May 30, 2009

This week’s major wedding accomplishment ...

wedding_invitations.jpgOur invitations went out this week! Exciting!

After a few mishaps, the most frustrating of which included seriously crooked printing, they are in the mail.

After researching recycled paper options, because we were planning to letterpress our save the dates and invitations ourselves, I found the perfect invitations on a clearance rack at a paper goods store—on super sale because it was an opened package. So we bought the “almost used” invitations, and after letterpressing our save the dates ourselves (time consuming!), decided to print them on our regular printer. Well. Flexibility came into play again, because after too many tries, they were still not perfectly straight. It was one of those wedding planning experiences where it’s easy to get incredibly frustrated because It’s Not Working Out the Way I Planned.

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Posted in Green Wedding Blogger Brides , Natural Nuptials , Stationery & Invitations

May 29, 2009

DIY Wedding Decorations - bird and flower garland

The DIY craze continues to grow with Kirstie's Home Made Home, and the Make Lounge spearheading the trend. And there's nothing more special than a bunch of friends and family gathering together to make cost effective and very individual decorations for your wedding day.

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If you're stuck for ideas here's one over at Once Wed, which shows you how to produce the most gorgeous gypsophylia bird garland. If you're not keen on birds then you could make hearts or anything else for that matter.

Use the shapes for your guest table plan or dangle wedding favours from the strings or ribbons. Create an entrance garland, drape the garlands around a tent or on the pew ends if you're having a church wedding.

Sooo pretty.

Posted in Green Wedding Decorations & Details

May 27, 2009

Green carpet glamour

It doesn't matter how much you try to justify it, but the wear once wedding dress seems altogether too extravagant and wasteful. And, amongst our brides, we've detected a growing trend for the cocktail style wedding dress where they want a design that's just right for a glamorous wedding but, after the honeymoon's over, they still want to wear their dress again and again.

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Sabina Ali of Motasem, cleverly spotting this gap in the market, has developed a collection of beautiful dresses for the perfect day. With their fluid shapes, exquisite cutting, and trademark silky fabrics, her dresses are both glamorous and versatile. These timeless and understated, high quality, cocktail style wedding dresses are made with natural silks right here in the UK.

We aren't the only ones to notice Sabina's unique talent; two of her designs were seen sashaying down the red carpet at the UK premiere of the international hit movie "Twilight", starring Robert Pattison and Kirsten Stewart, and two more of her designs are to be on display at the British Library for the whole month of June.

This timeless and understated glamour means that not only brides, but bridesmaids, mother of the brides and guests can wear them to weddings and parties too. Prices start from £550 for wedding dresses, £175 for cocktail/day-to-evening dresses, and are available within 5 weeks.

Catch a slice of glamour and contact Sabina at Motasem to order your very own cocktail style wedding dress that's versatile enough to wear more than once and can be transformed into a chic party frock once the wedding's over.

Posted in Green Wedding Dresses & Gowns

May 26, 2009

Are you throwing a Scottish green wedding?

stv.jpgScottish Television's programme The Hour is looking for couples planning an eco wedding in Scotland this year.

The programme is a week nightly lifestyle magazine show presented by Stephen Jardine which transmits between 5 and 6 pm. They cover all aspects of modern living from Fashion, Health and Music to Cooking, Money and Films.

If you're interested in being filmed for an item about ethical weddings in the show and telling them all about your own green wedding plans, then get in touch with Abi Judge, the producer of the programme, at alison.kay@stv.tv or call her on 0141 300 3207.

Do tell her you heard about the programme from GreenUnion.

Posted in Green Wedding Natural Nuptials , News , Press

May 25, 2009

Proof of the pudding

tom_cull.jpgWe're not at all surprised to discover, I admit a little belatedly, that Dartmoor Kitchen scooped the 'Weddings Matter' award for Westcountry Wedding Caterer of the Year 2009 at the Westcountry Wedding Awards in April.

Dartmoor Kitchen’s ethos – ‘a fresh approach to food’ – and individual attention have made the eating experience a highlight of so many gorgeously eco chic weddings and events in the South West and they are recognised throughout the Westcountry as the sustainable and stylish caterer of choice.

What's more, Dartmoor Kitchen's Head Chef and Manager Tom Cull is passionate about promoting and maintaining a vibrant, contemporary approach to food production and presentation. He's committed to sourcing the very best local and seasonal produce from his own Dartmoor doorstep and this committment means he is quite willing to source organic food when required.

The Dartmoor Kitchen team is committed and close knit, all totally dedicated to providing their clients and wedding parties with the best possible service. Having worked with them, I can personally vouch for that!

"The food was outstanding...the highlight of our wedding" Savannah Miller
"Amazing and gorgeously dramatic..." Siena Miller

Posted in Green Wedding Caterers, Food & Drink

May 18, 2009

Bright idea! Special offer...

Falling Star makes candles with a conscience.

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Christina Hockey hand makes votive candles, pillar candles and candles in tins using 100% natural, eco-friendly soya wax. With real cotton wicks and scented with pure essential oils, who can’t light up to these candles?

Worried about the environment? The wax is sustainably sourced and biodegradable.
Worried about your health? Simple, the lack of soot means no carcinogens.
Worried about candle mess? No problem - drips wash away with soap and water.

SPECIAL OFFER:
Perfectly packaged candles for weddings favours, gifts and table decorations, Falling Star is offering GreenUnion readers the opportunity to to have, free of charge, either the name of the bride, groom and date of wedding printed on the candle labels, or the names of their guests so they can be used to mark table places.

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All you do is place an order on Falling Star's website in the usual way and then email Christina at sales@fallingstar.co.uk quoting GU OFFER and the names/date you want on your labels.

Offer valid till 31 December 2009.

Posted in Green Wedding Decorations & Details , Gifts & Favours

May 15, 2009

Venue Down, Next Up: The Menu

We have been increasingly aware of the connections between our food systems and sustainability, and wanted to make sure our wedding menu wasn’t a complete divergence from our general efforts to consume sustainable foods. One of the reasons we moved to Oregon was the abundance of local food options, and we want to make sure to reflect that in the wedding meals. For us, we have two meals to think about—the day prior to the wedding we’ll have a “Welcome to Town” picnic in a local park, including lunch, and then dinner at the reception on our wedding day.

wedding_picnic.jpgWe are planning to do the cooking for the picnic (with the help of our best friends, wedding party members, who will come to town a few days early to help). This will give us complete control over the menu and ingredients for one of the two meals. We’re also going to be swimming in veggies by the wedding weekend—we have a small community garden spot we’ve planted full of vegetables (and a few strawberries), and belong to a CSA which provides us with a week’s worth of fresh produce. Most likely we’ll do a vegetarian lasagna meal for the picnic, which will be easy to prepare in advance, and can accommodate whatever vegetables we end up with from the CSA.

For the day of the wedding, our venue will be catering the dinner, and they sent us a 25-page document full of food options. Our next task is to narrow the dinner down—at this point we are planning to have a vegetarian and a meat option (probably seafood since we are coastal, but that’s still up in the air). Of course, the budget comes into play here too. We had originally wanted, in lieu of a cake, to have ice cream and a “berry bar” filled with local berries. While there are berries of every sort available here in the summer, the cost of getting enough for 75 people put that idea to rest.

Alcohol is easy to get locally, since the venue has a brewery and winery on site! We decided to provide beer and wine for our reception, and have other drinks available on a pay-as-you-drink basis. This will keep our costs down a bit and focus our guests on the local options.

Now, back to the endless task of trying to finalize the guest list!

Posted by Kerry - Blogger Bride

Posted in Green Wedding Blogger Brides , Caterers, Food & Drink , Natural Nuptials

Green Award

hbcpgreenaward.jpgWith 'wedding month' coming to fever pitch, and everyone talking nuptials, we're stoked to have been chosen for their prestigious green award by the online luxury lifestyle magazine, Hot Brands Cool Places.

They think we're just the best when it comes to doling out advice to couples planning chic and sustainable weddings. We're not objecting!

Posted in Green Wedding News

May 14, 2009

Handmade beauty tips

compact.jpgIf you're wondering how to look your absolutely most gorgeous on your wedding day then check out our article on natural beauty over at Etsy's Handmade Wedding Series.

And while you're at it, over on the main Etsy site take a look at their inspiring hand made bath and beauty products and wedding inspiration pages. You could spend all day on this fabulous site.

But don't go away, we've got the very best organic handmade beauty products right here.

Posted in Green Wedding Beauty, Hair & Makeup

May 12, 2009

Low Impact Wedding Series - The Venue

Foy spicer continues the account of her Low Impact Wedding - here she talks about the couples' choice of venue, hightlighting pros and cons...

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CEREMONY: We both wanted an outdoor wedding ceremony and reception. We considered a lot of places for the ceremony, but accessibility was important because we've both got lots of cute little old ladies in our families. After a little investigating we decided on a local state park that had this beautiful shelter built by the PWA in the 1940's of local quarried rock. The price was right being just $25 per day. We rented the shelter for the night before as well and BBQ'd there for the rehearsal dinner.

The only draw back was the not so nice bathrooms. We own a couple of wooden TV tray like folding tables. I put one in each bathroom with a basket of assorted hand sanitizer, lotion, tissues, mints, Tylenol and safety pins. After the ceremony the baskets were brought to the reception venue's bathrooms.

I should also mention we didn't really have a rain plan. The wedding was going to happen outside come rain or shine without a tent! We're really lucky it didn't rain.

We rented chairs for the audience. It was $110 for 100 chairs to be delivered and picked up. However, we had to put out the chairs and return them to their racks. Luckily we had some obliging friends and family who took care of this.

RECEPTION: We needed a location that would allow us to bring in our own food. We wanted to use local or organic food as much as possible and many catering services charge outrageous prices to alter the menus enough to accommodate a green wedding. Since we weren't having the wedding at a church, why not the reception? My groom's church had just built a new community room. In fact for a while we worried it wouldn't be done in time for the wedding, but they did manage to get it put together just seven days before the wedding. The cost of rental was $75 for four hours and $25 for use the kitchen.

Total in site rentals = $235

Posted in Green Wedding Natural Nuptials , Venues

May 08, 2009

Planning: Where to Begin?

One question that is certain to come up pretty early on in the wedding planning process is “where do I start?”. Whether you are planning a green wedding or not, the details all seem to hinge on each other - deciding on a venue leads to caterer discussions and then photographers and so on. For us, we decided that the ultimate must-haves in a wedding site were an outdoor venue, and a place that would accommodate our eco-wedding.

Deciding on a venue was a month long process of weighing our options and desires. We initially wanted a wedding site that was on the commuter train line, so everyone traveling into town could easily spend the weekend here without a car. This is not the norm for U.S. travel, and even in a public transportation mecca like Portland, ended up not being feasible for almost all of the wedding venues within our price range.

So, early on, we learned another very important lesson in green wedding planning: be flexible.

edgefield_garden.jpgWe have find an amazing venue, Edgefield McMenamins, and though it’s not on the train line, it will allow for everyone who attends to stay in the adjoining hotel (minimizing the driving around). They have local food and alcohol options, and most importantly we can have the wedding outside.

The choice of a venue has implications for many of the eco-aspects of a wedding, so be sure to ask questions if you are planning a green wedding. Where do they get their food? (This may be less of an issue in the UK, but here in Oregon while we have local food options, you have to seek them out, and they aren’t necessarily the norm.) What types of transportation are available to get to the venue? Do they recycle? Use recycled paper products (or better yet, not use paper products)? While it’s easy to get overwhelmed, for us it was important to remember what our priorities were and be flexible.

Posted by Kerry - Blogger Bride

Posted in Green Wedding Blogger Brides , Natural Nuptials , Venues , Wedding Planning

The ring, the ring my kingdom for a ring!!

Probably the hardest jewellery purchase I think I’ll ever make, mostly because I will wear it every day for the rest of my life… no pressure then.

I had always thought I would design my own engagement ring, for which I would like to use ethically sourced stones, or vintage gems or maybe even making my ring from parts of an old ring. But what to do?

ethical_engagement_ring.jpgWell I knew I’d found a great jeweller in David Hill of Parchment in Winchester. Not only was he able to work with my designs (my first visit was for 3 hours with a sketch book full of notes) but he was also great at explaining why he ethically sources his stones, and how he knows for sure where they are from. His caring knowledgeable approach was very reassuring.

Although I didn’t go for incorporating the vintage stones I had wanted originally, I feel now I made the right choice, knowing that my ring has been crafted locally, handmade by a local craftsman who I have met and who has helped me make my ring a reality. It's something I’m very happy with, et vola!

Posted by Esther - Blogger Bride

Posted in Green Wedding Blogger Brides , Jewellery , Natural Nuptials

May 06, 2009

Introducing Kerry & Mark

Warm welcome to Kerry from Oregon, in the USA, who's agreed to fill us in on her and H2B Mark's green wedding plans from across the 'pond'. We'll be following Kerry's blogs till her wedding in September.

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Names? Kerry and Mark

Wedding date? September 7, 2009 (wow, only 4 months to go!)

Wedding Venue and location? Edgefield McMenamins, Troutdale, (outside Portland, Oregon)

How many guests are coming to your wedding and where from? We will have 75 guests, coming from all over the United States, and as far away as Bermuda and the U.K. We both grew up in the Eastern U.S. and have friends and family there, and then lived in California until last summer, which means many of our guests are traveling to our wedding. Having a small wedding was important to us, but the guest list has been the hardest part of the planning for sure!

Do you have a budget and do you think you'll be able to stick to it? Initially we had hoped to be able to pull off a 'green' wedding for $5,000 (US); pretty quickly we realized $7,000 (US) was more realistic and are aiming to stay right around there. So far we are on track with our budget, and the economy definitely inspires us to be ultra-conscious of the choices we make.

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Posted in Green Wedding Blogger Brides , Natural Nuptials

Low Impact Wedding Series - Introduction

Foy Spicer, a florist in the US, and her husband Jeff Diesburg threw a low impact wedding in 2006 and they have generously agreed to share their experience with us over the next few weeks. Over to you Foy...

"It is actually possible to have an affordable, fun, green wedding. We consider ourselves lucky to have the wedding that we had, but I've noticed that a lot of people are having trouble comprehending how to have a green wedding on a budget of $5000, so I made sure to keep track of how we spent our money.

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Sure, there were some things missing from our wedding - some were from personal preference (no meat at the brunch) and some were because of financial reasons. But, because we made sure to prioritize, those things that some people might say are "missing," were not really missed by us at all.

My parents gave us a gift of $5,000 and that's about what we spent. Which includes everything except for a lot of time and labor we and our lovely friends and family put in. If I did not list it, we probably did not have it.

Here's the cut and dry version of our wedding budget the total cost of which was $4515.00:

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Posted in Green Wedding Inspiration , Natural Nuptials

May 05, 2009

Is your wedding ring dirty?

not_dirty_gold_ring.jpgWith the wedding season getting well under the way, you're probably thinking about that little band of gold, the symbol of our marriage vows. But before you plump for that potent icon, you may want to know an itsy bit more about the true cost of dirty gold mining.

Watch No Dirty Gold campaigners, community members and jewellery retailers on the Sundance Channel's series, Ecotrip: the Real Cost of Living. Starting today, the series will air its "gold ring" episode chronicling the environmental and community impacts of gold mining.

Read more


Posted in Green Wedding Charities , Jewellery , News

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