Nice day for a green wedding?

Lovebird_small_2 Earlier on in the week I brought everyone down with talk of funerals, for which I apologise. I must have been having an emo-moment. But with the weekend approaching fast, let's turn our attention to the altogether more cheery subject of weddings. If you've ever been to a wedding, you'll be well aware that there's an awful lot of waste involved: all that food, those expensive fabrics, bling bling diamonds, two previously sane individuals...

But cynicism aside, it doesn't have to be this way, as a new crop of ethical wedding specialists are proving...

Most recently, Gaia House was launched, with a stunning range of classic and contemporary wedding gowns in eco fabrics for the 'bride with a conscience'. Available to order online, they're made from 100% organic ‘peace’ silk and mixes.

If you don't want the rest of your big day to have too big an impact on the environment, this really useful directory lists every service you'll need, from suppliers of food, wine, stationery, jewellery and much much more to get you through the day in totally decadent style without compromising your principles.

February 9, 2007 in Green weddings | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

3r Living Eco-shop

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It's just barely not too late to order from 3r Living and still get it in time for Christmas (providing you spring for 3 day shipping or faster).  So if you haven't shopped for Cleo or Spike yet - your cat or dog, that is - consider the Hemp dog bone, Oatmeal pet shampoo or Mrs Meyers Pet Litter Freshener.  And somehow manage not to stick reindeer ears on the cat this year?  [GT]

3r Living

Related stories: Lovely Organics at Bridalwave | Steebergs Wedding Token | GreenKarat ethical assays

December 19, 2006 in Green weddings, Pets | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Penrhos Court

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Penhros Court, once a mediæval manor farm, is now a deep green organic restaurant and hotel specializing in organic weddings. They also offer Greencuisine courses in nutrition and health with their chef, Daphne Lambert, showing how to choose organic, seasonal and local food. The Penrhos Court shop has expanded considerably to include everything from woodworks and jewelry to bedding and bath goods. For this Christmas, you can still pick up tokens for courses, such as the Women's Health Five Day or Hay Festival Heart-to-Heart. [GT]

Penhros Court

Related stories: The Ethical Travel Guide | Not Just Tourists delivers medical supplies on vacation | Botelet Farm

December 19, 2006 in Green weddings | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Diary of a Green Wedding #6: Early house hunting

AkHippyshopper editor Gabrielle (aka [GT]) chronicles trying to have a small, affordable wedding while pleasing her dreamed-of-a-fairytale-wedding- since-he-was-a-boy fiance John, and trying to keep her consumerism low.  This week, a look ahead at green housing.

A friend who manages an apartment building called up today to let us know a two bedroom was coming up available soon.  Great location, room for the all-important home office, and good neighbors - he lives there himself.  But my green lifestyle was thrust upon me by having a rash (more like a plague) of chemical sensitivities and classical allergies, so there's a good chance I won't even be able to set foot in the place.  This got me thinking about the after-the-wedding part, where we go home together.  Which reminded me of something: I hate paying rent.  And I'll tell you why.

Sure, everybody hates paying rent, but as I was growing up, my mother was an accountant, and my father had a construction company.  It was dinned into me: get equity.  Buy a house.  Don't throw away money on rent.  So the arguments I'm going to give you in favour of owning are coming from bias, to be sure.  However, owning a house makes you interested in what happens to your part of the world in a way that renting never can, and encourages better behaviour.  (Yes yes, it also gives you equity, so your money is working for you instead of being burned up and blown out the window.  That's beside the point.)

We all want the trendy, tiny flat near all the cool shops, but if you also want a home office, there's a good chance that what you need is a house.  If you're going with a house, you might as well look into building your own, which is what I got thinking about.  Land is pretty cheap around here, especially exhausted farmland.  My uncle had previously convinced me of the merits of straw bale housing, since it has fantastic insulation value and is much less expensive to build sustainably (as well as without ugly chemicals) than with conventional materials.

The Straw Bale Building Assocation has a lot of good workshops (and The Last Straw magazine).  Most straw bale is simple post and beam, with bales of straw stacked up like Legos, then sprayed with lime plaster to create a smooth, breathable surface.  Don't use concrete if you can avoid it; concrete locks in moisture which leads to the straw rotting, whereas lime disperses moisture and dries out.  Concrete also offgases for years to come.  Lime is also generally pretty, and concrete generally is not.

If you want a basic idea of what you can do with it, BaleWatch has 50 plans for straw bale buildings, ranging from small storage sheds up to a nine bedroom Bed & Breakfast.  The idea I liked most is the Compound, which involves building a perimeter wall, then several small buildings inside, so that you can perfect your ability one square room at a time.  This also allows you to spread out the cost of your house building and easily expand for, say, more office space, an art studio, or, well, possibly sometime after the wedding there'll be children.  Assuming science catches up with us and John can carry them.  [GT]

See more Diary of a Green Wedding at Hippyshopper, and more Green and Organic Weddings at Bridalwave.

September 29, 2006 in Green weddings | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Lovely Organics at Bridalwave

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We've been neglectful of the best bridal site out there, which is Shiny's own Bridalwave, run by the utterly super Camilla Chafer, and paid the price of not plundering her totally fantastic Green and Organic Weddings category. I hereby publicly apologize for being such a dope and urge any matrimonially-minded readers to hotfoot it over there. Go on, I'll wait. The eye-opener was her writeup of Lovely Organic's wedding hampers. I was introduced to them by Kiss and Makeup's writeup of Lovely Organics, but Charlotte seized on the most relevant part for my brideness-to-beness, which is the gorgeous range of Lovely kits for brides and bridesmaids, including a terrific thank you bag you can give your bridesmaids - a total steal at only £5. I also was intrigued by her post on heart shaped rice confetti (as a biodegradeable alternative to the normal rice or paper) and she had a great option for plantable invitations. The Bridalwave organic category has really taken off lately and Camilla is to be congratulated hugely! [GT]

Lovely Organic's wedding hampers [via Bridalwave]

More Green and Organic Weddings at Bridalwave | More Green Weddings at Hippyshopper

September 29, 2006 in Green weddings | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Diary of a Green Wedding #5: getting the bouquet out of the way early

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Hippyshopper editor Gabrielle (aka [GT]) chronicles trying to have a small, affordable wedding while pleasing her dreamed-of-a-fairytale-wedding- since-he-was-a-boy fiance John, and trying to keep her consumerism low.  But what to do about the bouquet?

Having decided what the invitations were going to be made of (stone, surprisingly enough) but not having actually completed the list of those to be invited - the "everything I can do" on that front having consisted of instructing John that he should sit down with his parents and hash out his side, lest we end up doing a Justice of the Peace thing downtown with random street people as witnesses (which would be entirely satisfying to me!) I decided I should start thinking now about the bouquet.  It, like the food, was going to be difficult, expensive, or both.

After hunting around online I found basically one aggressive purveyor of organic bouquets, named, err, Organic Bouquet.  They have a dozen Crown Majesty Esperance roses, organic, for $50 USD or two dozen for $65 (plus P + P).  They aren't a bridal bouquet, just the traditional vase one, although that's nothing some silk ribbon wouldn't cure.  It's a very good price considering what non-organic roses generally cost, and the Crown Majesty are particularly cross-bred to be long-lived.

I was surprised to not find any UK purveyors aside from Friendly Flower Company, which oddly has not even pictures of their work online, and no indication about prices - just an email address and a list of places they deliver to.  (Please do drop me a line if you know organic floral vendors!)

Considering that my dress and veil only cost £7.50 total, the idea of spending 3-4x as much on the most disposable part was very unattractive.  But if artificial flowers in the house are bad feng shui, then surely fake flowers in a wedding bouquet are even worse.  Then, of course, there're all the corsages and boutonnieres.  Another objection to fake flowers is that they tend to offgas until they're old enough to be full of dust (ie, there's never a point at which they're inoffensive). 

So what does that leave?  Origami? 

Maybe that's not such a bad idea.

Seeing this picture of origami flowers for a wedding project has made me seriously consider doing all the flowers in origami.  We've got six months; is that enough time?  Craft projects always seem deceptively simple time-savers and end up driving you mad, wasting your time, and causing you to chuck it to get storebought anyhow.  So evidently the thing is to learn some origami over the next week and decide by Diary #6 if this is the solution.  It'd be a lovely use for John's obsoleted-by-CD New Yorker collection.  (Yes, I am marrying an American, although I personally am not one.   Up Commonwealth!)    [GT]

See more Diary of a Green Wedding at Hippyshopper.

September 21, 2006 in Green weddings | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Diary of a Green Wedding #4: The invitation winner is... ViaStone

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Hippyshopper editor Gabrielle (aka [GT]) chronicles trying to have a small, affordable wedding while pleasing her dreamed-of-a-fairytale-wedding- since-he-was-a-boy fiance John, and trying to keep her consumerism low.  This week, a solution to the invitation issue arrives.

Last week I was debating what to do about invitations.  I did get some satisfactory-to-good samples from Seal and Send which were made from natural or recycled fiber and printed with vegetable ink.  However, since I have several years experience in magazine layout (not something most brides can conjure up quite so conveniently!) the pre-made invitations confirmed for me that I wanted to do it myself. 

Even if you decide to go the more conventional route, however, do check out ViaStone paper.  I received a sample pack from them the same day I received the sample invitations and it blew me away.  The image quality is crisp and bright, and it's water-resistant, fade-resistant, tear-resistant, and dries in a trice.  No trees harmed - ViaStone is made from stone.  No bleaching, no byproducts.  They have standard A4 papers as well as greeting card size, business card size, and labels.   

Despite being so much superior to conventional tree paper (a long-lasting souvenir for anyone who chooses to keep our invitation; no environmental regrets if you just bin it after you've written down the salients) the price is very much in line with other comparable products of that quality (about 50 pence per card; I plan to email asking about a bulk package since I also have my own line of art cards).  I strongly recommend checking them out for your own wedding invites or mass mails, whether DIY or done with a traditional printer.  Simply gorgeous.  Now if only we could get that invitation list done.  John, my dove, is it still really a hundred people?  [GT]

See more Diary of a Green Wedding at Hippyshopper.

September 14, 2006 in Green weddings | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Steebergs Wedding Token

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Given the Steenbergs organic wedding token is £4.50 each, they won't be appearing at my wedding, for I am more of an economist than a romantic, but, the idea is gorgeous and I believe John and I may end up sitting around stuffing organza bags with a similar mix to this. The Steenbergs blend is nutmegs are a European tradition for a happy marital home, star anise symbolise love and marriage in China, while rose petals and lavender are beautiful flowers, closely associated in weddings and the marital home. This organic wedding token comprises a handful of organic pink rose petals, some whole star anise, some nutmegs and lavender in a acetate(see through) rectangular box. And if you get tired of it, it sounds like it would make lovely tea. [GT]

Steenbergs organic wedding token

Related stories: Review: Simply Green: Parties | GreenKarat ethical assays | Green weddings category

September 14, 2006 in Green weddings | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Review: Simply Green: Parties

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Simply Green: Parties
by Danny Seo, published by HarperCollins, £7.25

I enjoyed Danny Seo's Simply Green: Giving quite a bit, so when I received a review copy of Simply Green: Parties, it was with enormous relief.  Here, I figured, was something that could be invaluable in planning this wedding thing in a practical way.  While it doesn't specifically address weddings, it does cover baby showers (no darling, that's not an oblique way of telling you anything), housewarmings and general summer parties.  Seo gives plenty of interesting little tips on how to improve the green factor of any social event at a minimal (if any) cost. Also engagingly written; every time I sat to flip through it I found myself absorbed by the accessible, sensible style.  Although I agree with his decision to showcase six types of parties to wrap his tips around, at the same time I would have appreciated more general advice on structuring a green event.  4/5.  [GT]

Related stories: Review: Simply Green: Giving | More Green Weddings posts

September 8, 2006 in Arts & information, Green weddings, Reviews, Shows & events | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Diary of a Green Wedding #3: Introduction to Invitations

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Hippyshopper editor Gabrielle chronicles trying to have a small, affordable wedding while pleasing her dreamed-of-a-fairytale-wedding-since-he-was-a-boy fiance and trying to keep her consumerism low. Invitations are a guaranteed puzzler.

In addition to being cantankerous, non-girly when it comes to weddings, and, shall we put it nicely, value-conscious about my spending on events, I am also not much of a crafty type.  Arts yes, crafts, not so much.  Nonetheless the idea of making my own wedding invitations was appealing, partly for the strictly practical reason that it meant I could design them to be a more standard letter size and thereby avoid the postage premium attached to non-standard format envelopes.  I'm also aware that the closer the wedding gets, the less time there will be to deploy the human touch - we'll be increasingly disposed to shell out for ready-mades.

The first question, of course, was, "John, how many invitations do you think we'll have to send out?"

"Oh, about two hundred," he said, and went back to typing.

"WHAT?"

"A hundred?" he said appealingly.

The difference between even a hundred and two hundred is, of course, the difference between something like the Cosmo DIY Very Orange Invitation, which involves mulberry cardstock (tree-free!) and an affixed pressed flower inside a milkweed (also tree-free!) envelope... and, say, the Organic Weddings Invitation Service or Seal and Send, since their paper is all 25-100% recycled. 

Having experience in desktop publishing, I was keen on the idea of doing my own design from the font to the stamp, and leaning toward using designer letter paper made from coffee or banana, or ellie poo paper and making it a three-fold letter rather than a card.  When my friend Noogie married, he made up generic postcards with ADMIT 2 coupon graphics, which was conceptually as well as practically very appealing, but not quite in keeping with what my intended dreamed of when he was a little boy.  Reluctantly accepting that invitations are going to prove more complex than I hoped, I ordered some Natural Fiber and Recycled samples from Seal and Send, and vowed to spend the next week tackling the issue, in order to get the invitations in the mail the desirable six months in advance.  The date?  March 18. [GT]

See more Diary of a Green Wedding at Hippyshopper.

September 8, 2006 in Green weddings | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack