The Butterfly Conservancy: A Release of Wings Butterflies on Wedding Bouquet

We sincerely regret to announce that the Butterfly Conservancy
is no longer commercially rearing butterflies. The information below is provided to help you plan your butterfly release. Prices shown on this page were for
The Butterfly Conservancy's 1999 season.
Please visit our Links page for links to reputable butterfly farms
and resources around the country. 

For a uniquely romantic, genuinely moving, and unforgettable finale to your wedding, memorial service, or special ceremony, may we suggest live butterflies for a Release of Wings? Native American legends say that, If you have a secret wish, capture a butterfly and whisper your wish to it. Since butterflies cannot speak, your secret is ever safe in their keeping. Release the butterfly, and it will carry your wish to the Great Spirit, who alone knows the thoughts of butterflies. By setting the butterfly free, you are helping to restore the balance of nature, and your wish will surely be granted. In the Greek language, the word "psyche" means both soul and butterfly, and in Greek and Roman mythology, Psyche was the wife of Cupid, the God of Love. What could be more appropriate at a special event than to send wishes of love and good will to the heavens on the wings of a butterfly?

Butterflies make any occasion both exceptional and memorable:

    • Weddings
    • Anniversaries
    • Graduations
    • Corporate Events
    • Grand Openings
    • Birthdays
    • Bar & Bat Mitzvahs
    • Funerals/Memorial Services

Planning a Butterfly Release: The butterflies should be released outside during daylight hours, on a sunny or overcast (but not rainy!) day, with a temperature above 60F (Monarchs) or 70F (Painted Ladies). Ideally you should plan to let them fly free no later than two hours before sunset, to allow them sufficient time to nectar (eat) and to find a safe hiding place for the night. Try to hold your release in an area protected from the wind, or they will quickly disappear! A sunny, warm, flower-filled courtyard or garden is best. Their first flight is usually very short, and they will instinctively fly toward the brightest object—the bride, or people wearing bright colors—or toward flowers and bouquets. There are three general methods of releasing the butterflies:


A mass release, wherein the butterflies are held in a large box and released all at once by opening the lid. Lined butterfly box: $10. Specify ribbon color: dark purple, dusky mauve,
medium blue.


Butterfly Box

Basic Hanging Display Cage

A display release, wherein the butterflies fly around inside a decorated net cage, which can be hung from a tree or placed on a table during the event. At the appropriate moment, two people gently invert the cage and let the butterflies slowly fly free.
Plain cage: $10. Decorated cage: $45+

An individual release, wherein key celebrants and/or guests each receive a butterfly in an origami release container to set free with wishes of good fortune, happiness and love. Our unique, color-coordinated release containers are engraved with the name of recipient(s) & date of wedding, birth, or other sentiments, at no extra cost as a special keepsake for you
and your guests!

Wedding Guests with Personalized Origami containers

Testimonials: Here's a sampling from the calls and notes people have sent us following their Butterfly Releases!

Frequently Asked Questions About Butterfly Releases: We have put together a list of our most frequently asked questions about release events; please do visit this page for additional information!

Shopping Around for a Butterfly Farmer? Please be aware that as of Spring 1999 there are suddenly over 30 companies advertising butterflies for release events on the Internet. If you are comparing butterfly prices and services offered, we have compiled a list of questions we feel you should consider asking any butterfly farmer before entrusting such an important part of your special event to their company.

The Butterfly Release Controversy: Butterfly Release events are controversial in some circles. Some people feel that letting go a butterfly is frivolous and perhaps even harmful to nature. We strongly disagree, as long as Federal and State regulations are observed. To read more about this controversy, please click here.

Placing your order: Please call to discuss your desires with our event coordinator. To ensure butterflies are available for your event, we strongly urge you to place your order at least 30 days in advance, especially during the June-August timeframe. Larger orders (100 butterflies or more) should be placed 60 days in advance. While we occasionally have butterflies available to fill last minute orders, more often we are sold out!! A 50% non-refundable deposit is required when placing your order, with the balance due not less than ten days prior to delivery date. We can accept payment via check, money order, MasterCard, or Visa. Please be aware that we do have permits to release butterflies in the states we ship to, and NO ONE can prevent you from releasing butterflies--unlike throwing rice or birdseed, butterflies fly away, and are an environmental asset, not an insurance liability!!

Packaging & Shipping: Our butterflies are carefully hand-raised on our Release of Wings Butterfly Farms. Prior to shipping, each butterfly is individually hand-fed and exercised to ensure health and vitality before being enclosed in an origami or glassine container, wherein the butterfly rests naturally in a state of dormancy until exposed to warmth and light. The butterfly containers are then placed in a presentation-quality white box, which is surrounded by our proprietary thermal packaging system to ensure the butterflies do not overheat or freeze while enroute to you. A second, heavy duty shipping box encases the thermally packed butterflies to prevent crushing during transportation. Live adult butterflies are shipped to the location or person of your choice (the "butterfly handler") by overnight mail, and will arrive the day before your event. They should be kept at room temperature and in the dark (a closet is ideal) until shortly before they are to be released. A detailed instruction sheet and personalized, hand-calligraphed Legend of the Butterfly accompanies your butterflies.

Note: Because butterflies are classified as "plant pests" (caterpillars eat leaves), State and Federal transportation regulations apply to all butterfly shipments. Permits are required for inter-state shipping.  We abide strictly by Federal and State transportation regulations.

  Cost: Summer '99 Prices. Although we have no minimum order size, our butterflies are usually sold by the dozen or by the "Butterfly Bouquet", with extras included in every order. A $5 thermal packaging fee and a $25 overnight express shipping charge is added to every order. For Saturday/Sunday express deliveries, please add an additional $10. Additional shipping fees (by weight) apply for orders larger than 4 dozen; however, discount rates for large numbers of butterflies may also be applicable. If desired, you may pick the butterflies up at our farm in Carmel to avoid paying shipping charges. California residents please add 7.25% sales tax.

Butterfly Species and Prices: (Some butterfly species listed below are only available locally and/or seasonally. Please call or email for availability and to place your order.)

Painted Ladies: $75 per dozen
Red Admirals: $80 per dozen; $75 per dozen for 2 or more dozen
Gulf Fritillaries: $90 per dozen; $85 per dozen for 2 or more dozen
Monarchs: $100 per dozen; $95 per dozen for 2 or more dozen
Mourning Cloaks/Camberwell Beauties: $100 per dozen; $95 per dozen for 2 or more dozen
Mixed Butterfly Bouquet: $95 for 15 large & medium butterflies (may include Monarchs, Painted Ladies, West Coast Ladies, Gulf Fritillaries, Red Admirals, Mourning Cloaks, Buckeyes, Anise Swallowtails, Pipevine Swallowtails, or Sulphurs--depending on availability and destination.)


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