Advice for event venues

Whether you’re involved with running an art gallery, a restaurant or a wedding venue, there are many ways you can support florists striving to create more sustainable designs.

Floristry is changing

Modern floristry is fundamentally unsustainable. As a consequence, many florists are transforming their practice and committing to sustainable methods.

One of the most significant transformations – and the one with the biggest impact on venues – is the phasing out of floral foam. This single-use plastic has no place in sustainable floral design. Foam-based arrangements may enable faster set-ups, but the plastic waste created for your events can hang around for thousands of years. Floral foam easily breaks down into microplastics and often ends up in the water stream, where it can harm aquatic animals. 

There is a global movement to promote sophisticated foam-free design.

From a florist’s perspective, the most important requirement for cut flowers and foliage is to ensure the stems are in water. Beyond this, many florists supplying flowers for weddings and events will use a variety of alternative supports to achieve their creative vision. 

These changes mean that some of the more gravity defying designs we’ve come to see in recent years might be difficult or no longer be possible. Floral foam has enabled ‘upside-down’ designs because the foam holds water. But when removed from the picture, florists are back to working with gravity.

A number of alternative mediums for floral foam are appearing in the market. However, these are not yet available everywhere and, until they are, many florists will be using more old-fashioned techniques such as chicken wire in vessels. 

Just like remembering to take cloth bags to the supermarket requires a little more effort and behaviour change, supporting sustainable floristry methods means that we can still have beautiful flowers, we just need to put some new practices into action. 

A quick guide
Supporting more sustainable floral design

Make a commitment

  • Create a No Floral Foam policy for your venue. If your clients haven’t heard about the problems with floral foam, direct them to this website so they can understand the issues, or develop your own document or sustainability policy. 
  • Review venue florist policy in line with the SFN Design and Business Principles. 


Support your florists

  • Foster good communication with your florists so that both parties are clear as to what’s involved in an event. Set realistic expectations for all.  
  • Allow your florists as much time as possible to set up flowers for a foam-free event. This minimises the risk of accidents and mistakes and results in the best-looking and the safest outcome for all.
  • Encourage regular florists to participate in the SFN Industry Program to help support sustainable floristry.


Create a flower-friendly set-up

  • Accept that using vessels filled with water is the simplest and most sustainable option for floral design. Cater for accidents accordingly with spill kits, mops, rags etc.  Having flowers in vases of water isn’t exactly new!
  • For venues regularly hosting events incorporating flowers, it helps to have a dedicated wet area with a sink to support easier set-ups and pack-downs.  
  • Enable good access to delivery bays and loading zones.
  • If possible, have an area where flowers can be stored after the event to enable easier sorting of waste and vessels for transport and re-use. 


Manage your onsite waste

  • Encourage guests to take flowers home to mimimise waste and maximise happiness. 
  • Provide clearly marked green waste, recycling and landfill bins.
  • Divert flower waste into composting systems wherever possible. 
  • If a florist does use floral foam, make sure it does not enter composting or green waste streams.