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

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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!     

Bridesmaids’ Dresses

May 23, 2008

Oh man, I just couldn’t resist putting this up now.  I’d been thinking I’d just do a post with lots of info about places to look for green/eco-conscious bridesmaids’ dresses, but I just found this one place that seems perfect and so I’m just going to go with it.  I’ll stick a couple more dresses I found at the end, just to give some alternatives.  🙂

So, if you don’t know about Etsy, you NEED to check it out.  I have a feeling I’m going to be using it for a lot of things for this wedding; you can find everything from invitations to potential wedding party gifts to things I’d love to add to our registery, whenever we get on that.  It’s basically a community of artists and collectors selling their wares.  You can shop locally, search tags, browse categories, all the good things that librarians love.  Except that there is no advanced search, so I can’t search for organic clothing in Seattle.  Sigh.  Oh well, for the moment there aren’t that many sellers in any give location anyway, so that’s not a huge deal.

Back to the dresses.  I searched the tags for “organic dress” and browsed through a lot of results that were fun and unique but not quite what I wanted.  Then I stumbled upon gaiaconception‘s V-Neck Hemp Tank Dress.

Tank Dress from Gaia Conceptions

Tank Dress from Gaia Conceptions

Isn’t it pretty?  And not only is it organic cotton, but it can be dyed in any of a number of beautiful colors.  And there are a whole lot more lovely dresses by gaiaconception, as well.  My goal is to find one place with several different dresses available in the same set of colors so that my bridesmaids can pick the style they want in the hopes that they’ll be able to wear them for many future occasions.  All that, and organic cotten?  I think I’m set.  🙂

Another great thing?  They’re all under $200.  And most are around $125-150.  This. Is. Awesome.

But now, for another couple of eco-friendly, potential bridesmaid dresses, just in case you’re interested:

  • ecoKashmere Assymetrical Hem Bandeau Dress from jonano (simple, and only in one color, although there is a similar style in black)
  • wrap dress from twobirds (this is eco-chic more because it’s another one that can be used for many different occasions; i.e. reusable.  it’s not made of organic materials, but it is handmade in the US.  There are also matching men’s accessories.)
  • A pattern for an infinity dress similar to the one from twobirds.  I’m not coordinated enough to do it myself, but maybe others are.  You can wear it in innumerable ways, and the color/fabric is really limited only by your imagination.

As always, if you’ve found your own solution, let me know!