Eco-friendly Tips for a Christmas Wedding

A Christmas wedding conjures up images of snow-covered churches and warm rich colors such as deep red and purple and if this is your vision for your Christmas wedding you do not have to give up on this if you are concerned about the environment.

For wedding dress and bridesmaid dresses you do not have to compromise on quality or fabric in order to achieve the look that you want.  Organic versions of silk are readily available these days and are much more environmentally friendly than the standard versions.  You can also opt for the vintage dresses which mean that you are not having a new dress made at all.

For a Christmas wedding bouquet, opt for white flowers but give it some winter touches with the right foliage and accessories.  Pinecone bouquets have now become popular for Christmas weddings!  Interspersed with a few winter flowers these can look very rustic.  Talk to your florist about the type of flowers that are readily available locally.  Remember that during the winter months, flowers such as roses are either grown in special greenhouses or imported from other countries, both of which have a heavy carbon footprint.

christmas-weddingConsider foliage for the decorations for the church and reception venue.  Ivy and holly are perfect for Christmas weddings and in some areas can be easily gathered locally – just make sure that you have permission from the landowner first.  If you plan far enough in advance, there is no harm in growing your own.  Add pinecones to the table decorations and give them touches of color with silver and gold paint or opt for the same color as the bridesmaids’ dresses.  In some cases a church will already be decorated and will need very few additions to meet your Christmas theme.

For the food at a Christmas wedding you could embrace the Christmas theme completely and opt for a roast dinner, the ingredients for which are normally produced in most areas.

Another aspect of a winter wedding is how to keep everybody warm on the day.  The carbon footprint of traditional heating systems can be large so it’s a good idea to talk to your venue about the eco-friendly possibilities.  Some venues have solar power and other environmentally friendly options but this does not apply to all so a bit of research will be needed in advance.

One option for a winter wedding is a specialist marquee or wedding yurt.  This approach is ideal for those who want things to be a little more quirky but there is the option of heating the yurt with a wood burner.  As wood is a renewable energy source it is much more eco-friendly than most other options.  Find out if this option is available to you locally – the eco-friendly credentials are reduced if it has to be brought in from more than a few miles away.

The Eco-Friendly Bachelorette Party

These days the bachelorette party often turns into a weekend of celebrations,  and for this reason it’s worth taking a look at a few environmentally-friendly options to see if your festivities can be organized without leaving a mark on the planet.

glampingThe first thing to consider is where the celebrations will be held.  Consider something fairly close to home so that you do not have to include air travel.  Why not try luxury camping?  This does not mean spending a weekend huddled under damp canvas – many luxury sites offer ‘glamping’ pods or yurts that are furnished with four poster beds, luxury bathrooms and wood-burning stoves.  A quick look on the internet will show that you are never far away from a site that offers the luxury option.

If the celebrations are to be for one evening only then look for a hotel or restaurant that has strong green credentials.  Many have a sustainability policy and use renewable energy sources and local suppliers.   Alternatively, enlist the help of a party-goer with a large house and you can all head there, armed with organic food and drink and plenty of good music!

While a good bachelorette party involves plenty of delicious things to eat and drink, it is also becoming more traditional to have organized activities.  Why not consider craft workshops during the day before you party in the evening?  There are organizations that will come out to your home if you prefer but there are always plenty of places not too far away where you can learn popular crafts such as card-making.  You could also make this wedding themed – you could arrange a craft afternoon where guests can make their own fascinators for the wedding or even come up with a few decorations for the wedding reception.

When it comes to the food and drink for your bachelorette party you need to be aware that drinks such as wine can have a large carbon footprint.  There are also many chemicals involved in the creation of the final product.  However, if you opt for organic wines that do not use the same amount of chemicals then you can reduce this dramatically.  You should also consider locally produced wines if you can, but as not all regions are known for wine production then try to source as near to home as possible!  The good news is that there are plenty of organic restaurants around and it should not take too much effort to find one close to you so eco-friendly food should not be a problem.

Finally, make sure you consider transport.  Public transport is usually the most eco-friendly option but it is not always practical so where possible share cars or cabs.  Take a bit of time in advance to consider this aspect of the night out.  Find out how many people are going and think about the logistics of moving everyone from one place to another.

With a little bit of planning you should end up with a bachelorette party that is lively, fun and causes far less damage to the planet than you might think.

How to Choose a Vintage Wedding Dress

The word ‘vintage’ has a very romantic connection to it and no more so than when linked to weddings. If you would prefer to shop vintage when it comes to your wedding dress then there are a few things that you need to keep in mind when making your choice.

Damage?

Most stores or online stores that sell vintage gowns will not be selling damaged gowns, but you do need to check them over just in case there is something that they have missed.  This is especially true if you are buying privately and in most cases you should make sure that you can inspect the dress in person before paying for it.  Look for signs of general wear and tear, discoloration and stains.  Areas to pay close attention to include the hems and underarms.

Get the right size

You really do need to keep in mind that dress sizes have changed a lot over the years so simply choosing a dress in the size that you are now will not do as the same size even 20 years ago was measured differently.  Vintage sizes tend to be smaller.  You need to try a dress on before buying it. It is also worth remembering that many vintage wedding dresses were made specifically for the person who wore it.  Keep a note of your own measurements so that they can be compared to the dress.

Pick your era

Every decade produced wedding dresses in very different styles.  Do a little research before you buy and work out which era you think will suit you best.  In the 1920s, for example, dresses tended to have narrow shoulders and be designed in a sheath form.  They flow naturally and are ideal for those who are slim and petite.  Alternatively, the 1930s dresses are designed to fit the form better and are flattering on curves.  Those who are tall and slim are ideal for a wedding dress from this era.

If you are considering a 1940s dress then you might find something with a sweetheart neckline and puffed shoulders.  The peplum was also a popular design choice at this time.  The shoulders help the waist to look slimmer and there is also a choice of skirt length on this era of dress.  1950s dresses tend to have a fitted bodice and full skirt.  Full length skirts and tea-length are both popular and these are ideal for those who have an hourglass figure.

1960s dresses are currently very popular with empire-line waists, but there is also the short mini-dress version that was popular towards the end of the decade.  These are fine if you have good legs but if you prefer to hide them then opt for the longer versions.

Research is essential for the perfect wedding day outfit but it does mean that you can have something   that is not only unique but stylish and environmentally-friendly too!

Organic Suggestions for the Wedding Breakfast

If you want an organic feast for your wedding breakfast then you will need to make sure that you discuss your requirements with your caterer well in advance.  It may be that you have chosen a caterer on the basis of their environmentally friendly credentials but while they could opt for local produce as their standard fare, it could take a little time for them to source specific ingredients if you want only organic.

In addition, you may need to adjust your requirements slightly.  Local and organic fare will mean using seasonal ingredients and this might not tie in with the menu that you had in mind.  The good news is that the caterer works for you and you will not be stuck with their set menu as they should be striving to produce exactly what you want.

Organic fruits and vegetables are very popular but it is important to get them in season.  Out of season veggies may be organic as they are grown without the use of harmful pesticides but they are grown in greenhouses and forced and those who are used to eating them in season will be able to tell that the taste is not the same.  Opt for a fruit starter such as melon.  While this is a common choice it is popular because it is a light option and will not fill up the guests before they reach their main course.

Organic for a main course does not necessarily mean vegetarian.  Most people who want to be completely environmentally friendly will avoid meat but this may not apply to you.  Organic chicken, beef or fish are good alternatives if you need to provide for meat eaters and they can be used to create a variety of dishes.  Serve with a range of organic vegetables.  However, you probably will need to have a vegetarian option.  Vegetable crepes or a roasted vegetable crumble can make a good alternative and these are easy to make from organic ingredients.

Choc_FondantThere are also plenty of options when it comes to organic desserts.  You could keep it simple and serve local organic ice cream, or you could go for a more elaborate creation such as an organic cheesecake or an upside down cake.  Organic chocolate is something that once tried, is never forgotten so why not make sure that your guests get to taste it on your big day?  Chocolate fondant is a great dessert at any time and there are few people who do not like it.

Don’t forget to ask about an organic wedding cake.  This is something that is becoming more common these days so most caterers will not be phased by this request.  Cupcakes are an alternative and again, it should not be a problem getting an organic version.

As with any other aspect of the big day, make sure you shop around.  Some caterers will want to add a premium onto the bill for producing an organic menu, but with some using organic as standard, you should easily be able to find a caterer that will not break the bank.

Grow your own Wedding Bouquet

wildflowersOkay, so you’re planning every last detail of your wedding and have just been quoted a horrendous price for your wedding bouquet and other flowers.  Can florists really justify hundreds (many times thousands) of dollars for some foliage and a few roses and lilies?  The sad fact is that they can and do expect people to pay this kind of money for something that seems to grow abundantly, partly because they now call it ‘floral art’.  A real florist does have artistic skill, but that does not mean that the rest of us cannot learn a few tricks of the trade.

The first step is to source the flowers.  Even buying them from a florist and arranging them yourself could leave you with a hefty bill to pay, so the obvious answer is to devote a little time – and a good part of your garden – to growing the flowers yourself.  However, this is not something that you can decide to do at the last minute – you need to allow plenty of time for the flowers to grow and you need to time it all very well.  It is a good idea for those who are new to gardening to get a bit of advice from those who have green fingers.

Decide on the type of flowers that you want.  It may mean buying seeds, plug plants or bushes (in the case of roses) for the main flowers but then there are all kinds of plants and flowers that can be used as ‘fillers’ in the arrangements.  Again, take into consideration the time of the year that you will be getting married as what is available will vary.  Pinks, carnations, cornflowers and daisies are all great favorites and perfect for adding a splash of color.  If you want a rustic style bouquet then you can pretty much throw in anything that you want.

The amount of flowers you grow will also depend on whether or not you are making your own centerpieces for the tables and providing flowers for the ceremony.  Another factor is the number of people invited to the wedding.  A small wedding might only require six centerpieces but a larger gathering could mean that you need arrangements for 15 or more tables.  Make sure you have plenty of space for growing the flowers.  If space is limited, make arrangements to commandeer space in the gardens of friends and family!

As the flowers will not last forever once they are cut it is important to leave it as long as possible before taking the secateurs to them.  The best way is to deal with the flowers the day before so factor this into the schedule with plenty of time allowed as things like this always take longer than you might think.

A nice touch is for you to make your own confetti from the petals of flowers that you will not be using –hand this out to the guests to throw on the day.  Environmentally friendly and pretty to look at – what more could you want?

Don’t Forget the Eco-Friendly Wedding Favors!

One aspect of weddings that guests love to see are the wedding favors provided by the bride and groom.  Over the years these have become more elaborate but they are not necessarily environmentally-friendly.  The good news is that there are plenty of eco-friendly options that will impress your guests and ensure that they have a lasting memory of your special day.

Seed favors

A quick search on the internet will show you that there are many ‘plantable’ favors.  These are items that have wild flower seeds included with them so you can simply bury them in the garden and watch them grow.  These are a popular choice and come in many forms such as flower shaped ‘confetti’, cards, place cards and even boxes.  You could also opt for personalized seed packets.  Filled with assorted wildflower seeds, some will cover up to 200 square feet, so there is plenty for the whole garden.  Often you can choose the design of the personalized label and then add the names yourself.  To make it special, opt for calligraphy-style handwriting for an elegant touch!

Woven favor bags

Traditionally, wedding favors are candies and if you want to give your guests a few sweet treats then you need to have something to present them in.  Woven favor bags have a much more natural feel to them and are more environmentally friendly than opting for a plastic container.  They are biodegradable so if they are ever thrown away they will not have a harmful effect on the environment.  In addition, you can always reuse them for something else.

Bamboo coasters

Bamboo coasters make use of a natural material and are ideal for those who are having a summer wedding.  These come in sets that are packaged very nicely and are perfect if you want to give your guests a practical gift that will help them to remember your big day for a long time to come.  Consider purchasing some to use on the tables as well and this will help to tie the favors in with the decoration of the occasion.

Eco-friendly tote bags

Another practical gift that is sure to create a talking point is the eco-friendly tote bag.  These often have specific messages printed on them to encourage people to recycle but to commemorate your wedding you could have your names and the date printed on them instead.  Guests can use them to take home all the little items that they acquire during the day including the order of service and that all-important piece of cake!  The bags are fashioned from natural cotton and can be used time and time again.

Whichever eco-friendly wedding favors you choose, you can create a lasting impression on your guests without leaving a lasting impression on the environment!   For additional ideas, visit our Eco-Friendly Wedding Favor Pinterest board!

 

Wedding Transport the Eco-Friendly Way

weddingtransportOne of the easiest ways to cut the carbon footprint of your wedding is to take a closer look at transportation on the day of.  There are a number of ways that you can cut this back without expecting the wedding party and all the guests to ditch four wheels all together and make it to the venue on two feet!

Depending upon the region that you live in there are several different unusual options that you might want to consider to give your wedding a unique flavor that will not have the damaging impact on the environment that you might be worried about.

What about an eco-chariot or rickshaw?  These are very distinctive forms of transport and are sure to get all your guests talking.  Perhaps better for a wedding in a quieter town (no battles with heavy traffic!), these will have almost no impact on the environment.

There are a number of environmentally friendly cars that you could consider.  Hybrid vehicles have a much lower carbon footprint than standard cars and as many people are now looking at this particular aspect of their wedding, there are wedding car providers that are including the eco-friendly hybrids as part of their fleet.  However, there are also some regular limos that have been modified to use a more environmentally friendly fuel.  Be sure to ask the providers when you call what they do to protect the environment.  There may be a service that uses regular cars but has a system in place to offset their carbon footprint.

Carpooling is one of those options that needs careful coordinating.  How many people will be driving to your wedding with one or more spare seats in the car?  How many people will be going to the wedding by themselves?  Arrange for carpooling so that the number of cars in use on the day is reduced and it is also a great way for you to introduce some of your guests to each other before the wedding.

Public transport might seem like one of those impractical options but it is actually catching on as a choice for wedding transportation, particularly if budget is a consideration.  It might not be practical if you are having a large wedding and need to get 200 people from one place to another and you need to be sure in advance that it will get you there on time, but it is worth considering for its eco-friendly credentials.

Another form of wedding transport that does not require an internal combustion engine is the horse-drawn carriage.  You really cannot get more traditional than this and the carbon footprint of this form of transport has to be one of the lowest around.  This has a far more romantic feel to it than any of the other forms of transport, but it is one that is mainly for the bride and bridesmaids on the way to the church and the bride and groom on the way back.  Arranging this for all guests could be a little trickier!

Your Wedding: Eco-friendly and Traditional at the Same Time

So you want your big day to be environmentally-friendly?  That means tradition is out of the window, right? Actually, no.  You can still have the wedding of your dreams without it leaving irreparable damage on the environment.

Venue

Many traditional-style venues are now working towards becoming more eco-friendly.  They are adding solar panels to the roofs for electricity, deal with local suppliers and offer a range of eco-friendly options.  Fortunately you can still hold your wedding in a traditional venue and not notice any difference in the level or types of services that are available.

Outfits

Eco-friendly wedding outfits are becoming more accessible than ever.  Vintage dresses are a big trend at the moment and are far more eco-friendly than the latest designer number.  Consider where the dress has come from and if possible find one locally to cut down on the environmental impact.  There is also nothing more traditional than a vintage dress or outfit.

Catering

The main issue with finding a caterer is to keep it local.  If you hire a caterer that is generally based 100 miles away simply because they are popular then you are not thinking eco-friendly.  There are wedding caterers in all areas so ask around for a recommendation and talk to them about the suppliers they use.  It is counter productive to hire somebody that is based locally if they obtain all of their produce from hundreds of miles away.  They should still be able to produce the menu that you want.

Stationery

Okay, this is the easy one.  Avoid mass produced items such as wedding invitations and wedding programs.  Find a local person who can make these for you by using recycled paper and other items.  These will be so personal to you and will not compromise your eco-friendly dreams.  They will also be far more traditional than anything you could purchase in a store.

Transport

This is one of the heaviest environmental burdens on anyone’s wedding day.  Traditional wedding cars are not known for their eco-friendly credentials as they can have a heavy fuel consumption and heavy emissions.  Why not look a little further back for traditional transport?  Consider a horse and carriage.  This is probably the most eco-friendly option but it is not always going to be the most practical.  If this is the case then opt for a more modern car.  Some wedding transport providers now have the new generation of hybrid cars at their disposal and this can help to make this aspect of the day a little bit greener.

The trick is to consider which traditions you want to be a part of your day and find a way to include them without losing any of the day’s eco-friendly features.  Luckily, there are more options for greener weddings these days so getting what you want with little compromise should be easy.

How to Find an Eco-Friendly Wedding Venue

eco-friendlyaccomodationsThe perfect wedding is accompanied by the perfect wedding venue, but you may have to look a little harder to find a beautiful venue that shares your devotion to environmentally-friendly issues.

 Location, location, location

 Location will add plenty to the eco-friendly credentials of your wedding.  Choosing somewhere within easy reach will allow both you and your guests to travel to the venue without building up carbon emissions while traveling. If the venue is not close by then consider transporting the guests there on buses or arranging a carpool system.  It is also a good idea to choose a venue that can host both the ceremony and the reception to save on traveling time.  The thought of an exotic wedding abroad might be appealing to many people but this can have a serious impact on the environment – even if it is just the happy couple that flies out.

 Think non-traditional

 You may have to consider venues other than hotels for your wedding.  These days there are any number of unusual venues that offer facilities for both wedding ceremonies and receptions.  Plenty of museums, farms, art galleries, historic buildings and botanical gardens offer facilities for hosting one or both parts of your wedding day.  This might help you to find a beautiful venue fairly close to home that will prove to be a talking point among your guests.

 A summer wedding means that for your reception an outdoor venue might be suitable.  A naturally beautiful setting will need little in the way of enhancements thus making it far more eco-friendly than many venues.  The trend for outdoor weddings has grown in recent years and shows no signs of abating.  It can make for wonderful wedding photographs too. 

 Finding a green hotel

 There are a few questions that you need to make sure that you ask when considering a hotel as a wedding venue.  There are already advantages to choosing a hotel as many guests might stay there, thus reducing the environmental impact of traveling.  Ask the hotel if they use local suppliers, if they use recycled products and if their energy and water supply are eco-friendly.  There are many hotels around that supplement their electricity supply with the use of solar panels and that collect rainwater for use in the building. 

 Need a helping hand?

 There is a growing number of wedding planners that now specialize in green weddings.  If finding all the right eco-friendly wedding features that you want seems like an overwhelming task then it makes sense to enlist a professional to help things along.  The advantage with a wedding planner is that they will already have contacts at various hotels and other venues, as well as the ability to source quickly other aspects of the day such as transport, caterers and photographers.

 However, when starting the planning process it is a good idea to spend some time online searching for exactly what is available in the area that you want so you can plan the day with a greener edge.  

Get Your Eco-Friendly Wedding Dress!

We all know that men’s wedding outfits are easy to arrange – the vast majority of men will rent outfits and then just return them after the wedding and while this is an option for the bride and the bridesmaids, it is not always what we want.  So how do we get an eco-friendly wedding outfit that is exactly what we want?

When it comes to the dress there are plenty of options.  You could find a local seamstress to make a dress to your own specifications using eco-friendly fabrics.  You could opt for a vintage or secondhand dress or you could even turn to a designer known for producing new dresses with an eco-friendly slant.

Sustainable fabrics such as organic cotton, some silk blends or vintage fabrics are often the best choice when creating an eco-friendly wedding dress.  There are suppliers that have them in stock and finding one local to you should not be a problem.

The trend for vintage wedding dresses shows no signs of abating and this is a good thing when it comes to the eco-friendly dress.  There are plenty of vintage websites that you can check out for ideas, but thrift shops also stock secondhand wedding dresses and with a little bit of searching finding a gem should be easy.  It is easy enough to find somebody to carry out a few alterations if needed.  There are also plenty of designers now that want to make the most of the trend for eco-friendly dresses so a quick search on the internet should find one that you like and a store that stocks their designs locally.

The main issue with a wedding dress is that you will only wear it once, so what should you do with it after the wedding?  The options are endless.  You can donate it to charity, have another outfit made from it or pass it on to another family member.  The main thing is not to leave it languishing at the back of the closet.

Shoes are probably the one part of the bride’s outfit that most people will forget when it comes to eco-friendly fashion.  There are designers that create eco-friendly shoes although these are not going to be to everyone’s taste.  For this reason it is probably a good idea to hit the vintage and thrift stores again.  In most cases wedding shoes will only have been worn once so it can be easy to find a pair that is in almost-new condition.  Again, once the wedding is over pass them on to another person or donate them to charity.

Extras such as a veil are very easy to find in vintage stores so if you want to consider eco-friendly for accessories as well then you should not have a problem, but whatever you choose to do, make sure that you have an outfit that you will love and that you will have a day to remember.