1. When should I place my order for a butterfly release?
Place your order at no later than 4 weeks in advance of your event date during April through July as these are popular months for weddings.
2. How many butterflies should I order? The average order is 2 dozen per 50 guests. For an individual butterfly release you can order one per guest, or select certain guests to participate, such as the wedding party and family. Or, releasing a couple dozen butterflies at once from a basket by the bride and groom is also attractive.
3. What about inclimate weather? Butterflies can fly if it’s only a slight drizzle, but if you see that the weather is not going to cooperate then wait until it clears before releasing. If, by chance, the temperature drops below 62F then do not attempt to release the butterflies as they will just sit there and stare at you wondering why anyone would go out in such cold conditions. These little creatures have very little fluid inside them to keep warm with so they rely on the sun to warm up their wings.
Butterflies will only take flight when the temperature is above 62 degrees, but the warmer the better! Check the historic weather patterns for your date and location with The farmer’s Almanac.
4. Can wedding butterflies be released at night?
There must be at least 30 minutes of light left once you release butterflies so they can find a place to roost for the evening. To find the exact time that the sun will set for your date and location visit Sun and Moon Data.
5. How do butterflies survive shipping?
Each butterfly is fed, exercised and carefully placed inside a triangular envelope for their safety. They are surrounded by soft padding and packaged in an insulated cooler with a “cool-pack.” The cool temperature combined with minimal light keeps the butterflies calm and naturally inactive during shipping. Butterflies are sent via overnight delivery to arrive the day before your event.
6. What should I do when my butterflies arrive?
WHEN THE BUTTERFLIES ARRIVE:
Butterflies are sent via overnight delivery to arrive the day before your event. Open the top of the package for ventilation and store the butterflies in a cool, dark place away from direct light until ready to transport to the event. This will keep them calm. If you have room in your refrigerator, place the cooler into the refrigerator (NOT FREEZER) overnight. Your only commitment is to keep the box in a cool, dark place until you are ready to transport them to your event. When transporting the butterflies, do not leave them in a parked car for more than a few minutes, especially if it is a warm day, and remember to keep them covered and away from direct sunlight.
TO RELEASE BUTTERFLIES INDIVIDUALLY:
Open the top of the shipping container to expose the butterfly envelopes to light and allow them to warm (5 minutes if cooler day or less is necessary if the day is warm and sunny). This stimulates the butterflies and will make them active again. Then pass out the butterfly envelopes at the appropriate moment. The butterflies are released by simply unfolding the envelopes to open them. As soon as the envelope is open wide enough for the butterfly to flap a wing, the butterfly should take flight. The majestic butterflies will wing their way into the air creating a brilliant show-stopping splash of color. If they find nectar flowers in the immediate area they may even hang around for a while to delight you and your guests before going off to start a new lifecycle.
TO RELEASE BUTTERFLIES FROM A BASKET:
Transfer the butterflies into a prepared release basket or other attractive release container. To remove the butterflies from the envelopes, gently hold the butterfly’s body in place from the outside of the envelope at the thorax (where the legs are attached) to steady the butterfly inside the envelope and open the envelope flap with the opposite hand. Grasp the butterfly’s wings between your thumb and forefinger just above the thorax and pull it free of envelope. While you should apply a firm, but gentle, touch, you need not be concerned about injury to the wings from touching them. The scales (coloring) do not affect its ability to fly. Transfer the butterflies to a basket BEFORE transporting to the wedding, and keep the basket covered (a towel) to shield them from light until arriving at the location. Warm them up prior to the release by exposing them to light (15 minutes if cooler day or less is necessary if the day is warm and sunny) or they may be left exposed on display for the length of the ceremony if you wish, as long as they are not in direct sunlight. The light stimulates the butterflies and makes them active.
As they emerge from their envelopes or release baskets, an appointed guest can read the words from the American Indian Legend below. This can be read before the release to tie the event together. OR you may certainly write your own dedication to provide a cue for the butterfly release, or perhaps simply release them spontaneously at the appearance of the bride and groom. Then, enjoy the moment and celebrate the day. The butterflies certainly will.
7. What happens to butterflies after the release?
The USDA has approved specific species that vendors can ship to your area of the country so that only butterflies indigenous to your area are released. If you have flowers and host plants for the butterflies nearby, they may stay a while or even take up residency for the remainder of the season. Otherwise they will fly around searching both nectar and host plants on which to lay more eggs to start the cycle over again.