A Hot Chocolate FavorSo it's getting chilly at night these days. The time has changed, the days are shorter, and you've probably switched to flannel sheets like we have. I know, I live in California, but we still get cold here. If you're getting married this winter, you may be considering a winter theme. Maybe you're just thinking about the comfort of your guests on a chilly winter night. Whatever the case, why not help your guests get cozy after the affair with favors of organic and fair trade hot chocolate? I love hot chocolate, hot chocolate with marshmallows, even Mexican hot chocolate. With a few cookies for dipping and a movie to watch, I'm set for the night. There are a few companies out there providing hot chocolate made with organic and (so very important) fair-trade cocoa, but one caught my eye because of their willingness to share with their cocoa growers: Deansbeans.com. Now, their hot cocoa mix is not only well-intentioned, it's also very affordable. Half of their profits are returned to the growers! I'm not sure how it tastes, but I'm hoping to try it and get back to you. Dean, if you're reading this, I'd love to taste a cup! The Gorgeous and Green Events wedding or party favor suggestion would be to find some small recycled paper bags and twist ties and measure out a serving of the mix for each guest. Here I cut out some snowflakes from leftover white fabric I had and attached it to the front and used reused ribbons to accent. You could even go one step further and put it in a glass jar with some marshmallows so they can see the mouth-watering treat. You could personalize it with a cute tag with your guest's name on one side and the cocoa directions on the other. And don't forget to tell them it's not only organic, but fair-trade! In Chocolate and Health, G&G
Eco and Family-Fun WeddingA few weekends ago, Gorgeous and Green Events created the flowers, event design and helped coordinate the day for Meredith and Ben's wedding at the Kensington Community Center in Kensington, CA. The location has a slightly simple and outdated community center, so it was fitting that Meredith decided to forego using the center itself and instead use the outside areas. The Center sits on a hill with a nice large patch of grass and an amphitheater in the back. There, we transformed the outside space to hold the festivities of the wedding ceremony and reception.
The wedding party: I really liked that there was a groom's woman for support on the groom's side. And, she wore a kaki dress to match!
A cute flower girl
Flower girls on the march, with cute compostable flower baskets that Meredith bought them.
The Dining Room: outside on the grass, tables were placed end to end to make rows. Meredith was not really into flowers for the event, so on each table I placed a glass vase filled with locally grown fruits and vegetables. At each seating there were reused strawberry baskets for the guests to use to take some fruits or veggies home at the end of the night.
Meredith wanted a vibrant color scheme, so we went with fruity colors, like lime, mandarin and raspberry. We decided to string lanterns around the grassy area to enclose the outside space and create a festive air. Some of the lanterns were reused from my wedding (the turquoise ones) and I hand died the fuchsia cotton ribbons myself, biodegradable!
There were a lot of young children at the event, and it was planned to be family friendly, with kid friendly seating (like booster chairs and high chairs), kid friendly music and lots of paper lanterns to play with!
She chose a blue and fuschia pink color scheme for her bouquet and I accented that with some beautiful all yellow sunflowers in the bridesmaid's bouquets.
All the beautiful photos were courtesy of the photographer, check out his website for some truly artistic photos: www.seandonnellyphotography.com
The event was filled with sustainable touches and eco-friendly design. And the sustainability will go on. I kept many of the lanterns and the glass vases, and I plan to reuse them for another event some day. Having worked with the Bride since the beginning of the planning, it's always nice to see it all come into fruition. And in such a beautifully conscious and fun way.
In Green and Health,
The Stylish and Eco-Friendly shopping bagI'm always on the lookout for stylish gifts that can be used as eco-friendly favors for weddings, birthdays or other events. The reusable grocery or shopping bag hadn't quite made it into that category until I happened upon some great designs of the tuck-away-until-you-need-it bag by Roger La Borde. You may be familiar with the line of great cards and stationary that is created by this company, but when I found their bags, I knew for sure I liked their style. You can see some pics of their designs on their website www.rogerlaborde.com. Here are some examples of the tucked away bags that they design:
Not only are they fun and cute, they can be used over and over and when you're done you can tuck them away into a little pouch and they can wait in your purse or glove compartment until the next time you need a bag. Pretty handy and Chic.
These would make great wedding favors or party favors for between $7 and $11 dollars a piece. Or, maybe you're looking to treat yourself and the environment to some reusable style.
In Green and Health,
Details of a Green WeddingThe small pieces of an event or wedding are always the most tedious and possibly some of the most important. Flower colors, number of birthday candles, seating charts, the 1st song, etc. etc. And when it comes to a green event, making some of these details green and sustainable can get overwhelming. Yet, people have been celebrating green for centuries, and really it just means we have to go back to our roots to find our sustainable ways. At Gorgeous and Green Events we believe green design and event planning start with what's available in your area and what can be made and planned for without a lot of out of town materials or out of town vendors. It's rather simple to do, but we've made it more difficult for ourselves in the US because we use cars, trucks and airplanes to transfer people and objects all around the world with the swipe of a credit card. Not to mention all the chemicals we use to make things grow and appear in new ways and at different times of the year. With our wedding in Baja, my fiance and I decided to make even the small details green. My mother and I contacted local flower growers in Baja (about 5 miles away from the wedding site) and ordered flowers that could be used in bouquets and arrangements for the wedding. We picked those up the day before the wedding, so the florist, who also came down to Baja to work, could include those flowers in the arrangements.
Bouquet by Heavenly Florist, San DiegoWe chose to print our own maps and invitations at home. I illustrated the map using information about mileage and freeways for guests I could find on the internet. Since I had driven down Baja many times, it was helpful for me to add some additional driving pointers. We just scanned and printed them at home. Very cost-effective. The Invitation papers we bought from www.invitesite.com . A great place to get invitations sets for printing at home, and they offer sustainable designs that include tree free paper, recycled paper and raffia.
Invite Site's Hampton'sIf you have a chance, however, you can find recycled paper and envelopes in different colors from art stores and paper stores in your area, and print out your own invites at home. You might even find a local printer who can do them for you sustainably, and cut out the extra travel carbons.
Here are some sustainable invitation vendors or companies that provide eco-friendly options:
I chose to decorate our cocktail napkins and table cards using some rubber stamps that I had bought at a local art supply store. Rather than send out for printed napkins with our names or logo on it, I felt the stamps gave a festive and personal touch. The place cards were printed on recycled cardstock and they were attached to small shells that sat in sand at the entrance to the reception.
Table CardsI made the ceremony programs by sewing sheets of printed vellum and recycled cardstock together and then adding a cutout from a piece of design paper I bought at the art store. They were very special and were made at home! Less travel carbons and a bit cheaper than having them done elsewhere. We had a lot of space to decorate, and really no amount of flowers would have added to the magnificent decor of the beach and beautiful blue sea. So we opted to stay light on the table flowers and added some decor in the sky such as some paper flowers I made from tissue paper and tree-free paper that were strung up at the reception entrance. Not only were they compact and pesticide free, we could recycle them when we were done.
Sky paper flowers
We also needed more light on the patio where the reception was being held so we needed to buy or rent lighting. I made some lanterns out of jelly jars and wire and hung those around and we opted for turquoise paper lighted lanterns around the space that looked magnificent by day and glowing at night. Not only beautiful, but these lights were made of paper and old jars, recyclable or reusable materials for another event.
Lanterns at NightFor wearable details besides my dress, I opted to go vintage. I began looking for the perfect necklace months before, and found it close to home at a local jewelry shop that specialized in antique Native American jewelry. I found a wonderful necklace of full turquoise, which not only is a favorite stone but also was one of our wedding colors. I also found at a local vintage store a beautiful vintage hair comb with blue crystals. It went perfectly with my dress and overall look, which had a special Spanish/Mexican Colonial feel.
Vintage Hair Comb and NecklaceThere were many more details that I could go on and on about, but the take home message is really about simplifying and keeping things local and free of toxins. If you can buy it near you, if it was made or grown near you, if it was grown and made without added chemicals and toxins, and if it was already used by someone else, you've made quite an attempt at keeping your event and your life green. All the beautiful event photographs were taken by Erin Beach at www.erinbeach.com