Green weddings are becoming more and more popular.  Some might even say “trendy.”  And while I groan at that word, and I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one, I do think it does help get people to actually think a little about the choices and decisions they make, and hopefully lowers the environmental impact somewhere.  So when I see wedding planners who blog starting to post things about green weddings, that makes me happy.  And they’re experts!  They (might or seem to) know what they’re doing!  It’s a little different from my blog, where I’m kind of stumbling around and mostly just sharing my experiences with you and documenting ideas for myself.  So, I thought I’d share some of my favorite wedding resources with you.

  • The first isn’t a website, but rather a book.  It’s called Eco-Chic Weddings, and it’s by Emily Anderson.  It’s basically my handbook.  Not only does it have lots of great tips, but it’s organized very well and is easy to read.  And you can definitely pick and choose what you decide to use, and Emily always seems to encourage using your own ideas.  And, my favorite part, it has lots of resources (including lots of websites!) that you can go to.  I actually bought the book, because I had a gift certificate and 2 sisters to pass it on to (and it’s awesome), but if you just want to check it out first before buying it yourself, go to your library (had to put that in somewhere)!  You can go to WorldCat, an awesome online catalog of lots of libraries all over the world – just type in your location to see if the book’s available near you!  If not, make your library get it.  🙂 
  • You should also check out Emily’s eco-chic blog!  Lots of great ideas all the time, and the archives are invaluable.
  • I actually don’t remember how I found Ethical Weddings site (probably just by searching for “green” or “eco” and “weddings” in Google), but I really like it.  It has real-world stories, featured articles, and a list of ethical suppliers, just to name some of the resources on this user-friendly site.
  • I’ve also come across Portovert numerous times on other blogs and websites.  I’m not the biggest fan of it, because it seems cluttered and yet overly simplistic at the same time, but it does have a national directory of green service providers in everything from locations to dresses.  It’s definitely a solid resource, and while I may not be the hugest fan (I think part of that is that it is a “national” resource and doesn’t quite have the personalized feel of Ethical Living or Eco Chic), it definitely deserves a spot up here.
  • Those are my main resources for now, but I’m always on the lookout.  I’ve already had a couple expert-type people post comments on my blog with links to their websites (check out The Last Bridesmaid and How to Get Married in Green), and would love to get more!  And any other resources I’ll find, I’ll post to my del.icio.us account with the “wedding” tag, so new sites will always pop up on the left side of my blog.  

So those are the experts I’m going to.  🙂  But I would also like to share with you my expertise.  I’ve got this degree in library and information science, and that training has given me a decent skill set for finding things.  So I’d like to take my best shot at finding things about green weddings for you!  I welcome any and all takers; and we’ll see who can stump the librarian…

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The Wedding Dress

June 20, 2008

So far, my planning and preparation for this wedding has followed this series of events:

1.) Proposed and got engaged (1.5 years ago).
2.) Jason decided we should set a date (10 months ago)
3.) Decided to work on having a green wedding (9 months ago)
4.) Mom bought me a wedding dress (5 months ago)

And then I started the blog. But getting the wedding dress before anything else was finalized? We don’t really have an exact date, just an “idea,” we only just decided on a state for the wedding and still have to figure out an actual location, and there’s got to be some other stuff that traditionally comes first.  But really, what wedding is actually traditional? We all do things mostly our own ways, and besides, there are no rules, only guidelines, right?

Back to the dress. This is sadly one of the areas where my eco leanings where misplaced in favor of my thrifty leanings and my Mom’s offer to buy it for me. The deal breaker? It was $70. JCrew had it on uber-sale, I’m assuming because they were getting rid of their “Tall” stock. But Tall is exactly what I need, at 6′. So I let her buy it.  And it’s beautiful and simple. But my guilt over not at least attempting to find some kind of eco-friendly option led me to at least do some research. And it was a learning experience:

  1. Although it’s definitely up for debate, the material my dress is made of (pure silk) could be considered “green.” Silk is a renewable resource, and it’s biodegradable.  There are a few problems involved with it, though (according to Treehugger, http://www.treehugger.com), including the fact that the process requires killing the silk worms inside the cocoons, that there are really no local US sources (think transportation emissions), there are some chemical processes involved, and oftentimes it’s produced in countries that have little regulation/monitoring as far as working conditions and wages go. 
  2. Related to that last point, I decided to learn a little more about JCrew. So I turned to a resource I knew existed, but hadn’t yet utilized: Co-op America’s Responsible Shopper. The entry for JCrew can be found at http://www.coopamerica.org/programs/responsibleshopper/company.cfm?id=244.  What they revealed confirmed my suspicions: JCrew is not one of the most socially-responsible or environmentally-friendly companies out there.  They’re perhaps not the worst, but they’ve been associated with sourcing from factories with sweatshop-like conditions, and from sourcing from companies that illegally dump their waste.

So, there are a couple of research tools for you, as you’re looking up information on everything from materials to clothing stores.  I’d also like to share with you a couple of the other ideas I had for wedding dresses, because options are always good (and my tall dress is no longer available).

  1. Buy a dress that benefits a charity.  MakingMemories.org resells donated dresses at stops all over the country.  Their sales benefit the Breast Cancer Association, and you’ll be reusing.  And if you do decide to get a new dress (like me!), consider donating it to the cause afterwards.
  2. Check out this newsletter from the I Do Foundation; they list several options (including MakingMemories): http://www.idofoundation.org/about/May2004.html.  It’s a little dated, but still useful!
  3. Use your mother’s (or any woman’s in your family) wedding dress.  My mom still has hers, and I did consider altering it and wearing it.  It’s beautiful.  But I already got the family engagement ring, and I decided to let my younger sisters have the opportunity to wear her dress (my grandmother handmade it).  My youngest sister probably wouldn’t even have to have it altered.
  4. Just get the dress that makes you happy, no matter where it’s from or what price you can afford.  From thrift stores to boutiques, there are lots of options!

While I’m trying my best to have a green wedding every step of the way, there is plenty I could do better.  I’m just doing what I can, and sharing what I learn.  I think this is a good place to reiterate that any decision you make, at any point in your wedding, life, party, whatever, to try to do something more environmentally and/or socially responsible, is truly commendable.  No one should expect you (and hopefully me!) to be perfect, and while there are people out there who would grumble and judge, ignore them.  This is getting cheesy, but I hope what I’m saying makes sense.   

And now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for, my wedding dress (the standard version)!  Jason, no peeking.  And imagine it with a gold sash, which I’m going to create somehow (organic cotton?  maybe I can get Andrea from GaiaConceptions to help me out…):

jcrew sophia dress in white
jcrew sophia dress in white

The Shaw Family

June 19, 2008


Grampa’s on the right

Originally uploaded by my sister Lisa

I apologize for not having blogged the last few days. First I just had the lame excuse of being lazy/busy (yep, I can do both at the same time). But then last Thursday, I got a call from my mom saying that my Grampa had passed away unexpectedly. He had apparently fallen asleep in the chair that my mom and aunt had given him for his 80th birthday just about a week before and never woke up.

I’m really lucky to have known him, and to have had him in my life for so long. But I was kind of devastated when I realized that even though my wedding was going to be much closer to him, he wasn’t going to be able to be there. Which is kind of selfish, but that was my thought.

So, for my post today, my “green” advice is just to cherish those you love, and let them know how you feel (pick up the phone, or maybe send a grow-a-note card). Which is probably kind of obvious to people reading a wedding blog, but I could always use a reminder.

Thrifty!

June 5, 2008

Okay, this was kind of a long string of internet events, so let’s just go through it step by step.  🙂

1.) I was checking out the clothing at Gaia Conceptions, the owner/designer of the Etsy store with the dresses I mentioned in an earlier post.  Because of my upcoming fellowship, I feel this need to purchase some grown-up clothes, and I thought, hey, might as well start with an organic clothing line with pretty colors (and I can test out my wedding palette!).

2.) Because Gaia Conceptions is based in North Carolina, I decided to check out the “Stores” section of the website to see if there was possibly a whole-seller somewhere closer.  I found 90210 Organics, in Los Angeles.  While I’m not sure that’s necessarily going to save shipping, since any gain in shipping large numbers of items from NC to CA might be lost in the long shipping from LA to Seattle, there was free shipping on orders over $100, which mine was.  I also like to save a buck.  🙂  Of course, if you happen to be near Greenboro, NC, I recommend just checking out the cute store that sells Gaia Conceptions’ clothing, and you’ll save all those pesky shipping emissions and fees completely.

3.) When checking out of 90210 Organics, I saw a box for insterting a coupon code.  Now that’s just a tipoff that coupons exist, and both my mom and I have had lots of luck just googling to find coupon codes.  So I typed in “90210 organics coupon” into my Google box just to see what I could find.  And I found a whole site dedicated to green comparison shopping, complete with an entire coupons section!  This is going to make shopping for favors/bridesmaids’ gifts/things to put on the registry so easy.  So go check out Pristine Planet.  And not only is it a future resource, but I found a coupon that saved me an additional 10% off my 90210 Organics order.  Eco-score!

4.) Totally random tangent, but while I’m talking about Google, dear readers, I discovered Blackle way back when, and this is as good a time as any to share it with you.  Use less energy on your monitor by searching from an all black, rather than all white, screen (more info here).  Check out the comments!  🙂

5.) And, finally, I’ll share with you what I ordered, and in doing so, reveal our (potential) wedding palette:

Kangeroo Tunic in Squash, Savannah Blouse in Wine.  Our colors hopefully being dark goldish and wine.  As soon as I get the shirts, I’ll take pictures and let ya’ll see.  They’re kind of grown-up, right?  Eventually, I think I’ll also get this pants/pantsuit, hopefully in grey, which is available on the Etsy store, but not on the website yet.  🙂  Good thing librarians can be a little quirky and don’t necessarily have to be high-powered business (I do have a nice blazer and some pinstripe pants somewhere, though, just for emergencies).

So that’s it!  I suppose it’s a little bit of the librarian in me showing you my search strategies so that you can share in my wedding information literacy.  Now go, find all things wedding and eco and bring them to me!     

New Name!

June 4, 2008

Okay, it’s official.  Well, at least Jason has told his parents, so that makes it pretty official in my book.  Barring unforeseen circumstances and/or any sudden decisions to take off and get married in Vegas with only my little sister and Elvis as witnesses, we will be getting married in Delaware.  Sorry, Seattle!  I love you, but it works out the best for everyone.  And we’re definitely going to be using our friend Mark for the catering.  He’s going to have his very own bread oven (yeah, I linked here earlier, but here’s a tiny bit more publicity for you, Mark), so I think it’s a win-win situation all around.  🙂  Stay tuned for more info on the catering, like what we chose to serve, ingredients, how to reduce waste, etc. etc.

I have to admit, “living green” is something I feel the west coast does much better as a whole than the east coast.  I hope I’m going to be pleasantly surprised.  Obviously big cities have lots of options (New York, Philadelphia, DC), but maybe it’s just that people on the east seem more set in their ways and the fact that it’s been settled longer means they don’t have quite the same sense of awe about the land around them.  I’m not putting East Coasters down, I lived in the Adirondacks for years, and we learned about conservation (and surviving getting lost in the mountains!) in grade school, but I just feel like my friends and family there don’t quite get it yet when I talk about reducing and saving energy.  I’m not talking about buying organic groceries from Whole Foods down the street, but the big lifestyle changes just don’t seem to be quite as much on the forefront of the social conciousness.  Anyway, like I said, I’m hoping I’m proved wrong.  🙂  I mean, I already know that New York City is pioneering change in plastic bag usage.  And the University of Delaware is a leader in photovoltaic energy.  So I don’t know why I’m worried!  Oh, and I haven’t explored this site yet, but maybe it’ll be promising (I just Googled “eco delaware”): http://greendel.org/index.xhtml.

Now, time to update the title for the entire “project.”  This blog will now become a little more about being a green bride in general, about my general philosophies towards creating a greener wedding, rather than resources specifically in Seattle.  Since there’s so much information on the web anyway, and we end up doing so much shopping online, a lot of stuff I will post (and have already posted!) is applicable anywhere.  Thanks for reading!