, once used in the first event, before being transferred to the second event, the flowers are “refreshed.” They can be “renewed” for an afternoon event, or be looked after overnight. Then florists can make sure any broken flowers are removed and replaced.
Says Danit, “The centrepieces will always be delivered in top condition no matter what the circumstances – wilted flowers, broken vase, or grandma took home a centrepiece or two. Customers are rewarded for sharing by receiving a portion of their money back; the exact amount is dependent on whether they are the first or second event. The process is a win-win solution for both customers and florists while offering a green alternative.”
Danit Zamir’s business partner Julia Capalino notes, “There’s a misconception that when the wedding ends, the flowers die. We work directly with the experts to make sure they are perfect for both events. With a number of top-rated florists already on board, Bloomerent is poised for rapid growth and nationwide expansion in the next few months.”
You might think that florists would balk at this movement, as it may be a way to curtail their profits. But this hasn’t been the experience of Larkspur Botanicals, who signed up to be a florist for Bloomerent. “You probably think I’ve lost my mind as the owner of an event floral studio, encouraging two separate events to share centrepieces, right? Well I haven’t! I cannot tell you how many events we have curated where event organisers couldn’t have possibly taken the flowers home with them – like six-foot-tall cherry blossom centrepieces. From our experience, a large portion of the guests are from out-of-town and have no desire to schlep the centrepieces home. If we didn’t offer to pick them up, the venues usually toss what they don’t want right in the garbage, glass vessels and all. Ouch, that hurts my heart. At Larkspur Botanicals, we have always offered clients the option to have us pick up the centrepieces if they did not feel their guests would take them home. This saves money and environmental strain. This is to ensure that the flowers did not die in vain, they were reused or composted and the glassware was not added to the landfill. We really take our sustainability pledge seriously.”
While flower-sharing has yet to arrive in Ireland (florists, the idea awaits its entrepreneur!) you can share flowers in a church if you are getting married on the same day as another couple. Contact the Altar Society of your church to see if they can put you in touch with other parties. You may be able to pick a floral scheme that suits you both, and you could go halves on costs. And after both weddings, the flowers can be donated to the church for further services that week.
Of course, many of us aren’t getting married in church anymore. We are getting married at home, in hotels, in barns, and even in libraries. But this still can mean opportunities to flower-share. If you are a soon-to-be bride, you could use your own initiative and check with the hotel or your chosen venue to see if an event the next day might be interested in repurposing your flowers for some cashback. And then you will not have to lose a single tear over your beautiful petals being put into the bin. Or ask me to bin-dive for you. I will always say yes.