What does being green really mean?

Going green is not something that people do simply for their wedding day – it can be something that you apply to every aspect of your life, depending upon how dedicated you want to be and how much of a difference you want to make. You could find yourself making just a few changes or major alterations to your lifestyle!

Being eco-friendly

If you don’t want your lifestyle to have a damaging effect on the planet then you need to look at how you might be able to reduce your carbon footprint. Do you always use your car for short journeys when you could easily walk or use public transport? Do you buy a lot of things that have been imported from other countries? Using your car less and buying locally-produced goods are just two easy changes that you can make to your lifestyle that will lessen your impact on the planet.

From there you will find it easier to make other changes. Your home’s energy consumption, for example. Do you find that you pay a lot for electricity usage? Chances are it is just because you are not vigilant about minor points like switching off appliances when they are not being used. Not only is this going to be better for your bank balance, the environment will thank you for it too!

Reduce, re-use, recycle

There are three words that can help you to become a much more environmentally-friendly person.

  • Reduce – cut back on the things that you use that are not absolutely essential. When you go to the store, for example, buy loose fruits and vegetables rather than pre-packed and you don’t have to worry about excess packaging that is definitely less than eco-friendly!
  • Re-use – If you can keep something and use it over and over again rather than throw it away after one use you will help to reduce your carbon footprint
  • Recycle – this is very important.  Recycling items means that less energy is used to make completely new items.  Plastic, paper, glass and cardboard can all be easily recycled and now most towns offer collections for recyclables – take advantage of this and make a difference.

Special occasions

Once you make small changes it is so much easier to plan for the greener aspects of special occasions like your wedding day.  Invitations from recycled paper, a menu of local and organic produce, green transport for you and your guests and sustainable materials used for the dress and other outfits and you should have the makings of a day that is not going to leave you feeling guilty about climate change.

For every person, having a greener way of life is going to be different. The important thing is to take that first step and then all the others that follow will be so much easier. Learn more about how Ecoura is committed to protecting the planet.

Eco-friendly Honeymoons in France

When you want a romantic honeymoon then there are few destinations which conjure up the image of romance more than France.  Home to what is widely considered to be the world’s most romantic city, Paris, France offers the chilled-out and laid-back way of life that you need when enjoying your first few days of married life.  However, for an eco-friendly honeymoon, there are plenty of options available to you outside of the capital city.

Woodland life in the Dordogne

Why not enjoy the peaceful life in a Woodsman’s Cabin in one of the most beautiful areas of the country?  The remote setting ensures you will not be disturbed and it has everything that you need for your stay.  The wood-burning stove heats the water and the cabin is lit by oil light or candle.  When on your honeymoon champagne and flowers are part of the package and transport is provided in the form of a tandem. Breakfasts are provided and you can enjoy activities such as canoeing or touring the vineyards. For those who want total seclusion this option is perfect.

Auvergne guest house

Head to central France to the region of Auvergne where you will find an eco-friendly guest house or two.  Try Les Liards, where you can hike in the beautiful countryside.  The guest house itself has been carefully constructed using traditional building methods and eco-friendly materials.  Located in the Livradois-Forez regional park, it is perfect for those who love the outdoors life.

The most romantic city in the world!

Paris is a must for those wanting a romantic break but you can also find an eco-friendly option here.  The Hotel Gavarni is close to main attractions such as the Eiffel Tower and the Champs-Elysées and uses only renewable energy sources, is now carbon neutral and only eco-friendly products are used throughout the hotel.  The food is organic and fair trade and as a result of all its efforts to be greener, the hotel has become the first independent hotel in the city to achieve the European Ecolabel, a quality standard for eco-friendly businesses.

A Normandy valley

La Maison du Vert is located in Ticheville in Lower Normandy and is ideal for those who like the great outdoors.  The restaurant is vegetarian and vegan, with many ingredients grown in the hotel’s own gardens.  Organic drinks are served in the bar and the grounds are a mix of landscaped and wild areas.  Cycling is a popular activity in the area and the hotel has two bicycles that can be used by guests at no extra charge.

For honeymoons France might seem like a long way to travel but the rewards are clear when you get there.  The chance to relax in beautiful surroundings that will not make much (if any!) impact on your carbon footprint should not be missed.

Tips on Eco-Friendly Wedding Jewelry

ecourabridalGetting eco-friendly wedding jewelry is not as difficult as you might think.  Industry leading eco-friendly jewelry manufacturer Ecoura utilizes renewed gold and other materials to produce beautiful pieces of jewelry that you will be happy to wear forever. There are a few ways to make sure that you get something that is truly ethical and eco-friendly.

Stones

Vintage stones are one option for those who do not want to wear unethical items. Retro jewelry is considered to be very on-trend at the moment and is a great alternative to buying new items.

There are also certification programs that you can check to make sure that the stones that your jeweler is using come from an ethical source. Your jeweler should also be happy to discuss the source of your stones with you too, so if you have any doubts make sure you ask!

Gold

The melting and refining process of renewed gold means that it offers the same quality as new gold. As many gold mines have an open-pit design the damage to the environment can be far more destructive than you think. Not many people realize that up to 30 tons of rock can be destroyed to find enough gold to make one ring.  Ecoura’s renewed gold jewelry is a great option if you prefer to leave the rock where nature intended!

Go a little off-beat

Did you consider wood for your wedding jewelry? Not many people do, but this is a real eco-friendly option. There are designs out there that include strands of braided silver and some eco-friendly diamonds so you do not have to give up on the idea of wearing jewelry that will make an impact on your big day.

Finding your eco-friendly jeweler is actually much easier than you might think.  A few minutes spent with Google will bring you many alternatives in your local area.  Make sure you ask them what they can offer you that is eco-friendly and ask as many questions as you can about their material sources.

Remember that your wedding day jewelry and in particular your wedding ring should last a lifetime. Why compromise with a cheap alternative when you can get quality statement pieces. like those from Ecoura, that are guilt-free and designed to last for years?

Top Eco-Friendly Luxury Hotels

Planning an eco-friendly honeymoon can often be quite difficult, particularly if you do not want to compromise on luxury.  The good news is that some of the world’s top luxury hotels have taken on board their guests’ concerns about the environment and have started to make the changes needed for eco-friendly credentials.

Laguna Lodge

461_6044The jungles of Guatemala are home to the Laguna Lodge hotel.  With views of Mayan ruins, this luxury hotel is now one of the greenest in the region.  Designed using locally produced materials, this hotel generates its own electricity and has a water efficiency program. The menu in the restaurant is vegetarian and the hotel staff are hired from the local indigenous people. The design of the hotel also takes its location into account and minimizes impact of light and noise on the surroundings.

Cleaning agents and other products in the hotel are all vegan-approved, are created with the help of only natural insecticides and are biodegradable. The amount of electricity generated on-site is more than the hotel actually uses and there is a good energy management program in place, although the hotel does not have any official accreditations to show for it yet. You cannot reach the lodge by car, so when you arrive, be prepared for a hike or a boat-ride.

The Scarlet

Head over to the UK for The Scarlet Hotel, located in Cornwall, England.  The cliff-top location of the hotel offers amazing views and every aspect of the hotel has been designed to be as eco-friendly as possible. The building is energy efficient, featuring a green roof along with plenty of insulation to minimize energy consumption.

The restaurant at the hotel has a strong vegetarian menu and guests who want to feel pampered can make the most of the eco-friendly spa.  The two swimming pools are chlorine-free and solar panels are used to heat the water. All cleaning products and toiletries are environmentally friendly, with many of them sourced locally. The hotel has strong links with the local community, working with them on a number of different projects.

The hotel’s roof is made from a native plant known as ‘sea thrift’ and the outdoor pool is filtered naturally with the help of reeds. Maximization of natural light means that there is not as much need for artificial light and there are car charging points for those guests who drive eco-friendly electric cars. Even used candle wax is recycled at this hotel!

No matter which side of the world you want to honeymoon on, there is an eco-friendly hotel that will suit you.  With environmentally-friendly spas, swimming pools and even haute cuisine, there is no need to compromise on luxury at all and you have no need to worry that your honeymoon is going to add to damage being done to the planet.

Have an Eco-Friendly Honeymoon in Mexico

No matter where you want to go for your honeymoon, there are eco-friendly hotels and resorts just waiting for you!  Mexico is no different, consider one of these for your honeymoon.

Xinalani Retreat

rlWgMKEuMTS0LFV6rlWmnKcyVwc7VaqcMUEbVwb0ZmNfVzuynJqbqPV6ZwDjsK0fVaOuqTtvBvWcoJSaMKZipUWiMUIwqP9jpz9jMKW0nJImYmHkZmLip3WwYGplZwN2YGR0ZGH4ZGt4AmxhnaOaVvjvqzIlp2yiovV6VvW9If you want to head over to Banderas Bay you could spend some time at the Xinalani Retreat.  This is a tranquil and luxurious resort with the ocean on one side and a jungle on the other.  This small hotel brings you close to nature and offers a range of workshops and wellness retreats. You also get to avoid the hustle and bustle of the main tourist destinations in the region, so peace and tranquillity are yours for the taking.

Escudo Jaguar Hotel

The Escudo Jaguar Hotel can be found in the state of Chiapas, right on the Usamacinta River.  As well as the range of hotel rooms, guests can opt for camping if they prefer to be closer to nature. This resort has been designed to appeal to the ecotourist and is run by the Chole natives. The hotel’s on-site restaurant serves traditional dishes using locally-sourced produce. Activities available here include swimming, hiking and tours of local archaeological sites.

Xaloc Resort

The Xaloc Resort can be found on Holbox Island, on the edge of a white, sandy beach. The accommodation is luxury bungalows that have been designed to meet with eco-friendly standards. Guests on honeymoon here can simply relax on the beach or go swimming. Take the opportunity to pick up a few locally-made craft items to take home as souvenirs.

Hacienda Chichen Resort & Yaxin Spa

Hacienda-night-viewThis luxury resort can be found near Chicen Itza and is perfect for those interested in local history, thanks to its proximity to a number of Mayan archaeological sites. The spa offers a range of treatments that take their inspiration from the native cultures. There is also a wide variety of ecotourist activities on offer in the local area and the hotel’s staff will be happy to help you to book as needed.

Puerta Calakmul Ecovillage

This is a great honeymoon option for those who like their adventure holidays. The Puerta Calakul Ecovillage is located in Campeche, Mexico. It is located very close to the largest archaeological area in the region and the biosphere. There are so many amenities on site that it is so easy to relax and unwind, but there are also plenty of trips you can take part in to explore the surrounding area.

There are plenty more eco-friendly honeymoon destinations in Mexico so why not do a little research and find out more? Mexico is filled with hidden treasures and the examples mentioned here are ideal if you don’t want to compromise on luxury.  Simple measures such as recycling programs and energy efficiency measures mean that you can enjoy those luxurious touches without leaving a black mark on the planet.

 

Using Pinterest to Help you Plan an Eco-Friendly Wedding

Planning a wedding is all well and good if you have plenty of ideas to begin with, but what if you really have no idea where to start?  It could be that you start out with plenty of creative thoughts but run out of steam part-way through the planning process.  So what help is out there?  Don’t worry, social media can come to your rescue!

One of the most popular social media sites is Pinterest, literally an online pinboard where you can gather your ideas together, create different boards for different topics and search for new ideas when you feel as though you need a helping hand. Check out Ecoura’s Pinterest page!

Pinterest for weddings

This modern-day scrapbook is a great place to begin and if you are used to spending a few hours at a time browsing online then you will love this site.  People create boards for different subjects then pin images and links to them so that you can browse at your leisure.  No matter how obscure you think your topic might be (1930s vintage tablecloths anyone??) somebody out there has thought of it first and started work on it.  Simply put your subject into the search and it will link you to the various boards and pinners that are already hard at work on the matter.  You can then create your own boards that are filled with ideas for your big day, by repining the images that you like.

When you are browsing on other sites online for ideas, look for the little Pinterest logo next to images and articles so that you can then pin these to your own boards.  Then later on when you are starting to narrow down your choices for the wedding you have everything in one place and will not need to go hunting for the information.

You can have as many boards as you like on Pinterest and your friends and family can see them too, making it great if you are planning your day with the help of family that are not close enough to visit all the time.

Narrow down the options

Most people will find it easy to narrow down their options because they will be able to see that there is a trend on their Pinterest boards. It could be that you have chosen to pin 100 images of wedding dresses but that the majority are of a similar style so that you can see at a glance which style of dress you would prefer.

Make sure that you follow a few of the top pinners too in order to be able to keep up to date with anything new that they post.

Remember too that browsing this way is much more eco-friendly than traveling to a lot of shops and browsing in person.  If you prefer to keep away from crowds then this is the best option for you – your bridesmaids and other friends can also keep their carbon footprint to a minimum by joining you for online discussions and planning! For wedding inspiration, check out Ecoura’s Pinterest page!

Your Wedding: Vintage or New?

When you’re planning your big day, you want to leave a lasting impression on your guests, not on the ozone layer! But does this mean that you have to have everything second hand? The answer is no.

Vintage style is something that is very much on-trend at the moment and if you want to organize a vintage wedding then you can be reassured that you are dramatically reducing your carbon footprint. Being willing to re-use something that has already been created and used means that you are not paying for new things to be manufactured. However, there are plenty of brand new things that you can have on your wedding day that will not damage the environment.

The dress – vintage or new?

Any dress you choose for your day is one that you want to be eye-catching. Vintage gowns are all the rage at the moment and by shopping online or in specialist vintage stores you can pick up a bargain. Just remember that there are some eco-friendly dress labels that can create you a new gown using organic and eco-friendly materials so that your dress will not have the carbon footprint of a standard new gown.

The cars – vintage or new?

This is probably the one instance where a vintage car is not necessarily more eco-friendly than a new car. The energy efficiency of new cars means that they do not use as much fuel as vintage vehicles, so you are not adding to the destruction of the planet. You also don’t have the worry of the impact of getting a new item – the cars have already been built. You are not creating more demand for new cars, you are simply hiring the car that you like on the day. You are not causing a new car to be built, so the environmental impact of the manufacturing process is only a small consideration here.

The venue – vintage or new?

Older buildings tend not to have the energy efficiency of newer built properties. Country house hotels that date back 150 years or more are beautiful to look at and are wonderful backdrops for your photos but they are not built to modern-day green construction standards, even if they have included some energy efficient measures such as solar panels and recycling programs. On the other hand, most modern hotels have been built to comply with standards on eco-friendly building and include many more eco-friendly features that might include wind turbines, water recycling systems and a focus on the use of local suppliers.

These are just a few of the aspects of your green day that you might want to consider. Vintage implies a certain amount of eco-friendliness and a vintage wedding can be a beautiful event.  However, vintage does not suit everybody. If you prefer to have a modern wedding it is good to know that you can opt for new on almost everything and still do your bit for the planet.

Your Wedding – Sourcing Local

One of the first things you should do when planning your eco-friendly wedding is to source everything locally. The closer to home that you can find everything the smaller the impact you are going to have on the environment. However, don’t make the mistake of thinking that sourcing local only means getting your food from local producers (although that is what we will focus on here!).  If you look hard enough you will be able to find every aspect of your big day within very easy reach!

Locally sourced food is obviously one of the main points to consider.  Most people don’t realize just how much food is imported from other countries, from meats to fruit, but there are always alternative supplies that you can find and food without air miles attached is so much better for the environment. Try local grocers and find out where they get their supplies – choose the items that have not travelled more than a few miles.  Some farms will sell meat direct to the public, and if the products you choose are organic then so much the better.  Organic produce means that there has been no harsh chemicals used in the production so there is no further damage to the environment.

So is there a downside to this?  Yes, but it is not one that should put you off.  The downside is that you will be limited to a menu of seasonal food.  This might sound a little restrictive but throughout the year you can create great dishes with in-season produce so there is no reason why your guests should not enjoy tasty and creative dishes no matter what the time of year.

Locally produced foods also tend to be better for you.  Food that has travelled will naturally have lost some of its freshness and therefore it will have lost some of its nutritional value too. The fresher something is when you eat it the more nutrients you get. If possible, have your caterers use products that have only been picked the day before the wedding so you can be sure that your guests are getting the full benefit.

You should also never forget that by sourcing locally you are lending your support to local businesses.  Independent farmers and growers often lose out because their share of the market is much smaller.  Go along to your local farmer’s market day and meet a few potential suppliers, talk to them about your wedding and exactly what you are looking for and they will be able to give you a few hints and tips about what to find where.

Your wedding day has the potential to vastly increase your carbon footprint but forward planning and staying within a mile or two of home for your supplies should put a stop to that. Just remember that ‘local’ is not the same as ‘compromise’!

Your Green Wedding – How a Car Pool Can Help!

For any event, but particularly a wedding, travel to and from the venue can be responsible for seriously increasing your carbon footprint.  Everyone tends to travel in their own cars unless the wedding is a long distance from home, but car travel can be very damaging for the environment. So what is the solution?  A car pool!

Organizing a car pool

This is going to seem like a mammoth task but there are a few things that you can do to make it go smoothly. First of all you need to ask people how they are going to get to and from the wedding. You could send out a mass email or just ask people to note it on their RSVP when they get their invitation.  The next step is a little boring but it will help! Create a spreadsheet with all list of guests on it and note where they live and if they are planning to drive or not.

This spreadsheet will help you to work out if there are guests that live close enough together to share a vehicle.  You will also need to know if the guests are planning to stay overnight at the wedding location – some will prefer to return to their own home and this will affect the way that you match people up.

Talk to everyone first before you go making arrangements for them.  Some will be happy to car pool and some will not.  Explain to everyone why you are doing it – some will want to help you to reduce your wedding day’s impact on the environment but there will also be people who do not understand why it is important.  How much time you want to spend convincing them is up to you!

Car pool benefits

The reduction in fuel usage will be important for the environment but remember that it will also save your guests some money.  The cost of gas can be split between everyone in the car, which would be much more if they had all arrived in individual cars. It also means that some of your guests can get to know each other before they arrive at the wedding, so you will have far fewer of those guests that do not know anyone and find it hard to talk to strangers. And there are also fewer parking issues – there are so many venues that only seem to have enough parking facilities for half the number of guests that you have invited!

Alternatives to car pools include hiring coaches to ferry guests from the church to the reception and then back to hotels or even home.  When planning your wedding, consider not only the travelling that you are going to be doing but that of your guests too – the environmental impact soon adds up but with a little (or a lot) of careful planning, you can change that.

Is a DIY Wedding Eco-Friendly?

DIY weddingBrides today are often turning to the DIY option for various aspects of their wedding, but is this really any greener than other options?  The answer is that there are various ways a DIY wedding can be much more eco-friendly than the ready-prepared options so a little careful planning could be all you need.

When you realize just how many things are ready-made for your big day, it can seem to be easier to have somebody else do it for you.  Items such as stationery, decorations, party favors and even clothes can all be made by you for the wedding and one of the advantages of doing things this way is that you can be sure you get exactly what you want, but making sure it is green is another matter!

Stationery

You can order eco-friendly stationery for your wedding online or have a local stationery supplier produce it for you, but it is just as eco-friendly for you to purchase recycled paper and other items to make your own.  If you simply buy random items to make your wedding stationery with then you cannot be sure that it is the greenest option.  However, make sure you allow plenty of time as if you want to get them just perfect it can be a very time-consuming thing to do.

Decorations

For a DIY wedding the best decorations are those that you can find in the garden!  Raid your own green space as well as that of your friends and neighbors to gather huge amounts of flowers and trailing greenery.  The only downside to this option is that it has to be done as late as possible to avoid the flowers drooping before the big day.  Aim to decorate the venue the night before.  If you opt for other types of decorations such as paper decorations or balloons, you will find that your carbon footprint rises slightly.  And when you have finished with your flowers and greenery, they can simply be added to the compost!

Party favors

When you are putting together your party favors you could just purchase these ready-made but you cannot be sure what the carbon footprint of these is.  Why not consider a party favor that helps your guests to live an eco-friendly lifestyle? Wild-flower seeds in recycled paper packets are a good choice as it can help to give guests a lasting memory of your big day.

Clothes

Okay, we will admit you need some serious skills to be able to pull this one off but you can make sure your hand-made outfits are eco-friendly.  Using eco-friendly fabrics such as organic cottons and silks are a good idea but you need to make sure that they are produced locally (or as near as you can get!) in order to be sure that their carbon footprint is low. Remember that many fabrics are mass-produced in the Far East these days so do a little research before you make this decision.  This is another one that will have to be started early to make sure that you are ready for the big day. Last but not least, don’t forget your eco-friendly wedding rings!