October 30, 2007

Fireworks - can they be ethical?

wishesinthesky.gifWith November 5th just round the corner, what better time to discuss the ethics of fireworks which now seem to be used so extensively to set modern weddings off with a bang.

Apart from the shear waste of money which goes up in smoke at the touch of a fuse, one has to wonder at the cost to the health and safety of the people who make these often amazing and extraordinarily entertaining explosives, almost exclusively in China.

Much of the fireworks industry in China involves illegal child labour and, in 2001, the Chinese government blamed a horrific explosion which killed at least 41 children on the imaginary attack of a "madman". It was only after villagers pressed the government to acknowledge that local school officials had been forcing students to produce fireworks illegally to pay for their tuition that the government changed their story. Accidents had largely been ignored by the Chinese government or blamed on other circumstances, but since a further series of explosions plagued fireworks factories in the summer of 2003, these safety issues have not gone unnoticed by the rest of the world. Since then the Chinese fireworks industry has been the subject of intense scrutiny and the China Labour Bulletin has now set forth several excellent recommendations to help push the Chinese Fireworks industry toward creating a safer work environment, but there is a long way to go with much of the industry going underground to avoid complying with the new laws.

I expect the most ethical part of the whole Chinese fireworks industry would be the shipping which is generally done by sea (could this be because flying them about the world could be rather an explosive issue...)

So what's the alternative?

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Posted in Green Wedding Decorations & Details , Music & Entertainment

October 26, 2007

Peace Love Earth

Our incredibly talented partner Anna Mkhitarian who makes fabulous eco chic wedding dresses under her label Annatarian, has just launched a range of whistful jewellery made from .925 recycled pure sterling silver. Called Peace Love Earth, Anna says "the jewelry was inspired by a need to provoke thought about these three words: PEACE, LOVE, and EARTH and is designed to inspire positive change."

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Check out these cute Seven Wishes Bracelets inspired by Armenian traditional wish bracelets, Victoria Foraker, and fairies. The little charms, suspended on surplus string and presented in the gorgeous sealed boxes, make perfect favours or gifts for your bridesmaids.

All Anna's jewellery is made in Los Angeles, California under sweatshop free conditions.

Posted in Green Wedding Gifts & Favours , Jewellery

October 23, 2007

Vintage inspiration

idyllic_days.jpgIf you're in London over the weekend take time out to visit the Designer Wedding Show in Battersea Park, Friday through Sunday. It's here that all the top wedding suppliers strut their stuff. You'll find a lot of very expensive products and, I admit, some of rather dubious origin and not all eco friendly, but you will also find some absolute indie gems. Exceptional and exquisitely small, but perfectly formed businesses that believe in supplying you with the very best they can offer. These businesses are passionate about their ethics and go that extra mile to make eco chic.

A couple of our favourite partners will be there and Samantha Freeman of Idyllic Days will be showcasing her vintage chinaware to die for. If you're thinking of throwing an English country garden party, fete or afternoon tea style wedding day (a great concept for a green wedding), then go and check out her gorgeous mix and match vintage tableware and accessories. As well as hiring you the china, she can also help you style your whole day with cotton bunting and flowers too. The height of recycling chic.

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Posted in Green Wedding Inspiration , News

October 19, 2007

Vineeta & Tom

vineeta_and_tom.jpgVineeta & Tom have just begun to plan their wedding and will be filling us in, from time to time, with the ups and downs, highs and lows of throwing an eco wedding in Cornwall.

Wedding date: 9 May 2008
Wedding Venue: Bedruthan Steps Hotel, Cornwall, UK

How many guests are coming to your wedding and where from?
We have around 60 wedding guests and most of them are from the UK. Our friends who live in the UK, Tom's first family and a few relatives will be at the wedding. My parents who live in Dubai and my sister from India will also be there. Since our friends and family are scattered around the Midlands and the South of England, we thought Cornwall will be a good place to choose.

I also have a very large number of relatives in India, so to avoid excessive CO2 emmissions by travel, Tom and I have planned another celebration in India in the year 2009. We will travel there, so discouraging another 100 people from flying to UK.

Also we are getting married on a Friday, which has made our guests plan a weekend break in Cornwall.

Do you have a budget and do you think you'll be able to stick to it?
Yes we do and we believe that we will be able to stick to our budget, and being green hasn't made it any more expensive.

Why is it important to you to throw an eco-wedding? What inspired you?
An eco-wedding was the first thing on our minds when we thought of getting married. Tom and I love the outdoors and we enjoy being close to nature. We would love to start our married life with a positive impact, or neutral effect on the climate.

Please can you tell us a little about the eco-elements of your wedding.
We have decided to use a local florist, Stephanie who encourages the use of local flowers. We are using natural shells for table decorations and most of these shells that our decorator Jo is using are from her own wedding, hence reuse rather than buying new ones. The shells are to reflect the seaside theme of the wedding.

About clothes, we are trying to find clothes from The Dressmarket. At the same time, Tom and I believe in wearing something fun, rather than traditional, since it is a civil ceremony. Although we think wedding dresses are really beautiful, they somehow cannot be reused in our own life, so should be sold or passed on. Rather than buying an organic wedding dress that can only be worn for 10 hours on your wedding day, we are planning to buy clothes which we might be able to use again, for special occasions.

The venue that we have selected has been chosen as a Green Tourism Award winner, and they offer an opportunity to guests to offset their carbon footprint. We're happy that they encourage the use of local and organic food. They use low energy lighting and their environmental policies make us really happy to be holding our wedding at Bedruthan Steps Hotel.

Do you think it's easy to be both stylish and green on your wedding day?
It's interesting for us to find environmentally friendly alternatives. We certainly don't need to be unstylish to be green. In fact there are many designers, florists and decorators who are into green living. That means that the fashion industry is making a new way to greener life. All the elements we are planning, according to us, are really stylish.

Have you got any tips, so far, for other brides looking to throw an eco-wedding?
Follow your heart, if you want to have a green wedding, just have one. Don't worry about what your families will think of you and who won't follow you. If you believe in having a green wedding there are a lot of people that can help you achieve it and it's no more expensive to plan a green wedding than a normal one.

It is just very important that we take a stand, to encourage wedding suppliers to make their services much more environmentally friendly. The more people support green issues, the more people will produce things with less environmental impact.

Posted in Green Wedding Blogger Brides , Natural Nuptials

Celebrate on Apple Day

apple_day.jpgWhat a brilliant idea for a wedding theme!

Throughout October, wherever apples are grown and loved round the world, communities celebrate their own apple day. In England its 21st October, and throwing a green wedding on, or around Apple Day will go a long way to demonstrating to your guests and the world that you are in tune with the countryside and the seasons.

Celebrate the wonderful variety of our apples which vary from region to region, even village to village in some cases. Have your wedding feast in the midst of an orchard, use apples in your floral decorations, drink apple juice, cider, cider brandy or have a warm apple punch to welcome your guests to the reception.

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Posted in Green Wedding Caterers, Food & Drink , Seasonal Celebrations

October 15, 2007

Blog action day

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Today's the day - blog action day.
Today thousands of bloggers around the world have joined forces to blog about one thing: our precious planet. Since that's just about all we ever do blog about, albeit where green weddings are concerned, I thought I'd take this opportunity to remind all budding eco friendly couples about our charities, the perfect way to give something back on your wedding day.

At Greenunion we're supporting Survival International today. Survival is the only international organisation supporting tribal peoples worldwide. It works for tribal peoples' rights in three complementary ways: education, advocacy and campaigns. They also offer tribal people themselves a platform to address the world and work closely with local indigenous organisations, focusing on tribal peoples who have the most to lose, usually those most recently in contact with the outside world.

Other charities we support on a regular basis are Oxfam and Rainforest Concern. You can also find countless charities to support via the Alternative Wedding List, the Green Gift List and Wedding List Giving.

Check them out, you're sure to find a charity that you'd like to reach out to.

Posted in Green Wedding Charities , News

October 13, 2007

Looking for a unique wedding dress or vintage groom's suit?

vintage_wedding_dress.jpgEco chic brides and grooms should get along to the London Vintage Fashion Fair this Sunday 14 October between 8am and 5pm at the Olympia Hilton Hotel, 380 Kensington High Street in London.

A great idea to show your individuality and know you won't see any other bride in the same wedding dress is to wear vintage, the ultimate and chicest form of recycling!

The fair offers an extraordinary collection of exhibits from circa 1800 to 1980. You will find an abundance of vintage clothing, textiles, handbags, linen, embroidery, shoes, hats, textiles, beads, trimmings and costume jewellery. You never know you may just find that elusive wedding gown or groom's suit you've been dreaming of for your eco friendly wedding day.

Posted in Green Wedding Dresses & Gowns , Grooms

October 12, 2007

Homophobic venues face loosing their licence

rainbow.jpgDid you know that in August a loophole in the Civil Partnership Act 2005 was closed thanks to the energetic campaigning of Gino Meriano, founder of Pink Weddings and civil rights campaigner. Approved wedding venues now face losing their licence if they refuse to conduct civil partnerships or discriminate on sexual orientation.

Originally venue owners and managers could apply for and be granted a license to hold Marriages or Civil Partnerships or both. By permitting venue management to choose not to hold Civil Partnerships, it meant many could openly discriminate while hiding behind their approved licence.

Gino said "The new guidance adopts my recommendation that an approved venue must not discriminate simply based on sexual orientation. If a venue is granted a licence and is found to discriminate against gay and lesbian couples they will have their license revoked. This should now close the loophole that any homophobic owners and managers were using to wriggle out of the legislation."

A spokesman for LACORS said "The Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2007 require providers of goods, facilities and services to ensure that they are not treating their customers unfairly on the grounds of sexual orientation. If the holder of an approval is deemed by the Local Authority to discriminate on the grounds of the sexuality of the couple the Council reserves the right to revoke this approval."

This groundbreaking ruling means that homophobic suppliers should now be exposed, and if reported, will have their licence revoked making their venues unavailable to all couples, gay or straight. Here at GreenUnion we wholeheartedly welcome this ruling, ethical businesses do not discriminate.

Posted in Green Wedding Civil Partnerships , News

October 11, 2007

BBC Yorkshire & Lincolnshire call for green weddings

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The Cornish green wedding of a few weeks back has created quite a stir and the BBC's Inside Out for Yorkshire and Lincolnshire is searching for a couple planning to throw an eco chic wedding. There's a lot of interest in Yorkshire for all things green, in fact Yorkshire Brides is writing a feature on eco honeymoons next month, so Laura at Inside Out is searching for a couple who would be willing to divulge their green wedding plans for their marriage and follow their journey through to their ethical wedding day.

If you're getting married in Yorkshire or Lincolnshire and feel strongly about treading lightly on this planet here's your chance to show others how one of the most important days of you life can reflect your ethos. Contact Rosie at GreenUnion for more information.

Posted in Green Wedding News , Press

October 10, 2007

Samhain or Hallowe'en?

harvest_pumpkin.jpgSamhain (pronounced 'sow'inn'), at the end of October, marks the beginning of a whole new cycle for the Celts, where they believe that in dark silence comes whisperings of new beginnings, the stirring of seeds below ground. For Christians, 31 October is Hallowe'en or All Hallow's Eve and 1 November is All Saints' Day. Many faiths mark this time of the year as one of significant change - Hindus celebrate Navarati and Muslims mark the end of Ramadan with Eid-Ul-Fitr.

The harvest has been gathered in, the animals sheltered for the winter and its a joyous time as families come together for warmth and to chase away the spirits with bonfires and feasts. What a wonderful time for a loving union of souls - a time of new beginnings, warmth, golden light, apples and nuts, loved ones are remembered.

For your late Autumn green wedding think gorgeous, glowing golds and reds, candle light, flares and bonfires for atmosphere. Roasted chestnuts, delicious squash soup, poached pears and baked apples, spices and mulled cider. Hot toasted sausages, baked potatoes and apple pie. Do I need to go on...

Posted in Green Wedding Inspiration , Seasonal Celebrations

October 09, 2007

Creating your authentic wedding

GreenUnion's own expert life coach Lesley Stratton-Hughes is holding another of her creative and rewarding workshops this Saturday 13 October in Brighton, UK.

'Creating Your Authentic Wedding' is all about making wedding planning personal, positive and fun. She says wedding planning doesn't have to be stressful and it all depends on how you go about it. So take a step away from the commercial world of celebrity style weddings and let Lesley help you find out how to apply a very personal approach that will make you feel good.

Tickets cost £10 inclusive of tea/coffee and home made cakes, for more information and to reserve your place you can call Lesley on 01273 239869, or send an e-mail to lesley@gettingmarriedinsideout.co.uk

Posted in Green Wedding Health & Wellbeing , Wedding Planning

October 03, 2007

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

If you'd like to do something towards Breast Cancer Awareness Month then check out these sites for ideas.

The Brides Against Breast Cancer Project is a neat organisation is touring the US bringing top designer wedding dresses to the public at discounted prices with the proceeds going to the Making Memories Foundation.

In Australia check out the National Breast Cancer Foundation for ideas on how to raise funds this month.

Visit Breast Cancer Care to see what's happening in the UK or suggest your own fund raising day - eco chic brides could throw a hen party. Could be fun...

If you're already married donate your wedding dress to the cause.

Spread the word - help save lives.

Posted in Green Wedding Charities , News

October 02, 2007

Tell everyone about it!

german_public_radio.jpgMartin Vogle of German Public Radio is still patiently looking for an eco chic couple to interview about their plans to throw a green wedding. Don't be shy, he says he's a nice guy and only wants to have a very informal chat about your green wedding ideas, so do get in touch with martin.vogl@email.de and help him spread the word to Europe!

Posted in Green Wedding Press

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