Well, we had plastic cups at our rehearsal dinner.  Eco-fail.

But when dinner is served in a gorgeous outdoor setting at the family home of a really good friend (where some of our guests actually camped) and when dinner itself is homemade pizza and a green salad with the best dressing ever, everyone wins.  And it maybe makes you think that this, your family and friends in one place under the stars eating unbelievable food and drinking beer, is why the whole planet really is worth saving.

Because of Mark’s, his family’s, and Jason’s parents’ generosity we were able to have everyone who made it in Saturday (wedding was on Sunday) come to the rehearsal dinner, which was absolutely wonderful.  You know that whole part about weddings where you don’t really get to talk to your guests?  Well, that doesn’t have to be true at your rehearsal dinner.  It wasn’t at ours, anyway.  Mark offered us a pizza party as his wedding present, and we opted to take it the night before the wedding, when the most people would be in town.  Mark’s parents allowed their house, kitchen, and yard to be taken up by a bunch of happily buzzed friends and family from around the country whom they had no prior connection with.  Jason’s parents paid for the ingredients and the all important beer, and Jason’s mom baked enough cookies for everyone to have ample dessert.

So the more ‘green’ parts of the dinner were the number of people fed without using a whole lot of resources (and no pizza went to waste! and other scraps were composted by Mark’s parents), the use of local ingredients, and the atmosphere provided by nature.  Obviously not everyone has a Mark around (we’re pretty special), but a home-cooked, simple meal does wonders for the soul (if you do decide to do a restaurant, which we would have done if it weren’t for Mark as we were far from home, keep those local ingredients in mind and limit red meat dishes).  We honored (or embarrassed) our wedding party in front of a much larger audience, and our parents were able to do the same to us.  It’s a night we wouldn’t trade for anything.

Except the part where I lost my keys for an hour, then found them in a frisbee in the trunk, and was late to my bachelorette party.  That part I’d like to fix.  (We did carpool!  Which meant that 4 girls were stuck with me…meanwhile, the boys had a night around the campfire and laughed at us.)

Rehearsal Dinner in front of Mark's Bread Oven

Friends and family and Mark & Sarah & Friend? hard at work

My friend Leonore took this one:

Mark Making Pizza

Mark & Sarah & Friend and the delicious pizza ingredients

And this one’s just for laughs (this is the man I married), courtesy of our friend Andy:

Jason

I don't think he actually fell. He's a balanced guy...

Well, I may have to change the title of this blog.  Largely due to a very generous offer from a good friend, we are again considering getting married on the East Coast.  Probably Delaware, but it’s kind of near DC, and the Washington vs. Washington is better title.  Maybe.

Anyway.  So our friend Mark has offered to cater our wedding.  And he tempted us with promises of using local, seasonal food (and potentially organic) and a reminder that Dogfish Head brewery is found on the East Coast.  And he’s going to have his own bread oven…One of the original reasons why I was able to dismiss getting married on the East so easily was that I didn’t like any of the caterers I found in my searches around Delaware.  But the main reason Delaware is on the list is that Jason’s parents moved there, and it’s fairly close to all my New York relatives.  Not only is that a plus just in terms of older relativies being able to come, but it means less travel and hence a smaller carbon footprint.  On the other hand, that benefit may be offset by the number of friends we have traveling from other places, including Seattle.  So, nothing’s set in stone.

But, in the meantime, I have been researching a few places in the Seattle area where we could get married.  The idea is to have the reception and the ceremony as close as possible, and preferably in the same place, so that we can just relax in one place and not have to take a bunch of cars somewhere else.  Here’s the list (all can accomodate at least 150 people):

Clise Mansion, Redmond, WA

Pros:

  • Both ceremony and reception could be held here easily.
  • Beautiful indoor and outdoor spaces
  • Not too expensive, the information I received had Sunday from 11am-4pm at $975.
  • Preferred caterers include several of the caterers that I have been vaguely looking at, including Herban Feast (there will be more in-depth food posts later, I’m sure).
  • They have A/V equipment available (more on the reception music later, too).

Cons:

  • On the Eastside
  • Can only use preferred caterers
  • Booking for September 6th will be tricky; the managers have to leave those dates open until the park’s concert schedule is set, so you get your name on a waiting list.

Fremont Abbey, Seattle, WA

Pros:

  • Can house both ceremony and reception.
  • It’s in Seattle proper and is more easily accessible both by car and public transportation.
  • It’s a beautiful building
  • The organization that runs it is doing great things for the community and supports youth arts education.
  • It has A/V equipment available.

Cons:

  • More expensive: I was quoted 1300-1600 (but it is a holiday weekend).
  • No outdoor space (can’t throw a frisbee!  sigh).
  • Might have to use a preferred caterer? 

Redhook Brewery, Woodinville, WA

Pros:

  • Delicious microbrews!  Sorry, had to put that first.  It’s the one thing we’re definitely set on for the reception because we both love it so much (although I like my porters and he likes his IPA’s)!
  • Cheap: $400 for the room that holds 200 and $700 for the big outdoors “bowl” that holds 300.  That’s just from the website, though, so it might not hold on a holiday weekend.
  • Outdoors area (hopefully we’d have access).
  • For Seattle area friends, it’s easily accessible by bike via the Burke Gilman trail.
  • Did I mention the microbrews?
  • In-house catering with a yummy appetizer buffet @ $16 a person.  And preliminary research shows some amount of organic/local focus on the food…

Cons:

  • On the Eastside.
  • Not clear if we could have the ceremony there, but I believe we would be able to find a place nearby.
  •  Preferred caterers.
  • Not sure of the A/V equipment or tables/linens status.

So, that’s what I’ve got so far.  It’s pretty basic, but I like to think it’s a start.  The location, and how people will be traveling, will be the biggest challenge to maintaining a low carbon footprint.  I’ve got some resources for offsetting that I’ll put up eventually, but for now we’re going to keep looking at how to continue to lesson our impact.  Keeping to (and deciding on) one location will be important, to minimize how far people have to go. 

One last thing: today would have been my sister Christine’s 24th birthday.  My whole family and all her friends miss her so much.  I’m so glad I asked her to be my maid of honor (waaaay before I was even engaged) before she passed away, and I’ll be honored to list her in our program as such.  So, my final thought: take nothing for granted, from this planet to your best friends and family.