A Low budget Green Wedding

It can be green and low cost too

Over the summer I worked with a bride who was looking for floral design for a medium to large wedding, but wanted to keep it under $1000.  Now, I knew this meant we would have to work smart, but I was unwilling to make it look cheap.  The bouquet I think is the most important part, so I wanted to keep that looking fantastic, and that alone could have taken up 1/4 of her budget.  So we decided on very simple centerpieces and a lovely bouquet with some expensive touches as well as lovely and simple corsages and boutonnieres. The centerpieces: I rented the bride square glass vases and filled them with some stones, some living bamboo and a floating flower or two.  For 15 tables, this brought the cost down quite a bite.  We used locally grown flowers of course. mich center 2 The family flowers: I didn't want to skimp on the corsages or boutonnieres, so we used orchids when we could, and white roses with horsetails, but just kept it simple by using one or two, instead of going crazy.  I grow orchids, so keeping the number down allowed us to use what I had available. boutonniere white green The bouquet: This was the final challenge.  I wanted to keep it looking classy and connected to the Japanese/Philipino cultural influences that the couple desired for their wedding (instead of a wedding cake they chose Japanese Mochi for their dessert, very cool)

mochi wedding

So we went with mostly roses and dahlias, with a few hints of orchids, poppies and ti leaves. orchid fushcia bouquet Thanks to Cate Corbitt Photography for these pics! In Affordable Green and Health G&G

My favorite Recycled things #2

Snow, Winter Weddings and Wonderlands

I live in California.  So, I don't see much snow, and when I do, it's because I've decided to head to the mountains.  I have to admit, I'd rather have the option.  Blizzards, black ice, shoveling snow and drippy noses seem to come to mind when I think of snowy winters...  But so do snow days, snow flakes, hot cocoa and snow men.  I guess it's a yin and yang situation. Whether you dream of playing in the snow or just like to watch it on TV like some of us, you will probably love these gorgeous recycled snow flake jewelry pieces by Kumvana Gomani that are featured on inhabitat.com. snonecklace02 Picture-2-04 kumvana_profile They are delicate, light (I imagine) and could be the perfect adornment for a wedding ensemble, cocktail dress or just a day at the office.  I love the fact that they are made from plastic bottles.  I love it, I love it, I love it.  Can you ask for anything more? For those of you not sure why this is a big deal, check out this little story on the tremendous amount of plastic water bottles and other plastic waste floating around the oceans as we speak: thechicecologist.com Yikes!  Giant plastic islands floating around the oceans the size of texas!  If you read the full post you'll see that plastic is accumulating and turning up everywhere, including in that sushi dinner you just had. Kumvana's jewelry pieces are gorgeous, handmade and totally affordable!  I know they aren't diamonds or anything, but that plastic just might last as long! In Recycling and Health, G&G

My favorite recycled things

A Wintery and Warm Necklace

I happened across this necklace from Becklaces on Etsy while I was looking around for recycled and reused things.  It has a cool recycled story (it includes yarn from a bag handle!) , and of course it's hand made.  I just love it when recycling looks this good.   The necklace would look so warm and cozy around a bride's neck for her winter wedding.  I love the fuzziness of the rosettes and the delicate look of the pearls and chain. creme bouquet necklace With winter on it's way, who wouldn't want to cuddle up in such an adorable necklace?  And did I mention it's recycled? In Green and Health, G&G


Vintage, Antique and Reused

Reusing Vintage Vases in Weddings and Events

I've started collecting vases for Gorgeous and Green customers interested in renting vintage collections of vases for their wedding or event.  It takes some time and dedication, but so far I have almost two collections ready to go and a couple in progress. Here is my current collection of white milk glass vases: milk glass reused

There are some really cool designs.  So far my favorite is the bubbled vase that actually doubles as a candle holder.

milk glass reused2 And my vintage green glass collection: green glass reused3

This collection is actually two-toned, a slightly brighter kelly green and a darker grass green.

green glass reused2

green glass reusedMy favorite is the long stemmed dish on the right, so delicate.

I have a huge collection of clear glass vases that I've been gathering from the last weddings I've done.  Although they aren't vintage, they will lower the price for customers and act as a truly sustainable way to add decor to their events.   I also just recently purchased some large vases that are made from recycled glass, which I plan to rent to customers.  Talk about a sustainable practice! Besides buying recycled and reused, I always go biodegradable.  Glass, rubber, wood or metal.  Never plastic.  It makes it a lot more difficult to find cool and updated styles on a budget.  But I hope by creating these vase collections, I can reduce the price for my customers by allowing them to rent. I've started a vintage red collection and a blue collection, but I'm finding it harder to get the really cool vase shapes in those colors.  Still looking... I hope to show you some pics when they're more complete. In green and reusability, G&G

Earth Day Everyday

Why not make the earth a part of your day, everyday, while you jet around town?

In the life of a green and eco-conscious business woman, I have become more and more conscious of the small and big things I can do to support local communities, reduce my impact on the earth and share knowledge so that others can be more conscious and act sustainably as well. Over the weekend, I decided to buy an electric bike.  My previous bike had been stolen and I was looking for something I could ride around town without having to use our bio-diesel wagon or a hybrid City Car Share, especially for short local trips.  Both our recycled bio-diesel wagon that's fueled with diesel from biofuel oasis and the city car share are often great options, because of the reduced emissions and sustainability factor.   But, I was looking for something a little more convenient.   So here I am with my new electric bike (which looks like a vintage scooter).   me-and-electric-bike I also bought one for my husband so we could go on local trips together.  Here we are with two bikes that look a little more modern... electric-bikes I know, a little dorky, but  overall, the bikes are great and a lot of fun.  They charge in about 4 hours and have a 15 mile range.  They go 15 to 20 miles an hour, and it's possible although a little cumbersome to pedal them if they run out of charge.  You'll notice I brought an extension cord: we knew we'd head to a friends and asked to charge our bikes up while we helped them with their garden.  A fair trade I believe.   You don't need a separate driver's license or vehicle license, since they are considered a bike.  They were also fairly affordable, which is a plus.  I bought them at pacific Electric Bikes www.pacificebike.com  in Berkeley. I'm still waiting for the affordable all-electric car to come out (The Mini has come out with a cute electric trial version and the Tesla looks stunning, however expensive) Some of you may be wondering: why is all electric a good thing?   In brief, electricity is less obtrusive and damaging to the earth and air than harvesting and processing fossil fuels.  If we can get more of our electricity from the sun, for example, than it's even cleaner and more sustainable.  Electric vehicles can be just as fast, if not faster than gas cars, and although their radius is within a charge, the more infrastructure that is built to support electric vehicles the easier it will be to use them for long and short distances.   Into a Green Future we go... G&G

Branches are a GREEN designers best friend

Branches are Blooming

The past few weeks you may have noticed something opening amongst the bare branches around you.  Yes, it's blossom and leave bursting time.  And those little blooms look so sweet and colorful, especially to a winterized eye.  So why not include them in your green floral design or event?  One of the perks of throwing a soiree during the late winter/early spring months is that these lovely blooming branches are available, and almost at no other time during the year, in this hemisphere at least.  So if you forgot to prune in the fall, give that blooming tree or bush or little help and trim a few of those beautiful branches.  Remember to leave some behind, so the tree can gain strength, reproduce and make energy with it's flowers and leaves. Here is a lovely large local green and white arrangement I created recently that includes dogwood, with cute and clever star flowers.  Very whimsical and hardy.   dogwood-branch In a larger arrangement like this one, I enjoy letting go and giving in to the feel of plenty and softness.   gggreenwhitelarge The branches balance it out and provide a nice amount of free air space that doesn't feel like I forgot a part.  I also love being able to include green goddess callas.   Branches are also wondrous when they include fruits, or fruits getting ready to ripen as in the case with these figs.   gggoldlilacbuddha They are such an interesting shape and the color is a nice bright green, so they add a real special touch to this arrangement with lilac and chrysanthemum.  The fig's large shape and smooth texture offsets the small petals from both flowers, and it doesn't hinder the effect of the gold and purple color combination. And, of course, the cherry blossom.  It is so lovely, it still hasn't grown old hat just yet.   ggcherrybranch This small and low arrangement is easy on the pocket book and on the environment if you make sure to use local products and glass containers (no plastic for Gorgeous and Green).  It's simple and requires less time to create, so it's a good option if you don't have a large budget or have a lot of tables/areas to decorate.  Here I added just a few pink and white ranunculus which are in season at the moment and blooming in my front yard.  I would definitely surround this centerpiece with votives or tea lights for an added bonus during an evening event. (All of these flowers are from local growers, and of course in the end, they go in the compost.  The glass containers are recycled or reused, and the earth is happy.) Remember compost and recycle what you can't reuse. This is a cheery welcome to spring, with all it's new colors and new growth.   Hopefully you can find a little of the same in your life. In Green and Health, G&G

Local and organic wedding flowers on a budget

A Green Wedding that saves you green (money)?

What if I told you as a flower designer and event planner, my real skill is saving you money as well as the planet?  It's the inheritance of working sustainably.  It makes perfect sense.  Use less materials, less shipping, less new things, and you're going to lower costs somewhere.  When I work on an event or project I'm thinking sustainablility.  What can I get nearby that will work perfectly for this theme?  What could I decorate with that is biodegradable or I can find used?  Who is growing those flowers nearby, rather than overseas.  Yes, it takes a little more work and a different way of thinking, but once you start viewing the world through the sustainable lens, it becomes very common sense.   So here's an example of a wedding I did on a budget.  And I didn't skimp on beauty and feeling.  The location was perfect.  An outside venue in September, wonderful weather for a late summer/early fall day.  The couple chose to have the ceremony in the redwood grove in the Berkeley Botanical Gardens and the reception outside on a patio near succulents and greenhouses. We had two small areas to decorate, but luckily those areas already came full of beautiful colors and ambiance.  The Redwood grove was so lush and magical, we just added a few special touches here and there to add a romantic and bright feeling.  The patio already had large succulents and plants around, so just a few splashes of color did the trick to enhance the atmosphere.  We focused on beautiful bouquets that matched the bright bridemaid dresses and a blossoming and bright bouquet to enhance the bride's simple column dress.  It turned out beautifully, and the flowers cost under $1,000.  Amazing at best.  

For more information about Gorgeous and Green Events and our sustainable practices visit our website: www.gorgeousandgreenevents.com

All the beautiful pictures are taken by local photographer Cara at Cara Mia Photography www.caramiaphotography.com

We used organic and fair trade roses and locally grown hydgrangea (I grow myself) as well as locally grown hypericum berries, bells of ireland and amaranthus from flower growers who bring their goods to the local flower markets.  They didn't travel far, and I use recycled vegetable oil to power my vehicles, so gasoline usage was at a minimum.    

ggcouplesqrSmall details on corners and walkways added splashes of color and romance

ggbridesquareA beautiful bride and a gorgeous selection of blooming beauty in her hand

gggirls2sqr2Bright colors and bright smiles, they must know those flowers are organic!


Using organic, local and fair trade flowers means less toxic pollution for the special events we enjoy with loved ones and the rest of the world.  It also means supporting local businesses and helping small businesses thrive.  More people and families are supported, less harm is done to the world around us. All that great energy and care shines through the event, through the flowers, the people and the environment that is taken into consideration.  Buy local and organic, think sustainably, care for the world.  

In Green and Health, G&G


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