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Wauwatosa's Bloom Floral does wedding flowers with a conscience

Kaity Thompson (left), Laurel Flannery (center) and Alicia Nass arrange flowers in Bloom Floral & Event.

Kaity Thompson (left), Laurel Flannery (center) and Alicia Nass arrange flowers in Bloom Floral & Event. Photo By Peter Zuzga

Aug. 13, 2014

After helping a dozen friends in one year with their weddings, Laurel Flannery took the hint.

"I thought, 'I should make a business out of this, because I'm doing it for free," Flannery said.

So, the once-stay-at-home mom channeled her love for throwing pretty parties into Bloom Floral & Event Design, a primarily wedding-focused shop that combines an appreciation for Pinterest with an ecological approach.

"I think weddings can be extremely wasteful just by their nature, so much garbage is produced," Flannery said. "I figure my role as a business person in this wedding — and, obviously, I live my life this way too — is to have a little less of an imprint than the rest of the wedding."

So, she buys flowers locally. She puts corsages in stackable bamboo boxes. And she makes sure lower stems are composted, instead of tossed in the trash. In fact, Flannery doesn't even pay for garbage service at her studio.

"I bring my garbage home and we recycle and compost," she said. "It's very important to me."

Her personal preference has turned into something of a selling point, with some brides seeking out Flannery specifically because of her eco-friendly approach, which includes everything from buying inventory from brides who bought too much to talking people out of party favors.

"People always want to do some cute little thing sitting on the table," Flannery said.

Instead, Flannery urges brides to consider a candy bar. Or, if they you simply have to have a keepsake, she suggests buying half as many and putting them in a pretty basket, so those who really want them can take them home — and those who don't can avoid tossing them in the trash.

Brides have come to embrace the tactic, although it's done little to curb the sticky fingers issue Flannery has unexpectedly encountered at weddings.

"People will steal the dumbest things, like table numbers. Every time I collect them at the end of the night one is missing. I don't know why people steal them," Flannery said.

Despite the unsolved mystery, Flannery said she really enjoys her work, even if it means she can't quite relax at weddings.

"I can't tell you the last time I was at a wedding where I was actually able to have fun."

JUST THE FACTS

BUSINESS: Bloom Floral & Event Design, 2877 N. 76th

St.

WEB: bloomlovely.com

PHONE: (414) 731-4265

OWNER: Laurel Flannery

INCORPORATED: 2009

TYPE OF BUSINESS: floral design and event planning

PEARLS OF WISDOM: "I figure my role as a business person in this wedding – and,

obviously, I live my life this way too -- is to have a little less of an imprint than the rest of the

wedding."

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