9 Helpful Tips to Responsible Wedding Day Foraging
Written By : Runaway Romance
| Photography by: Page & Holmes Photography
Mother Nature has so much to offer and if you look closely there is an endless supply of inspiration and small wedding day décor to be found in her.
This said, we all know how seeing nature as an ‘endless supply’ can devastate landscapes and the delicate balance of fauna and flora… so here are a few of my own tips inspired by my “foraged” Modern African elopement with its locally found bouquet, flower crown and table decor.
1. Don’t repeatedly forage in the same place.
Or from the same plant. It takes time for the life cycle of plants to come full circle so make sure you aren’t cutting out any stage of that regeneration by not giving the plant or patch of nature time to restore itself.
2. Try not take the entire plant or all the flowers or seeds from a plant.
That delicate lifecycle we were talking about needs adult plants, flowers for pollination and seeds to be spread. If you take all of them not only do you interfere with its next generation, there are tons of little creepy crawlies, bees and birds that could be affected by the lack of pollen, fruits or seeds.
3. Try foraging things that have already fallen.
It’s always better to try and forage things that have already fallen vs still growing. This is especially true for fruits or edibles (It’s amazing to save something from waste rather than pick something that could later be eaten)
The up side to this is that once a leaf, seed or branch has fallen it is normally at its peak of interesting’ness or beauty and you can get some amazing textures and colours that are just so much more exciting than green. (I say this like green isn’t interesting but you know what I mean)
4. Sometimes foraging is Illegal.
In South Africa it is illegal to pick wild flowers and foliage form parks, reserves and/or open public spaces. So make sure wherever you are looking to forage you have permission and aren’t breaking any laws.
Also don’t use ‘foraging’ as a nice way of stealing! If its food, crops or flowers that actually do belong to someone else do the right thing – ask them first…
5. If it’s someone’s home leave it alone no matter how pretty it is.
Possession is nine-tenths of the law (or so I’ve heard in movies) so if that ‘oh so stunning’ something is some creature’s home admit defeat and move on… there is plenty of pretty to go around without needing to demolish a little critters home.
6. Some things are poisonous.
So this is more for you than nature… but unless you know more than a thing or two about nature it’s always better to err on the side of caution. There are a number of plants, leaves, fruits and mushrooms that shouldn’t be touched never mind used for table decor.
Very, very basic rule of thumb – if you are in a wild area and the fruit tree or tasty looking treat you want to include in your shoot has not been touched by a bird or insect you probably shouldn’t touch it either.
7. Know what to wash and paint and what to keep raw.
Finding your natural treasures is only the first step. The second step is knowing how to use and display them in a way that showcases the best of their natural, raw and probably rough beauty.
I know it’s tempting to foil, dip and spray everything to fit into your colour scheme…but instead try make your décor set up or creative direction work around your found treasure not the other way around.
8. Always try to eat, or donate, the food you use in shoots or décor.
Hunger is a real thing and beauty without purpose or thought is a luxury we no longer have. Being able to eat it after you use it will also mean knowing if it is poisonous, not spraying it or painting it…
This can be (very) difficult to do when you have time constraints, when you have been on site all day and are exhausted and stuffing everything into the rubbish bin seems a lot easier than separating out edibles and recyclables…but again see it as a challenge. Do it as often as you can and don’t quit because you caved once.
9. When getting rid of seeds, leaves or other foraged goodness try compost them in a neutral place or return them to where they came from.
Again this may seem like more effort than it’s worth especially when it’s been a long day/week/month.
But spreading seeds that aren’t local or from that area can introduce invaders. These invaders can destroy eco systems and full landscapes! Just ask Australia or any other history book that shows the repercussions of introducing animals or plants to a place they don’t belong.
I know these steps can sound like a lot of effort or a bunch of ‘hippy’ rules and nobody likes rules… but we are coming into a time when going slowly and thinking before we take or consume is important if not critical to ourselves and planet.
SO do what you can, tell other people about what you learn and don’t underestimate the bigness of your small actions (…and also ENJOY some of our favorite highlight images from this gorgeously sustainable elopement)