Traverse City Record-Eagle

Northern Living

October 6, 2013

Small flower recycling program has big impact

TRAVERSE CITY — Jillian and Matt Sitterlet wanted unique flowers for their Sept. 21 destination wedding in Leelanau County.

So they hired Derek Woodruff, owner of Floral Underground, to design the bridal bouquet and 10 bridesmaid bouquets using white hydrangeas, green-and-white ruffled parrot tulips and “green trick” dianthus, accented with cut succulents, hosta leaves, hypericun berries and assorted ferns.

They also ordered two large arrangements for the entrance to their reception tent and hydrangeas for their table centerpieces.

But the Brighton couple was stumped when it came time to decide what to do with the flowers — $3,500 worth — after the wedding.

That’s when Woodruff told them about his flower recycling program that collects post-wedding flowers and donates them to the Father Fred Foundation for clients who come to its food pantry. So far the program has donated flowers from eight weddings, thanks to willing brides and grooms.

“He ran it past me immediately following the reception because he and his assistant were there to pick up the flowers for brunch the next morning,” said Jillian Sitterlet. “I said, ‘You can just take them.’ I didn’t know exactly where they were going, but it’s a cool thing to do, because as a bride and groom, what are we going to do with them? I’d rather have somebody use them than us take them in our car for two days.”

Woodruff said the program, started in July, is becoming a popular option for full-service wedding clients, who rarely consider what to do with their flowers until they’re faced with the question.

“It’s almost an afterthought,” said the designer, a top-three finalist in the 2010 floral design reality TV series “The Arrangement” and the Michigan Floral Association’s 2011 Designer of the Year. “People don’t think about the fact that they’re going to have all these flowers left over and suddenly they have to decide what to do with them. So we come up with this option and they’re delighted.”

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