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A family affair...
I was blown away when Amy at Hooe's Yurts sent me the story of her sister's chilled, intimate and very natural wedding. She told me the story so well that I thought it best to let her pass it on to you in her own words. Over to you Amy...
When my lovely younger sister and her fiance got engaged the whole family was totally delighted and instantly began planning the perfect setting for their wedding day.
Sister Polly is a Cornish vet mainly working with large animals like horses and cattle while Joel is a pro surfer, so it went without saying that they wanted a really relaxed day, close to home, which would reflect their chilled outlook on life. Lucky for them, then, that my husband Max and I own the yurt company Hooe's Yurts and our mum lives on the banks of the impossibly romantic Tamar River in Devon - the perfect backdrop for a magical woodland wedding.
They decided to have the ‘official’ wedding ceremony, to get the marriage license, in the Bathing Hut at Pentillie Castle, so after we’d all pitched in to set up the wedding venue in the woods, immediate family downed tools, jumped into a boat, still in our wellies and traveled up the river to witness them getting hitched. It turned out to be the perfect start to a weekend of revelry.
October sunshine, champagne and smoked salmon sandwiches made the morning fly by for us giggling girls as we readied ourselves for the wedding and Polly, looking like a woodland imp in her 20's style vintage wedding dress, headed off to meet her groom, with bridesmaids carrying the babies - Polly’s son Ozzie and my daughter Poppy - down the steps of the old lead and silver mine to a delighted Joel and a large crowd of happy friends and family.
Although we always knew that, if the October weather turned, the yurts were available with wood burners at the ready for a cosy and intimate ceremony, mother nature was kind to us and the outside ceremony was magical - the couple stood under the ruined arch of the old engine house and said their humanist vows with the excellent guidance of celebrant Alison Orchard. Celebrations followed with champagne and cocktails accompanied by delectable nibbles from Philip at The Dartmoor Inn.
Decorated with stunning vintage Indian wall hangings and lit with twinkling fairy lights, the beautiful yurts came into their own as evening drew in. There was a big yurt with a round wooden dance floor and bar, a huge dining yurt and an exotically decorated snug yurt for quiet moments. After listening to hilarious speeches we headed into the cathedral-like 44ft yurt for a sit down dinner with 130 guests. Dressed local crab and perfect fish and chips followed by wicked mini chocolate pots left us full and smiling.
We danced into the early hours, sat around fire-woks and nibbled on fairy cakes until we could keep our eyes open no longer. In true modern style the party continued the next day with a BBQ, donkey rides and so much laughter - what a joyful weekend!
Sister number two is next with more yurts and wedding joy to come! No pressure then...
Hooes Yurts is a recommended Green Union wedding supplier. Stunning, beautifully decorated yurts for wedding receptions, hen weekends and wedding nights. Our yurts range from a huge 44ft yurt to seat 120 people to cosy 14ft bedroom yurts. They can be used individually or linked together to create an amazing Yurt Palace for a reception with up to 250 guests. A brilliant alternative to a traditional marquee and perfect for adding that wow factor to your wedding day.
Visit Hooes Yurts for more details.
Josie and Matt’s wonderful wedding video by Reel Sixty
Well, I don’t know where the time goes, there’s never enough time to keep up with all the lovely things we get sent here at GU HQ!
Anyway, today I have this lovely atmospheric video, for you to sit back, relax and watch, of Matt and Josie Hoskins' wedding on 9th February, 2013 at the Green House Hotel in Bournmouth filmed on a blustery seaside day by the very talented Theo at Reel Sixty.
Matt and Josie met through work in the City of London and, after some very busy years together, getting a house in South West London and having a son they finally found time to get married! They thought it would be great to go down memory lane and chose Josie's college town of Bournemouth to tie the knot and the Green House Hotel, with its impressive green credentials and top notch locally sourced food was their perfect choice of venue.
It certainly was a wintery and blustery day at the coast but Josie and Matt braved the weather in their wedding attire for a bracing walk on the beach with Theo and the camera, before enjoying a wonderfully cosy evening of food, drink and merriment at the hotel. It really was a very intimate wedding and sincere family get together.
The London based Reel Sixty's specialty is to shoot on Super8mm film and they’ve been filming weddings since 2003, creating a wonderfully unique and vintage style record of the day which is, of course, why Matt and Josie chose them as their wedding videographers.
The Green House Hotel is a recommended Green Union wedding venue. A beautiful eco-friendly boutique hotel that lives, eats and breathes sustainability. With 32 stunning bedrooms, an award winning chef and a wedding licence, the hotel offers unrivalled attention to detail for a memorable wedding day. With a promise to only ever host one wedding on any given day and the opportunity to have exclusive use of the hotel your special day will be truly bespoke.
Visit The Green House Hotel for more details.
Visit Reel Sixty for more information on their brilliant vintage style wedding videography service.
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?
Summer wedding in Wales
It's so lovely to be able to celebrate our wonderfully hot and abundant summer and we love these photos from the wedding of Alex and Angela at the beautiful Welsh wedding venue, Welsh Green Weddings.
If you would like to know more about throwing a green and eco friendly wedding in Wales then go to Welsh Green Weddings website for more information.
Images: James Kirby
Welsh Green Weddings - book soon for 2014!
Welsh Green Weddings has just let us know that they have booked another large wedding for 2014 and are now only able to host two more weddings in the giant tipi next year. So if this wonderful Welsh eco-friendly wedding venue is on your short list you should get in touch if you want to be one of those getting wed there in 2014.
Having said that, though, there is still no limit to the number of small weddings in the Old Dairy, a really intimate space that caters for much smaller weddings - the big trend for 2014. And, for couples wanting to go on and party elsewhere, but just fancy a beautiful spot for their outdoor wedding ceremony, Welsh Green Weddings now has a gorgeous licensed gazebo in the garden which you can just hire for your wedding ceremony only. What a great idea!
And don’t forget Bonnie the pony and trap, for bride and groom transport and photo opportunities - wonderful!
Contact Welsh Green Weddings for more information.
Would you like to feature in a film?
Are you getting married in the next couple of months?
Would you be interested in a great opportunity to feature in a small and intimate documentary about Green Weddings to be aired by Euronews, an International TV channel based in Lyon, France?
Euronews broadcasts worldwide in 11 languages and they are longing to do a feature about 'green weddings' in their program 'Terra Viva', a bi-monthly programme of four minutes which is dedicated to Green Living issues.
They would love to create a story around you, the couple, your family and friends with some filming of the wedding, and the reasons why you have chosen to throw a green wedding. The film team is small and unobtrusive - just a journalist and a cameraman and they would like to film you as soon as they can.
So if you're throwing a green wedding in the next two months and are interested in taking part, then we would very much like to hear from you urgently.
Please phone us on 01769 550580 or email email@example.com if you would like to take part, or if you want to have a chat about this great opportunity.
Image: Green Photographic
A piece of 'wedding' cake!
When Lisa of Tricky Treats, who makes dreamy wedding cakes using only the very best local and organic ingredients, joined Green Union's wedding directory she let slip that she had recently got married. It sounded like an amazing affair so we asked her to tell us more. Over to you Lisa ...
"We got married on the 30th April 2011. It was a gorgeous sunny day with only a few drops of rain! The service was emotional but by the time we started singing ‘When I’m 64’ all the nerves had gone and we were well on our way to having a great party.
My beautiful dress was designed and made by Kirstie Macleod. It was the most dreamy outfit I have ever worn. Towards the end of the evening I put on my headdress made by my wonderful friend Steph of Feathersmith. Within the headdress she had also incorporated bit of lace from my dress and material from the bridesmaids dresses. I absolutely love it!
My husband has a small obsession with owls so as well as the classic English garden party theme we had a few owls thrown in the mix too. Every table had an owl name and picture painted by Tess and her Dad.
Save the date, naturally
When Simone over at Welsh Green Weddings sent us Ruth and Glenn's save the date photo (they are to be married at Penybanc Farm in Carmarthenshire in April this year) we couldn't help sharing it!
If you're planning a naturally green and eco-friendly wedding this is a brilliantly cost effective way to announce your wedding date to your family and friends...
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Eclectic eco-chic London wedding
What we love about the weddings that our fans throw is the total individuality of them and the irresistible melting pot of cultures that boil over!
Ethical wedding photographer, Emma Stoner sent us lovely photos of Jenny and Peter's Jewish wedding held right in the heart of the City at the iconic newly refurbished St Pancras Renaissance Hotel. The couple chose the spot for it's unique character and convenient location not far from their North London flat, so helping to cut down on travel. This beautiful building, with its stylish Victorian inspired interiors and Gothic romantic architecture provides an excellent setting for a wedding.
Autumn inspired eco friendly wedding shoot
Wedding stylist Sue Fyfe-Williams of Aunties Vintage China recently sent us this lovely Autumn inspired photo shoot at Welsh Green Weddings, a distinctly different wedding venue that offers a multitude of options for couples to plan a unique, individual wedding which reflects their values and choices.
Newly licensed for weddings earlier this year, wonderful Welsh Green Weddings is a beautiful and versatile eco friendly wedding venue near Llandysul, Ceridigion. The Dairy and Byre are both licensed for wedding ceremonies and, while larger weddings may need a marquee, smaller more intimate wedding receptions can fit snugly into the dairy. There is a great choice of accommodation for your guests ranging from cosy dormitory-type rooms in the adjacent Ceridwen Centre, bedrooms in the farmhouse and the byre, a yurt and an original, beautifully decorated Romany caravan. Couples who choose to spend their wedding night in the Romany caravan, which is at the end of a leafy path, will wake up surrounded by rolling Welsh hills and serenaded with birdsong.
The wedding venue is owned and run by Simone and Roger Mansell-Broome, who are just the perfect hosts and stylist Sue said that when one tries to praise them for their hospitality and attention to detail they reply “It's what we do”.
Getting married soon?
ITV are looking for couples getting married between now and November 2011 for a new series of For Better, For Worse.
This is a returning show, where they follow couples who got married 14 years ago, catching up with them every seven years. The programme is a study of modern marriage, and they're looking for just ONE more couple.
They are looking for people very much in love and looking forward to starting their lives together. They want to hear from people who have found their soul mate, or have an unusual wedding planned or just want to share their big day with us. They'd love to follow you on your journey into married life - so do get in touch.
Anyone interested can contact Nicola Cornick on 0207 157 3824 or email Nicola.firstname.lastname@example.org ASAP for more info.
Image Green Photographic
Win a luxury honeymoon
FOUR WEDDINGS IS BACK!
Sky Living’s hit show ‘Four Weddings’ is back and, as before, they are looking for brides/grooms-to-be to attend and score each other’s weddings for a chance to win a luxury honeymoon.
So if you are throwing a wedding or civil partnership or an alternative wedding ceremony like a pagan wedding, or a green and eco-friendly wedding in 2011 then the production team would love to speak to you.
Get in touch today!
email@example.com or phone 020 715 73803
For more information check out their website
Creative Humanist wedding
Photographer Emma Stoner recently sent us some lovely images she took for the marriage of Tess Berry-Hart to David Mercatali at Barrington Court Farmhouse, David's uncle's home in Somerset.
Tess and David chose this spot as it's their favourite place and a regular getaway from their busy theatre careers in London. The happy couple were joined by their closest friends and family for the wedding ceremony which was held on a grassy mound of trees and colourful flowers.
They had a beautiful outdoor Humanist service for their marriage which included the planting of a tree as a symbol of their love for each other.
The wedding reception took place in a marquee on the grounds of the farmhouse and Instead of a toast of champagne they went for the Somerset version, a locally produced bubbly cider. Tess and David sourced as much local produce for the food they served at the reception which included a free range, RSPCA approved hog roast from Kenniford Farms in Devon.
Tess's brothers provided the musical entertainment for the day with Simon and Garfunkel and the Beatles played on guitar and piano. After dinner the guests milled around the grounds, sipping wine in the fields and enjoying the late afternoon sun and later Tess sung 'Let it Be' with her brothers as they warmed up for the first dance.
For more information about Emma Stoner's wedding photography please go to her website Emma Stoner Weddings.
A heartfelt country house wedding
When Zoe Marsden and Rufus Glyn got married in Wimbourne, Dorset, they asked Emma Stoner to photograph the day for them and what a day it was! After a heartfelt ceremony at the local church the wedding party moved on to a reception hosted by Rufus's father, Sir Richard Glyn at the family home, Gaunts Estate.
The couple live in a cottage on the Estate where the family runs a community offering a range of activities: festivals, spiritual workshops and even a 'wild-skills' youth programme. Weddings are not normally held here but Honeybrook Farm may be hired as a venue.
Emma said that it was great to be able to make such a unique family home a central feature of Rufus and Zoe's wedding day photos as each room had a different story to tell. Artwork from a recent competition held at the house was still hanging in the girls' room where Zoe was getting ready, providing a colourful backdrop for the preparation shots.
The guests mingled in the library and the couple enjoyed their 'first dance' in the ballroom, a fantastic old room where the walls are clad in family portraits and the ceilings drip with chandeliers while the garden played host to a bevy of tiny beauties playing hide and seek!
For more information about Emma's wedding photography check out her website www.emmastonerweddings.com.
Posted in Green Wedding Natural Nuptials
Royal green wedding
It's what we'd all hoped and been waiting for - proof that the Royal wedding will, in every sense be a green affair.
News that Westminster Abbey is being decked out with an avenue of 20ft trees (all to be replanted at Highgrove when the celebrations are over), lining the aisle leading to the alter, makes our hearts sing with joy!
Much of the foliage will come from the royal estates and everything is to be English, natural, seasonal, ethical and as organic as possible. The resulting decorations are to be understated and elegant - we love it!
And we know that the wedding flowers will be full of meaning with the language of flowers and symbolism being key.
The trees in the Abbey will be six English field maples, symbolising humility and reserve, and two hornbeams, symbolising resilience. They will be in huge pots made by English craftsmen at Highgrove.
The seasonal flowers being used in the displays include Solomon's seal, brought from Sandringham, which symbolises confirmation of love; azaleas, the Chinese symbol of femininity; lilacs, which represent first love, and blossoms, signifying spiritual beauty. Other blooms being used include rhododendron, euphorbias, beech and wisteria, mostly from Windsor Great Park.
We can't wait to see it all on Friday and sense a huge trend for natural decor in 2012's green weddings.
Welsh green weddings
At last we have found an amazing venue in Wales for those that want to get wed the green way over the border. And what a venue it is, hosting wedding and civil partnership celebrations on their organic farm for those who want a truly rural, less commercialised, more individual green event.
Welsh Green Weddings in West Wales, is a small organic farm of forty acres tucked into the lush green Teifi Valley. They offer self-catered and/or catered accommodation for over forty people sleeping in three separate converted farm buildings plus additional sensitively managed spaces for camping and caravans. And there's a beautifully converted Old Dairy for small wedding receptions while larger receptions can be held in hired tents, yurts or marquees in the field close to the farmhouse.
An undiscovered gem of a venue nestling on the borders of Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire. Although it sounds rather remote, it's actually only a mile from the A484 linking Carmarthen to Cardigan and the nearest railway station is in Carmarthen, only 12 miles away, just beyond the western end of the M4, so very easy to get to from far and wide.
Welsh Green Weddings is Vegetarian approved, being members of the Vegetarian Society Food and Drink Guild, and the farm is heated by a biomass boiler with solar powered hot water. The photos were taken on a gloriously sunny spring day last weekend - you can just imagine how lush it will be in the summer!
These wonderful people are incredibly flexible and are happy to do whatever you like, whatever the size or complexity of your big day.
Creative eco friendly budget wedding
When Sarah Falugo of Green Photographic sent in these amazing pictures of Jo and Ross's budget wedding in Cornwall we just knew we would have to share them!
Jo is an actress and singer and Ross is a musician/songwriter.
They married in a registry office in the morning in jeans and t-shirt and then had a more personal wedding blessing conducted by a humanist celebrant at Maker Heights, Rame Peninsula, Cornwall near where they live and regularly perform their music at local gigs.
Sarah says that this was a super, super budget wedding and the photos, which were taken in a field over-looking Plymouth Sound, were her gift to the couple since they are friends. What a fantastic wedding gift - the wedding looks a million dollars, proof you don't have to break the bank to throw a green wedding.
Royal eco-wedding for Channel 4 News
If you're planning to get wed late March/early April and fancy a fabulous video of your eco wedding then here's a great way to get one!
Channel 4 News is looking to do a piece about marriage ahead of the Royal Wedding. They're considering why people believe in it, what it means to them and what made them want to take the leap and would like to feature an eco-wedding.
If you think you'd like to take part then get in touch with Katie Razzall on 07736 479377 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Green weddings on TV
Are you planning a wedding or civil partnership in 2011? Have you organised the wedding of your dreams?
WOULD YOU LIKE TO WIN A FANTASTIC HONEYMOON?
LIVING’S hit show ‘Four Weddings’ is coming back by popular demand next year and they are again looking for more couples to attend and score each other’s weddings. Each wedding will be scored on the venue, the food, the overall experience and of course, the dress. The couple that scores the highest will win the luxury honeymoon of their dreams!
This is a great opportunity to shout about how chic an ethical and natural wedding can be. Hurry they are casting now!
Royal Wedding Bells!
Did you hear that Prince William and long-term girlfriend Kate Middleton announced their engagement today!
Fantastic! You'll be in right royal company if you're planning to get wed next year, as today's exciting announcement says that Wills and Kate are getting married in the summer of 2011 and will announce the wedding date in due course.
Naturally we're wondering, here at GU HQ, and considering Wills Dad is particularly partial to anything organic or British, whether there will be any references to greener more eco friendly elements in the wedding preparations. At the very least we would expect to see the Royal couple employing great British businesses and producers - British design, British fabrics, British produce and supporting some fantastic traditional British skills, thus putting something back into our own economy.
As the Royal wedding plans unfold we will keep try and you up to date, especially highlighting anything that we think merits a special mention. Watch this space!
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,
Are you having problems seeing eye to eye with your parents over your wedding plans? Do they disapprove of the person you have chosen to marry? Is there a conflict between you and your fiancé's religions? Are they unhappy about your civil partnership?
Would they prefer a traditional, conventional and expensive wedding with their own friends and business colleagues attending, while you prefer the idea of an eco-friendly wedding on a small budget using ethical wedding suppliers in a green wedding venue, maybe a barn dance with your closest friends and family?
Well, a TV production company called TOUCH PRODUCTIONS who specialize in making high-end factual documentaries is looking for you. For more information and to discuss your story in strictest confidence you can email Rosie Bristow email@example.com .
Meg and Ty's natural wedding
When Meg emailed us back in the spring to let us know how delighted she was with her Abbie Wedding Dress saying "My dress arrived within 5 days of ordering it. I love love love it and just wanted to say thank you sooooo much for your amazing and personable service. You are amazing!" we did sit up a pay attention!
Then she emailed again in the summer to say "The dress was just stunning and made me feel amazing." So we couldn't help but feel a little bit smug and asked Meg to tell us a bit more about how she and husband Ty tied the knot.
You may remember we posted a picture on the blog of her and new husband Ty cutting their cake.
This is what Meg told us about her very natural and relaxed wedding in Datchet in July:
Natural wedding venue in the heart of London
We're over the moon to have WWT London Wetland Centre join our eco friendly wedding directory.
WWT London Wetland Centre is 42 hectares of beautiful lakes, pools and lagoons bringing wildlife and birds to the heart of our capital city.
To find such an amazing habitat so close to central London is unique and this combination of beautiful surroundings and central location (Zone 2) makes it the ideal venue for natural weddings in the city. The Wetland Centre are liscensed to hold civil partnership and marriage ceremonies in some of their buildings while other buildings are fabulous spots for wedding receptions. Venues approved for ceremonies are the Observatory and Wetland Living.
The Observatory can host a maximum of 110 guests and is a beautiful split level, heated observatory with a huge viewing window which has spectacular panoramic views across the reserve.
Wetland Living is a quaint and intimate venue with a thatched roof and white washed walls providing you the perfect location for your event. Licensed for wedding ceremonies the building has a capacity for 42 guests seated or 60 people standing. Where else in London can you have a wedding ceremony surrounded by beautiful wetlands and birds?
This wonderful wildlife and bird sanctuary is situated in Barnes not far from Hammersmith Bridge and smack in the middle of London. It's an inspiration for couples living in London who would prefer to get married in a wilder, more natural environment but don't want to stray too far from home.
GreenUnion supports the Any Campaign
Through the grapevine we've just heard about a new campaign which we think deserves all the support it can get.
As couples planning eco friendly weddings across England know, one of the most frustrating things is not being able to choose a beautiful spot in a favourite location for their green weddings. If you've always dreamed of tying the knot in a bluebell glade or on top of a mountain, or anywhere else for that matter that does not have a licensed roof then don't hesitate to support this campaign.
ANY: Campaign to Legalise Marriage Anytime Anywhere - is a campaign to legalise marriage ceremonies to be able to take place at anytime, anywhere in the UK. Currently, in England, a wedding ceremony has to take place in a permanent structure between the hours of 8am and 6pm. The aim of 'The Any Campaign' is to enable Brides and Grooms to have the wedding of their dreams!
Congratulations to the organisers, photographers Tino&Pip. You have everyone at GreenUnion HQ's support.
Engaged eco-couples wanted for new BBC3 pilot
Are you getting ready to say the big “I do”?
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!).
Ethical wedding dress success
We soooooo love it here at GU HQ when a bride sends us photos of her wedding!
What's even more delicious is that Meg here bought the lovely ethical wedding dress called Abbie, made by Tammam, from Green Union's Eco Chic Boutique. Then she was sweet enough to send us a Thank You card.
Meg said "Thank you thank you for the most beautiful wedding dress in the world. My husband loved it and I felt utterly stunning. May all brides have a similar experience!"
What a result! You see that's what Green Union is all about. Making people deliriously happy...
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).
A sustainable wedding gown
If you're not the sentimental type and don't plan on keeping your wedding dress for your daughter to wear on her own wedding day (it's so not going to happen!) then here's a truly extreme solution to the idea of recycling the wedding gown.
Researchers at England's Sheffield Hallam University, along with the fashion department, have designed an eco-friendly wedding dress that can be dissolved in water, according to a university press release.
So, what's more, you could save on your honeymoon wardrobe as the fabric dissolves transforming it into five more different fashion garments! Waste not, want not...
"The students wanted to challenge the notion that a wedding dress should only be used once and aimed to explore modern society's attitudes towards throwaway fashion," fashion lecturer Jane Blohm says in a press release.
"The project is a union between art and technology which explores the possibilities of using alternative materials for our clothing.
"The wedding gown is perhaps one of the most symbolic garments in [a woman's] wardrobe and represents the challenges of 'throwaway fashion.'"
In fact the dress is featured in an exhibition entitled A Sustainable Marriage - on until 16th May at the University's Furnival Gallery .
Had an alternative wedding ceremony?
She would love to talk to a couple who decided not to legally marry but to have an alternative wedding blessing, instead, to celebrate their commitment to each other.
The couple would need to be aged 18 to 35, and be happy to give a short phone interview and send in some photos of their wedding.
You'll even earn £150 when the article is published! Perfect budget for a romantic night out ...
If you fancy chatting to Viki Wilson about how you 'did it' then email her at firstname.lastname@example.org and mention GreenUnion.
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.
Naturally authentic bride
Our lovely Abbie Wedding Dress looks so gorgeous on Charlie, and we couldn't resist showing you all how beautiful bride and dress are!
Charlie was married in Durham in October and has cleverly teamed the 100% organic cotton satin dress, which also has a lining in handloomed 100% organic cotton, with a sweet little fluffly shrug to keep the chill at bay in church. The gold 100% handloomed wild peace silk sash, which comes with the dress, ties the whole ensemble together beautifully.
Doesn't she look happy on the arm of her father on the way into the church for her wedding ceremony! We wish Charlie and her new husband a long and happy life together.
Or if you prefer to find a dress designer who will design and hand make a unique dress especially for you, we have the best of them listed in our Wedding Directory!
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.
Gorgeous engaged couple?
Very short notice!
Condé Nast BRIDES magazine is looking for a gorgeous engaged couple for a fun, cool fashion shoot in a central London studio this Friday 20th.
Only needed for 4 hours and I guarantee it will be a really fun day with great pictures for you to keep.
Please email email@example.com, or phone her on 0207 152 3327 for more information.
Plese let them know that you came through GreenUnion.
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.
Fabulous farm wedding
When Lisa Dawn, a West Country photographer sent in these photos of the recent wedding she shot in Somerset in England, we just had to post them here. The photography is great and, of course, Huntstile Organic Farm where the wedding was held this summer, is one of our favourite wedding venues.
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.
Low Impact Wedding Series - Stationary
We made our own wedding invitations and other stationary.
My lovely groom did all the water colors and a lot of the layout. I did a lot of the wording for the invitations and some graphic design. We used PhotoShop to create the images and wording and a desk top printer for the printing. They were one of the things we got the most compliments on.
We used Genesis™ Recycled Stationery in Milkweed 8.5 x 11 80# cover and we ordered the paper from Treecycle. I recommend paper that is at least 80# . That is the minimum thickness the USPS will take for postcards. Be careful, they also have a minimum size.
We tried not to use too much paper so the invitation had a printed map of the venue with info on the back and and the RSVP's and Rehearsal Dinner invites were postcards which helped cut down on the amount of money we spent on stamps.
The wedding programme was made by folding an 8.5 x 11 page in half length-wise and it looked really slick although I do have to admit some of the font was a bit little small. We printed a quiz on the back of the programme which gave people something to talk about before the wedding started and we had a friend who's got a good sense of humor stand up during the toasts and give the answers.
Total = $211.06
Kindly compiled by Foy Spicer.
Posted in Green Wedding Natural Nuptials
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!
Dancing down the aisle ...
How cool is this, you just have to watch this video!
Not only will it brighten up your morning to see these everyday people celebrating with their hearts and souls, but it brings home the thought that love and marriage should always be good, happy and fun.
Don't hold back, take a leaf out of Jill and Kevin's book and make sure your wedding day truly reflects and celebrates you as a couple.
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
Low Impact Wedding Series - Ceremony
In the beginning we talked about having a sunrise wedding. Doesn't that sound so auspicious and romantic? But then we thought about the details - all the guests would have to arrive in the dark and you'd have to get dressed and ready at four in the morning!
So instead, we had a morning wedding ceremony starting at 9:00 am. The wedding breakfast followed at about 10:30 AM and lasted until about 1:30 pm. The real party for the wedding was the rehearsal dinner and we invited all the wedding guests to a BBQ at the ceremony location the night before.
Ceremony Area - The ceremony was held with the shelter as a back drop. It worked out perfectly because the front had a peek that served as a beautiful frame for the alter.
Ceremony Music - Again we’re thinking eco friendly, so canned music with speakers was out. We have a friend who plays the cello and that just seemed perfect. He agreed and we asked that he pick the procession and recession. He actually composed the music and gave it to us a wedding present. The walk in was “Look, Isn’t She Pretty” and the walk out was “Okay, We’re Done, You Can Go Now”. I left the titles out of the program, but they make me smile. Our cellist friend was gratis.
Ceremony Officiant - The groom’s family is Catholic and mine is, well... a little bit of this and that. I have never been baptized and had no intention of joining the Catholic church so we were extremely lucky.
It was really important to the groom that Father Terry do the ceremony and Father Terry is one of the most open hearted and open minded priests I have met. He agreed to marry us “in the Bride’s place of worship” which I decided was to be outside and he did a wonderful job. He basically read the ceremony we came up with and we gave $100 to the church as his payment. Search for officiants and celebrants in our wedding directory.
You can get more ideas on how to conduct your wedding ceremony and the legalities of getting married in the UK by going to our advice pages.
Getting married soon?
Are you getting married within the next 4 weeks?
If so, Laura would like to talk to you about a magazine feature in the Sunday Telegraph Stella magazine about British weddings. They are looking for a couple who are planning an eco wedding and would be happy to have a Sunday Telegraph photographer capture an image of their day.
Please get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org and please tell her that you heard about this from us here at GreenUnion.
You will need to be willing to have photos of your big day published in the Sunday Telegraph magazine and be available for a quick phone interview too.
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
What an inspiration! Barack and Michelle Obama, who were married in 1992, are great role models for couples everywhere. Not only do they appear to have had the chicest wedding, but they have mutual respect and genuine affection for each other which is abundantly clear in this relaxed wedding portrait which sits on the Obamas’ living room mantel.
If you're planning your wedding, don't let the main reason for your marriage get lost. Of course it's lovely to have perfect wedding plans, beautiful invitations, a gorgeous venue, all your guests dressed to the nines, generous wedding gifts, the bridal gown of your dreams, a slap up wedding breakfast, horse and carriage, bridesmaids and a wonderful honeymoon. But the most important thing of all is your love and respect for one another, nothing else matters...
Posted in Green Wedding Natural Nuptials
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!
Low Impact Wedding Series - Flowers
Because I am a florist my flowers were very important to me and, in keeping with a Green wedding I didn’t want any imported chemically laden flowers. So I decided to use flowers and foliage from my mother and mother in-law’s gardens. I also picked many of the flowers out of obliging road side ditches. Well really my mother and aunt did most of the picking.
Bridal Bouquet: I picked the flowers for my bouquet and the flower shop I worked for put them together. My grandmother’s name was Fern so I made sure lots of ferns were in my bouquet. There were also purple clematis, white floribunda roses, a weed I've heard called pancake weed and a type of purple wild campanula. My florist friends did add green hydrangea that was probably imported, but I didn't ask and I knew they created the bouquet for me and that made it special.
Bridesmaids Bouquets: I made my bridesmaids' bouquets and the groom’s buttonhole the morning before the wedding. Each bridesmaid's bouquet was a little different. My sister, the forester, had green maple seedheads in hers,the friend I played in the forest with as a kid, had wild ginger and my tattooed friend had zebra grass for her wild side.
Table Centres: I made all the center pieces for the reception. I used antique vases and bowls from my mother's china cabinet. Half the tables had a vintage vase with an arrangement of mixed flowers and half had three glass vases each with one kind of foliage. But with hindsight I don’t recommend doing your own flowers. It took about three hours right before the rehearsal dinner started for me to get them all put together. Luckily there was a very nice janitor at the hall who helped me clean up or I would have been late!
The total cost of the flowers was $00.00
Get more flower inspiration in our blog pages.
Low Impact Wedding Series - What to wear?
It was important to me that only natural fibers were used in the wedding party's clothing. This turned into a huge hassle. Eventually I revoked that rule. Between the mothers having difficulty and my bridesmaids complaining I told them to pick something they wanted to wear and just not tell me what it was made from.
WEDDING DRESS: I knew I wanted a really simple, not very formal wedding dress since the wedding was going to be outside in the morning. It also had to have straps. I work outside and no matter how much sunscreen I put on I was going to have a tank top tan line. I spent a lot of time searching eBay. I bought 5 different wedding dresses and really loved two of them. The one I wore for the wedding was 100% silk, it fit perfectly and didn't need a stitch of alteration. I resold the dresses I didn't want on eBay and I actually turned a profit. The cost for my dress was $88 including shipping.
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.
Are you throwing a Scottish green wedding?
Scottish 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 email@example.com or call her on 0141 300 3207.
Do tell her you heard about the programme from GreenUnion.
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
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...
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.
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.
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.
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:
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
Charity bride in the news
Our blogger bride Vicky's got so hooked on collecting vintage china from charity shops for her very ethical wedding in August, that she's hit the news in a bid to persuade other charity shoppers to sign up for Gift Aid to benefit the shops they buy in.
St Peter's Hospice shop in Chipping Sodbury says that Gift Aid scheme could potentially raise an extra £250,000 for the charity in its first year.
The initiative will enable the shops to raise an extra 28p on every £1 taken at the tills at no extra cost to customers and Julie Trinder, manager of both shops in Chipping Sodbury, said: "Our shops have been promoting the Gift Aid scheme for the past two weeks and so far over 3,000 people have signed up across the region.
Did you know that it costs £5.3 million every year to provide our specialist palliative care? By signing up to the Gift Aid scheme in St Peter's Hospice shops you could help them to raise much needed funds that go directly towards patient care.
Read the whole story in the Gazette.
Image from the Gazette shows shop manager Julie Trinder with Vicky. Vicky will be blogging here about her wedding plans in the forthcoming months.
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.
Did you watch it?
If you watched Episode 7 of Its Not Easy Being Green last night you probably won't have heard anything you haven't already heard before but two things stood out for me:
The couple only had £5000 to spend and managed to enjoy a fabulous day dispelling the popular notion that you can only have a green wedding if you've got plenty of money in the pot.
The bride's comment at how surprised she was that she hadn't had to compromise on her dream of the perfect day to ensure that her wedding was a green one.
Go green weddings!
Its Not Easy Being Green
Don't miss Its Not Easy Being Green tonight on BBC2 where Toby Sawday meets a young bride at a wedding fair and sets about trying to green-up her wedding and her honeymoon.
We worked hard with the BBC to give them information and advice during the planning of the feature, and our partner Wedding Tree Favours is featured on the programme, so we're excited to see how it panned out.
Could be fun and you may get a few tips too!
You can find more stories of real green weddings here.
Return to Don't Tell the Bride
DEADLINE HAS BEEN EXTENDED TO MAY 2009
Are you dreaming of the perfect day? Is ‘the green wedding’ your favourite topic of conversation? Do you have hundreds of ideas but not hundreds of pounds? Do you think your man can pull off the ultimate wedding of your dreams?
If so then 'Don't Tell the Bride' is looking for a unique couple and has £12k to make your big day.
We've had a busy few days here at GreenUnion HQ. It seems the French are really curious about the growing trend for green and naturalistic weddings so we've been entertaining a TV crew from France 5 public TV! They have sent a group of young couples all over Europe to see what is happening out there and the programme Les Report-Terre will begin broadcasting in October.
Devon and Cornwall has a huge number of sustainable businesses offering their services to couples who want to throw a natural celebration, so we gathered together a group of brilliant people to tell Pauline and Guillaume of Les Report-Terre how it works.
We had Rosie at GreenUnion, of course, to give an overview and then we took them to Coombe Farm Woodlands to look at an eco friendly, organically run venue. They talked to Sally of Manic Organic about her own green wedding and her vegetarian catering business. We had two celebrants for them to interview - Alison Orchard from Crediton in Devon who is a member of the British Humanist Association, and Jackie Brown from Truro in Cornwall who conducts spiritual ceremonies for anyone whether you are just an agnostic or a full fledged pagan. Jackie is getting married soon too and wanted to tell Les Report-Terre why she will be thowing an eco friendly wedding.
We decorated the barn at Coombe Farm with gorgeous silk heart pendant bunting made out of vintage sari fabrics by the Big Beautiful Bunting Co. We also used seasonal flowers and foliage - hydrangeas, fennel heads, blackberries and apple boughs to show how it can be done with style and colour.
Sadly all the wonderful caterers such as Dartmoor Kitchen, in Devon that we could have talked to were so busy we couldn't have any time with them, so instead we suggested they film a herd of Red Devon beef cows at Coombe Farm to prove that the food can be locally sourced right on the doorstep - it went down a treat!
We talked about jewellery and April Doubleday's ethical wedding rings were a fantastic example of how you can source your gold and diamonds without conflict or harm. We showed them the beautifully hand screen printed wedding stationary from Seed.. which you will soon be able to purchase from our Eco Chic Boutique launching next week.
And finally they talked to a furniture maker, David Ames about how to commission a piece of furniture that all the guests can contribute to, making a meaningful, sustainable and lasting gift to mark your wedding day. A bed that David made for a couple last year was the hit of the show!
Are you planning an unusual green wedding?
Are you planning an unusual green or eco friendly wedding?
The BBC It's Not Easy Being Green are looking for a couple who would like to tell them all about their ethical wedding plans and feature in their new series to be aired early next year. We will be working with them so you will also benefit from all of GreenUnion's expertise and knowhow too.
If you are interested please get in touch with Rosie@GreenUnion.co.uk for more details.
A Gorgeous Green Wedding
The wedding day dawned bright and sunny last Saturday for Sarah and Paul who chose to celebrate their union in the beautiful setting of Coombe Farm Woodlands, an organic farm near Tiverton in Devon.
Because you still can't legally marry, according to English law, in an outside setting, Sarah and Paul were first married in a civil ceremony, witnessed by a small group of close friends and family, at Tiverton registry office the day before their wedding celebration. Friday evening saw this group arrive at Coombe Farm where they all stayed for the whole weekend in the ancient farmhouse.
As well as using the beautiful 17th Century Barn at Coombe Farm for the celebrations, Over The Moon Tents & Events supplied a yurt for the chill out zone, a cute Merlin tent for the kids, flags and music and, whilst they are not immediately local, they certainly reflect Sarah and Paul’s ethical interests and supplied everything they needed to enhance the festival feel of the whole day.
The festival feel grew as guests arrived early to set up camp in the field alongside the yurt and dining tent completing the arc around the stone circle. The campsite was supplied with the best of all luxury mobile composting loos supplied by Thunderbox2Go. Instead of having a wedding gift list, guests were encouraged by Paul and Sarah to pay for trees to be planted by the Woodland Trust, offsetting the carbon miles they generated to attend the wedding.
Posted in Green Wedding Natural Nuptials
Sarah & Paul
We're all thinking hugely positive thoughts for Sarah and Paul's wedding this Saturday and watching the weather anxiously because even though nothing will dampen their love, or the day itself, a little bit of sunshine will warm everyone's cockles.
Sarah, a homeopath and course co-ordinator and her partner Paul, an orthodontist live on the beautiful North Devon coast with their three sons Ben, Toby and Harry. They’ve chosen to have a truly local and eco friendly wedding by conducting a spiritual woodland wedding ceremony at Coombe Farm near Tiverton, where they will be joined by family and friends for a mini festival celebration of camping, local food, flowers and music.
Sarah says: “We wanted to have a green wedding because that’s generally the way we live our lives anyway. We like to avoid excess, we’re not big consumers and we want to minimise our impact on the environment. The wedding industry is so full of wastage. It’s not good for the world and it’s not good for us. We’re not being evangelical about it but we have three children and we are aware of our impact on their future.
Our wedding is just one small thing, but think of the impact and the number of people we could influence by setting an example.” And instead of having a wedding gift list, their guests are being encouraged to offset the carbon miles they have generated to attend the wedding by paying for trees to be planted by the Woodland Trust.
Keeping the local theme, Sarah's engagement ring was made specially for her by April Doubleday, a British Designer/Maker of contemporary, fair trade and ethical jewellery who also lives on, and gets her inspiration from, the North Devon Coast. The image above shows examples of April's fabulous new collection of Ethical Wedding Rings.
Seven green ways to personalise your wedding day - Day 4
Only a few days to go before the Spring Equinox and Earth Day on April 22nd, so we thought it an appropriate time to highlight seven green ways to personalise your wedding day. On day four we suggest you:
However you choose to conduct your eco wedding ceremony, whether it's in a beautiful wood, under a special tree, a spot on the beach, in your favourite room or even the place in the city that means the most to you, it will be meaningful and personal to you both.
Our directory of wedding venues has some fantastic places where you could choose to hold your earth friendly wedding ceremony. And they are all run by beautiful people too!
Did you throw a green wedding?
If you threw and green wedding last year and you've got some gorgeous photos of the day then please get in touch with us. We have a writer for Red Magazine looking for a truly eco chic wedding with earth friendly details to use in her article championing the rise of green celebrations. Email us on firstname.lastname@example.org and we will call you back.
A green Christmas wedding
Esther and Nigel were married a few days before Christmas at a gorgeous self catering venue, Huntsham Court near Exeter in Devon, England.
For Esther, environmental issues are very important in both her work and personal life, so a green wedding was the obvious choice. They hired a self catering venue and did it all themselves, calling on friends and family whose combined fashion, design and cookery skills ensured the eco was chic too.
The wedding feast was created by a local catering company whose fabulous menu was made up entirely from locally grown seasonal produce based on regional recipes with wine from a Cornish vineyard. The whole house was decorated with candles and foliage collected from the hedgerows and venue grounds, while Esther's bouquet was made up of mistletoe which is imbued with the ancient mysticism of vitality and fertility, a symbol for peace and a message for loved ones.
What's more, this wonderfully earth friendly wedding, apart from treading lightly on our planet, was very light on the bank balance which gave Esther and Nigel something to celebrate!
You can read more about Esther and Nigel's wedding story, and what Esther herself has to say about it here.
I would like to take this opportunity to congratualte Esther and Nigel on the arrival of their very precious Juno.
Posted in Green Wedding Natural Nuptials
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.
Now here's a story to warm the heart
This weekend a couple from Cornwall in the West Country of England are planning to have as green a wedding as possible and it certainly isn't going to cost the earth. Russell and Alexia met at a series of Climate Change events so when they decided to marry it was only natural that they would throw an eco friendly wedding.
They say its a simpler way of doing it and keeps sight of the real meaning of marriage, which is love and the promise of your new future as husband and wife.
Invitations were sent online, any printing they've had done is by a local printer with vegetable dyes on recycled paper. Their rings are made locally of wood from a salvaged tree, the food has all be sourced within the area, the toast will be in Cornish sparkling wine, their outfits have been sourced from charity shops and adapted to their own styles by a talented seamstress, the guests are encouraged to car share and the reception is only a five minute walk from the church. Lexi's Mum has made some intriguing flowers out of saved plastic bags and collected spring blossom has been dried for the confetti. They have even decided to give their guests low energy light bulbs as wedding favours!
And best of all, the whole celebration will come in way below the average cost of getting married in the UK which is now estimated to be around £18,000.
Read the whole story by Louise Walter over on the BBC website.
A bicycle made for two
Mandy and Jonathan, who kept us up to date here at GreenUnion HQ about their wedding preparations, were married in May and here's an extract from an original article about their wedding by Julie Lastarade for French Elle on 4 June 2007 and translated for us by our partner Diane who runs covert cabin in the Perigord Vert region of France - the ultimate in honeymoon hideaways.
The greenest day of their lives
Dress made of fairtrade cotton, guests discouraged to come by car. In England, the eco-chic are getting married in the same way they live their lives, by respecting the planet. And from these good principles real businesses are emerging.
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