It’s a very Instagrammable site – releasing beautiful butterflies from boxes at weddings and funerals. But this growing trend is a huge concern to wildlife groups as the non-native species will not be able to breed or survive as their food source is unavailable in this country.
It is also illegal to release a non-native species into the wild in the UK.
This is how it works: you pay £350 for each of your 50 guests to hold a box with a butterfly in it while a Native American poem is read out (“If anyone desires a wish to come true they must first / Capture a butterfly and whisper that wish to it” – sounds totally authentic to me) and, presumably, that perfect picture is captured as a cloud of beautiful insects flutter blindly towards the air-conditioning unit as you embark upon your married life in a whirlwind of everlasting love, fidelity and butterfly parts. Such a lovely service.
Apart from the sick-making cultural appropriation, the butterflies released will flit off into their new lives in a foreign country without the ability to find food or mates; they could spread disease and and affect other species, and the practice is illegal.
Not just a daft wedding fad, then, but also an act of animal cruelty – who would want to start their married life condemning creatures to death?