With green rings…

November 10, 2009

Okay, so our rings weren’t actually green.  But that doesn’t mean that you couldn’t incorporate a green ring into your ceremony!  I’ve mentioned Etsy (the wonderful online craft fair) before, and I’ll probably mention the site several more times in the near future, but I can’t recommend it enough.  And it’s where we found our recycled gold, handmade in upstate NY wedding bands.  They’re similar to Jason’s parents’ (Jason’s mom actually made those herself; another option).  And the set was only a little more expensive than the single ring I bought Jason for our engagement (which wasn’t eco-friendly in any way, being from Zale’s and back when I was a kind of oblivious grad student, but we’ll keep it in the family and make sure it lasts a long time)!

Without further ado:

Jason & Amy's wedding rings

From Natalie Franke Photography: http://www.nataliefrankephotography.com

And here’s the Etsy listing.  We loved working with Elizabeth of esdesigns; even though everything was through e-mail, it felt so personal.  And we did have to have both our rings resized after we originally got them (our fault for guessing in the first place), which she did and then got them back to us in a matter of days.  I love the way it looks on my hand.  It doesn’t match my platinum engagement ring, but now I wear that on my right hand, so whichever hand I look at, I get to think of my wedding and the amazing man I married.

There’s an awful lot of great information about eco-friendly jewelry available on the internet, so I’m going to let you google all that yourself.  I also talked a little bit about them in an earlier post on the engagement ring post above, so check that out if you need a place to get started!  And let me know what you end up doing.  🙂

(this is also the first post with one of our awesome photographer’s gorgeous pictures.  There’ll be lots more!  You can see a few of us on her blog post “Amy & Jason’s Wedding,” but you should check out her whole website: http://www.nataliefrankephotography.com!)

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Step 1: Decide you want to compost your wedding scraps.

Step 2: Also decide to use compostable serviceware (plates, utensils, etc.).  This is only a benefit if you decide to actually compost; throwing compostable stuff into the garbage is basically as bad as throwing away the regular stuff; it releases methane (one of the top greenhouse gases) in landfills and is no good to anyone.  There are many cool options; I haven’t decided what we’re going to use yet.  Anyone have any suggestions?  Right now I’m looking at Worldcentric (made of bagasse, or leftover sugarcane fibers), BiodegradableStore.com (various materials), Branch (mostly bagasse), etc.  More or less comparison shopping.  I also love Verterra, but it’s a little out of our budget.

Step 3: Search Google for your location and composting; i.e. “chestertown maryland composting.”

Step 4: Find results for the Warrington Foundation or similar composting organization.  Use contact info to e-mail wedding situation.

Step 5: They e-mail back and let me know that they work with agricultural compost, and can’t do regular food scraps.  But they suggest  contacting the local college, Washington College.

Step 6: Procrastinate, and maybe do other important things like order invitations (next post!).

Step 7: Caterer e-mails me with list of supplies he’ll need…oh, and by the way, his parents (living in Chestertown), would be happy to compost the non-meat scraps and serveware!

Step 8: Celebrate and write blog entry!

So I kind of lucked out.  But seriously, don’t give up if composting is something you want to do!  Contact local schools and state departments, or if you happen to live in an awesome city like Seattle that has composting programs, take advantage of it!  But first, ask your caterer if he/she has any advice.  🙂

p.s. I’m also hoarding yogurt containers (the big ones) and the like that I’ll provide to my guests in case they want to take leftovers home.  No need to buy specialized carry-out containers!  (They’ll be washed, I promise.)

Okay, so that’s a compound word.  Whatever, it still only counts as one.

But pictures!  Who doesn’t want a way to bring back all the wonderful memories?  I personally take pictures of EVERYTHING, including food.  So while Jason and I briefly considered skipping the wedding photographer to save some money, we realized that we did really want a professional to help us capture the day.

And we completely lucked out.

I suppose I’m saying that a little preemptively, because we haven’t spoken with Natalie Franke face to face, or had her actually photograph us yet, but go check out her website, her blog, and her flickr pictures, and you’ll see why we’re excited.  And that doesn’t get into our wonderful e-mail exchanges where Natalie completely understood why we needed to cut costs by skipping the engagement session, and her enthusiasm for and support of our green wedding.  And not only is she talented and professional and wonderfully nice and responsive, but she’s a local college student.  We found out about her from one of her professors, who happens to be a friend of ours from Grinnell College (Grinnell connections have helped both of us so much).  And there’s something to be said for supporting local artists: I think it strengthens communities, you know exactly where your money is going, you get beautiful artifacts with a story not only of content, but of creation, and you get to work with someone who has an investment in you and your setting.  That all translates maybe not explicitly into a lower carbon footprint, but at least a sense of pride and awareness of the world that I think is the first step to realizing something needs to be done.

But back to wedding photography.  Here’s what we’re doing to try to take the saying “take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints” to the next level:

  1. Hire a local photograher.  Did I mention how awesome Natalie is?  But if you’re not lucky enough to be in the Baltimore area, it might be possible to find someone (even highly likely, although I still think we win) from an art school.  Here’s an idea: go check out your favorite coffee house/art gallery (there’s at least one of those in every city, right?) and ask who the photographer is.  Talk to your friends who got married in the area and see if they have suggestions.  Talk to your friends who are professors who may know of a student.  Talk to your friends who are photographers.  Word of mouth is great!
  2. DON’T USE DISPOSABLE CAMERAS ON THE TABLES.  Unless you’re absolutely set on it.  But disposable is the absolute other end of reusable, which is what eco-weddings should strive for.  There’s a ton of packaging for each camera, the development chemicals aren’t a good thing, and all the transportation associated with them isn’t great, either.  Other cons: you have to pay for the development of the pictures, many of which are bad or blurry or offensive and are thrown out anyway (more waste!), and more often than not, people just walk away with them and you never see the results anyway.  From what I could find on the intertubes in a brief search, disposables can be somewhat efficiently recycled (but a lot of those articles seemed to come from the industry), so if you do decide to use them (don’t!), make sure your guests know the rules and do your best to really get what you want from them.
  3. DO promote digital camera use!  Obviously, digital cameras aren’t zero impact either (make sure to recycle them properly at the end of their lives!), but one camera that can be used again and again, with rechargable batteries and a format that doesn’t require harsh chemicals to bring into view seems like a definite step in the right direction.  Jason and I are planning on setting up a Flickr pool, like this one: the Mason wedding, where both we and our guests can share our snapshots with the world (sorry, world!).  No need to print!  We’ll request DVDs of pictures through our registry (stay tuned, that post is coming up), too, for people who don’t want to go through the hassle of setting up a flickr account, and we’ll add them to the group ourselves.
  4. Okay, I’m going to end with Natalie again.  Because she’s great.  And she’s giving us a data DVD of the high-resolution images to do what we like with.  We want an album, and we’ll do that somehow (looking for well-managed forest/recycled paper, keeping it small), but this way we don’t get tons of printed proofs and things that would probably end up in a box somewhere and while treasured, maybe not worth green or lack thereof (bad pun, i’m sorry).  There will be an online galley.  These options are often available from photographers; just ask!

As always, I guess the message here is to just spend a moment or two thinking about how your decision about wedding photography will impact the environment and your community.  In the end, you may just end up with someone amazing (final shoutout to Natalie), and hopefully lots of wonderful memories you can look at again and again.

At 891 words, this entry is worth just a little less than a picture, so I’ll share one of my not-so-great ones:

Original 1928 platinum setting next to the gold band + 1928 diamond

Original 1928 platinum setting next to the gold band + 1928 diamond

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!