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SUPPLIER FOCUS: Green Wedding Boutique
Today I'd like to extend a super warm welcome to the lovely Rachel over at the Green Wedding Boutique!
Rachel tells me that she was inspired to set up her wedding planning and styling service, based in and around Bristol, after struggling to find creative, inspiring and environmentally friendly decorations for her own wedding in 2013.
As a graduate of Glasgow School of Art, with a trained eye for design and a passion for nature and flowers Rachel is well placed to create uniquely individual finishing touches for natural and eco friendly weddings and events. Her aquired skills in floristy, photography, web design, graphics, illustration and animation means she can offer couples a comprehensive creative wedding styling service.
Rachel tells me there's no set menu and she has no set prices for her services - everything is totally bespoke, but here are a few ideas of what she can do to take a load of the busy bride:
Ethical, natural and eco wedding inspiration and ideas consultation.
Take a look at the images and see for yourself.
Rachel also has an Etsy shop where she sells some of her imaginative creations.
SUPPLIER FOCUS: Harvesting flowers for your British Flower Petal wedding confetti
Have you ever wondered where your flower petal wedding confetti comes from and how they make it?
Well the very best of British flower confetti HAS to be from Shropshire Petals, who grow all their flowers at the family-run Lynn South Farm, set in beautiful Shropshire countryside surrounded by fields and pretty villages. Now, in mid summer the flowers are all standing tall in the fields and it's nearing the time when everyone's gearing up for the big harvest which starts any day soon.
The flowers are drilled in March/April and carefully tended to and weeded before they flower in July/August. This is when the exciting harvesting begins. Once the flowers are blooming, they are delicately handpicked in the fields and transported to a special de-petalling shed and the laborious de-petalling process starts. There is a very tight window to harvest all of the petals as they only bloom for around 4 – 6 weeks of the year. Once all of the petals are skilfully taken off, they are dried, stored and hand packed with love to send out to couples for their wedding day. This year they aim to harvest around 165 million petals!
Shropshire Petals never add any dyes or colours to their petals, keeping them 100% natural and biodegradable. The team can still recall their very first order: 4 litres of petals; one of lilac, one of pink and two mixed colours; these days they are called Amethyst, Candyfloss and Kaleidoscope.
Now they grow all the colours of the rainbow and each year trial new colours and while this doesn’t always work out as planned, a couple of years ago they grew a lilac petal which turned out to be grey once dried – accidentally they had produced a beautiful vintage grey petal which has been a top seller ever since!
Shropshire Petals,an approved Green Union partner, grow and produce natural petal confetti on their Shropshire farm and all of their petals are 100% natural, biodegradable and eco-friendly; churches and venues love them! You can pick and mix your very own unique confetti mix for your wedding choosing from Delphinium, Rose, Hydrangea, Cornflower and many other petals in a variety of pretty colours.
BRITISH FLOWERS WEEK: Gloriously British flowering foliage
Did you think foliage was uninteresting and only used by florists to bulk out your expensive bouquet? Well I say think again because choosing foliage carefully will go a long way to reflect the seasons in your wedding flowers, create impact, add texture and movement, and last the whole day through. Just look at this array of foliage on display and New Covent Garden Market.
And you'll see why when you look at these amazing creations using British flowering foliage by florists Euphoric Flowers for British Flowers Week. An adorable heart of cotinus, stachys byzantina, lavender, philadelphus, golden privet, poppy seed heads, buxus and the leaves of geranium, oak and heuchera is steeped in romance.
Greenery is never just green, but ranges from silver-grey or yellow to deep reds and browns depending on the seasons and when it's in flower, like lilac, jasmine or cherry blossom, it just gets better! Glorious branches of British oak, eucaluptus, philadelphus, cotinus, flowering privet, aruncus and physocarpus cascade from a moss lined vase.
And this seasonal bunch created entirely from British flowering foliage proves there's more to the colour 'green' in 'greenery'. Purple cotinus, silver stachys byzantine, golden privet, white flowering philadelphus, lime green ribes supplemented by white sweet peas and the blue of lavender - a bridal bouquet packed full of texture and colour.
You can read the whole story and see more images over on the New Covent Garden Market blog.
Go to our wedding directory for British florists and flower growers championed by Green Union.
Download the New Convent Garden British Flower Chart here. It gives honorary status to British flowering foliage! Use the chart for reference when planning your own seasonal wedding flowers.
SUPPLIER FOCUS: Making your wedding your own…
The lovely people at Little Cherry, the Eco Friendly party suppliers, have sent me this little article packed full of tips and ideas on how to make your wedding your own. And they’ve come up with some corkers! Over to you Little Cherry ...
We, at Little Cherry, have been supplying party goodies and catering products to brides, caterers and event organisers for a few years now and of all the things we’ve learned about designing the perfect wedding, the best tip we have is to MAKE IT YOUR OWN.
Any wedding should be, first and foremost, a true reflection of who you are as a couple. There are always new themes and ideas emerging, but what we suggest is that you don’t get hung up on what’s the latest hot trend but concentrate more on you and your partner’s personalities. As we all know, a wedding is an expensive business and there are some aspects that you just can’t get around! But not everything needs to cost a fortune; shop around, do your research, there are some fabulous free resources available online these days to help inspire you. It all goes back to making it all about you, sometimes it’s the small details that say the most!
Anything can be a display piece at a wedding and it doesn’t have to be done in a traditional way. For example, from dressing a vintage bike with fresh flowers to displaying a gorgeous pair of new shoes as your table centrepiece, there is no end to the possibilities. We’ve come across some lovely ideas along the way, and here are just a few which we think will inspire some amazingly personal touches for your wedding day.
Using nature as your inspiration is a great way of developing a style or theme that everyone will love. If you have a love of the great outdoors, let that be reflected by choosing eco-friendly products like our lovely compostible palm leaf plates and serving platters. More and more now, people are realising that when hosting any large event, there’s a lot of waste and there needn’t be. Use biodegradable products that look stylish and can be completely recycled afterwards ensuring your party doesn’t leave a mark on the environment.
Here at Little Cherry, we have a fantastic range of new products which would beautify any wedding - canapé dishes, floral skewers, wooden boats, paper pompoms in fabulous colours and lovely bunting to name but a few.
Thanks Little Cherry, great tips to give brides to be and grooms a head start as they embark on their wedding plans.
Little Cherry is a recommended Green Union supplier selling a wide range of stylish, natural and sustainable wedding reception supplies. They specialise in ethically sourced palm leaf plates and other natural, disposable tableware. Their eco-friendly tableware has been exclusively designed to be contemporary and elegant as well as fully disposable and biodegradable. They also sell cutlery, compostable cups and napkins for a one-stop-shop.
MONDAY MENTION: Paper Tree Flowers
We've just been sent this adorable flower crown by the lovely Ann Marie at Paper Tree ... Isn't it just divine?
The flower crown will adorn the head of any pretty flower girl without getting too badly damaged even if she goes mad and dances the day away!
The crown is part of a range of wedding florals by Paper Tree which includes bouquets and long stem roses. The best thing about these gorgeous saa paper blooms is that they won't wilt if your wedding just happens to be on a sizzling hot summer's afternoon...
Paper Tree is a a recommended Green Union wedding supplier. They create unique and beautiful favours, decorations, gifts and stationery for weddings. The designs are all hand-crafted, eco-friendly and ethically produced. Paper Tree's flowers are made from Saa paper which is a sustainable resource as the tree naturally sheds its bark and can be made into a natural paper without destroying the tree.
Visit papertree.co.uk for more details of their lovely paper products.
WEDDING FLOWERS: Summer Flower Guide
Flowers - my favourite subject, and British flowers are my passion. Fresh cut blooms from the garden or, when I need them for a bigger event, then grown locally in the UK are my preference every time.
Whether trying out fresh ideas for weddings, or visiting a flower grower right here in the UK, I just love the colours, textures and variety on offer throughout the seasons. And with summer just around the corner (let’s face it the weather has been totally encouraging the last few weeks), I’m thinking about what brides will be choosing for their summer wedding decor.
It’s worth keeping in mind that the range of seasonal, locally grown flowers available will vary depending on where you are. The flowers I‘ve showcased here are all in peak season during the summer throughout the UK so begin your search by checking out what’s in bloom through the summer wherever you’re planning to get married.
Part of the magic of flowers is that they’re so fleeting and your favorite flowers might only be around for a month or so during the season, so it’s smart to choose your wedding date to coincide with your favourite flower’s blooming period - it also means they will be at their best price, so helping the budget along!
Here’s a selection of home grown British flowers, some less well known, that are ideal for a summer wedding…
DIY: Romantic just picked flower garland
Romance is a big deal in Green Unions's wedding trends, but we like to think of it as being totally new and fresh. This adorable flower garland is just the ticket with its whimsical DIY flavour...
All you need is some string, or ribbon if you want the look to be totally romantic, and a big packet of wooden clothes pegs plus the all important flowers - cosmos, mini sunflowers and zinnias for a late summer wedding are used here but you can choose any in season blooms to suit your style and decor and to get just that 'just picked' look.
Tie up your string or ribbon and just peg the blooms singly or in bunches to the line. Simple! Give it a go its soooooo easy.
If can't grow your own blooms, then go to our wedding directory to find flower growers and florists that will supply in season British grown flowers.
Fall in love with Little Cherry
Who, do you ask, is Little Cherry?
Green is the new black. The evidence is everywhere from new technology to the vintage trend phenomenon. Reusing, recycling and upcycling are seen as standard and the planet’s wellbeing is at the forefront of everybody’s mind. Little Cherry is proud to have spotted the green revolution way back in its early days before becoming one of the nation’s top eco-friendly party suppliers. The idea of green living (and green partying) is something very close to Little Cherry’s heart, as is the small-change big-difference philosophy that has taken over in recent years.
This intended growth will be welcome news for those of you who, like Little Cherry, understand that what is good for the planet is good for its people. This simple hypothesis is the driving force behind the company’s continual efforts to source and supply the best, green products for magical white weddings and it is something they do exceptionally well. Their wonderful selection of ethically sourced, top quality party supplies demonstrates how they are ever-conscious about providing the best service to its customers and the best quality of life to its staff and suppliers. Similarly, Little Cherry’s commitment to keeping production close to the source of raw materials, as well as their commitment to ensure all manufacturing and transportation is low in emissions and cost sets them apart from other wedding supply companies. Owner Sandra Adar has described the company as “the perfect storm”, referring to how it helps the contemporary lifestyle and green philosophy work in perfect harmony to help both people and the planet.
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?
Wedding favours for National Tree Week
We love trees - ancient monuments, forests, woodlands and beautiful individuals. Trees are the lungs of the world and we need to protect them and grow them.
What better way to get involved with planting trees, making a difference and marking one of the most important days of your life than to plant trees. Give them as wedding favours to your guests and you could be responsible for a small forest of your own!
Go to Trees of Tomorrow for your very own trees seedling wedding favours.
Compostable platters for Christmas weddings
Their range of biodegradable tableware and cutlery will cover every delicious dish you can think of. Then, when the party's over you can just pop it all on your compost heap to help a new season of plants to grow next year! They've got straws, napkins, cups and bowls too.
And not forgetting the decorations - their one stop shop has all manner of ideas - biodegradable balloons and ribbon, bunting and bamboo bowls, cards and gift wrap, candles and candle holders, party bags and toys, picnic boxes. The list is endless!
Check out Little Cherry's website for more Christmas party and wedding celebration ideas.
Posted in Green Wedding Decorations & Details
Delightful wildflower wedding favours
We just love it when someone comes along with beautiful ideas for weddings and what could be more lovely than favours, stationary and paper all made with wild flower seeds in mind, that do something good for nature too.
Weddings are a wonderful way of spreading wildflower love. It’s simple, there’s no need to preach, just hand out packets of seeds and send your wedding guests away to grow the delightfully named ragged robins, soldiers buttons, cornflowers, forget-me-nots and daisies in their own gardens.
Go on - be a bit different, spread your love and grow some too, the bees and butterflies will love you for it!
Shropshire Petals joins Green Union!
Today we're really excited to welcome Shropshire Petals as a Green Union partner.
Shropshire Petals grow and produce natural petal confetti on their Shropshire farm right here in the UK. They tell us that all of their petals are 100% natural, biodegradable and eco friendly which means that churches and venues love them as much as you couples do!
On their website they have a fantastic system which means that you can pick and mix your very own unique confetti mixture, choosing from Delphinium, Rose, Hydrangea and Cornflower petals in a variety of pretty colours. They say a lot of couples create a mix that matches or contrasts with their wedding theme. What a brilliant idea.
Go to their website for heaps more information and ideas.
Event Flag Hire moves..
They tell us that they're really excited about the move as this means they have loads of space to make their new 2013 ranges... and there's lots to come, we believe, like this lovely silk blue ribbon flag being tested out by young Fred!
The Event Flag Hire Company designs, makes, hires and installs beautiful handmade flags, bunting and banners (including bespoke) to decorate natural green eco-friendly weddings.
Don't you just adore these beautiful gold letters from POSH Graffiti
We've put together a Christmas greeting for you here using the letters, but of course we think you'll love to use these original, authentic letters created by Emily Readlett Bailey for your wedding decorations any time of the year.
Emily has always taken care to source sustainable materials and for many years has pioneered the concept of stylish design with an eco and ethical policy. The POSH Graffiti collection has been made by the same village rice farming community in Bali for 15 years where the farmers use this important secondary business to sustain their agriculture. The artisans use a local fast growing albizia wood (never toxic MDF) and each piece is unique. The Company has always emphasized quality over quantity resisting the lure of mass production in China.
Emily has been actively involved in tree planting in Bali over the years and this year she has been asked be work with an important sustainable rain forest management project in Borneo. More to come in 2013.
Naturally gorgeous Christmas wedding gift designs
Take a look at these gorgeous decorations specially created by Paper Tree for Christmas. There are little rosebud wreaths, mini mistletoe kissing sprigs:
Rosebud hearts and rosey wreaths:
For a Christmas wedding you could line up these sweet rose topiary pots all the way down your reception table:
Trees of Tomorrow – in the Seeds of Today
Now that the leaves have been blown away by November’s storms, we are blessed with the beauty of the trees’ winter silhouettes. The gradually multiplying branches reaching skyward against a dwindling light is a poignant symbol of longevity and growth and all that is to come.
It was with this thought that Trees of Tomorrow, who supply little seedling wedding favours, was born. So we asked Margaret Fox to tell us a little more about her seedling company, now into its second year of providing these enchanting favours to couples wanting a more meaningful gift for their guests which, like their marriage, is all about the future. Over to you Margaret:
“We firmly believe that our Wedding Seedling Favours are the greenest gift there is and we focus exclusively on British native species:
Oak, of course, is a firm favourite being symbolic of strength and an essential feature of our British landscape, supporting thousands of other species as it grows and develops. The slender, graceful Silver Birch, whose little heart shaped leaves make it an obvious choice, is also very popular. Folklore tells us that babies’ cradles were made of birch due to its purifying qualities! One couple chose crab apple seedlings as the groom had proposed to the bride in an orchard!
There are also some species specially suited to winter weddings. The courageous Holly revels in winter while anticipating the spring; the Blue Spruce, whose evergreen needles appear in pairs symbolizing permanence in love, is ideally suited to Christmas weddings. Or, if you’d rather avoid a conifer, there is the brave Holm Oak, whose evergreen leaves, something between an oak and a holly, are very beautiful. So, whether you are guided in your choice by the traditional language of trees or choose a species with a special personal relevance, a unique wedding tree favour is guaranteed.
Naturally designed wedding stationary
When Ann-Marie Edmondson contacted us to tell us about her gorgeous ethically produced wedding stationary and decorations, we were not only bowled over by the products, but also by the lengths the company takes to make sure they are all created using sustainably sourced materials.
Paper Tree has all manner of hand crafted wedding invitations, coloured paper petals, roses, flowers and garlands made from eco-friendly Saa paper. Saa paper is a sustainable resource made from the bark of the Mulberry tree. The tree is a persistently growing perennial regenerating itself after harvest and the bark can be made into a natural paper without destroying the tree.
We particularly like these pretty paper rosebud cards which can be personalised as wedding invitations or menus for your wedding reception. By the way, the rose buds can also be bought separately in case you want to create your own hand made wedding invitations.
The Wholeleaf Co. - the smartest use (ever!) for fallen leaves…
Usually, at this time of the year the mere mention of ‘fallen leaves’ makes my heart drop because it usually means raking for hours on end, clearing the leaves in my the garden and piling them in the leaf bin for next year’s leaf mould supply.
This time The Wholeleaf Co’s fallen leaf plates and bowls brought a smile to my face as there was absolutely no raking involved! Just perfectly formed plates, bowls and platters ideal for green wedding celebrations.
The Wholeleaf Co’s fantastic Palm Leaf Plates are made from the naturally shed leaves of the Areca palm trees growing in the lush green forests of Southern India - a renewable material. All they do to turn the leaf into a plate, bowl or platter is wash it in locally sourced spring water and heat-press it into shape. That's it! They don't use any chemicals, resins, agents, glues or anything else just the leaf, the Wholeleaf and nothing but the leaf, and some water.
Put out the eco friendly bunting!
The Queen's 60 years as head of state demonstrates fidelity, dedication, love, compromise and steadfast loyalty - all essential qualities for a long and fruitful marriage.
Eggscellent Easter wedding decor
Every year for the past 3 years we've had a fabulously warm and balmy Easter season overflowing with blossom, sunshine and the promise of new life. So we think it's got to be a perfect time to throw a wedding, with great opportunities for fresh Easter themed wedding decorations.
One of our favourite and creative decoration companies is POSH Graffiti by Emily Readett-Bayley, which has recently launched a new range of ornate painted eggs and other decorations.
For a burst of spring loveliness, hang on blossom boughs to make a wishing tree and use their signature hand carved painted letters to create a statement in your wedding venue.
For more ideas and to see their full range visit the POSH Graffiti website.
A spring bouquet of daffodils
Welcome the Spring with a simple, seasonal wedding bouquet of fresh picked daffodils from the garden, sourced from a British flower grower or bought from your local florist. We found these images on Project Wedding by frolic’s Chelsea Fuss and thought it fun to show you how to make one for yourself.
Wonderful eco friendly wedding yurts
If you're planning an outdoor wedding next year (or even in 2013) and you're still undecided about what sort of tents to use, then you should check out these lovely yurts, those stunning round wooden tents based on a Mongolian nomadic design, created by our lovely Devon friends over at Hooe's Yurts.
The great thing is that Amy and Max, who own and run Hooe's Yurts, recently got married themselves so they understand the excitement and importance of "the big day". They hire out beautifully decorated yurts for couples who want to throw a wedding with real wow factor and they absolutely love helping to make other peoples' weddings individual, romantic, exotic and unforgettable.
Amy is passionate about textiles and travels the world collecting items to lovingly decorate and furnish the yurts adding a unique touch to the interiors and making them really special. All the yurts are designed with traditional wood burners inside so they can be well heated which not only makes a dull summer's evening warm and cosy, but also means that spring and autumn weddings can be a real possibility.
Royal wedding flags
As Royal wedding fever grips the nation and the world we'd like to make a little boast that some of our partners are thoroughly involved in the event.
Big Wave Flags, for instance, have had their complete stock of fabulous festival flags booked for the event. They'll be 'flying the flags' at Camp Royale on Clapham Common for the entire weekend! Apparently they will be flying at some other undisclosed locations too...
Big Wave Flags is a unique company that makes and rents festival flags for weddings and other events. They will either rent stock flags or will create bespoke beauties for those that have a specific colour theme not already in their portfolio.
Flags really are a spectacular and cost effective way to enliven a large space. The flying colours and movement of the flags will uplift the day and give the whole event a dynamically colourful flavour.
Find out more information on their website or contact Andrew on 01209 891819
The perfect bunch - seasonal wedding flowers
As the wedding planning season reaches fever pitch and the first signs of spring emerge with the sweetest snowdrops, we will be bringing you seasonal wedding flower advice from lovely Green Union partner and eco friendly wedding florist Julie Ballard. Over to you Julie:
SPRING WEDDING FLOWERS:
A jug of fresh flowers on a table does more than simply symbolise the hope that a new season, particularly spring, brings. It makes us feel good too. Many people notice how, when our environment changes with the seasons, it affects how we feel. This is a good time to treat yourself to something that won’t pile on the pounds but will lift your mood as much as chocolate does - and last so much longer! So, perhaps some tulips? With a little piece of natural fabric to tie?
If you are planning a spring wedding why not start by looking at flowers that will be available in the months ahead – British and locally grown wherever possible of course. We’re not talking about those flowers which are available all year round because they are flown half way round the world or more! Of course the recent bad weather has affected flower availability just as much as it has caused problems for vegetable growers, but the flowers are fast catching up with the season now. With some forethought, many beautiful displays can be created using just a few blooms with plenty of mixed foliage and other interesting ingredients.
Blooming Green wedding flowers
You might think that you can't find flowers in the UK with a tiny carbon footprint. Well that is just not true any more! Now it's getting easier to find local, seasonal flowers, in every shade and always 'green'.
Jen and Bek of Blooming Green have made it their business to produce and supply eco-friendly couples with wedding flowers boasting the lowest carbon footprint you can possibly imagine. Not only do they grow their flowers following organic principles and do their best to avoid using pesticides or weedkiller, but they also use biodegradable packaging and containers which can be reused or recycled. They don't use carbon guzzling heated greenhouses, but just a polytunnel for nurturing their seedlings before they go outdoors and to extend the British cut flower season.
Their bouquets of funky or country flowers, zingy colours, herbs and quirky foliage are sure to make you smile and as you can see from the photos, eco-friendly locally grown flowers doesn't have to mean dull. In fact the brighter the better as far as they are concerned!
What we love about Blooming Green is that they think a brilliant way to de-stress from wedding plans is to go to the farm and pick your very own wedding flowers yourself. In fact they may very well be the first flower farm to offer this option to brides and it's a great way to have dreamy, unique flowers on a budget.
They are in the process of planning open days, courses and other exciting things for 2011. Find out more at www.bloominggreenflowers.co.uk .
Winter wedding inspiration
Gorgeous autumn apple wedding days
Mounds of red apples, shiny greenery and moss all twined onto a ring is a great way to celebrate our beautiful English Apple Season and makes wonderful green wedding decor.
Grab yourself a florist's wreath ring, wire some moss onto the ring then wire up shiny red apples and greenery and tie onto the ring. Hey presto! A gorgeous seasonal welcome door wreath for your wedding guests. Or hang the ring above the bride and groom's places at the reception as a bountiful kissing ring.
You could continue the theme by making apple place names for your wedding guests at each table setting, then add a long mound of moss and apples down the centre of your trestle tables for dramatic wedding reception decorations. Just let your imagination do the work!
Image from Better Homes & Gardens
Vintage teacup table decorations
Flowers fade, but Martha Stewart Weddings came up with this idea of using beautiful vintage china as table decor. What's more, the china can be enjoyed long after the last dance and recycled yet again!
Collect cups and saucers from flea markets and charity shops, borrow them from family members or rent them from china rental companies like Pebble-in-the-Pond, Idyllic Days or Vintage Tea Sets. Stack them in an arrangement that suits your theme and secure the stacks with glue or cement (if you want to re use the china make sure you secure it with removable cement).
It will all come to life when you place tea light candles in the cups which have been enhanced with a single flower in each saucer. There you go, a super-inexpensive centerpiece that's graceful and unique.
Get more fabulous wedding inspiration from Marthastewartweddings.com
Eco-chic flowers for Devon brides!
We were over the moon when Bristol based florists Bella & Fifi told us that they were launching a branch of their business in Devon. Of course there was a certain amount of partiality in the emotion since GU HQ is based right here in North Devon!
Now eco conscious couples planning to wed in Devon and Cornwall can be sure that they will be able to experience hand picked, sweet scented, locally grown blooms on their wedding day.
Bella & Fifi don’t just style seasonal, UK-sourced flowers; they’ll also grow them to order to guarantee the most beautiful, freshest blooms possible. It's an original concept in wedding flowers which we've been bashing on about for the last four years and which we think is taking off in a big way as it's part of the growing trend towards sustainable wedding planning. It makes a wedding day all the more personal and of course more eco-friendly too.
But as Bella & Fifi explain, "it's not just about being 'eco', 'beautiful' is just as important, after all, it's the one day when everything needs to look stunning. We're trying to show that green and gorgeous can go hand in hand."
Felt from the heart
Your guests will be hard pressed to throw these wedding favours in the bin when they get home!
We are totally bowled over by these gorgeous felt hearts hand sewn by a group of women in Makapanstad,South Africa who have created a little heartfelt something which makes a perfectly unique idea as a little thank you gift for your wedding guests.
Julie who, with her friend Martha, set up The Heartfelt Project thinks that the wedding industry at the moment has taken the whole emphasis off what a wedding is really about - namely the love and commitment of two individuals - and that it has become greedy. She believes that more and more couples are beginning to realise this and that they want to tailor-make their wedding day, creating a more individual feel where it really is about the bride and groom and their values, and they are more discerning about how they spend their wedding budget, putting it where it can really make a difference. Buying these little wedding favours will do just that.
Big wave, big welcome
Looking outside at the weather today (there's snow on Exmoor) it's hard to believe we will ever get some of those gorgeous summer days that we all lust after. But summer will come and we're predicting that festival flags are the next big thing for back yard wedding decor.
So when Cornish festival flag makers Big Wave Flags contacted us to find out whether our couples would be interested in their flags we nearly bit their hands off!
Having a cluster of Big Wave Flags to welcome your guests makes a real statement and they can transform your wedding venue to create a quite unique atmosphere. The flags stand 8 meters tall and are available in combinations of white, silver, ivory champagne, yellow, gold, red, purple, green, blue and more.
The fantastically tall, upright flags fly beautifully as en-masse installations but, if your budget will only run to a couple of flags, they also work equally well in the most compact locations. Each and every flag is different and they are all handmade in Big Wave's studio overlooking the North Cornish coastline.
Winning wedding stationery
When Jemma and Amanda of GreenLeaf Press contacted us to tell us all about their new stationery range we couldn't believe our ears. Even the ribbon they use is eco friendly! Not only that but it's made right here in the UK, in the lovely county of Cheshire.
GreenLeaf Press makes a simply stunning collection of 'off the peg’ and bespoke ethical wedding and special occasion stationery which can be adapted to suit any occasion. Everything is printed on eco friendly paper and you can choose from a range of papers made from wood pulp, straw, hemp, beer and cotton. Everything is ethically sourced and their website is even powered by wind!
So if you're searching for wedding invitations that have a strong green pedigree you must check out their range.
Along with the usual wedding invitations, save-the-dates, thank you cards and RSVP's, they also make gorgeous gift and favour bags, like the ones in the picture above, and they love creating beautiful eco chic stationery to complement their clients’ events.
They also run their own blog which is stuffed full of beautiful styling tips and ideas of how to co-ordinate your wedding stationery with your wedding theme.
Eco friendly flower girls
If you're looking for flowers with impeccable eco-credentials and an authentically quirky edge, you wouldn't go far wrong in enlisting the services of fresh flower company Bella & Fifi.
When I asked them what made them start a flower business that concentrates wholly on the local and seasonal flower trade (because, let's face it, it's a whole lot easier to buy flowers off a lorry from Amsterdam) they replied: "We wanted to do something creative, useful and environmental, and above all to spread a little happiness. Sustainable floristry just seemed to tick all the boxes, so Bella & Fifi was born."
Stunning arabian wedding tents
If you're planning an exotic theme for your wedding, one of these stunning tents will create an atmosphere out of the Arabian Nights.
Arabian Tents has a range of marquees with beautifully hand made interiors in a number of designs which include delicate printing to vibrant velvets and all the patterns on the tent linings are hand block printed in India using traditional techniques.
The company also stocks and wide range of accessories and lounge furniture like sofas, padded stools, low tables, chests, rugs and ornaments which you can use to decorate and accessorise the inside space with.
What we love about Arabian Tents is their commitment to the women's co-operative that does all the block printing. By supporting this co-operative they are giving women who find themselves in abusive relatoinships an opportunity to become financially independent. Also some of the soft furnishings you can hire are made by a Delhi company that employs Aids suffrers, helping them at every stage of their illness by providing them with appropriate work and taking into consideration their needs at every stage.
Now that's a wonderful way to spend your wedding budget, supporting a company that cares.
Table decorations that grow on you
There's a definite feel of spring in the air and with the snowdrops looking particularly gorgeous at the moment, it made us think of spring like-table decorations. Seasonal, natural and eco friendly ones for wedding receptions.
You could use any combination of growing bulbs to suit your wedding theme. Lush and green, jewel tones, all whites, scented, blues and creams, the choice is endless.
Eco friendly wedding bunting
If you're planning to decorate your green wedding with bunting, take a look at this great idea!
According to TRAID, the fashion recycling charity, over 1 million tons of fabric is thrown into dustbins every year in the UK. That equates to 900,000 million items of clothing - and the figures are growing. So Sue at Derry's Den has made it her mission to use up as much UK discarded textiles as she can and you can help her do it by buying her eco bunting.
Sue says "I'd noticed that most party bunting is made from new materials including plastics and the thought of adding more synthetics to the environment just doesn't appeal, so I thought it would be great to use up unwanted textiles. I've been lucky enough to have travelled all over the world in the past and many communities that I’ve visited reuse textiles out of necessity. In contrast, through lives of comparative luxury, Westerners have created a problem with waste. I’ve always been into upcycling items rather than throwing them into the rubbish bin, chopping up old clothing to create some other useful item is in my genes. I vividly remember grandmother doing it.”
Environmentally friendly bunting can be used for all sorts of occasions, not just weddings. Birthdays, anniversary, leaving parties, or Christmas, as well as street parties, corporate events, or just for brightening up your garden in the summer. Decorate a child's bedroom....have their name on bunting in their favourite colour. Sue makes her eco friendly bunting out of waste textiles, recycled cards or paper, and even waste plastic bags. The bunting is packaged in recycled waste plastic bags from the card industry. All the bunting is made in Oxfordshire and she has made bunting for Greenpeace to decorate their flagship the Rainbow Warrior and it's also been used by Greenpeace, Oxfam and Wateraid at Glastonbury Festival.
All the bunting is made to order so you can choose what colours you want to fit in with your wedding theme.
GU HQ hosted a tea party
We had a lovely afternoon here at GU HQ last Thursday when Rosie Parsons, a very talented wedding photographer, and Vicky of Vintage Teasets braved the deep Devon lanes to come and visit us right here at headquarters.
Its not often we get visitors here, we usually have to trek out to the big city to find our friends, so there was definitely a celebratory atmosphere. The GU kitchen produced a delicious polenta cake which went down a treat with fair trade tea.
Rosie snapped away for posterity, even insisting on recording a new portrait of me! Then after tea, we showed them around; they inspected the cutting garden, woods and veg patch and talked to the chickens before driving off into the early dusk making their way back to the big cities.
Christmas candle inspiration
Guaranteed to give you a warm glow! Choose the most natural candles you can find for your Christmas winter wedding. All our candles are hand made in England using soy wax from sustainable sources, or beeswax from Gloucestershire.
Our soy wax candles have a lovely creamy texture and burn very cleanly, so they're better for your health and for the planet.
Our all natural beeswax candles are hand made by a beekeeper in Gloucestershire, England who uses wax from his own hives.
Don't just use them for your wedding, all our natural candles make perfect gifts and stocking fillers too.
November promotion - 15% off all orders at Pebble in the Pond
Eco friendly wedding stylists and decorators Pebble in the Pond are offering our readers an amazing 15% off all orders placed in November across their complete range – whether you choose their styling service, hire their vintage china and linen or simply opt to order the sweetest wedding favours we've come across.
So if you are mulling over ideas for decorations or favours then they'd love to get their thinking caps on!
Recycled decorations for love and luck
Our Blogger Bride, Kerry's post a week or so ago about her recycled paper wedding decorations reminded me of the oriental legend of the crane which is a symbol of peace and long life. It is believed in these societies that folding 1000 origami paper cranes makes a wish come true and in Japanese weddings, the bride who folds 1000 origami cranes before her wedding ensures a prosperous and happy marriage.
Also, of course, the 'Thousand Origami Cranes' has become a symbol of world peace through the story of Sadako Sasaki, a Japanese girl who contracted leukemia as a result of radiation from the atomic bombing of Hiroshima during World War II. Her story is told in the the book Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes.
So just imagine how many wishes can come true if 5,000 cranes are folded, collected and transformed into a mesmerizing chandelier?
The Wedding Co. is collecting cranes for cancer. By 2010 they hope to have collected at least 5,000 folded and signed cranes from newly engaged couples. For every crane collected they will donate 50 cents to cancer research. The final product will be a chandelier that represents the visual and spiritual unification of engaged couples around the world and will be displayed at the 2010 Wedding Co. Show in Toronto.
Request a paper crane here. Then simply fold the crane, sign it and return to:
The Wedding Co.
We'd love to hear from brides who are participating! Email us at email@example.com with a picture of your creation.
Thanks to brideslittlewhitebook
Posted in Green Wedding Decorations & Details
Low Impact Wedding Series - The Decorations
We had such a beautiful location for the wedding we felt that it didn’t need much decoration. My one recommendation to others is to start with a beautiful place. It will be so much less work in the long run.
Cloth Napkins: I insisted that we have no disposables used at our wedding. So when it came to napkins I looked into renting cloth ones and discovered they were about $0.40 a piece to rent. So instead I bought many, many vintage cloth napkins in lots off eBay for less than $0.40 a piece and ended up with enough for one per guest so there was one at every place setting. It added a lot to the room and people sat at places because they wanted a certain napkin. I am pretty sure people took them home too as I was missing about 20 at the end of the day!
With the rest I plan on making them into a quilt at some point, but even missing 20 I have more than enough for that project.
Misc: In a previous post I mentioned the floral center pieces I made using my mom’s antiques and flowers from her garden. I also made flower arrangements for the guest book table, bathrooms and the family wedding portraits table.
Total cost - $164.12
Stock up on soy wax candles
If you're wondering wondering about stocking up on soy wax candles for your candlit wedding in the winter and want to know more about them and see them in the flesh then get along to the Eco Design Summer Fairs in London. Our partners Hapi Bean Soy Candles will be there.
Jo at Hapi Bean can show you how they burn and tell you all about how gorgeous her candles are. Unlike many soy wax candles where the soy beans are NOT sourced from deforested Rain Forest land. Hapi Beans candle wax is made from soybeans that are sourced from US farmers with long established farmlands free from pesticides, herbicides and they are GM free.
Hapi Bean's 100% unscented soy wax tealights and candles are hand made in the UK, they burn amazingly cleanly, leaving no soot residue. They offer traditional tealights and glass tealights, with more styles on the way.
Hapi Bean also creates gorgeous vintage china and glass candles exclusively for our own Eco Chic Boutique and will soon be offering a refill service.
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.
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.
Posted in Green Wedding Decorations & Details
Bright idea! Special offer...
Falling Star makes candles with a conscience.
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.
Offer valid till 31 December 2009.
A venue decorator with a difference!
When Emma from Pebble in the Pond contacted me about joining GreenUnion I had to ask her why her wedding stylist and decoration service considered itself 'planet friendly'. Her response was very convincing:
'we love supporting local artists and those lucky enough to be blessed with green fingers. We much prefer to use natural or organic products to those shipped in from afar. We’re busy collecting beautiful crockery, linens and glass from bygone eras and it goes without saying, we make sure that anything that can be is recycled and replanted.'
Wherever possible they:
* support local suppliers and use local products
On top of that they do all the boring stuff too:
* offset all our petrol miles
Although all that sounds very worthy, they're not willing to compromise on elegance, style or inspiration when setting the scene for your perfect day.
So if you're throwing a green wedding in the Manchester area and you're looking for some inspiring wedding decorations or just prefer to have a venue decorator come and do it all for you then contact Pebble in the Pond for a chat.
By the way they also supply gorgeous green wedding favours too and will be launching their gift service soon. In the meantime contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call Emma on 07538 176829 for more information on their gifts and wedding favours.
Fresh Vintage Teacup Candles
Wondering what to give your loved one for V-Day, or just thinking of treating yourself? We've just added these lovely new vintage teacup candles to our online shop. Made by a new supplier Clara Bows, these candles are gorgeous, glamorous and eco friendly.
Each one of her candles is unique in individually sourced vintage crockery or glassware. Lovingly hand poured using 100% natural soy wax from sustainable sources. She uses only the highest quality fragrance, essential oils and wicks. Most importantly, they smell of delicious sugary buttery shortbread or tea!
Once your candle is finished you only need to rinse it out with warm soapy water and then you’re left with this lovely tea trio of cup, saucer and plate to use for an afternoon tea.
Every candle comes beautifully boxed and wrapped in tissue paper all tied up with a bow, and the prices all include post and packing.
Make your own Christmas door wreath
We've been making our own Christmas door wreaths today, one for ourselves and the rest to give to friends as naturally gorgeous and seasonal Christmas gifts. We collected moss and greenery from the garden, twigs from the hedgerows, conkers, cones and bark from the woods and embellished the whole thing with dried hydrangeas, lichen and raffia.
It made me think that some of you enterprising brides may be wondering how to make one for your own big day. You can find detailed instructions of how to make a similar Christmas door wreath on Snapdragon Garden's blog.
Once you've worked out the fundamentals, then don't be afraid to experiment to your heart's content using all sorts of seeds, fruits, leaves, twigs and seasonal flowers. What you come up with will be a unique reflection of your own green wedding and it'll be a fabulous welcome to guests on your wedding day.
Christmas door wreaths
There's nothing quite like a lavishly decorated door wreath to welcome visitors to your home or your wedding reception. Jane at Snapdragon Garden hand makes door wreaths the traditional way, starting off with a copper ring covered in lovely squishy moss, trailing ivy, box, holly, rosemary, really whatever she can get her hands on to give a generous bountiful look. Then she adds in masses of fresh fruit, cones and seedheads.
Jane began making her christmas wreaths yesterday and she tells us she is only making a limited number this year. So if the idea of having a hedgerow wreath delivered into your city home is an attractive one, or you know someone who'd love it as a gift, don't forget to order yours early!
They will be delivered within the UK by overnight courier and can be ordered for the weeks beginning 8th or 15th December.
HAPPY THANKSGIVING to all our American friends.
I heart Christmas
Still not sure what to use for your Christmas wedding decorations? Here's an idea...
Lovely hearts from POSH Graffiti would make beautiful Christmas tree decorations or tie your guests names on with ribbons for place names and they double up as wedding favours. If you haven't got a tree to decorate and don't want to have ribbon everywhere then their brilliant POSH Graffiti® on sticks can be use for all sorts of ideas - stick them into containers with your table decorations, use them to decorate your cake or pop one into every guest's desert and it will double up as a wedding favour. The ideas are endless.
And using these decorations will make you feel good about the love you have to give because...
Samhain or Hallowe'en?
Samhain (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.
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...
And following on our theme of gorgeous glowing autumn colours, textures and produce, it's that time of the year again...
APPLE DAY celebrating the heritage of English apples, is on 21 October this year and there are heaps of events all over the country this weekend or next, celebrating the quintessential qualities and diversity of the appplicious English apple. You can find out more at Common Ground or just do your own thing. Full of rich symbolism, the apple is a wonderful way of carrying a theme through your wedding day if you're marrying in the autumn. Delicious to eat cooked and raw, beautiful to look at and a jewel when used in decorations, place settings or as wedding favours, use apples to your heart's content.
William Crump, American Mother, Adams Pearmain, Tom Putt, Lucombe’s, Pine Major, Woolbrook Russet, Upton Pyne, Plum Vite, Hoarry Morning and Slack ma Girdle are just a few of the wonderful names of apples - use them for your table names.
Go pick a few apples or support your local farmer's market and wander home to make this delicious apple cake:
Cream together 125gms butter and 125gms soft brown sugar and mix in 2 eggs beaten.
Eat warm with lashings of clotted cream! Mmmmmmmmmm...
Colours of autumn
Autumn's my favourite time of the year. Gorgeous rich colours of ochres, reds and crimsons. Apples and nuts, squashes and conkers, bonfires and candles. They all give us that warm glow.
If you're thinking of an autumn wedding and wondering how to decorate look no further than new partners' Ochre & Ocre where you can find the richest coloured organic cotton and linens all dyed using the Oeko-tex method to give you the cleanest / greenest materials you can buy. They also sell sweet lavender bags filled with Cotswold Lavender, scented soy wax candles in tins and beeswax pillar candles to warm your heart.
We heard that in the Chinese art of Feng Shui, ochre earth shades give a feeling of stability, serenity and resistance to time, and vibrations from these colours are very beneficial - a great start for newlyweds so put Ochre & Ocre on your wedding gift list today!
Beautiful Tents for Hire
We're really excited to welcome Hooes Yurts to GreenUnion to swell our growing number of fantastic mobile eco wedding venues country wide.
The tents are based on the Mongolian Yurt (or Ger) and are constructed from timber and canvas. They look gorgeous form the outside and, once inside, they feel solid, sumptuous and welcoming, creating a perfect space for a green wedding. Yurts are wonderfully versatile with no central poles or guy ropes to trip up the unsuspecting wedding guest and they can be used individually or linked together for bigger events. Hooes offer 24ft, 18ft and 14ft yurts that can be connected together to create different shaped venues for up to 200 people like this eco chic wedding palace pictured above.
And it doesn't stop there either. Not only do they supply you with the yurts, but their offer is second to none with a choice of other services. Amy is passionate about decorating the yurts with beautiful textiles and furniture and she personally selects all her furnishings with care and love from around the world. Often the pieces are vintage and they have always been purchased fairly. Each yurt has its own individual design and colour theme but all have a uniting style with sumptuous interiors which are exotic and vibrant.
Eco friendly trees
The Christmas tree is synonymous with the festive season and a Christmas wedding wouldn't be the same without at least one tree. Unsure whether to go artificial or real? Here are the facts:
Although artificial trees last longer, they are not biodegradable and, as such, they will languish in landfill sites long after you have discarded them. Most artificial trees sold in the UK come from Taiwan and China so also incur additional CO2 emissions associated with transportation, never mind the possible question of labour relations and fair trade.
Real Christmas trees not only smell divine - they are carbon neutral too - absorbing as much carbon dioxide as they will give off when they are burned or left to decompose. Even better, if you choose trees with roots, they can be planted in your garden or a suitable site afterwards and used year after year. The British Christmas Tree Growers Association has a list of producers nationwide so you can source your green trees locally for your earth friendly Christmas wedding.
And if you're using cut trees don't forget to arrange to have them taken to a green waste centre after the wedding, where they can be composted and used to plant more trees for the next season. If you're in London you can get this done by Pines & Needles.
Posted in Green Wedding Decorations & Details
Today is Diwali
If 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:
Fireworks - can they be ethical?
With 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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