Find your Eco-Friendly Wedding at a Bridal Show

Did you ever consider going along to a bridal show to help plan your wedding? Everyone needs a helping hand from time to time to make sure that their big day goes smoothly and one way to do that is to go along to a wedding fair.

Is a wedding fair eco-friendly?

It could definitely be considered that there are some eco-friendly elements to a wedding fair. After all, you are not going to be spending days driving round visiting bridal gown stores, caterers and stationers – they are all under one roof. You make one journey and all of the suppliers are there for you to meet, assess their products and services and book for your wedding if you want to. You can also save a lot of time doing it this way.

A good tip is to go to a wedding fair in the area where you want to get married. Most people will get married close to where they live but there are plenty of people who want to get married in their partner’s home town, or want to return to their own home town. If you want to make sure you are using local suppliers because they are a more eco-friendly option then this is the best way to do it all in a short space of time.

What eco-friendly services can I expect to find?

Most suppliers going to a wedding fair will be able to explain to you which are the most eco-friendly options. For example, a bridal gown designer or supplier will know if they are able to supply you with a vintage gown or if any of the gowns they supply have been made with eco-friendly fabric. Stationers will be able to tell you about recycled paper options for invitations. Caterers will be able to explain to you where they source their produce and how much of it they have to bring in from other areas.

You may not find suppliers that claim to be completely eco-friendly, but all you have to do is ask and they will do their best to get you exactly what you need, from the transport to the church to the entertainment for your evening reception.

For some wedding fairs you may need to buy a ticket in advance. This could be true of the smaller events where they already know that a lot of people intend to go along, but larger events you may just have to pay an entrance fee when you arrive. There are others where you might not have to pay a fee. All fairs are slightly different but the aim is always the same, to gather a large number of suppliers in one place and promote services that you need for your big day. Wedding fairs are held regularly in most towns, look online to find one in your area.

Eco-Friendly Wedding Venues in New Orleans

The beautiful city of New Orleans is a place you will not forget in a hurry, and even more so if you decide to get married there! The unique and distinctive French quarter makes an amazing backdrop for your photos and the hotel is packed with potential venues for an eco-friendly wedding.

Hotel Monteleone

If you are looking for a wedding venue with a very strong commitment to green issues and sustainability then the Hotel Monteleone is the perfect choice. The hotel ensures that all staff have full training on sustainability and eco-friendly policies are continually reviewed and assessed. Half of the hotel’s lighting is energy efficient and the toilets in the hotel all use less water than standard toilets. All cleaning supplies are eco-friendly and there is a linen and towel re-use program. Paper used at the hotel is recycled and there is a Green Committee to develop the hotel’s environmentally-friendly policies.

If you want to get married at the Hotel Monteleone then you can choose from a rooftop venue or the Queen Anne Ballroom. The hotel prides itself on attention to detail and if you want to have an environmentally-friendly wedding day the staff will do everything it can to ensure that this happens. The French Quarter location is also a big draw for those who want to have a wedding here.

W New Orleans – French Quarter

If you choose to have your wedding at the W New Orleans French Quarter hotel, there is a reward system for any day you do not use the housekeeping service. 500 Starwood Preferred Guest Starpoints will be added to your account for you to use off future stays at the hotel chain. You can arrange this when you check in to the hotel. The aim is to reduce the amount of water and energy that is used throughout the hotel.

The hotel offers a number of impressive suites where you can hold your wedding and reception and the staff can help you to organize your big day so that every aspect of it suits you.

Hampton Inn Hotels & Suites New Orleans

Hold your wedding at the very eco-friendly Hampton Inn Hotels & Suites in the city. New environmentally-friendly initiatives are being implemented at the hotel all the time and they currently include a linen reuse program, the use of green cleaning products, a strong recycling program, eco-friendly fixtures and fittings, the use of local produce where possible and a number of energy-saving initiatives.  The hotel’s ballroom can accommodate up to 450 guests and the historic venue means a great backdrop for your photos. There is a wedding coordinator on site and there are discounts on rooms for your guests.

The city of New Orleans is a unique place and it is good to know that getting married there does not mean that you have to compromise on your eco-friendly principles.

Track Down that Eco-Friendly Wedding Dress

It is very easy to say you want an eco-friendly wedding dress, but sometimes they are not that easy to find. So where do you start looking?

Sustainable designers

You don’t always have to visit a bridal boutique to get a great dress. You can go direct to some designers, particularly those that work to sustainable principles. You can rent or buy samples from them and some will ship samples out if you cannot get to their own boutique, which makes it easier to buy from a greener designer based further away from your home. Consider a designer such as Magnolia, an eco-friendly designer based in Vancouver that uses fabrics such as organic cotton and Indian silk. Alternatively, take a look at the gowns made by Celia Grace, a Cambodian label that uses fair trade locally-produced silk that is pesticide and antibiotic-free.

Conventional boutiques

There are some conventional shops that sell eco-friendly wedding gowns but you will need to ask and be specific. Not all sales people are going to know all about the gowns they are selling. Find out where they are made, what materials are used and if they are organic or fair trade.  However, this could be a costlier option so you will need to factor this in.

Go used / vintage

You can easily rent or buy a ‘preloved’ dress. Vintage dresses are some of the most beautiful gowns around and there is nothing in wedding etiquette that says your dress has to be brand new. How many people have worn the same dress that their mother or grandmother wore? Vintage is not just a modern trend, people have been doing this for decades without realizing that they were helping the environment a little. You can even try to find a gown at a thrift store – some now have whole wedding sections that have developed as a result of more and more people turning to pre-owned outfits for their special day. Nobody thinks twice about the groom renting a suit for the day, so why shouldn’t the bride get her outfit the same way?

Let the internet guide the way!

The first place anybody turns to for information these days is the internet and it will only take a few minutes to carry out a search for an eco-friendly wedding dress. Sites such as Etsy are filled with vintage items but the downside is that some sellers will not offer a return policy, so you are taking a chance with the fit and style – you may not like it as much when it arrives! However, there are some great bargains to be found and there is no reason why you cannot find your dream dress this way.

No matter what style of gown you like, there is an eco-friendly option out there that will suit you and you can enjoy your wedding day knowing that you haven’t done any damage to the planet.

Eco-friendly honeymoon on an Indian Houseboat

India is such a beautiful country that already has a number of eco-friendly resorts, so if you want a greener honeymoon you’ve probably already considered it as a potential destination. Something you might not have been aware of is the luxury eco-friendly houseboats that take you along the beautiful waterways of the Kerala region and Kashmir Lakes and which are perfect for a unique honeymoon.

Rudra Houseboats

Your honeymoon is not a time when you should be thinking about cooking and cleaning so it makes sense to opt for a luxury houseboat where there is a crew to look after you. The Rudra houseboats in the Kerala region are generally manned by a Captain, a cook and an oarsman so you don’t have to think about how the boat works or runs – you just relax and enjoy the amazing views.

Staff on the boat can prepare candlelit dinners each day for you to enjoy and you can book this five day houseboat stay as part of a longer trip to the Kerala region. The boat trip will take you to various places in the region to give you the opportunity to do a little sightseeing. The boat features luxury bedrooms and bathrooms as well as a kitchenette for you to use if you need to.

Kerala is known for its green spaces and there is even a nature reserve nearby where you might get to see a tiger or two if you are lucky. There are also beaches where you can relax and you could visit a tea plantation or two as part of your trip.

Kashmir boats

Boats can also be rented on the lakes in the Kashmir region of India. This is relatively inexpensive when it is compared to other luxury accommodations in the region and while most boats are designed to take multiple guests, it is possible to rent the entire vessel.  Try the Royal Houseboats, which are moored overlooking a lotus field on Dal Lake and are close to the region’s popular floating market.

The historic Butt’s Clermont Houseboats are also within relatively easy reach of the floating market and you would be following in the footsteps of celebrities like George Harrison. If you prefer something a little different, head to Gurkha Houseboats on Nagin Lake. Again, the accommodation is luxurious but this destination used to be popular with hippie travellers in the 1970s and 1980s so it has a very laid-back feel to it.

Many of the houseboats use solar power to generate electricity and there are recycling and water conservation measures in place. You can also choose to book your trip through one of the eco-friendly tour operators in the region so they can make sure that every aspect of your stay is a green one!

New Trends for Eco-Friendly Weddings

There are new trends every year for eco-friendly weddings as people find new ways to keep the environmental cost down and still have a spectacular wedding ceremony and reception. Why not consider a few of these ideas?

Reduce, reuse, recycle!

And we are just talking about your ceremony flowers here! Your ceremony flowers can easily be used to decorate your reception room as well. You will save money because you are not having separate flower arrangements for both parts of your big day and as most brides will opt for the same color scheme for both, it makes sense to simply move the flowers. Consider using the smaller bridesmaids bouquets as centerpieces for the tables.

Hire the outfits

Despite the obvious environmental benefits some people are still reluctant to embrace the trend to rent wedding dresses, although it is considered acceptable for the groom and groomsmen to hire tuxes for the day. This year there will be an emphasis on the benefits of renting the perfect outfit and it is a good idea to consider this for the bridesmaids, even if the bride prefers to buy a dress for herself. Bridesmaid dresses are hardly ever worn again, so why not just pay a small amount to use them for the day and then return them when it is all over?

Keep printing to a minimum

These days nobody expects to get to the wedding and find things like printed menus and order of service. Keep the cost of printing (and help the environment) by using decorative chalk boards around the room to inform people about the culinary delights that await them, and have something similar explaining the order of events too. These can then be reused and you may be able to find a party rental company that you can rent them from for the day.

Opt for potted plants

If the idea of floral arrangements is not appealing why not consider using potted plants to decorate your tables?  More and more brides are using potted plants instead for eco-friendly reasons. The plant remains in the pot and when it is removed later it is still living and will keep growing, unlike flowers which start to die off when they are cut. This is something that the bride can sort out herself, growing plants of her choice before the day and simply making sure that they are in suitably decorative pots. The plans will become a permanent reminder of the wedding afterwards as they can be taken home and will last for a long time if cared for properly.

Small potted plants can also be given as wedding favors, so your guests can watch them grow for years after the day.  Opt for terracotta pots to give the tables a rustic look.

These are just a few of the trends that are becoming popular with planners of eco-friendly weddings this year. Adapt to your own style and enjoy a wonderful day!

Could eco-friendly weddings soon be the norm?

While at the moment only a small percentage of people make their wedding as eco-friendly as possible, in some parts of the world steps are being taken to encourage greener and more environmentally-friendly ceremonies.

India is one of those countries where – for many people – a lack of materialism makes it easier to lead an eco-friendly lifestyle. It has now been revealed that the government in the Kerala region wants to work with religious and social groups to encourage people to plan their day with the environment in mind.

The government there has already successfully implemented green strategies when planning major events including the Malayatoor Perunal and the National Games and this has given the authorities the boost they need to promote green strategies for weddings. Some of the district administrations have already launched strategies on planning eco-friendly weddings. The plans have been well-received so far and it is expected that a full green strategy will be in place soon.

What about other countries?

While there may not be an official policy in other countries about planning a green wedding, there are the facilities, products and services in countries all over the world for you to ensure that your own special day is as environmentally-friendly as possible. Most countries do have laws and regulations on the reduction of carbon emissions and programs that encourage eco-friendly practices.

How easy is it to achieve an eco-friendly wedding?

The truth is that it is easier than you might think. All you have to do is think about the factors that can add to your carbon footprint and change them. Consider a few simple changes such as:

  • Use decorations from biodegradable and recycled materials
  • Opt for vintage and recycled outfits for the bride and bridesmaids
  • Use local suppliers
  • Arrange car pools to reduce the number of vehicles being used

There are plenty of other ways that you can make your day eco-friendly and with a little imagination it will be a very memorable occasion.

Think about barn weddings, which will give your day a rustic feel or opt for one of the modern hotels that have been built with all the latest eco-friendly features that you could wish for, from solar panels for energy production to greener housekeeping policies. Head for one of the eco-friendly lodges that are appearing in resorts, towns and villages in many countries and opt for a honeymoon where there are plenty of environmentally-friendly features.

Finally, don’t forget that it is just as easy to keep your jewelry eco-friendly. At Ecoura we produce wedding rings from renewed gold and for every engagement ring purchased we plant a tree, helping to give back to the environment. Visit one of our jewelers today and choose from our range of elegant and stylish designs for the finishing touch for your wedding!

Eco-Friendly Honeymoons in Africa and Mauritius

Trying to find an eco-friendly honeymoon destination is actually far easier than it used to be. Many hotels and resorts are working hard these days to achieve green accreditations and many have already put eco-friendly measures into place. Destinations in places such as South Africa and Mauritius may be far away from home but the green measures they have put into place will help to counteract any damage done to the environment by your travel there.

Mauritius?

Mauritius is a very romantic and exotic destination which is why it is very popular for honeymoons. The soft white sands and the wonderful weather are just two of the reasons why people visit along with the luxury touches such as a private island for your honeymoon suite. A number of resorts here have already earned green certification. There are two Club Med resorts here that have been Green Globe certified and are already dealing with basic eco-friendly requirements such as recycling and reducing energy consumption. The Mon Choix eco-lodge at Port Louis offers everything you need from solar powered energy production to reduced use of chemical-based cleaning products and the location is ideal for those who want to be within easy reach of all the main attractions.

Mauritius has so much to offer. The lifestyle here is far less hectic than most people are used to. The buses here date back to the 1970s and there are plenty of excursions that you can go on. Spend a little time at the market in Port-Louis or spend some time hiking or cycling.

Africa?

If you want to get closer to nature on your eco-friendly honeymoon, then Africa could be the best destination. South Africa in particular has much to offer, thanks to its numerous safari and wildlife parks. Many of the safari holiday operators offer accommodation in eco-lodges now, where energy consumption is reduced with the help of solar power and other energy-saving measures. They have features such as organic gardens where they grow produce for the kitchens and some will even take part in community projects such as the building of schools.

Your safari honeymoon will bring you into close contact with lions, zebras and other creatures before you return to your eco-friendly accommodation. You could also spend a little time on South Africa’s coastline snorkeling, scuba diving or just doing a little beach-combing. Fishing trips are available for those who like the idea of catching their own supper. Many of these trips are run by eco-friendly operators.

Both?

If you are having a little difficulty making up your mind why not visit both places? If you can get a few extra days for your honeymoon then a two-part trip will be worth it. Talk to your travel agent about arranging accommodation and excursions that meet your eco-friendly principles.  

Eco-friendly Wedding Gifts

Planning your eco-wedding will mean more than considering the day. It could be that you truly want to apply eco-friendly principles to all aspects of your life and this means that you should consider your wedding gifts too. It is just as easy to register for eco-friendly gifts as it is to register for the usual gifts. Consider a few of these when you are putting your gift list together.

Plants

There are a few different plants that can be given as a gift that will live for many years and serve as a lasting reminder of your big day. The fortune plant is popular in Chinese culture and they consider it to be a symbol of abundance. The jade plant is another option and is ideal for the couple that does not have a lot of time to care for plants. It is part of the cactus family and therefore does not need to be watered very often. Bonsai trees could be an elegant plant for the home and when properly cared for they can last for decades.

Wood

Bamboo is an eco-friendly material and a bamboo box knife holder is a gift that is practical, chic and environmentally friendly. It is a strong but light wood and it is made from a renewable source. Alternatively, a set of wood placemats add an eco-friendly touch to a home. They have a vintage look and will last for years. Wood clocks are also a great gift. Don’t worry that you have to opt for plain wood either, find one that has a unique or bright design painted on it. Wood photo frames could also be a useful gift. Most guests opting for a photo frame for a wedding gift will opt for silver or another metal, but wood is homely and warming, as well as being sustainable.

Bamboo Towels

Many newly-married couples will be opening their wedding gifts to find a towel bale, but you could ask for towels with a difference. Bamboo towels blend organic cotton fibers with bamboo fibers, which means that the towel will absorb moisture easily.

Eco-friendly kitchen gadgets

There are many people who have already discovered the merits of a slow cooker but you can also pick up an energy saving version. Find one that uses less than 300 watts, which will help to keep energy consumption low. Slow cookers are a great gift for a busy couple – meals can be cooking slowly all day while you are at work and you come home to a wonderful meal that took very little effort.

The possibilities for your eco-friendly wedding gift list are endless. You might want to focus instead on changing the way that you consume energy and ask for solar chargers or you might consider that ethical gifts – the donation of goods or services to third world countries – might be more appropriate. Consider your options and put together a wedding list with an eco-friendly twist!

Find an Eco-Friendly City for Your Wedding

If you are planning an eco-friendly wedding outside your home town then you might be interested to know just how eco-friendly your chosen destination is.  Here at Ecoura we did a little research and discovered the Arcadis Sustainable Cities Index report.  This covers the USA and Canada and looks at a variety of factors to determine just how eco-friendly each city is, including energy use, green spaces, transportation and sanitation.

In the top 10 there are 7 cities in the USA and 3 from Canada.  New York was the highest ranked city on the list, coming only second to Vancouver.  Next was Boston in 5th place, followed by San Francisco, Seattle, Washington DC, Denver and Los Angeles. Here are just a few of the venues that you could consider.

New York

Finding a great eco-friendly wedding venue in New York is easy.  Take a look at Mohonk Mountain House. The building itself has been designed to offer a range of environmentally-friendly measures and there is a great spa where you and the wedding party can relax either before or after the big day. For the wedding you can opt for organic and locally-produced food and even arrange your wedding flowers from the venue’s own greenhouse.

Boston

Just north of the city of Boston is Ferncroft Country Club, which has recently added a rooftop deck ideal for a wedding reception.  The grounds are ideal for the wedding photos and the venue has implemented a number of eco-friendly measures including an initiative to reduce food waste to zero.

San Francisco

Head over to W San Francisco where you can take part in the ‘Make a Green Choice’ program. The hotel offers a rewards program where you can refuse to have daily housekeeping in your room and earn points that you can use at other hotels in the future.  Fewer housekeeping visits will save water and energy and you will also get a green welcome amenity when you arrive. The hotel also offers discounts on a bike share scheme, making it easier to explore the city without adding to your carbon footprint.

Denver

The Warwick Denver hotel is rapidly becoming a very popular wedding venue in the city. One of the main attractions of the hotel is the great views of the city’s skyline. The hotel offers a complimentary bike hire service to guests, providing an eco-friendly option for exploring the city. Alternatively the city is also home to the Castle Marne venue, where you can choose from indoor or outdoor weddings and where there is a solid sustainability plan in place. Every section of the venue plays its part in creating a much more eco-friendly environment.  To date the hotel is actively aiming to reduce energy consumption, has introduced a number of recycling initiatives, grows a large amount of the food used in the restaurant, rents out bicycles and trains staff on the various sustainability programs.

Wedding Jewelry Trends for 2017

As trends for wedding dresses, themes and gifts come and go, so do those for wedding jewelry, so which trends are set to be big this year?

Vintage

Here at Ecoura we love everything vintage because not only is it eco-friendly, it helps you to connect with the elegant charm of eras such as the 1920s and 1950s. This type of glamour is easy to achieve if you opt for vintage pearls. They suit almost everyone and will not overpower the overall look. If you want to achieve a 1950s style go for a traditional pearl necklace – one strand is perfect for an understated yet polished look.  For the 1920s think Art Deco.  Jewelry in this style will feature silver and platinum much more than gold.  Art Deco costume jewelry features imitation emeralds, sapphires and rubies. You can also check out our line of Modern Vintage engagement rings at Ecoura.

Bohemian

Intricate floral motifs are a feature of the bohemian jewelry look. If you have opted for one of this year’s feminine and flowing wedding gowns then a floral motif will add to the bohemian style. There is a current trend for diamonds and sapphires in jewelry such as cuff bracelets but if the budget doesn’t stretch that far consider costume jewelry. There is a tendency to see bohemian style as simply hippy or ethnic but there is so much more to the trend than that. Having said that, jewelry that features crystals such as rose quartz or amethyst can help to add to the bohemian look.  Again, silver is favored much more than gold.

Go minimal

Simple lines in jewelry are becoming a popular choice with brides all over the world. This is because it is much more important to show off the dress and the event rather than have the jewelry take center stage. However, that does not mean that jewelry can’t make a statement. Rose gold is growing in popularity and it has a very warming feel to it. Try a classic knot pendant, which will go well with column dress styles or strapless gowns. White gold is another option for a statement pendant – choose a dramatic stone for the center. For brides who prefer a more simple look, our Classic line of engagement rings are sure to please.

Renewed jewelry

The most important piece of jewelry you can have on your wedding day is your wedding ring and Ecoura should be your first port of call for renewed gold rings.  Why pay out for a new gold ring when our renewed pieces are just as beautiful and will not leave a stain on the environment?  There is so much jewelry that isn’t worn and it is a shame when it goes to waste.  Ecoura’s eco-friendly outlook includes natural diamonds, so there is no need to worry that you will be compromising on glamour. Take a look at our range to find out more. Join us in our commitment to preserving and protecting the environment. Visit www.ecoura.com for more information.