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Romantic & inspiring DIY outdoor wedding
On this Valentine's Day I thought it would be lovely to tell you about the wonderfully intimate and romantic outdoor wedding of Pete and Heidi Guille.
When Pete contacted me recently to tell me about his wedding last year, my ears pricked up because it sounded like the perfect green wedding story. The star of the wedding day (apart from the Bride and Groom of course!) was a green oak wedding arch lovingly hand made by Peter, a designer/maker, especially for the wedding ceremony which was held in the great outdoors overlooking Studland Bay. Idyllic!
Anyway, I thought I'd let Peter and Heidi tell you their very personal wedding story in their own words, illustrated by lovely images from Stephanie Swann ...
Where and when did you get married? Any particular reasons why you choose where you did?
Natural winter wedding
Roland and Miranda Ballard, the powerhouse behind brilliant new ethical meat company, Muddy Boots, got married on one of the coldest days last winter and had the most amazing green wedding day. The wedding was everything that we so love to hear about so we asked Miranda to tell us more. Over to you Miranda ...
Saturday 16 January 2010 at Burford Church, Tenbury Wells, Worcestershire for the ceremony and then 30yds/next door at my parents’ home for the reception! My parents still live where my sister and I grew up and it’s right next to this stunning rural church. My sister Olivia and I have been planning our wedding since we were 3 and 6 years old because we would play in the church. It was nice, for a change, to be able to be the bride on my own wedding because, as little sister,
Green fingered wedding - part 2
Leann updates us on the run up to her eco friendly wedding ...
Four weeks to go! What happened to July?
The feeling that there isn’t time to get everything done is mounting and worry is beginning to set-in, have we paid for everything? How many people have we forgotten to invite? Do all the suppliers still have what we like? It’s quite hard to stick to the ethical ideals when last minute jobs come-up, the temptation is to do the first or easiest thing that comes to mind to get it done but then you know that you’ll feel bad on the day with the niggling feeling that something wasn’t right.
The dress is finally hanging in the wardrobe! My Nan’s wedding dress from 1952 features prominently against the new hemp/silk fabric and looks much nicer after a gentle wash and line dry; we forgot how many people smoked back in ’52 and were really surprised when the fabric revealed itself as a beautiful ivory instead of a dingy taupe!
Matt’s outfit has been a tad more troublesome though. We’ve been frustrated at the lack of choices for eco-conscious menswear. The options for women’s’ clothing is really very good (almost everything from tie-dye vests to sharp designer tailoring and can be found if you search hard) but looking at the menswear options on most sites, you would think that men wore nothing but T-shirts, boxer shorts and socks! We finally discovered British company Quail by Mail, whose selection of well tailored but not too formal shirts hit the right note and Matt is smiling again.
70 metres (yes 70!) of home-made bunting made from salvaged calico, fabric remnants and old clothes now sits in our spare bedroom on a huge roll amid the increasing boxes of organic wine, recycled napkins and tombola prizes (yep, that’s right!) We decided that we should go the whole hog with the village fete idea and have a tombola stall to raise some money for the venue. All of the prizes are ethical in some way (organic chocolate, recycled stationary and notebooks, hemp and fair-trade cotton clothing and energy saving gadgets) so while our guests have some fun they also get a look at a whole range of ethical products. We even managed to pick up some recycled raffle tickets. LoveLula liked the idea and kindly donated a prize which they sent over with my last order of Elysambre and Lavera make-up (I’ve now completed the make-up switch over, including face masks and cleansers!).
A green fingered wedding ...
It all started when Leann emailed GU HQ for advice on eco friendly boning for her home made wedding dress! I must say that we usually manage to find answers to most of our visitors' questions, but that stopped us in our tracks. Here, we thought, is a bride who won't be beaten. We discovered that Leann and Matt plan to marry this September and of course we had to ask them if they would share their ethical wedding journey with all our readers. Over to you Leann ...
Why an ethical wedding?
Our ultimate aims for the day, apart from that everyone should enjoy themselves, is to be able to say that we considered every aspect, from underwear to cutlery, in terms of the most ethical option (even if there is a reason we did not end up doing the most ethical thing).
Swedish summer wedding
We're so excited to welcome Johan Karlberg & Carey Mann who are getting married in Sweden this summer. Carey is going to keep us up to date with all their wedding plans as the months fly by towards their wedding “ute på landet” (out in the country) in July.
Wedding date: 10th July, 2010
Wedding venue and location: We are getting married at my Fiance’s parents' summer home in Kisa, Sweden. We are also having a reception party in London the week after our main wedding which is taking place in an ecology centre in Bow, London.
How many guests are coming to your wedding and where from? We have 70 guests coming to our Swedish wedding. Half of the guests are Swedish and traveling from different parts of Sweden. The rest of the guests are traveling from London, Belgium, France and one guest from Africa (we are paying to carbon offset all the flights).
Do you have a budget and do you think you'll be able to stick to it? We didn’t really have a budget but the costs so far are about £7,000 for the Swedish wedding and another £3,000 for the London reception.
Vintage wedding in Wales
Vicky and Ads got married on 15th August 2009. They threw a vintage 1920s style wedding at Treowen House, Monmouthshire. Thanks to Rosie Parsons photos, we can see what a brilliant time they had!
Vicky is a hopeless collector of vintage china, wedding stylist and lover of all things 1920's, so it was a given that the wedding had to be decorated with her lovely china and locally grown seasonal flowers. The bride wore an original 1920's flapper dress and she made her own jewellery from recycled vintage jewels.
Introducing Lisa & Scott
We're delighted to welcome Lisa and Scott from Dorset who are cleverly managing to get married in both Dorset and Wiltshire on the same day next year! They've seen a few weddings in their time as wedding photographers, so we're really looking forward to finding out how the professionals throw a green wedding. Read on to find out what Lisa told us about their wedding plans so far.
Names? Lisa & Scott
Wedding date? 13th June 2010
Wedding venue and location?
How many guests are coming to your wedding and where from? 50 wedding guests at the ceremony, and 60 guests at the wedding reception
Do you have a budget and do you think you'll be able to stick to it? Yes our wedding budget is £7000 and we are planning to stick to it!
Why is it important to you to throw an eco-wedding? What inspired you? We have always wanted to keep our wedding relaxed and simple and planning an eco-wedding really lends itself to this ethos. We also love all things vintage and so this was an inspiration for us and allowed us to hunt around vintage shops with a clear conscience, which is a lot of fun!
Please can you tell us a little about the eco-elements of your wedding? Our wedding plans started with my dress, which I bought many months ago now from Oxfam Bridal Suite. I was lucky enough to stumble upon a designer wedding dress by Sassi Holford and can’t wait to wear it! It is amazing what you can pick up in second hand shops and most of the Oxfam collection has not been worn before, so you can really find a bargain. Not to mention make use of a beautiful dress, which could otherwise go to waste.
We wish Kerry & Mark a happy day!
American couple Kerry and Mark tie the knot on Monday and we'll be thinking of them on this very special day of days. With guests coming to their green wedding from all over the US, Bermuda and even the UK (hope they've factored in some carbon offsets ...) it sounds as though they have already started celebrating and the party's likely to go on for a week!
Everyone here at GUHQ wish them both so much happiness in their future years together.
You can read more about Kerry and Mark's journey towards their big day in Kerry's regular blogs.
The Countdown is on… 2.5 weeks to go
Just a short while until the Wedding! Which is feeling very fun, exciting and just slightly stressful. Mostly, I am excited to see friends and family, put all the pieces into place for the ceremony and reception, and have a great wedding weekend!
We’re down to the final preparations— seating arrangements, trying to wrangle those final RSVPs, and planning fun nights out with our wedding party. A friend who recently got married had the much appreciated advice that we should plan a special date right before the festivities, so we have been making plans for a camping trip followed by a couple's massage at a spa for next weekend.
Now back to work, though it’s hard to focus with so little time left before the Big Day!
Posted by Kerry - Blogger Bride
Photo from Ohdeedoh
Posted in Green Wedding Blogger Brides
Stylish, green and Fun ‘Save the Dates' on a budget! Posted by Esther - Blogger Bride
I knew from the beginning that I would DIY my Wedding Stationary. I love to draw and it’s so much a part of my own creative practice (check out my drawings here) that I knew I would incorporate drawings into everything. With the big plus of having expert graphic back up from my cousin and right hand woman, Kjerstin Oh from ‘Creative Lolly’, in the madness they call wedding planning, (contact me if you're in need of a great and talented graphic designer!) I hoped it would be special and beautiful and I wasn’t disappointed! So I thought it'd be fun to share with you what I came up with:
Poster Save The Dates!!
Three things mattered while designing my save-the-date stationary:
Eco friendly: they needed to be both email-able and post-able, using as little paper as possible.
Vicky & Ads get married!
Our lovely Charity Bride, Vicky, and her beloved, Ads, get married this weekend at Treowan in Monmothshire and we wish them all the luck in the world. We're thinking positive thoughts about the weather but know it won't matter a bit if it rains because of the strength of their relationship and the energy the couple and all their friends are putting into their very special weekend.
Vicky wrote to us a week ago to tell us all: "we'll be buzzing around on the Friday setting up and the wedding's on the Saturday. We're having a roaring twenties wedding and I won't have any bells on my toes (in true green wedding fashion) that's for sure! But I have locally sourced flowers from a friend's garden less than a mile away, and locally sourced food.....second hand rings, carbon offset honeymoon...charity shop sourced decorations...hand made jewellery and head pieces ... I'm laughing as I'm writing this, he he!"
Have a fabulous day Vicky & Ads!
Lately in the Green Wedding Adventure - Wedding Favors
Lately there has been little time to reflect on the wedding planning process - we are in production mode, and with about 6 weeks until the wedding, we are nearing the end of the major To Do's on the list...
After finalizing our menu earlier this month, and with a solid plan in place for decorations, we had only a few final details to work out. One of them included what to do about favors. We knew we didn’t want our guests to leave with something that was less than useful, or worse would be tossed immediately. We also knew we wanted to stay within our budget, so we nixed a few of the options we looked into because they were too expensive.
What we decided on is very “us”, locally produced and within the budget - we made and canned homemade berry jam for all our guests last weekend. We picked the berries at a local (organic) farm, and spent an entire day preparing and canning the jam (realizing how grateful we are to live in a time when canning is optional and fun, not a necessity).
Here's the recipe:
8 cups crushed berries
Mix these ingredients in a pan over medium-low heat, bring to a boil slowly, and boil until it starts to thicken (depends on the pectin in the berries how long this will take). As it cools it will continue to thicken too.
Click on this link for the step by step instructions and how to bottle the jam up.
My fiancé will design a label for the jars and we’ll integrate our wedding colors into the display of the favors by putting a swatch of fabric between the lids and metal rings. We are excited to have found something that will definitely be used (and the jars reused) which will give our guests a taste of our new home ... Oregon is known for the myriad berries that thrive here.
Next on the agenda: finalizing the ceremony, which we are putting together ourselves and meeting with our officiant, a close friend.
Posted by Kerry - Blogger Bride
Sparkly Things: More on wedding jewelry
There are oh so many jewelry options to consider, and that can be more than a little overwhelming.
Starting with the engagement ring - I knew I did not want a diamond, and I ideally wanted an entirely already-in-existence, i.e. not brand new, ring. Mark was extremely fortunate that his Dad had been holding onto a Star Ruby gold ring that his Grandfather had passed down - and Star Rubies are purple, my favorite color! We spent some time looking into the option - using the gold (way more than I would need in a ring, since it was a man’s ring) to make our wedding bands, resetting the Ruby in an entirely new setting or making a necklace instead of a ring out of the stone.
It took some convincing to get what we wanted. The jeweler insisted on showing us all the brand new settings they had before pulling out a box of “vintage” settings, essentially waiting to be recycled. We found the perfect setting for the stone, and avoided the environmental costs associated with refining the metals for a new ring in the end. Overcoming the generalizations that you won’t be happy without a diamond, and definitely won’t enjoy having a “previously used” ring can be rough…
For my wedding jewelry I faced the same dilemma, in that I know I want certain things, but also know I want to stick to my low impact wedding resolutions. Borrowing earrings and a necklace from my sister might be the answer, though I won’t have them after the wedding, which for purely sentimental reasons is a factor.
Posted by Kerry - Blogger Bride
After much umm-ing and ahh-ing, a dinner tasting and a good look around, (actually twice!) we have finally booked our wedding venue! We have gone for something a little different for the day, well actually two days, this decision was reached for a number of reasons some of them eco centered.
Weddings have a tendency of getting big, growing in fact right before your eyes, becoming all consuming, but if you're concerned by the basic waste, money and miles this will effect, have you considered doing a two date affair?
Basically we are having a very small ceremony and dinner, it looks like 14 of us on a Wednesday, and then a cheap and cheerful party the following Saturday, 'two do’s' you say, surely that can’t be very eco, that’s just extravagance no? Well no, we hope.
This has two main outcomes for us. Intimacy and affordability. But will also, I hope, keep it eco centered.
So the ceremony, with our very nearest and dearest family and friends, parents, best man, etc. means that afterwards, for the wedding breakfast, we can eat at one table, enjoy really good local food in a beautiful private dining room, the same room in which we will earlier have been married, and we can all stay over in the same place keeping travel miles low. Intimate, relaxed and personal. One room to decorate, 14 mouths to feed, no going to or fro!
This week’s major wedding accomplishment ...
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.
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.
We 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
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.
So, early on, we learned another very important lesson in green wedding planning: be flexible.
We 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
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.
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
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.
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.
Introducing Esther & Drew
Congratulations to Esther and Drew who got engaged a couple of weeks ago! Esther wrote to tell us how the committment to get married has got her into a flat spin. She said "I'm actually probably having the very normal first couple of weeks of sheer google mania trying to find a venue so we can set a date and we are trying to go for something eco orientated with good local food, skills swapping with people to keep costs down ie: I make a cake stand for her wedding, she makes the cake for mine etc, trying to keep the miles and importantly the cost down!! So maybe the blogging world could help with ideas!"
Names? Esther and Drew
Wedding date? Sometime in June 2010
Wedding Venue and location? Were pretty sure it will be in Hampshire were we live, for a few good reasons including wanting to shop local and reducing transport miles. Venue-wise we're still up in the air a bit, but it looks like were getting closer to an answer. One more to see on Monday and hopefully we can decide on a plan. (I'm normally quite decisive but this has really got me in a twist!! So many conflicting factors to think about.. )
What have I done......or more importantly haven't......
Lots and lots, I think it's now dawning on me that I've focused heavily on the elements of the planning that I'm comfortable with and the other bits....
Well......er....who knows....you see I'm organising the lot and I'm no wedding planner but why should that stop me.........to give you an indication of what I mean, I just this minute asked my mother (who's staying with Ads and I) she's chirruping away in my ear about fascinators (I digress). I ask her what I haven't organised as I kind of drew a blank as soon as I started writing (a cushioning from wedding induced anxiety, a buffer for my poor mind) half expecting her to say....
I don't know what she was going to say actually but I wasn't expecting her answer to be so full bodied. She rattled off invitations, ordering tables, table cloths, cutlery, flowers (friends are growing most of them but do I know what the displays will be....no, bouquets...nope) and then I tuned her out to the sound of the Slumdog Millionaire soundtrack.
We'll sort it, but right now the hat block I've purchased is calling and I'm creating fascinators and cloche hats for the guests from all sorts of loveliness and vintage trimmings! It'll all happen.....why stress I say. There's plenty of tables in the world, invites....well I read somewhere they're meant to go out 3 months before (got ages).......
Time to pull me finger out me thinks!!!!!
Posted by Vicky - Blogger Bride
Introducing Vicky & Ads
When Vicky contacted me about selling her soy wax vintage teacup candles in our eco chic wedding boutique, she told me of her plans for her own charitable dream wedding this year. Happily she's agreed to fill us in and keep us posted on the run up to her very stylish green wedding day.
Wedding date: 15th August 2009 (not long!)
How many guests are coming to your wedding and where from? 60 to the reception and a further 60 for the evening. Ads and I live in Bristol and my family live in Wales, however the majority of guests aren’t local. So whilst my family are not traveling far, his family live in Surrey so have a reasonable distance to travel and we’re encouraging them to travel in convoy in minibuses (move over Gavin and Stacey). Family and wedding party are staying in the house, and then the vast majority are camping out in the 300 odd acres.
Vineeta & Tom
Vineeta & 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
How many guests are coming to your wedding and where from?
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?
Why is it important to you to throw an eco-wedding? What inspired you?
Please can you tell us a little about the eco-elements of your 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?
Have you got any tips, so far, for other brides looking to throw an eco-wedding?
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.
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