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Thursday, March 11, 2010

{Green} It's Not Easy

Sure there are vendors willing to sell you pre-made green products. For those DIYers who want to start with raw materials that are both earth friendly and budget friendly it's a little harder.

We weren't planning an eco- or green-wedding. We weren't even considering whether or not our choices had a large or small carbon footprint. We were making choices based on style, budget, and convenience.

For our wedding attire, style guided us. I loved the look of Miss Velvet Cream's reconstructed pieces. cubes does as well. I wanted to wear my mom's wedding dress. First unintentional green decision-a vintage dress reconstructed with a modern fairytale twist. Scatha recommended starting with a vintage suit for cubes - for history and for cost. Second unintentional green decision.

To go with the vintage flavor of the dress, I wanted Edwardian-style boots. Reproductions were crazy expensive (Victorian Calf-high Boots from My Vintage Sole) and so we began the search for vintage boots. A pair were found at Idol Vintage in the Mission. Another - our third - unintentional green decision made.

For our reception, we wanted an intimate dinner setting and that meant candles! With candles that eliminated flowers in our tablescapes as many wilt near a heat source. Italian restaurants in movies always seem to have candles stuck in Chianti bottles. With the warm brown in my boots, clear glass, brown glass, and green glass of wine and beer bottles seemed a good choice for a candlescape. It was also budget friendly as we get the bottles for "free" with our dinner parties - our fourth unintentional green decision. To protect the table linens, we envisioned candles on tarnished (want an informal, approachable atmosphere) silver platters. The fifth unintentional green choice as Gram and Mom obtained silver platters from local antique stores. Seeing a trend here?

I also started collecting vintage cookbooks to place on each table. Initially, I was thinking of labeling tables by cuisine types and stacking candles on top of the cookbooks of that cuisine. Finding bulk vintage books was easy. Finding bulk cookbooks was a little harder. Finding three cookbooks of the same cuisine on budget was near impossible. Cookbooks will be grouped in displays near the bar and in the hall where the cocktail hour will take place. They may also be used to add height variation to the escort card display. Some pages from duplicate cookbooks will be upcycled into paper flowers and signage.

In the early planning of our wedding we were having trouble finding a date that didn't conflict with a friend or family member's wedding. We knew we'd be having a lot of family coming in from out of town and that many of our friends didn't have cars. This guided our decision to have both the ceremony and reception at the same venue. This also guided our choice of San Francisco over Half Moon Bay or the Wine Country. Once we got our date, we started looking for venues in the city accessible by Muni or BART. For convenience we'd made another eco-friendly decision.

After these initial decisions were made, I signed up for wedding porn. Google Reader was filled to over flowing with design inspiration. An article on the difference between escort cards and place cards led to the next green choice-corks for holders. My family had been collecting corks for years for my sister to use for projects in her kindergarten class. Our unintentional green trend continued.

Next decision - a cake I could eat. And... it's made by a local baker, Cafe Gratitude, who uses local, in-season ingredients that have been sustainably farmed.

There are some aspects of our wedding that won't be green or eco friendly. For example, Save the Date postcards, RSVP cards, and table runners. We're using materials we already had on hand (printing supplies from when I worked events photography and fabrics used as backdrops for portraits).

With so many aspects of our wedding green and eco friendly, I wanted to start consciously making green choices. We found eco-friendly tapers made from palm wax that were the same cost as tapers from IKEA.

So back to why it's not easy for DIYers to be green. At lunch, I tried to find eco-friendly papers and envelopes to use for our invitations, wedding favors, and programs. I finally found a couple of options, but creativity to keep the items within budget is required. More in a future post - have to play with design options first.

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