Sustainable centrepieces – beautiful, simple and inexpensive to DIY

Centrepieces aren’t just expensive, if you’re having a few tables, they can also be bad for the environment. Flowers need to be in season and locally grown (some exotic or out of season flowers are imported from as far away as Africa!) An arrangement of 3 or 5 jars of various sizes together with the same type of flower.

Professional or traditional centrepieces aren’t just expensive, if you’re having a few tables, they can also be bad for the environment. Elaborate may not be the best option if you can’t see people over across the table or they block the view of the dance floor.

To get the best out of your centrepieces, if you’re going to DIY, choose things that reflect your values or things you love as a couple.

Flowers need to be in season and locally grown (some exotic or out of season flowers are imported from as far away as Africa!) An arrangement of 3 or 5 jars of various sizes together with the same type of flower can look very chic.

Collect glass jars from pasta sauces, milk or juice bottles etc. (if you’re game you can take a leaf out of the current Mexican trend and even re-use cans as long as the label looks exotic or foreign. Your friends and family can help add to your collection.

At the end of the night you can recycle the lot!

Then ad this Noritake 4-heart vase to your registry for your anniversary flowers!

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4-hearts rated gorgeous vase from Japan

http://www.greenhearts.com.au/productdetail.aspx?pid=1470#ad-image-0

Green wedding tip #3 – money can’t buy taste but it sure can buy waste!

ImageI’ve just spent an hour watching my favourite new addiction Say yes to the dress and as usual I’m astounded the lengths – both financially and geographically – brides and their families will go to to find ‘the perfect dress’.

Women from all over America it seems will travel to New York City to spend thousands of dollars on dresses that are – to be honest – a bit ho hum most of the time.

Truth is that money can’t buy taste but it can buy waste!

Most of the brides’ budgets seem to be around $3000 US and often the bill is foot by mum and dad (or make that mom and dad).

Each episode includes past brides coming back for a final fitting – often a year or so later – flying in from across the US and even from Canada (hard to believe that a French colony don’t have enough beautiful dress shops?).

What’s remarkable is how many brides say they can’t remember what the dress looks like. Considering they’ve often spent the equivalent of a car on it you’d think they’d have a vague idea.

All this says is that what seems important in the moment is less so in the long run. There’s a lot a new couple can do with $3,000 that would make a lot of difference to a lot more people.

Spend $1,000 on your dress (locally made and designed!) and the rest on your honeymoon or on more local wines on the big day on flowers in pots rather than bouquets (so you can gift them or keep them rather than lose them), or on organic meals or on a band instead of a DJ – or just put it in your mortgage!

You can even spend the savings on your Greenhearts registry.  There are a lot of products that are made in developing countries or made right here. They’ll last a lifetime which saves money in the long term.

Here’s our gorgeous locally designed dresses that didn’t cost the earth.

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Elena in the grass & trees

5 easy ways to green ‘Spring clean’ your wedding plans

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With spring and ‘wedding season’ around the corner here are 5 simple ways to give your wedding a green spring cleaning.

by Greenhearts Girl, Irena

1. Cut down on guests

Save money & the environment by cutting your guest list in half!

We did and so can you! Make a rule like no 2nd cousins, no-one you don’t know, only genuine partners (ie no random plus 1), etc. and stick to the rule. Sure you’ll need to justify it to your family but regardless of your choices your family and friends will question them so make a stand for a great event and the environment.

Fewer people means less resources – food, travel, energy etc. – used and that’s more sustainable.

2. Choose a non-traditional or charity for your venue, or do it in the backyard and donate the difference!

Weddings are big business and that’s hard to get around so why not spend your money in a way that helps out a charity or local ‘green’ organisation? Think community gardens, local farm, neighbourhood house, local museum or art society etc.

And if you’re lucky to know someone with a big backyard or holiday house – then save on venue rental and donate the difference!

3. Save time, avoid glue-gun injury with a simple invitation.

Of course not everyone thinks an emailed invitation to a wedding is classy. Then again you can’t buy taste at a paper shop. Most people still expect a mailed invitation to adorn their fridge however…

Personally I think spending hours mucking around with ribbons, outrageously expensive bits of paper and pinking shears is utter, utter madness when you could be getting your nails done or watching an episode of Say Yes to the Dress (my secret addiction). Some people are crafty so you can easily press some flowers you find in the park or use fallen leaves & twigs (seriously it looks amazing!).

You could photograph something beautiful and print it with the info about your special day on some eco-friendly recycled cards or you could buy some cards from Oxfam or a charity.

4. Choose local and seasonal flowers

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Did you know that many flowers used in weddings are flown in from developing countries where wages are low, working conditions are poor, and pesticide use is high. Not to mention the water used to grow flowers is often at the expense of drinking water for people!

You’ll need bouquets and flowers during the ceremony, centrepieces and decorations for the reception. See if you can reuse any ceremony flowers or use a natural environment instead. Speak to your florist about using locally-grown and seasonal flowers (yes! Like fruit and veg flowers are seasonal). I got my florist to get boxes of flower heads that would otherwise have been thrown out and covered my tables with them. You can use potted plants for decorations and these can go into your garden or used as gifts.

Hand centerpieces to guests as they leave and find local hospitals, senior centers, and shelters that accept donations of bouquets.

5. Choose ethical and sustainable gifts

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Many environmentally-aware couples, especially if you’ve lived together for a while, think they have everything they need and don’t want more stuff or gifts of any kind. That’s fine if you want to elope, just the 2 of you, but if you invite people to your wedding they WANT to buy you something to enjoy during your marriage.

This is your chance to really make a difference. You can ask for a donation to a charity but many people will buy you something anyway so you should think about eco-friendly gifts for your registry. These would be things made locally or in smaller quantities, locally designed, products that use natural dies, organic sheets and towels, glassware without lead etc. The list is endless and greenhearts.com.au have done the hard work by putting all these lovely eco-friendly and sustainable things in one place.

 

What are your green wedding tips to spring clean your wedding?

Greenheart wedding tip #2 The only wedding rule you’ll ever need

by Greener Irena
Greenhearts has come across a few brides who believe that having a sustainable wedding means not consuming AT ALL, not spending money and not having any gifts. And sure, if that’s your dream wedding go right ahead. Seems really hard to us.

We’re more from the school of ABSOLUTE ABUNDANCE. Build it and they will come kinda gals than monk-like aesthetes. We think that sometimes we all put too many rules on ourselves and make life so hard that we just don’t do anything.

Weddings in particular have a lot of expectation from both family, friends and society in general. How thin we need to be, the DRESS (I’m stilll a bit gobsmacked by the whole Say Yes to the Dress TV show phenomenon), size of the ring, ceremony, reception, sit-down, cocktail, open bar, I could (but won’t go on).

There’s SO MUCH CHOICE and that’s sometimes worse than not enough. In today’s modern Australia there are no hard and fast rules about what a wedding should be, should cost or should have in it.

So we say the best way to have an ethical and sustainable wedding is to spend more money on the things that feel right to you and less on the thing you ‘have’ to do (because after all she is your mum even if technically she’s not paying for it or getting married herself, her opinions matter dammit!)

So splurge on a locally made dress or a designer gown if that’s your thing. Don’t have bonbonniere unless you WANT to give a gift to friends (pot plants, fair trade trinkets, there are lots of green options), keep invitations simple or email where you can, diet til you’re a twig* or don’t. Put out a sumptuous spread (locally sourced and donating leftovers of giving guests doggie bags) or finger food and endless organic booze til the budget breaks. Bone china or bamboo recycled picnic ware, local band, DJ mate or iPod mix tape. Gift registry (ethical only of course) or donate it to charity.

Whatever is YOUR THING then spend your money on that and cross those other traditions off your list. That’s the ethical thing to do and will help you to happily remember your wedding.

Now that’s true love!

Share your wedding tips with me and I’ll post them on the site with a link or acknowledgement. Even a germ of an idea – I will investigate.
* Be warned, if you’re thinner than you’ve ever been on Your Big Day that’s as thin as you’re likely to EVER get and are you sure you can look at those photos FOREVER and not judge yourself for not being that thin anymore? Be healthy and fit but keep it real hey?