Wedding Suppliers And Their Eco-Friendly Practices

Three wedding suppliers discuss innovative practices that leave a smaller ecological footprint on the planet.

For the most part, weddings are known to be grand affairs with even grander decor. From elegant table settings to immaculate floral arrangements, martial ceremonies are truly sights to behold. The masterminds behind these lovely setups are, of course, the hardworking suppliers who ensure their clients get the wedding of their dreams. 

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Many of these professionals go above and beyond when it comes to finding fresh and creative ways to make celebrations both unique and memorable. Some of them even incorporate effective practices that support a more sustainable wedding industry. These include suppliers like Ginger Gaddi, Bhem Meijer, and Gerry Rosales, who utilize innovative techniques and materials that yield sophisticated final products. 

From freestyle flower arrangements that forgo the use of floral foam to intricate paper blooms, these talents in the industry walk us through their unique crafts: 

Bhem Meijer: Free-Style Flower Arrangements Without Floral Foam

Florist and event designer Bhem Meijer has been in the styling business since 2011. She even set up her very own floral shop, Il Fiore, right after studying floral design in the Institute of Philippine Floral Techniques. 

At the time, she hadn’t envisioned that her business would become anything more than a place that offers beautiful gift bouquets. However, people started asking her for floral and event design services for celebrations in South-based locations like Tagaytay. Since then, Meijer has built a reputation for herself as the go-to person for freestyle flower arrangements that capture nature’s beauty. 

Florist and events designer, Bhem Meijier
Florist and events designer, Bhem Meijer/Photo by Adrian Ardiente via Instagram @ilfioreflowerboutique

Her signature style involves arrangements that don’t stray too far from what can be found in nature. It’s a visual motif that distinguishes her from other professionals in the industry, and is appreciated by couples who want intimate and tastefully simple weddings. 

Maximizing Nature’s Beauty

Meijer works with what mother earth gives her. “I love nature, [all things] natural. I don’t really like compact arrangements,” she shared in an exclusive interview with Lifestyle Asia. Her work possesses what she describes as a “softer” appearance: flowers are shaped in a way that’s dynamic and sophisticated, but not overly manicured. 

Meijier is best known for her natural freestyle arrangements
Meijer is best known for her natural freestyle arrangements/Photo by Falling in Between via Instagram @ilfioreflowerboutique

“Not too overdone, but it [the arrangement] still has something, a ‘wow’ factor,” she explained. She stressed the importance of arrangements that are simple, but of great quality, as over-the-top floral table settings can affect the guests’ ability to interact with one another during a wedding. 

“[With my designs], the tables are set up nicely. People can still talk because they have a space to talk. They can enjoy the food and the flowers in front of them, and it’s not too overwhelming,” she elaborated. 

Resourceful Techniques

As much as possible, Meijer avoids using floral foam. It’s her way of being more economical and sustainable. The material—which stabilizes floral arrangements and holds water—can be pricey in large quantities. It also poses a threat to the environment, since it’s not biodegradable. 

Instead, she does her best to use whatever materials she can find. Usually, these include recycled chicken wire and natural fibers, which tie the flowers together just fine and create more natural-looking arrangements. 

Another look at Mejier's beautiful freestyle arrangements
Another look at Meijer’s beautiful freestyle arrangements/Photo by Falling in Between via Instagram @ilfioreflowerboutique

Meijer also uses local blooms in her designs when she can. This helps reduce the carbon footprint created when importing foreign flowers via air freight; it also highlights how beautiful endemic flora can be. 

For more information on Bhem Meijer’s event services and Il Fiore Flower Boutique, you may visit her business’ official website. You may also send inquiries to [email protected] and [email protected].

Ginger Gaddi: Dried Blooms

Ginger Gaddi’s journey as a florist and event stylist started with a fateful trip to Batangas. Inspired by the design of a particular event she attended, Gaddi decided to try her hand at DIY styling and crafting at home. 

Afterwards, she went on to enroll in a short interior decorating course at the SoFA Design Institute, before earning a special scholarship to attend the masterclasses of renowned event designer Teddy Manuel. 

Florist and events designer, Ginger Gaddi
Florist and events designer, Ginger Gaddi/Photo courtesy of Ginger Gaddi

Her career continued to flourish from that point onward, and she officially started her event design business in 2018. Gaddi is known for her artful use of dried flowers, which make for unique wedding arrangements. 

The Delicate Art of Drying

Initially, the use of dried flowers was Gaddi’s way of working with a tighter budget when she was just starting her business. However, she managed to turn it into a sustainable practice that adds more depth to her work. 

The use of dried flowers also helped Gaddi’s business thrive during the COVID-19 lockdown. Since quarantine restrictions greatly limited fresh flower supplies, the designer relied on dried blooms to create bridal bouquets and floral arrangements for intimate weddings. 

Gaddi includes dried flora in her arrangements to create more textured and dynamic forms
Gaddi includes dried flora in her arrangements to create more textured and dynamic forms/Photo courtesy of Ginger Gaddi

Besides using flowers from her own shop (which she opened during the pandemic), Gaddi also purchases local flora from other sellers—particularly excess foliage that would’ve otherwise been disposed of. They’re then dried in a careful process that she’s perfected throughout the years. 

“There’s a trick to drying flowers in a way that keeps them pretty, because some processes cause flowers to darken or fade. You need to hang them upside down and leave them in a place without direct sunlight or a closed space. This will help the flower retain more of its natural color,” she explained in an interview with Lifestyle Asia.

Mixing and Matching

What comes out of the aforementioned method are vibrant dried blooms that are used as fillers in Gaddi’s arrangements, adding a textural contrast that can’t be achieved through fresh flowers alone. 

There’s a lot more that goes into this art beyond the drying process. “You really need to know what kinds of flowers can be dried, and which ones go well with fresh flowers,” shared the designer. She also needs to maintain a delicate balance between dried and fresh flowers in her arrangements to prevent them from looking monotonous or dull. 

More of Gaddi's arrangements that artfully combine dried and fresh blooms
More of Gaddi’s arrangements that artfully combine dried and fresh blooms/Photo courtesy of Ginger Gaddi

Much like Meijer’s freestyle arrangements, dried flowers also add a dynamic touch to an event’s design. 

“When they dry, they actually develop their own form and ‘movement,’ like curving in different directions. It’s beautiful,” added Gaddi. Her dried blooms are also great lasting mementos for brides who wish to keep their wedding bouquets.

For more information on Ginger Gaddi’s event and floral services, you may visit her business’ official website. You may also send inquiries to [email protected]. For more updates, you may follow her Facebook at Ginger Events Styling and Instagram @ginger_eventstyling.

Gerry Rosales: Handmade Paper Blooms and Organza Flower Installations

Imagine recreating a flower using delicate materials like crepe paper. You’d have to cut each petal to exacting measurements, color them to imitate the look of their natural counterparts, then glue them together neatly.This doesn’t begin to take into account the work needed to create each of their leaves and other small details like pestles. 

The country's first paper bloom artisan, Gerry Rosales
The country’s first paper bloom artisan, Gerry Rosales/Photo by Adrian Ardente

Now imagine doing this to create dozens, if not hundreds of blooms for big events like weddings. 

This is only a portion of the craftsmanship and effort exerted by Gerry Rosales, an entrepreneur who handcrafts bespoke paper flowers with his business ThePaperblooms

Paper Innovation

Like the other suppliers in this feature, Rosales’ exquisite practice is one that was born from a particular need. Prior to his wedding day, his then-fiancé (now wife) informed him that she didn’t want to carry a heavy bouquet of flowers in the aisle. This was understandable, given how the average bouquet weighs around a kilogram or more. 

So like any concerned groom, Rosales researched for possible alternatives. It was then when he discovered the art of creating paper flowers. They were a considerably lighter option that gained traction in other countries like the U.S., Europe, and Russia. 

Rosales has created natural and intricate paper replicas of all kinds of flowers
Rosales has created natural and intricate paper replicas of all kinds of flowers

Though Rosales graduated with a marketing degree, he had a knack for crafting, and decided to give it a go for his wedding—even going as far as creating bouquets for their entourage.

Rosales discovered that he greatly enjoyed the craft, and continued the hobby even after his marriage. He initially intended to keep the intricate paper creations to himself, but his wife encouraged him to post his designs and show them to the world. 

People took interest in his craft, since Rosales was the first person in the country to introduce the concept of paper blooms to a wider audience and market; the rest, as they say, is history. 

Beyond Fresh

Now, the artisan works alongside couples and event designers, taking commissions for paper flowers that are so naturalistic, one can hardly distinguish them from the real thing without close inspection. He’s also expanded his business and skill set, even offering giant flower installations made from wires and organza fabric. 

So what are the main benefits of paper flowers? Plenty, actually. Rosales shared that for one thing, they’re far more accessible. “You can get any flower at any time of the year. It’s not seasonal; we just make it,” he explained in an interview with Lifestyle Asia

Rosales' stunning paper bouquets make for lasting keepsakes that are great for brides with pollen allergies
Rosales’ stunning paper bouquets make for lasting keepsakes that are great for brides with pollen allergies/Photo by The Paper Project

Paper blooms are also highly customizable. This means that couples can get flowers in certain colors and species that are normally hard to find within the country. This is particularly important when it comes to certain flowers like poppies, which can’t easily be imported due to restrictions. 

What’s more, these imitation blooms don’t require resources like water or floral foam to stay fresh and beautiful—which lessens their carbon footprint. 

In an interview with Lifestyle Asia, Rosales recalled how he encountered many brides with pollen allergies. Thanks to paper blooms, they got to hold a lovely bouquet or surround themselves with gorgeous flowers on their special day without compromising their health. 

A Research-Intensive Process

Rosales’ creative process is inextricably tied with research—a lot of it. The craftsman creates his very own flower templates from scratch. So he needs to take the time to carefully deconstruct a particular bloom, unless he’s already made it before.

As expected, the complexity of a flower’s shape will change the complexity (and duration) of his process. That’s why Rosales generally asks for a 30-day lead time to make his signature paper blooms. 

Research includes taking note of the measurements for every flower part, from petals to stigmata. Next, Rosales sketches these parts, creating an initial template for his paper bloom. He then groups certain parts together to maintain an overall appearance that’s cohesive and true to life. 

Rosales deconstructs flowers before creating them, sketching and taking accurate measurements of each part of the bloom/Photo via Instagram @_thepaperblooms_

He even chooses the materials he uses with utmost care. These include quality archival glue imported from Canada and fine, high-grade crepe paper for flowers. Rosales also creates his own alcohol inks for batch coloring, as this type of medium offers vibrant and natural shades without ruining the integrity of delicate crepe paper. 

Special archival glue and inks are used to create realistic flowers that stay fresh, no matter what
Special archival glue and inks are used to create realistic flowers that stay fresh, no matter what/Photo courtesy of Gerry Rosales

The rest of the process will depend on the type of bloom he’s making: wires are used for stems and leaf veins, certain details are added to get color gradients looking as natural as possible. The result? Gorgeous and inimitable paper flowers that can be kept as precious keepsakes for years to come. 

So what keeps Rosales going, despite the lengthy and labor-intensive process? 

“It’s the look of awe in the brides, or the clients. It’s the reaction on their faces when they see the flowers. That’s why I changed my company’s tagline from ‘More than fresh’ to ‘Making someone happy,’” he shared.

For more information on Gerry Rosales’ The Paper Blooms, you may visit the business’ official Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube channel.

Final Thoughts From Teddy Manuel

Renowned events designer Teddy Manuel has been in the business for years. He not only creates beautiful celebrations for big names, but also shares his expertise with aspiring young professionals who want to join the event industry. 

Acclaimed events designer and educator, Teddy Manuel
Acclaimed events designer and educator, Teddy Manuel/Photo courtesy of Teddy Manuel

Many of the country’s finest designers, including those mentioned above, were students in Manuel’s coveted masterclasses. The industry veteran has long been a staunch advocate of applying sustainable practices in the local events scene. He constantly strives to bring back tips and techniques he’s learned from conferences and lectures abroad to the Philippines. 

Paving the Way for New Methods

“What’s nice about this movement is that it’s saving Mother Earth. We’re all aware of how global warming is affecting us. So when I hold my masterclasses, which I’ve been doing for the past five years, sustainability is a big topic,” explained Manuel in an exclusive interview with Lifestyle Asia

“My next masterclass is this coming August, and I would really love to go more in-depth with these sustainable design techniques,” he continued.

Teddy Manuel in a sustainable floristry workshop in Singapore, hosted by Kaina Underwood
Teddy Manuel in a sustainable floristry workshop in Singapore, hosted by Kaina Underwood/Photo via Instagram @teddymanuel

Techniques that Manuel shares in his classes include giving away flower decor as gifts, as well as cutting down the use of floral foam. He encourages his students to try new and innovative ways of creating fabulous flower arrangements. This includes the use of a kenzan: a reusable, spiky device that holds blooms in place, as seen in the Japanese art of flower arrangement (ikebana). 

A kenzan used in the Japanese art of floral arrangement, ikebana
A kenzan used in the Japanese art of floral arrangement, ikebana/Photo from the KonMari website

Good for the Earth, Good for Business

Bhem Meijer and Ginger Gaddi were actually students of the designer, and learned many of their eco-friendly techniques from him. Manuel stated that sustainability is not only good for the planet, but also for business. 

“You can deviate and [stand out] from the competition in floral design by being sustainable,” he elaborated. “Like Ginger and Bhem, you’ll have a niche; because you have brides and grooms who want something sustainable, something that won’t produce a big carbon footprint. And I’m so happy that they [Ginger and Bhem] took that dive and ventured into that.”

Though the Philippine events industry still has a long way to go when it comes to incorporating sustainability into its vocabulary, Manuel remains optimistic. He believes that with continuous efforts, bigger changes in mindsets and practices will happen. 

“For me, there’s no other way than to keep promoting awareness. To achieve innovation, you need  to educate the industry,” shared events designer. “Eventually, maybe five years from now, it’s not just two or three florists practicing this sustainable arrangement, but a lot of them, and there will be a [greater] demand for it.” 

For more information and updates on Teddy Manuel’s event services, you may visit his official Facebook and Instagram @teddymanuel.

Banner photo edited by Agatha Romero.

Photos courtesy of Gerry Rosales, Ginger Gaddi, and Bhem Meijer (@ilfioreflowerboutique).

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