November 29, 2007

It's our birthday!

It's our first birthday this week and we just can't help ourselves. We're going to send some wishes into the sky and pat ourselves on the back...

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It looks FANTASTIC!!!! Wendy

I just came across your website and I love it!
I think you have a fantastic idea and you have done a beautiful job putting it together! Reesa

Thank you for your website! You are one of the few pioneers in the field (listed on the web), and I deeply admire the work that you're doing! Thanks for inspiring people like me to continue the message and promote sustainable events. Megan

I would like to tell you how much I like your website. Stephanie

It is really nice to see that you have got so many people together who do environmentally friendly things to make the wedding green. I found our wedding venue using your site, we will use this site again, to find more suppliers. Vineeta

Hi Green Union-ers! I just wanted to send a quick note to say congratulations on your great website - it's very cute and easy to use! Kristin

Your site is fabulous! It is so stylishly done - it's so vital that people get beyond the crunchy image of eco concerns! Miranda

Posted in Green Wedding News

November 28, 2007

In the mood for kissing

mistletoe_bunches.jpgWriting about Esther's mistletoe bouquet yesterday put me in mind of the annual Mistletoe Festival at Tenbury Wells in Herefordshire, England, which is well underway with one auction already having taken place, but there are still two more auctions taking place on the next 2 Tuesdays 4th and 11th December. Its certainly something to celebrate this year as Tenbury Wells was one the towns which was worst hit by the summer floods and there was some debate as to whether they would be able to proceed.

All is well and the main Festival events take place this Saturday - National Mistletoe Day. There's the Mistletoe Queen's procession and her crowning, plus lots of other things going on all day including mumming plays, country dancing and other performances, juggling, unicycling, music and christmas songs, a fire show and a parade.

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If you can't get to Tenbury Wells, you can buy mistletoe for your green wedding all year round online from the TEME Mistletoe Shop.

National Mistletoe Day this Saturday 1 December 2007
Tenbury Wells, Herefordshire, England

Posted in Green Wedding Flowers

November 27, 2007

A green Christmas wedding

Esther and Nigel were married a few days before Christmas at a gorgeous self catering venue, Huntsham Court near Exeter in Devon, England.

esther_nigel.jpgFor Esther, environmental issues are very important in both her work and personal life, so a green wedding was the obvious choice. They hired a self catering venue and did it all themselves, calling on friends and family whose combined fashion, design and cookery skills ensured the eco was chic too.

The wedding feast was created by a local catering company whose fabulous menu was made up entirely from locally grown seasonal produce based on regional recipes with wine from a Cornish vineyard. The whole house was decorated with candles and foliage collected from the hedgerows and venue grounds, while Esther's bouquet was made up of mistletoe which is imbued with the ancient mysticism of vitality and fertility, a symbol for peace and a message for loved ones.

What's more, this wonderfully earth friendly wedding, apart from treading lightly on our planet, was very light on the bank balance which gave Esther and Nigel something to celebrate!

You can read more about Esther and Nigel's wedding story, and what Esther herself has to say about it here.

I would like to take this opportunity to congratualte Esther and Nigel on the arrival of their very precious Juno.

Posted in Green Wedding Natural Nuptials

November 24, 2007

Perfectly formed

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I promised three highly creative and talented furniture makers for National Tree Week and last, but not least, is Greig Fensome who produces perfectly formed furniture under the name hiddenink. Working with woods from sustainable sources, Greig designs and handmakes every piece to order. The finished product is a naturally organic work of art and worthy of gracing your home for a lifetime and more. Greig produces these gorgeous boxes, which although are not cheap, would make a perfect Christmas gift for someone with special memories or precious pieces to store.

I know I keep harping on about it, but it's worth considering making your ethical wedding memories more meaningful by asking your guests to contribute to one wonderful, handmade, bespoke, individually designed item of furniture made specially for you, than lots of incidental items which will be forgotten in the passage of time. Commissioning a piece of furniture to mark your ever so eco friendly wedding can be a joyful journey of creative discovery.

Give it a go!

Posted in Green Wedding Gifts & Favours , Wedding Lists

November 23, 2007

Eco Design Christmas Fair

In London this weekend, wondering what to do and haven't started on your Christmas shopping yet? Here's a chance to browse a whole fair dedicated to ethically produced, green gifts. Don't just think hemp trousers and joss sticks. Admittedly there is a predictable selection of the usual fair trade tea, coffee and chocolate, but there will also be a huge selection of handmade goods which will make fabulous, individual, guilt-free gifts. Organic, recycled, non-toxic, fair trade, handmade, carbon-neutral, low-energy, food, fashion, accessories and lots, lots more.

Location:
Cecil Sharp House (English Folk Dance and Song Society),
2 Regent's Park Road, Camden, London, NW1 7AY
Camden Town tube station.

Posted in Green Wedding Gifts & Favours , News

November 22, 2007

Fine frames

tjeerd_hendel_blackford.jpgFeaturing our second furniture maker for National Tree Week is a real pleasure. Tjeerd Hendel-Blackford works, like David Ames, in Devon, England producing the finest furniture and gifts from sustainable hardwoods. His pieces, although not stocking fillers, will delight the recipient of one of his gorgeous boxes or picture frames. The frames in particular are unique to Tjeerd where he's developed a little swirl that means the frame will cling onto the edge of a mantelpiece or shelf with the greatest of ease.

Contact Tjeerd to see if he has some gift items in stock or he may still be able to get something specially made for Christmas if you hurry. He designs and makes one off pieces of furniture to commission, so plan ahead if you fancy a chair or desk for a unique wedding gift from your guests.

Posted in Green Wedding Gifts & Favours , Wedding Lists

Brighton Craft Fair

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The Brighton Craft Fair is back for the second year. The doors open to the public on Friday 23rd November at 10.00am. Once again they have selected one hundred of the best designer-makers in the UK, across all disciplines. These designer-makers are breathing new life into craft and design, taking both traditional and contemporary skills and processes, and letting their imaginations take the work far, far away from the usual.

What you will find at The Brighton Craft Fair is well made, well designed, contemporary work, sometimes with a sense of fun but always with originality. You will be buying hand-made and original work direct from the maker.

Go along to find unique Christmas gifts, but savvy couples will also be scouting for designer makers from whom to commission a beautiful one off piece of work to mark their wedding celebration and become a family heirloom of the future.

Posted in Green Wedding Gifts & Favours , Wedding Lists

Wood glorious wood

das_furniture.jpgNational Tree Week continues and recognising that we're on the run up to Christmas we're featuring our favorite furniture makers each day for the rest of the week. Getting a gorgeous gift made by a designer maker is a great experience. Some have small pieces in stock for you to choose from, others will make a gift to order. But whatever the piece, you'll be sure to get a unique one off which has been hand made from sustainable timber.

david_ames_furniture.jpgFirst up is David Ames who has a selection of affordable small gifts like candle holders, vases and cheese boards made from oak, elm, applewood and ash. Talk to David and he will craft you a wizard piece totally unique to you. I particularly like these cute slab bud vases which make the most of just a few blooms and looks gorgeous too.

Ever thought of commissioning a piece of furniture specially for you? A wooden bed crafted from sustainable local timber, that all your guests can contribute to, would be such a memorable and special wedding gift - it will outlast your children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Posted in Green Wedding Gifts & Favours , Wedding Lists

November 20, 2007

National Tree Week

creative_paper_wales.jpgTo mark National Tree Week, which starts tomorrow, and sticking to our tree theme,I thought it would be good to discuss stationery, one of the little details that, if multiplied by the number of weddings that will be held in 2008, (around 300,000 in the UK and close to 3 million in the US alone) can cause quite an impact on the environment.

Paper consumption could be considered one of the biggest environmental issues where weddings are concerned: Save the dates, invites, maps, place cards, party invites, orders of service, menus, thank you's and so on.

Emily at Eco Chic Weddings reckons that weddings could use up the equivalent of 500,000 trees a year or an area 11 times the size of Manhattan - I'd love to know where she got that stat!

Anyway, my plea to every green couple is to think twice about how you use your paper, at the least choose FSB certified, recycled paper or paper derived from another source like ellie poo or sheep poo (yes it really does exist!), make your own and embed seeds in it or go paperless and use the internet for all your web savvy guests.

If you're not the creative type then we have some wonderfully talented earth friendly partners whose stationery will make every heart sing.

Posted in Green Wedding Stationery & Invitations

November 18, 2007

To Carbon Offset or not?

Over the last few months there's been a lot of debate about carbon offsetting. How beneficial is it? How legitimate are many of the companies offering carbon offset schemes? The growth of green wash and the ability of not so environmentally conscious organsations to 'wash' their way onto the green bandwagon by buying into the carbon offset environment has made us just a teeny bit cynical of the whole process.

wedding_tree_favours.jpgThe jury's out, but we do still believe that planting trees is a truly legitimate way of putting something back. There are more benefits in the life of a tree than just capturing carbon, and Alan at Wedding Tree Favours has the perfect solution.

After his own daughter asked him to provide her with his tree saplings for her wedding favours, the seed of a new business began to grow. Now he collects and plants thousands of indigenous tree seeds every year and lovingly nurtures them to sapling stage, when he sends them out to eco savvy couples to use as favours and gifts for weddings.

Read more


Posted in Green Wedding Gifts & Favours

November 14, 2007

Naturally beautiful

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In February I met a wonderful make up artist, Antonia Krieger of Elle Au Naturel whose team of extremely talented hair and make-up artists work across the UK and worldwide, but we couldn't feature her on GreenUnion and offer this beautiful service to eco chic brides and their wedding parties as she was not using products which were completely free of synthetics, talc, irritants and chemical nasties often found in commercial cosmetics.

All that is about to change as Antonia tells me that she has finally found an eco friendly beauty product that gives as good a result as her clients expect. She is now working with Australia's Earthy Essences whose naturally preserved mineral cosmetics formulated using the highest quality minerals and botanicals, are completely free of irritants, offer exceptionally high performance coverage, are lightweight and non-comedogenic.

The before and after pics of a client of Antonia's on her wedding day in August just prove the point.

Posted in Green Wedding Beauty, Hair & Makeup

November 13, 2007

Continental honeymoon

honeymoon_train.jpgIf you're wondering where to go on your honeymoon next year then St. Pancras International in London is the place to begin.

The last Eurostar train leaves Waterloo station today and, tomorrow, a new era dawns at St. Pancras with all services transferring there overnight. So travelling to Europe by train just got easier, faster and cooler. You'll be able to get as far as Madrid in a single day or swan over to Lille for lunch and be home in time for supper.

When the new timetable starts on December 9 trains will get to Paris in two hours fifteen minutes and Brussels in just under two hours. And beyond that, there's the whole of Europe to explore - Amsterdam, Berlin, Zurich, Avignon, Marseille, Barcelona and more...

The Man in Seat Sixty-One can help you to plan your eco honeymoon, travelling overland to all of Europe and even more exotic desitnations like Tunisia, Morocco, Turkey, Syria, Russia, Ukraine and even Japan via Vladivostock!

Posted in Green Wedding Honeymoon & Eco Tourism

November 12, 2007

Buy handmade

handmade_pledge.jpgThoughts of weddings, even eco friendly ones, are being put on the back burner to make room for the festive season and, as we gear up for Christmas, don't get sucked into that mad shopping frenzy. Make your Christmas more meaningful by only giving handmade gifts - make your own, buy Fairtrade or seek out your local makers' studios who will all be throwing their doors open for Christmas shopping over the next six weeks. And pledge to buy Handmade now!

I did...

Posted in Green Wedding Gifts & Favours

November 09, 2007

Today is Diwali

divali_deepavali.jpgIf you ever needed an excuse to have a wedding theme based on lights, then this is it. Diwali is the Hindu festival of lights, the most popular of all the festivals from South Asia which is also celebrated by Jains and Sikhs.

Traditionally the festival celebrates the victory of good over evil, light over darkness and knowledge over ignorance but The Times of India sums up the modern meaning of Diwali:

'Regardless of the mythological explanation one prefers, what the festival of lights really stands for today is a reaffirmation of hope, a renewed commitment to friendship and goodwill, and a religiously sanctioned celebration of the simple - and some not so simple - joys of life.' Times of India editorial

Could you think of a better package for a wedding celebration?

For a truly green wedding, seek out the little earthenware oil lamps called diyas and line the windowsills of your venue with them (after your big day you can recycle them or add them to the compost heap), soya candles and tealights are the next best thing or, if you can't use a naked flame then invest in strings of LED lights which burn only a miniscule amount of electricity. If there's a pond, lake or little stream at your venue, push floating candles out onto the water and make a wish.

Draw a Rangoli pattern on the floor at the entrance to your ceremony to welcome your new life and your guests to the wedding.

Here's a simple and easy idea for making your own decorative eco friendly safe candles for your wedding using recycled glassware and soya wax:

Read more


Posted in Green Wedding Decorations & Details , Inspiration

November 08, 2007

2007 Be the Change Conference - The Sky's the Limit

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In an age of looming climate chaos and chronic social injustice, it's time to set a new course. Join with some of the best thinkers and doers on the planet for 3 days discussing and designing the changes we all want to see in the world. Speakers include George Monbiot, Vandana Shiva, Bianca Jagger, Jonathon Porritt and the renowned Chinese environmentalist Professor C.S. Kiang (who will be on Radio 4's Start the Week next Monday at 9am).

The UK premiere of the powerful new documentary Dalai Lama Renaissance, narrated by Harrison Ford will be screened at the conference.

2007 Be The Change conference The Sky's The Limit, - dedicated to Anita Roddick - will be at London's Central Hall, Westminster, next week from 15-17 November 2007.

Posted in Green Wedding News

November 07, 2007

New discoveries

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Just over a week ago I visited the Designer Wedding Show in Battersea Park, London, in the hopes of discovering some indie gems who have earth friendly leanings and I wasn't disappointed. Tucked among the usual businesses were three inspiring newcomers offering top quality design and skills to eco chic couples.

Lottie Girling says she doesn't give a fig for today's trends and prefers to follow her own rules. Her handbags and corsages are truly to die for, created and handmade by Lottie herself using antique trimmings, collected buttons and 'a touch of magic'.

Matt and Kate Keeling of Katkin-Rose have combined their graphic and fashion backgrounds to produce a gorgeously designed range of wedding stationary which can all be printed on eco friendly papers using vegetable inks.

Emma Embery makes luxury wedding accessories which combine vintage fabrics with hand crafted embellishments. Emma launched her business because she felt there was a need for unique and original hand-crafted one-off pieces.

Not new but a must too was LPM Bohemia, a tent company with a difference whose friendly feeling yurts are made from oiled English oak, chestnut and ash harvested from local forests and covered with waxed cotton. All the wood is sustainably sourced.

Posted in Green Wedding Marquees & Tents , Shoes & Accessories , Stationery & Invitations

November 06, 2007

Eco friendly events

showmans_show.jpgI went to the Showman's Show the other day and was so excited to find that event suppliers are becoming more savvy about the advantages of being eco friendly. As a wedding and event planner its been a frustrating journey trying to find suppliers and services who know and understand the advantages of making an effort to run their businesses in a more ethical manner. It seems now that the trend is gaining momentum and the penny has finally dropped.

Its actually quite easy, and this site proves it, to find an eco friendly dress maker, florist or cake maker, but when it comes to some of the other essential services we have to source for the average wedding or event, things get a lot trickier. Take generators, for instance. Now you wouldn't normally want to hear about this boring part of a planner's work load, but when you're organising an event in the middle of a field or on the top of a mountain and you don't have a generator, you don't have light or sound. And generators are all diesel powered, increasing the event's overall carbon footprint massively. Now all that is changing thanks to the efforts of some industrious engineers in Suffolk at Midas Productions. The generators are so new that they can't give me any images and they don't have a website yet, but trust me they are the business, running on Biodiesel EN14214 and super silenced, and I'm counting the days till they roll these out across the world. Go Midas!

Posted in Green Wedding News

November 05, 2007

Blaze of glory

snapdragon_wreath.jpgAs the autumn season goes out in a blaze of glory, I wanted to celebrate this favorite time of the year by showing you this gorgeous leaf wreath made by Jane Lindsay at Snapdragon Garden. This could give you all sorts of ideas for a colour scheme if you're thinking of a autumn wedding or if you just love golds and reds. And check out how the blue of the bench can be used as a highlight to really emphasise the glowing shades of autumn.

Use dahlias, lillies, chrysanthemums and sunflowers. Throw in peppers, squashes, apples, seeds, conkers, chestnut cases or grapes for texture. Top it all off with glowing candles and you'll have the richest of decorations.

Posted in Green Wedding Flowers , Inspiration

November 04, 2007

Spin a yarn

storyteller.jpgI've been hearing a lot lately about the revival in storytelling, a unique human skill which is one of our oldest artforms.

Give your best man a break and find a talented story teller - friend, family or professional - to weave a special tale about your lives together - past, present and future. A skilled storyteller will weave a wonderful yarn which can be told to your guests, live without print or technology.

What a wonderfully unique and organic way to mark your wedding day...

Posted in Green Wedding Music & Entertainment

November 01, 2007

tree-nation

tree_nation.jpgStumped for ideas for wedding favours or what to gift your special helpers to say thank you for their love and support on your wedding day? Then why not adopt an African tree? Tree-Nation, a dynamic Barcelona-based website committed to planting eight million trees in sub-Saharan Niger, the world's poorest nation, are inviting people to sponsor their tree planting programme.

Their fabulous website encourages social networking for its tree 'parents' and, once you've made your donation, you can track and map its growth via GPS and Google Maps. Working alongside ecologists in Niger and supported by the United Nations Environment Programme, Tree-Nation is already nourishing the sprouts of the mighty baobabs, shade giving acacias and other indigenous species in a special nursery before transplanting them in their heart shaped park where 5,000 trees have been planted so far. Although desertification threatens most of the land in Niger, the trees grow in places that receive enough rainfall to support them. Their roots should eventually reach into underground water stores, bringing otherwise untapped water to the surface and improving the soil.

A baobab can survive for up to 2000 years - what better way to leave a lasting legacy of your love...

Posted in Green Wedding Gifts & Favours , Wedding Lists

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