An Interview with Earthly AffairA fellow blogger, and one of the go-to gals I have listed on GorgeousandGreen for green event inspiration, is Jennifer from Earth Friendly Weddings. Apart from her creative blogging skills, she is also responsible for Earthly Affair, a green invitation business. They offer two earth-friendly papers for their invites: One is a 100% pcw, using no new trees and the other is a cotton paper, FSC certified for responsible forest management and made of partially recycled content.
Take a look at some of the whimsical, romantic and clean designs they provide:Earthly Affair was created after the planning of my own wedding. While searching for invitations, I noticed a lack of truly earth friendly and stylish invitations for today’s modern bride. I decided to design my own invitations and that’s when the idea was born. Nearly one year later, we launched our site and started selling eco-friendly, customizable invitations online! 2. I noticed you recently planned your own Green Wedding, what did you do to make it sustainable and green? I have to admit, I didn’t start out planning a green wedding. Our plan was to keep the wedding fairly simple and as the planning process intensified, I became determined to make more sustainable choices. We held it at a beautiful and historic antebellum house in the city that also acted as a restaurant. Our ceremony and reception were both held there, so guests didn’t have to travel from one event to another. Apart from the flowers, all of the decor was either rented or available to us from our venue, reducing unnecessary waste. The one thing I purchased for decoration was a set of letters that spelled out “LOVE,” and even those were re-used for my friend’s wedding and they now reside as decoration in her home. I was hesitant about favors, but in the end I decided to create something that I thought people would keep. I spent hours researching and printing romantic quotes to put on little favor boxes, which we then filled with chocolate bought in bulk. Those were a big hit and most people loved them. 3. How would you define sustainable living? Sustainable living is respecting that which we depend on. I’ve always believed this and although it’s a somewhat cheesy outlook, I think if people took the time to realize how lucky we are to have such a beautiful earth, which is our home, there would be a lot less problems in the world. 4. What do you think is the biggest barrier in getting couples to choose a green wedding? A big barrier is the misconception that it costs more. In some cases, they’re right, but with a little extra work and patience, it doesn’t have to be. 5. What is the most un-green or insustainable wedding practice that you can think of or have seen in your experience? I’ve never witnessed any one thing, but putting sentimental feelings aside, the wedding dress is pretty unsustainable. Many resources go into making this overpriced jungle of fabric and then we only wear it once. I don’t have much room to talk though. I bought a brand new dress for my wedding and it’s still hanging in my closet. There is a conflict of emotions there because while I know it’s highly unsustainable, I fell in love with it and wasn’t able to let go. 6. Let's pretend for a moment that you could create one green invention in your life (that worked) what would it be? Would teleportation be green? I love to travel, but I know how horrible air and car travel is for the environment. Of course, the thought of actually being teleported is a different story, but the convenience factor is hard to deny. I wonder if we would run into each other mid-teleport and end up with someone else’s legs or arms… If you get the chance, do look at her blog and check out those lovely invitations if you're holding an event or wedding. I know they are doing a lot to be eco-friendly, and as a fellow greenie I can vouch for their strong values and sustainable methods. Take a look at some of the ways they are acting as a sustainable business:
- they offset co2 emissions resulting from our shipments and our business through carbonfund.org.
- they donate a portion of our profits to environmental projects.
- they recycle or reuse everything we can.
- they implement energy saving practices
- they compost and/or recycle leftover paper scraps.
- they reuse shipping supplies or materials.
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