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.

Why have a green wedding?

With many people looking to be environmentally aware these days, it is natural that it should be considered for every aspect of life and your wedding day is no different.  After all, there are environmental implications in everything we do and when we plan for weddings the environment might unfortunately be overlooked.  It is estimated that the average wedding will leave behind 400lbs of waste and create 63 tons of CO2.

Consider the implications of a traditional wedding:

  • Stationery – invitations, order of service and other printed materials for the day will have an impact on the environment.
  • Transport – those traditional vintage cars are not really eco-friendly are they?
  • Outfits – wedding clothes can be just as unsustainable as other outfits you buy, even more so when you consider that they will only be worn once.
  • Venue – is the venue an environmentally friendly one?

These are just a few factors to take into consideration but when you sit down and add it all up your wedding day could be one of the most unsustainable days of your life.

So how do you combat this?  First of all by making sure that you look into every aspect of the day carefully and making sure that it is as green as possible.  You will soon realize that an environmentally friendly wedding is easier to arrange than you might think.

Minimizing waste is an essential part of the process.  For example, room decorations for the reception.  These are often thrown away at the end of the day but you could hire reusable decorations so that nothing goes to waste.  Hiring items is often the most environmentally friendly way to have the look and feel that you want for your day without the guilty conscience.  These items will be used time and time again, reducing any impact that they have on the environment.

Then there are other aspects of the wedding.  Flowers, for example, are something that most people would not think could leave a negative impact on the environment.  However, many commercially grown flowers are grown with the help of fertilizers and then there are the environmental implications of transportation.  For a greener wedding, organically grown flowers are a must and locally sourced flowers are essential for reducing environmental impact.

Choosing a venue that has a strong sustainable focus is an important factor.  Consider how the venue generates energy.  If you are opting for a hotel ask if they make use of solar power or other methods that reduce their CO2 emissions.  Talk to the caterers to see if their ingredients are organic and sourced locally. Find a dress made from organic fibers or use one that is hired or borrowed.  Make your own invitations or send them electronically to reduce environmental impact.

All of these are small changes that can be made to the traditional wedding and their impact will hardly be noticed – least of all by the environment.

10 Romantic Ways to celebrate Earth Day

 

Earth Day is an important day for our planet and for Ecoura – as we have made a commitment to preserve the Earth and its resources. What better day then to get engaged when the whole world is taking a moment to think about our beautiful planet and the need to preserve and protect it.  In the event that you do find that you are engaged on Earth Day – we congratulate you. And, for those of you just feeling romantic, here are 10 wholesome ways to celebrate Earth Day.

 1.   Instead of snuggling on the couch watching television or a movie with your sweetheart, turn off the electronics and go outside for an evening walk.  Some couples agree that an evening walk is one of the best things for a relationship as you are away from the household and concerns of the day and have a moment of privacy to walk and talk.

2.   Shop at a local Farmer’s Market for special produce and freshly grown items and cook up a simple plant-based meal for a romantic dinner for two. Check out the cookbook Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi who writes a weekly food column. This book shows how diverse, easy and delicious vegetarian cooking can be.  Try it for an evening of fun, plant-based eating to celebrate Earth Day.

3.   Turn off your rechargeable gadgets in the home for one night. Unplug your phone chargers and computer plugs from the wall – this will be a night free of “vampire power” which is also known as standby power which refers to the power gadgets that waste electricity (and add to our carbon footprint) just by being plugged in.  Check your outlets for a vampire-free evening.

4.   Go for a bike ride:  Dust off your bicycle and drag it out of the basement or loft and take a ride with your partner along back roads, down to the shore, or alley ways – wherever you drive – take a bike ride instead. This is an exhilarating way to enjoy Earth Day with the one you love.

5.   Visit a green building. Find out about a truly “green” building in your community and pay a visit to it together. Buildings are responsible for one third of global greenhouse gas emissions. Find out how green buildings can change that and go and see for yourself what one looks like.

6.   Find out what is one of the top eco-friendly movies out there today, and plan a date night watching it.  Eco-friendly movies and eco-friendly actors are out there making an impact, so if you want to have a date and feel good about the environment check out a movie that is both entertaining and offers a solid message to go green.

7.   Choose one of Ecoura’s top ten eco-friendly hotels across the nation and have your next vacation there. Ecoura has come up with a list from Chicago to Vermont to California and Texas of where you might find the award winning eco-friendly LEEDS-certified hotel. Check out our list of the top ten eco-friendly hotels to see if there is one close to where you live.

8.   Go to a Bluegrass Festival: Bluegrass – or the more popular Americana music – fits perfectly with an earthy date. The music seems to speak to a rural and simpler time and so many bluegrass festivals are set in beautiful areas of the country. Bring a blanket and leave the electronics at home. Listen to the beautiful acoustic sounds of Americana music.

9.   Mail a love letter on recycled paper. One of the benefits of turning off your electronics on Earth Day is you might be forced to pick up a pen and compose a note to your loved one. Something that says how lucky you are or how your life feels with that special person in it. Wouldn’t it be nice in the years to come to know that you put your feelings down on paper and the note is still tucked away in your loved ones desk. Make this Earth Day the day that you sit down and write.

10.  Recycle It! Whatever you do on Earth Day, whomever you see and whatever subtle changes you make – be sure to recycle it – both literally and figuratively. Keep it going and stay aware of the fragility of the planet and all the little things we can do to make it last longer!

 

Top Eco-Friendly Wedding Blogs according to Ecoura

One of the biggest wedding trends in 2014 is the commitment to ‘going green’ and having an eco-friendly wedding. Couples are opting for rustic barn weddings, an outdoor ceremony on a hillside, exchanging vows by the ocean or on the prairie, and although the days of the indoor church wedding and an indoor reception still remain popular, it is also preferable if these venues are “green” as well.

Ecoura, a leader in creating fine jewelry from renewed gold, decided to show particular recognition to ten wedding blogs that have been outstanding in emphasizing and promoting ‘green’ or eco-friendly weddings.

Here is Ecoura’s pick of the top ten eco-friendly wedding blogs:

Eco-Beautiful Weddings

Eco-Beautiful Weddings offers ideas derived from organic & sustainable wedding tastes from around the globe. In each issue, the site offers free eco-giveaways and a challenge to each engaged couple to bring even more ideas to the site on ways to have an eco-friendly wedding.  Their motto is “If each engaged couple in the world just took one element of their wedding and at least tried to make it eco-friendly, just think about how different the environmental impact would be.”  Visit Eco-Beautiful Weddings: http://eco-beautifulweddings.com/

Ethical Weddings

Ethical Weddings is geared towards celebrating each couples’ personal values. It acts as a resource for those couples who want to plan a wedding that suits their tastes without compromising their values. The site invites planners, couples, suppliers and experts to offer advice and support and there slogan is “ethical brides and green grooms.”  Visit Ethical Weddings: http://www.ethicalweddings.com/

Green Weddings by the Knot

The Knot has always been a leader among wedding planning websites and their section on green weddings is no exception. Green Weddings by the Knot offers a great deal of advice for couples seeking to plan an eco-friendly wedding and invites people to share their tips and stories. Visit Green Weddings by the Knot: http://wedding.theknot.com/real-weddings/green-weddings.aspx

Green Bride Guide

Green Bride Guide is unique for its eco-friendly wedding gift shop and registry service.  The Wedding Shop is home to hundreds of products from eco-friendly invitations and favors to accessories and beauty products. The shop is also the first of its kind to offer carbon-neutral shipping with each purchase. In addition to the shop, the Green Bride Guide’s blog offers tons of tips and advice on how to help make your wedding a little bit greener. Visit Green Bride Guide: http://www.greenbrideguide.com/

Rustic Wedding Chic

Rustic Wedding Chic has become the go-to wedding blog for brides planning a rustic barn or country wedding. Launched in May of 2009, Rustic Wedding Chic stands out for its gorgeous photographs of rustic weddings and its thoughtful attention to details. It really does offer a great deal of guidance for couples with the very popular “Ask Maggie” column. Maggie Lord, founder of RusticWeddingChic.com is the author of two books, Rustic Wedding Chic and Barn Weddings. Visit Rustic Wedding Chic: http://rusticweddingchic.com/

Style Me Pretty

Style Me Pretty is primarily devoted to looking beyond the traditional wedding. For this reason, the site is increasingly highlighting eco-friendly weddings and their distinct style. The site covers examples of the “best of the best” with attention to every detail. Perhaps its emphasis on pretty sets it apart from other eco-friendly sites, but it clearly makes an effort at style savvy recommendations devoted to the modern bride. Visit Style Me Pretty: http://www.stylemepretty.com/

Wedding Bee

Weddingbee is an online community for brides and wedding enthusiasts.  Weddingbee is updated daily by 20+ brides and much of their advice is built around eco-friendly weddings. Visited by over 4.5 million users each month, Weddingbee is known for its active boards where brides are able to speak to each other in a Q & A type of forum. Visit WeddingBee: http://www.weddingbee.com/

A Practical Wedding

A Practical Wedding has a feminist-leaning culture that supports a kind of low-key, natural wedding atmosphere. The editors are not particularly traditional in their approach to the wedding ritual and they have an active readership that shares how they planned and executed their wedding in the most practical manner. Their content combines how-to’s, and essays that help ‘keep it real’ and stay focused on the people and the emotions, and not so much the accessories surrounding the wedding day. Visit A Practical Wedding: http://apracticalwedding.com/

Green Wedding Shoes

At Green Wedding Shoes, the site attempts to celebrate a couples love and commitment to each other and this ‘eco-friendly’ way of life. The founders live in Los Angeles, California and they have a southern California lifestyle that sets the tones for their designs and interests. Since beginning GWS, the mission of this southern California couple has been to help brides and grooms personalize their wedding day – in eco-friendly style.  Visit Green Wedding Shoes: http://greenweddingshoes.com/

Ecoura Recognizes the Top 10 Eco-Friendly Hotels & Resorts in the United States

Ecoura supports and recognizes the United States’ top hotels and the many that have made strides in protecting the environment. Ecoura, a leader in creating fine jewelry from renewed gold, decided to show particular recognition to ten hotels around the country that have been outstanding leaders in the field of energy and environmental design and quality. These ten hotels appeal to those individuals who – on the occasion of an engagement and/or wedding – want to particularly support these resorts for their efforts to maintain a world-class ambience while being mindful and caring of the environment.

Amongst this list, many of the hotels chosen are LEED-certified. Other hotels are over 95 years old and work in other ways at sustaining an eco-friendly resort or hotel and have won accolades.  For the uninitiated, LEED, stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and is a multi-category, green building rating system developed by the U.S. Green Building Council.

LEED Certification is awarded to select properties based on their site sustainability, water efficiency, energy use and atmosphere, materials and resources, indoor environmental quality, and innovation in design for a new building, or innovation in operations for an existing building. Three of the ten hotels here are the only ones in the country that are LEED Platinum – a rare feat that is awarded for the highest standard for environmental design.

Here is Ecoura’s pick for the top 10 eco-friendly and beautifully “green” resorts and hotels around the USA:

1.  Bardessono; Yountville,  Northern California Bardessono is a LEED Platinum  – a rare feat as only two other hotels in the United States — the Proximity Hotel in Greensboro, N.C., and the Bardessono in Yountville, Calif. — have earned the designation. Along with its other unique qualities and beautiful setting, Bardessono does offer an excellent venue for weddings. Featuring 1,665 square feet of indoor space and over 4,000 square feet of outdoor space, distinctive venues at Bardessono include outdoor terraces, water elements, artistic landscaping, and a poolside patio. Whether couples are planning an intimate wedding, rehearsal dinner or a corporate retreat, the Bardessono staff will customize and serve the event to be uniquely the couple’s own.  Go to http://www.bardessono.com for more information.

2.Proximity Hotel,  Greensboro, North Carolina The First LEED Platinum Hotel – Named the highest rated “Green” hotel and restaurant in America, the Proximity Hotel uses  40% less energy and 30% less water than a comparable hotel of its size and location.  Additionally, this is a  AAA  Four Diamond, locally-owned hotel that offers a glimpse of the future while celebrating the past.  The hotel emphasizes sustainable practices, custom-designed furnishings, commissioned art and innovative designs while also accommodating special occasions like weddings, engagement parties or receptions.  As a locally-owned boutique hotel, the hotel offers custom menus to fit any need or party size, from an intimate reception for 20 to a grand soiree for 400! As well, guests have the unique honor of celebrating in the first Platinum LEED certified green hotel in the country. For more information, go to http://www.proximityhotel.com.

3.Hotel Skyler, Syracuse, New York Hotel Skyler, a boutique property, features a geothermal heating and cooling system. Sixteen vertical wells were dug just adjacent to the hotel and each well is 499 feet deep and there are 68 water-to-air heat pumps. Signage inside the hotel helps educate guests about how the geothermal system works. Hotel Skyler is the third hotel in the country to carry the LEED- Platinum certification.  The Hotel Skyler is recommended for that special honeymoon or engagement party as it is not as oriented towards large events like a wedding. For more information, go to http://www.hotelskyler.com.

4. Stowe Mountain Lodge, Stowe, Vermont Stowe Mountain Lodge offers the ideal Vermont wedding location.  Located at the base of Vermont’s most romantic and storied mountain resort, a wedding at Stowe Mountain Lodge is a perfect choice. Stowe also has continued their commitment to the environment. It was named a “favorite Green retreat” by Travel and Leisure magazine this year. In 2006, the resort became the first member of the Audubon Sustainable Communities Program’s Private Sector Track, as well as Stowe Mountain Club’s certification as a Signature Sanctuary. For more information, go to http://www.stowemountainlodge.com.

5. Inn by the Sea, Cape Elizabeth, Maine With spectacular ocean views from all function locations, Inn by the Sea provides a dramatic and memorable backdrop for wedding receptions and fabulous wedding photography. The Inn by the Sea can accommodate weddings for up to 150 people in the ocean view rooms or tented on the lawn.  For couples seeking a green venue in New England, Inn by the Sea has achieved both a Silver LEED(R) and a Maine Department of Environmental Protection Green Lodging Environmental Leader certification. For more information, go to http://www.innbythesea.com.

6. Hotel Felix Chicago, Chicago, Illinois As the first hotel in Chicago with a Silver LEED certification, the Hotel Felix epitomizes these sustainable values. Even the artwork at this hotel is sustainable by using found and reclaimed materials like the sculptures, “Loren the Doorman,” “Madeline, the Baker’s Wife” and  “Scrappy, the Dog”, which all consists of pipes,  buckets, drill bits and umbrella stands. The family of sustainable artwork reflects the whimsical and fun spirit of the Hotel Felix, so guests start feeling happy, naturally, from the moment they arrive.  As more of a boutique hotel, the Hotel Felix makes an excellent honeymoon getaway or a great site for an intimate engagement or rehearsal dinner. For more information, go to http://www.hotelfelixchicago.com.

7. The Nines, Portland, Oregon Portland, Oregon, is already known for its heavyweight green hotels, but the recently opened Nines (as in “dressed to the…”) promises to raise the bar: it’s set to be the country’s most luxurious urban eco-property. The 331-room hotel is a LEED Silver–certified hotel, on the top floors of the Meier & Frank building (a former department store), recycled 90 percent of its construction debris; the on-site steak house uses local ingredients; and the lobby art, including a wooden stiletto shoe, is by Portland sculptors. The Nines features 13,500 square feet of sophisticated event space. The majestic Ballroom features 18-foot ceilings and gleaming Murano glass chandeliers, while the Gallery is ideal for smaller intimate receptions, decorated with ornate wall paper and floor to ceiling windows. For more information go to http://www.thenines.com.

8.The Broadmoor Hotel and Resort,  Colorado Springs, CO The Broadmoor Hotel is literally a national treasure and is listed as one of the prestigious historic hotels of America. A reputation of excellence, which spans almost 100 years, coupled with dramatic and thoughtful green renovations are what have propelled this resort toward its designation as the longest-running consecutive winner of both the AAA Five-Diamond award and the Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star award, the latter of which it has held for 52 years. From the stunning Lake Terrace Dining Room and rustic Cheyenne Lodge to lush outdoor lawns and terraces, The Broadmoor offers a variety of beautiful venues and picturesque locations for your Colorado Springs wedding. There are numerous locations located throughout the 3,000-acre Colorado Springs resort that can accommodate receptions and ceremonies from 20 to over 1,000 guests. Wedding specialists will assist couples in finding a location that suits their individual tastes and that comfortably accommodates the size of their wedding.

The Broadmoor is also happy to host rehearsal dinners, after-wedding brunch and other wedding-related events. The Broadmoor hosts about 100 weddings per year, and many are destinations weddings from around the world. For more information go to http://www.broadmoor.com.

9. Stablewood Springs Resort, Hunt, TX This world-class destination resort in Hunt, Texas, encompasses 140 acres of a 543-acre private ranch rich with diverse wildlife and breathtaking scenery. Besides being the perfect place for corporate meetings and family retreats, Stablewood Springs Resort also makes an ideal setting for weddings. Choose from the spectacular pool area or the beautiful orchard overlooking the lake for an unforgettable ceremony. The resort staff can help arrange every detail of a couple’s special day, from consultants and florists to photographers and musicians.  Stablewood Springs also offers a premier wedding package, including accommodations in 6 of their 3-room villas – perfect for large wedding parties. For more information go to http://www.stablewoodspringsresort.com.

10.  The Orchard Hotel , San Francisco, CA   The Orchard Hotel is family owned and managed and includes 104 guest rooms.  The Orchard Hotel joins its sister property, the Orchard Garden Hotel in ‘green’ certification, earning LEED-EB (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) certification for an existing building by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).  LEED-EB is the USGBC’s leading edge system for operating high performance buildings dedicated to whole-building cleaning and maintenance issues, recycling programs, exterior maintenance programs and systems upgrades. Its inspiration for meeting the LEED-EB guidelines comes from its 90-year-old owner, Mrs. S.C. Huang.

Located two blocks from Union Square and steps away from the Powell Street cable car line, the Orchard Hotel built in 2000 was awarded LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification in 2009.  The hotel is Energy Star rated 98 and is carbon neutral through 3Degrees Group, Inc. This upscale boutique property is a great site for an engagement party, rehearsal dinner or intimate wedding ceremony. For more information, go to http://www.theorchardhotel.com.