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Nosegay from About

When we shut our eyes and think of weddings our heads become filled with many iconic images of these ceremonies. The cake with plastic bride and groom toppers, the dress worn by the bride, and the cute little flower girl tossing petals!

Flowers (and flower petals) play a big role in some wedding ceremonies. They are used in the flower girl’s role, decorations, and that famous bouquet tossed by the bride.

Commercial flower production is labor intensive and growers often use herbicides and pesticides to deal with “damaging pests” like caterpillars, mites, beetles, and whiteflies.  Tina M. Smith, the Extension Educator at the University of Massachusetts’ Floriculture Program states: “Unfortunately, not all of the material you apply actually reaches the target insect” What doesn’t reach the insect ends up in our air, soil, and water. Commercial flower productions can also be an unhealthy and abusive environment for those who work there. One article from organic consumers called the working conditions “sweatshops in the greenhouses.”

But don’t fret! There are options for finding beautiful, socially and environmentally responsible flowers for your special day.

Be Organic

Along with helping find local farms, vegetarian restaurants, and farmers’ markets Local Harvest can also help you find  organic flower growers in your area. Just enter your zip code!

California Organic Flowers also offers a wedding / party pack of 12 large bouquets that can be shipped overnight to anywhere in the US.  These flowers come from CCOF Terra Bella Farm in Pleasanton , CA.
EcoFlora the Fair Trade & Organic florist for my friends to the North.

Be Fair 

TransFair USA started a fair trade program for flower growers and workers. This fair trade label would assure that those working with the flowers are protected from pesticides, fair wages, child care, and more.  The label also assures that flowers are grown organically and sustainably.

If you are involved with flowers in retail, wholesale, import, or production I highly recommend you look into this fair trade program.

Be wild!

You can cut back on electricity, emissions, and cost by picking your own local wildflowers in place of flowers that are shipped across the country or stored in a fridge at the florist. If you have time (and space) you can also try growing your own wildflowers so you can get the colors and styles you would prefer.

When creating your own bouquet think about what style you would like before you go picking. This will make it easier to decide what you need to pick. If you don’t know your nosegay from your sceptre check out these links:
http://www.aboutflowers.com/holidays_b1e.html

http://www.weddingflowersdenver.com/weddingbouquetstyles.htm 

You may also find it helpful to read up on flower arranging or how to make specific types of bouquets you might be interested in, like a hand-tied bouquet, prior to starting your own.

If you do decide to go with a vendor, make sure you are getting bang for your buck. Check out these questions to ask a vendor prior to placing your order: YourWeddingCompany

Incorporate you conscious blooms beyond your bouquet.  Flower girls can easily toss  small wildflowers or fair trade rose petals, the groom and groomsmen can use local greens, mosses, berries, and flowers in their boutonniere, centerpieces and other decor can incorporate wild flowers, fruit, branches, and vegetables or you can use potted plants that guests can later take home.

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Image from Get Conscious

You may not know it, but your humble blogger is currently engaged and actively planning a wedding!

My partner and I started planning several months ago. We came up with a list of all the people we wanted to invite, sampled caterers, found a location, looked at dresses and rings and realized not only could we not afford to pay for all this stuff and invite everyone we wanted, but the plans we were making did not follow our core values. They did not promote sustainability and we were compromising our tastes to be traditional.

So we came to a cross road, either forget tradition and start over or start cutting back the invite list until it was affordable.

We like our friends and family so we chose them over tradition.

Our wedding is still in the planning stages, but already I feel I have tid bits of experience to share with others entering a similar situation:

First and Foremost this is your day

My mother in law stopped my partner and I early on in our engagement when we decided to have a secular wedding and told us in the nicest possible way that the day was not about us and we would be upsetting many of our family members by not having a traditional Christian wedding. We have had many odd looks when making decisions about our wedding everything from not wanting to have bridesmaids or groomsmen to others discovering that I asked Him to marry me.

This was incredibly discouraging at first, but I remembered a conversation with a lady at a jewelry store when we were shopping for rings. She said “Remember this is your day. Ultimately you do not need caterers or a band, you don’t need to invite hundreds of people, you don’t need to buy a fancy dress. You just need each other, the rings, someone to marry you… and a photographer is always nice.”

Taking a deep breath after you dive into planning a wedding is important. Remember this event is about you and your partner. Be comfortable, be yourselves, and have a good time.

Here comes the bride

Ok, now that we have the understanding that the event is about the couple… lets remember that all eyes will be on the bride! I’m not saying its right or that I agree with it, but its bound to happen so ladies show off some sustainable style!

Dresses

When contemplating your wedding dress there are 3 environmentally friendly options.

1. You can buy a dress made from sustainable materials such as hemp silk.

Check out these options:

2. You can recycle

Vintage gowns can be a great blast from the past. Reusing a family heirloom can cut costs tremendously (just pay for tailoring!)

Try these:

You can also look for vintage dresses in consignment, resale, thrift and antique shops. Or try ebay!

3. Get out the thread and needle

Working with a tailor to custom make your wedding dress will allow you to express yourself creatively and get the exact results you want. If you are looking into custom making your dress you should also look into sustainable fabrics like those found here:

Personally

I am combining option #2 and #3 and customizing a vintage dress!

I hope these dress tips help in planning your own green wedding. Stay tuned for more wedding tips!

Looking for advice on turning a particular situation green? Leave a comment or send me an email!

Sustain Me is a blog focused on helping others establish a more sustainable, environmentally friendly, and Greener lifestyle.

Reoccurring topics will include:

Square 1 – Guides to going green, easy lifestyle changing, and tips you can incorporate into your daily routine as well as sorting through all the mumbo-jumbo the media is talking about lately.
Boho beauty – Looking for a new little black dress made of hemp? Vegan lipstick? How about a chemical free moisturizer? Stay tuned for fashion and beauty tips that won’t hurt the planet or your wallet.

Green gadgets and gizmos – Solar panel backpacks, Eco-friendly lawn mowers, toothbrushes made from recycled yogurt cups… more and more we’re able to find cool, fashionable, and handy green gadgets to take care of all our needs. Stay tuned for some of my favorites.

Green kitchen – Yesterday my future mother in law offered me an escape from the kitchen. She politely said “I can take care of this.” and added with a motherly smile “Why don’t you go lounge by the pool.” Immediately I thought she was crazy for not knowing me better, I laughed and said “Nah I’d rather be cooking…” as I wisked together a homemade terriyaki marinade.

I love cooking. I especially love cooking with local and seasonal foods. I’ll post up recipes and pictures when I find inspiration for new dishes you might enjoy.

In addition to these reoccurring staples I’ll toss in interesting information related to living green: gardening, permaculture, natural health, etc.

About – Sustain Me is written by Lilea a twenty-something nutritionist residing in Sonoma, California. Lilea owns her own nutrition consulting business named Nutriful. She lives in a cozy apartment with her klutzy fiance Jon and rambunctious kitten Shimi.

If you have any questions, comments, or just feel like saying hello drop me an email: Lilea@Nutriful.com

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