If your budget does not have room for a butterfly release, here are some DIY directions for you.
The original version of this article is at DIY Butterfly Release
TemperatureTo have a successful butterfly release, the temperature must be at least 60° F, and preferably 65°+ F. If the air is colder than that your butterflies will not be able to fly.Rain Rain Go AwayIf it rains at your wedding, cancel your butterfly release unless it's a light rain. A light rain will cause them to land right away. A heavy rain could kill them. Just wait till the rain is over and release them then.USDA regulationsWarning: release butterflies in the same state you collect them in. USDA regulations require a permit to release butterflies in a different state from the one they were collected in. This is a very important law that protects not only the butterflies but also farmers. For example if you collect a pretty white butterfly called the pieris rapae and release it near a cabbage farmer you could cause problems for him/her. They know pieris rapae as "that worm that will try to eat my entire crop". The common name of that butterfly is the "Cabbage White". Be responsible and only release butterflies reasonably close to where they were collected and never across state lines. Responsible butterfly farmers will know which butterflies can be shipped to you safely and will have the permits needed to ship them. Without the permits and knowledge, it's better to just never take them over a state line.Expired ButterfliesEven if you do everything perfectly, you can still end up with some expired butterflies. This is because most butterflies have a short lifespan. Some species live as little as two days as an adult. Most butterfly species have an adult lifespan of roughly four weeks. Because you are not raising your butterflies from caterpillars like butterfly farmers you cannot know how old they are. If you happen to catch a 23 day old butterfly it probably will expire before you release it.How Many Should I Collect?We recommend at least 1 dozen butterflies. 2 or 3 dozen is better. By law you may not release more than 250 butterflies of one species at one event.Ants and SunlightThe two biggest dangers to your butterflies will be sunlight and ants. Always keep both in mind when you’re moving your butterflies. From the second you start collecting make sure you keep your butterflies out of direct sunlight and away from ants. Simply placing a box of butterflies on the ground near an ant nest or in direct sunlight can result in dead butterflies. I recommend placing your butterflies in the ice chest (more on that later) as soon as you catch them.Bug Spray and FrontlineAnother thing to be aware of is bug spray. Butterflies are bugs, and most forms of bug sprays will kill them. Don't spray anything in the same room as your butterflies, and don't place your butterflies in a room that you have used bug spray in within 2 weeks. Frontline deserves a special notice. If you use frontline on your pets, keep your butterflies at another house. Frontline will kill the butterflies even if your pets do not get near them.