Gorgeous and Green is a blog from the owner of Gorgeous and Green, a sustainable boutique and florist in the Bay Area. Here Pilar Zuniga presents ideas, pictures, and first-hand advice for those of you interested in green event planning, sustainable weddings, eco-conscious living and creation.
What do I mean by green/sustainable/eco-conscious? Well, as simple as you can get, I look for ways to create beauty and celebration in ways that minimize harm to the environment and the people who thrive here. I’m always striving for the most sustainable practice, which usually involves recycling and minimal processing. Organic and fair-trade when possible, but waste-reducing at all times. As far as the eye can see, less trash and less harm for the world we live in.
An example: although new organic fabric is wonderful, why not refurbish that old fabric you already have in the garage? Or remake that 1989 wedding dress so that it can be worn again in 2012. I’m always challenging my ideas and invite you to challenge your own.
Whether you’re an a novice, an event planner, a green guru, a groom or bride-to-be, you will find helpful hints and easy to use ideas here, or at the very least, a little inspiration.
Have your own ideas? Feel free and offer a suggestion.
Going Green for your event
Think Simply. The less design elements you use, the easier it is to make the event green/organic or sustainable. Now, simple doesn’t necessarily mean sparse or even cheap for that matter (although if you have a budget in mind, simple can make it easier to save money). But simple and less complicated usually means less travel for all the materials and more control over where they came from, how they were grown or made, etc. By using 10 dozen organic roses grown in CA for example, it is easier to control the green idea than if we chose 10 different kinds of flowers. Some of these flowers could be organic, others may or may not be and others may be grown outside of the US.
Simple can also help prevent headaches.
Use what you love. This means follow your heart when you design your event. What’s most important to you? If what is most important to you is that there are candles in every corner and on every table, then that’s where you can focus your green time. How can you make candles sustainable? What are the least wasteful or least toxic varieties? How can they be incorporated into your design so they really show up? What do you do with all those leftover candle holders or votives once you are done? Not only will it make your event more green, but it will make you happy when you are done, because you’re looking forward to how beautiful it will all look once it’s put together.
Look on Craigslist. Or, your local goodwill or salvation army store. There are many finds to be had that have already been used and loved by other people. Reusing items is probably the most sustainable thing we can do in our world today. It’s way better than making new organic stuff and breaking down and re-processing old scrap stuff like plastic and metals. I know: that 70′s inspired dress may not be what you imagined for a bridesmaid dress, but there are some things that we actually like vintage. Vintage vases, plates, shoes, hats, fabrics, chandeliers, tea cans, napkins, etc. For more modern items used for weddings and decor, you can find other brides or grooms who are selling it or giving it away on craigslist, which is a great alternative to buying it brand new.
Now, this may all take a little more time than you have. So it’s best to start early. Or, find a local wedding planner or event designer who has time to find these things. Some of us also collect items like this especially to rent out for events.
Stay close to home. Yes, it’s actually easier to plan an event that is in your own back yard. It’s easier to find locally sourced food, local artesans, locally grown flowers, etc. It’s also better for the air and that global warming business. Who knew. If you do have to travel, avoid taking your whole extended family, less is more when it comes to driving and flying. And, take a look at carbon offsets and tree planting programs. Although it’s sort of like blowing carcinogens and carbon smoke into the air and then growing a tree to clear it up, it’s better than nothing.
Use what we already have. One of the best ways to stay simple, green and even stay on a budget is to use and reuse what is already surrounding us. Why not create a lovely arrangement using photos from your family collection. Or ask friends to bring a token of your relationship to the ceremony to help decorate the altar. Maybe you decide to do a photo booth, so ask your friends and family to bring weird hats, scarves, boas and masks or cheese heads they may have to the reception so others can use them as costume. Too often we go out and purchase unnecessary stuff, and it could be just as easy to just ask around and it may be even more fun! Plus, when it’s something of a homework assignment, many guests will be inspired and enjoy helping out in the fun.
Stay at one place. This day and age more and more people are opting to have their events in one location. This is great because if you do it right, you can use decorations that will make one location festive, and so reducing the amount of decor that needs to be used for a separate venue for your ceremony. You are also inviting guests to come and stay at one place, so they don’t have to drive to two different places, often driving around looking for parking at both, which reduces the carbon footprint and saves your guest’s a little stress. For a bride and groom, staying at one location can also mean less stress for you, so you don’t have to worry about driving around and getting to the reception on time. It also means more time for pictures!