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’!

What makes your wedding venue eco-friendly?

eco friendly wedding venueThere are a number of different factors that you should be looking for when you are trying to figure out if your wedding venue is eco-friendly. The first thing you should do is ask the venue what action they take in terms of sustainability – most places that consider it to be important will be very proud of the work they have done and will not hesitate to tell you. However, some are definitely more eco-friendly than others!

Energy usage

 Any venue can look at their energy usage and make it a little greener. Even ensuring that their energy supplier has green policies can make a difference, but if you want to be sure of your venue ask them if they’re using alternative forms of energy generation such as solar power or wind turbines. Ask if they take measures such as switching to energy saving lightbulbs – even simple steps like this can bring the carbon footprint down significantly.

Recycling

 Whatever you do in life there is always the potential to recycle and hotels and other wedding venues are no exception. Some have intricate systems that recycle grey water so it can be used in gardens, some will simply ensure that all of their paper is collected and recycled. Others will ask for guests to separate out the things that they use so that bottles, cans and paper can all be recycled. What about recycling of rainwater? Collecting rainwater for use in the hotel is a great water of cutting back on water consumption, which is another key factor in the eco-friendly world.

Local suppliers

 This is quite important. There is not much point choosing a venue that has all of its energy supplied by solar power if you find out that they import all of the flowers for their arrangements from another country. Local suppliers are essential to any company that wants to be greener. Florists, for example, could be using only seasonal flowers and foliage that they can source within a few miles. The venue’s kitchens could ensure that they are sourcing meat, fish and vegetables locally too. Again, imported food – even from another state – can add to a carbon footprint significantly

Don’t forget to ask!

 There is no point dismissing a venue just because they do not do things the way that you want. Ask if they can do it for your day! For example, if they do import flowers for their venue, ask if it is okay to use your own local supplier for that one day. While it would be good to have a venue that is environmentally friendly all the time, some are not, but you can make it so for your wedding day.

Most venues are happy to accommodate you if you have specific requirements. Why not take a look at their websites first – if they have green credentials they will normally publicize this. Many venues have been given green awards from TripAdvisor so why not start your search there? As always, we hope you join us at Ecoura in our commitment to preserving and protecting our Earth.

Tips for Eco-Friendly Wedding Planning

eco friendly weddingThose who want to live a greener lifestyle may pay a lot of attention to the finer details of their big day, ensuring that it is as green as possible. However, you might want to consider how to make your planning process greener too. It might sound strange but everything we do has an impact on our planet in one way or another. Remember that there is a lot of moving about to do when you are planning a wedding and this will add to your carbon footprint, so why not try a couple of these tips to keep it to a minimum?

At-home research

 The internet is a great way for you to limit the damage you are doing to the planet because you can use it to find out more about things like venues and suppliers. You can take a look at the websites for the various places and suppliers that you are interested in and then create a shortlist that way. It could be that you need to know if a specific hotel has certain facilities available and their website should be able to tell you that. You will only need to arrange a visit if you are sure that you want to consider it for your wedding. It is great to visit places but it is also a very easy way to increase your carbon footprint.

Careful visits

 When you do want to arrange visits prior to the wedding, try to visit venues that are close to each other around the same time. For example if you want to visit a couple of venues that are 10 miles away from your home, try to visit them on the same morning or afternoon in order to limit the amount of travelling that you are doing.

The same thing applies to meetings with suppliers. If you are planning an eco-friendly wedding the chances are you are using local suppliers for your big day anyway but it can still help to make the planning process greener if you meet with them all around the same time and in the same area.

Are your suppliers green?

 You should be able to answer this question from the initial stage of your research. If you take a look at your supplier’s website it should say if they have been working sustainably or not, or tell you what your eco-friendly options are. If there is no information on this then make a phone call and ask the question. Don’t wait until you have travelled to meet the supplier to ask because that could just be a wasted journey if they are not able to meet your criteria. Those who do work to eco-friendly standards are usually very proud of this and will post it on their website for all to see!

Starting the planning process for your wedding is a very exciting time and it is very easy to get caught up in the excitement but if you want to have the greenest wedding that you can then a little bit of research will help you in the early stages.

Choosing Eco-Friendly Jewelry

Is there such a thing as eco-friendly jewelry? Of course there is! In fact, it does not take much for you to find an environmentally friendly option and some of the most beautiful jewelry can add to your green credentials.

Why eco-friendly jewelry?

Obtaining precious metals and gemstones can be very damaging to the environment – mining is not the most eco-friendly of activities. It can damage the natural habitat of wildlife and cause a great deal of pollution. Remember too that mining is often taking place in developing countries where there isn’t much opportunity to control what is happening. In some countries you need to be aware that the people who work in the mines are not treated fairly, with long hours, poor wages and poor living conditions so by considering the jewelry you buy a little more carefully you can really make a difference.

What is eco-friendly jewelry?

 You need to consider the way that the stones and metals are mined. There are mining companies now that are paying more attention to the impact that they have on the environment and are doing more about working conditions. Consider buying jewelry that has been created from items found in non-conflict areas. It is possible to get jewelry that has a certificate to show that it has been fairly traded so that you know that workers are getting a fair deal.

A good example is the use of cultured pearls rather than natural pearls. Cultured pearls are considered to be more environmentally friendly because the way that they are harvested does less damage to the environment and there is no difference between these and those found naturally. You can also save a bit of money by buying cultured pearls – they are cheaper because there are more of them.

Another tip is to avoid coral – this is a beautiful material but it has become endangered. Pollution, infrastructure works and the rise in water temperature is doing a lot of damage and large amounts of coral reefs have died. Your eco-friendly jewelry should never contain any coral at all.

eco friendly engagement ringsOne of the best ways to make sure that you get environmentally friendly jewelry is to opt for that made from renewed metals. Renewed means that the materials have been previously mined so you there is no massive addition to the carbon footprint. Renewed gold has been collected, melted, refined and churned into fresh bars of gold. The good news is that renewed gold is identical and has the same look and feel as newly mined gold.

Ecoura has become one of the top names in renewed gold, specializing in wedding and engagement rings. All of our eco-friendly engagement ring collections are created from renewed gold and you can choose from classic, contemporary and vintage styles – something for all tastes. You can even help to make the world a little more environmentally friendly because if you choose your engagement ring with Ecoura we plant a tree in your honor – further helping to reduce the damage that is being done to the planet. Now, isn’t that much better than the alternative?

 

Money Saving Tips for the Eco-Friendly Wedding

It is good to be greener in your outlook and want to have an eco-friendly wedding, but there are some eco-friendly options that will end up putting a hefty dent in your bank balance.  Here are just a few ways that you can keep the cost down without compromising your greener beliefs.

Avoid paper!

If you want to send paper invitations then there are many eco-friendly ways to do it, but you can save a lot of money by avoiding paper altogether.  Why not consider sending email invitations?  You can create an e-card – and there are many sites out there that can help you with this – and send that instead.  In many cases these are free to use, but there are a few sites where you pay a nominal fee.  You can even set up a free website through which to send your invites – all you need is a little creativity!

Wedding outfits

Anyone who has gone shopping for a wedding dress recently will know that they can cost thousands.  However, you can save by purchasing a second hand dress or by renting one just for the day.  After all, while your wedding dress is something special you are only going to wear it once so what is the point of spending a lot of money?  Renting and buying second hand are also options that are going to have far less of an impact on the environment than buying new.  On the other hand, ask around in the family.  Mothers, aunts and even grandmothers may still have their wedding dress tucked away and most will be only too happy to let you wear it as well.

Flowers

Flowers for your wedding can also be quite costly but you can remain green and save (a lot!) of money by growing your own flowers.  This will take some planning and you will have to be getting ready for this months in advance to make sure that you have the right flowers.  If you don’t already have things like rose bushes in your garden talk to friends, family and neighbors.  Find out what they grow and what they are prepared to let you have for your wedding.  You might have to be a little flexible by doing things this way.  There is no guarantee that the next door neighbor’s rose bushes are going to produce the right amount of roses, for example, so you might have to get a little creative here too!

Photography

Hiring a photographer is expensive but you can save money by asking a friend or family member to take photographs for you on the day.  Make sure that you opt for a digital camera so that there are no processing costs or chemicals involved and you can easily make copies of these and send them out to friends and family.

There are plenty of other ways that you can save money on the day.  Think about ways to organize the catering so that you are not paying out too much money and consider the venue for the event too – every little aspect of the day costs but you can keep everything to a minimum with some forward planning.

classic ecoura ringEngagement Rings

At Ecoura you know our love for the environment runs deep and this is why all of our rings are made from renewed gold. We also plant a tree for every engagement ring purchase. Find out more about our commitment to preserving and protecting the Earth.

 

Quirky Ideas for Greener Wedding Invitations

plantable wedding invitationsWhen you’re planning the perfect eco-friendly wedding, there are so many different ways that you can add that greener touch.  A very simple way to reduce your carbon footprint is to make sure that your wedding invitations are eco-friendly.  Never think that this has to be a boring option – there are so many fun ways for you to have greener wedding stationery that your guests will never forget!

The first step is to use recycled paper, but don’t worry, this product has gone far beyond the grey-toned paper that you used to get!  You can now get recycled paper in a variety of colors and finishes.  Add in features such as soy-based ink for a greener finish. Soy inks take longer to dry but they release very few volatile organic compounds into the atmosphere.  If you are using a commercial printer ask them about a soy or vegetable ink – many of them do now offer this option.

Now for the quirky part!  Your recycled paper invitations can be plantable. These are papers that contain a variety of wild flower seeds and you can literally just pop them into the soil so that they can grow a more permanent and eco-friendly reminder of your big day.  These come in various shapes and sizes and with a number of companies producing these you are sure to find one near you to help to keep environmental damage to a minimum.

Why not avoid paper altogether?  The advent of the internet means that it is so easy now to create a website and it doesn’t even have to cost you anything.  You can be as ornate as you like in the design of your site and all you have to do is send a link to all the people that you want to attend your wedding.  It can be a one-stop shop for info on your big day.  Put on details of bachelor and bachelorette parties, registry info, the bridal shower and any other information that you want your guests to know.

Wedding invitations are never quirkier than when you have made your own.  This is a great way of making sure that they are unique to you.  Recycled paper and other materials are readily available and you can choose your own design and style.  Have a bit of a practice with a calligraphy pen before you start and they will look very stylish.  Use things like stamps to add images and color – it will take a bit of time but plan ahead and it will be easy to slot into your schedule.

When you send out your invitations make sure you put your email address on them – this will cut down on paper RSVPs and help to keep the carbon footprint of return mail down too!

Top Destinations for a Green Honeymoon in Europe

Once you have planned your eco-friendly wedding ceremony you need to start thinking about an eco-friendly honeymoon.  It is no good trying to save the environment at your wedding if you are going to undo all that good work in the couple of weeks afterwards!  However, there are plenty of eco-friendly places that you can stay at and if you want to honeymoon in Europe, here are just a few for you to consider…

Yurt camping in Portugal

yurt holidayCamping no longer has to mean uncomfortable sleeping bags and flimsy tents.  Did you ever consider a luxury yurt?  These are far more comfortable (and romantic!) than a standard tent and you will not compromise your eco-friendly principles.  There are many places in Europe where you can spend a few days in a luxury yurt, but a popular location at the moment is Portugal.  These are ideal if you have a fairly low budget and you can spend time exploring the local countryside.  The yurts often have hot running water and private bathrooms and energy is supplied with the help of solar energy.  Most deals include breakfast and you can often arrange for packed lunches or home-cooked dinners in the evening.

Six Senses Spa and Resorts

six senses europeThis is a large chain of resorts based all over the world but there are a number in Europe.  This brand is known for its dedication to environmental issues.  When you visit one of their hotels you will see evidence of eco-friendly measures such as conserving water, recycling and composting and energy saving measures.  Even the use of energy saving light bulbs can help the environment and these hotels include small measures such as these alongside the use of solar power.  In addition, food is often grown on-site, cutting down on the environmental impact of producing gourmet meals.  If you want a spa treatment you will be pleased to know that the products used contain only natural ingredients.  For those things that the hotels cannot change, they offset their carbon emissions by supporting other environmental projects.  A honeymoon at the Six Senses Spa and Resorts will help minimize your carbon footprint.

DDG Retreat

A honeymoon in Spain means that you can spend a week or two at the DDG Retreat.  This is a secluded and low-key retreat located in the Andalucia Hills.  Known for its eco-friendly principles, there are five ‘casas’ here that are rented out to visitors.  Each has been individually designed and there are facilities here such as a spa, restaurants and infinity pool.  This is a great romantic destination that helps you to truly get away from it all.

All over Europe there are hotels and resorts that are doing more to help the environment and it only takes a few minutes online to find one that meets your requirements.

Greener Music for Your Wedding

GREEN_MUSIC_NOTESYou might wonder just how you can make your wedding music green. Unfortunately the music industry as a whole is not generally environmentally friendly, although steps are being taken to change this.  Record labels are starting to make small changes, such as the use of environmentally friendly paper for CD and DVD liner notes.  The music industry made a big effort to reduce waste and improve recycling and managed to cut back on waste by 4 million pounds.   Some musicians are making financial contributions to green programs including renewable energy programs and climate change.  Some artists are working with Reverb, a non-profit organization that makes music tours environmentally friendly.

It is possible to have ‘greener’ music at your wedding, but the fact is that you are going to be relying on your band to help you out with their green credentials too.  However, there are a few things that you can do to make sure that your wedding music is as eco-friendly as possible.

First of all you could hire a band that takes an interest in eco-friendly matters.  They could make an effort to ensure that their work is carbon neutral.  This might mean that they offset their travel and other energy consumption by supporting green projects such as tree-planting schemes.  It may be that they make an effort to ensure that their stage outfits are made from sustainable materials or they use a greener form of travel to get to and from their performances.  It is worth asking your chosen band about this – while some will make sure this information is on their website, there will be plenty that have just not made it public.

Another option is to find acoustic performers.  Energy consumption drops dramatically when your band is using instruments that do not require electrical help!  Acoustic music can be very atmospheric and you will lose nothing by choosing a band like this.  However, if your band does use electrical instruments then it will help if you choose a venue that uses renewable energy sources.

Finding a band locally is always a good option.  A local band will not have to travel far and will therefore not be creating a huge carbon footprint.  Ask around and find out who friends and family have used on similar occasions.  Talk to people at your church – it is becoming a very popular option these days to use gospel choirs to perform at weddings and you can often find other musicians this way too.  People have been known to make a variety of music choices for their wedding, with one couple in the US reported to have hired a college marching band as entertainment.

When you talk to prospective musicians, make sure that you ask them what measures they take to ensure that their music is environmentally friendly.  It does not take a lot to make a difference and even a few greener measures can dramatically reduce the carbon footprint of a performer.

Eco-friendly Wedding Gift Ideas

A couple organizing an eco-friendly wedding would surely prefer that their wedding gifts are also eco-friendly, but what should you give?  The fact is that if you have time to do a little research there are plenty of gifts out there that go far beyond the usual gifts of glassware and kitchen accessories.

Opt for a gift that is a little more creative.  Plenty of people will give the happy couple items for their kitchen – why don’t you give them the opportunity to learn how to use them?  Cooking classes for couples make a great gift.  They can spend time together away from home and learn new skills at the same time.  Alternatively opt for a hamper that you have put together yourself.  Find out all their favorite (organic!) foods and fill a basket.  Maybe you could add in a few of your own favorite recipes for them to try.

Anything organic should feature on your list of possible gifts which is why organic cotton bathrobes and bedding are becoming popular choices.  There are a number of places now that sell organic and fair trade cotton products and the quality is perfect for a wedding gift.

eco-friendly wedding giftIf you do want to buy the happy couple something for their kitchen consider something made from bamboo.  Salad bowls and tongs, coasters and many other items can be found made from bamboo.  It is a sustainable material and it looks great in the kitchen.  Opting for sustainable materials for your gift is important – avoid plastics at all costs as their impact on the environment is dramatic and damaging.

For the real eco-enthusiast, you could invest in a solar oven.  These are ovens that cook simply with the help of sunlight, saving energy and money.  This is perfect for those who live in an area that gets plenty of good weather and it will totally transform the way that they prepare a meal.

Ethical gifts are also gaining in popularity.  Many charities now give you the opportunity to purchase items such as goats, cows and chickens for villages in third world countries.  Gifts like this mean that you can make a difference in the world without having an impact on the planet.  It is also ideal for the couple that already seems to have everything that they need.

If you do not want to give a physical gift, why not promise your friends some of your time and support?  A couple moving into a new home when they marry will need help with decorating and gardening and would appreciate a few friends turning up when they are needed most.

It does not take a lot of searching to find a suitably environmentally friendly gift and if you are on a tight budget you should still be able to find something that is kind to the planet and that your friends will appreciate.

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!