Monday, June 8, 2009

The Big "W" with a Twist of Green

The big "W" word.... something I never thought I'd used in a sentence with "I'm going to..." Andrew proposed last fall and it was perfect, on the Atlantic ocean beach, while we were collecting sea glass he surprised me with a beautiful blue opal. After making him repeat the question about ten times (really?? yes really!) my reply: Ok! (beautiful sand dune that he purposely found to propose on- as he accurately predicted that I would drop the ring...)

Of course, as you can imaging we're going to try to have as eco-friendly of a wedding as we possibly can without weirding out both our families. Which is no easy feat I soon discovered. Six months into planning and I've already had a couple little stomp my feet, "But it's OUR wedding" moments... and have now moved into compromise mode. I assumed that my parents know me well enough that a non-traditional wedding would come as no surprise... It took them a few months, and still my mom says things like: "Well of COURSE the bridesmaid needs flowers, what ELSE is she going to carry?" (my beautiful blue opal-a little big! We had to ship it to the designer in Seattle to size... I guess opals are delicate!)

After spending an entire weekend immersed in a very traditional, hugely bride-groomzilla wedding (Andrew was a groomsmen) we both came away with a renewed sense of how we don't want our wedding to have a part in the amount of WASTE that is produced. Seeing how stressed they both were over the most miniscule details (for example, matching cufflinks...) I realized how important it is to stay grounded and recognize that the real reason for the entire affair was a big, giant PARTY. With family... lol.

I have been considering practicing yoga the morning of the wedding and am 100% resolved to make this an essential part of the weekend after seeing the crazy spiraling stress from our friends' experience. My goal; to be allowed to practice at our venue (a local vineyard) with Andrew and whomever would like to join the morning of. To allow the peacefulness of Nature and her ability to ground and provide a pause to reflect during a time when I know everything will feel surreal. (bird tracks I saw... probably a seagull, but at least their "pistes" are cute!)

Some essentials that we are planning to help keep our wedding eco-friendly and low budget:

-SMALL wedding (50 peeps, tops!) This required a lot of foot stomping, as my side has a largish family. I had to recognize that although I might not have to deal with uninvited aunts/uncles (living three hours away) my family definitely will. It would be selfish of me to cause relationship rifts between their siblings... So, unfortunately there will be an A-list and B-list, quietly and smoothly orchestrated in order to assure both close friends and all family members are invited and meet our 50 person criteria.

-Venue that uses local, organic and sustainable food (local winery! mmmmm WINE). The kicker: I noticed recycled paper TP in the bathrooms while testing out their restaurant. :) Being a winery also means minimal decorations- the natural venue will do it all. The winery also uses their own cutlery and dishes- so all washable and not wasteful. (Actual wedding at the winery on their website!)

-Recycled paper invites and no programs, menus, seating cards or STD's (hahah, YES non-wedding readers, "Save The Dates" in wedding speak is refered to as STDs... and is rarely laughed at. I giggle every. single. time) and online RSVP (via soon to begin wedding blog!).

-Local and sustainable grown in season flowers. Maybe I could find some awesome friends to pick them?? lol.

No favours. Seriously, who ever keeps the "love cd's" etc that you get at weddings? We've decided to donate a sum to charity in memory of family members who have passed.

- Cupcakes made with organic/fair trade ingredients as our "cake" by a local pastry chef (still working that one out... but it will happen!).

- Vintage pottery/planters for table decorations (I'm hoping to grow succulents... we'll see how that turns out!!).

- One maid of honour, one best man. That's it. They are both asked to wear whatever they feel fabulous/handsome with. As it will be outside, and I will be wearing white- I'm not worried about her dress clashing.... with my white dress. Same goes for mothers of the bride/groom.

Unfortunately "green" wedding dresses have been impossible to find. What is out there is completely online-order and usually very non-traditional. The dress is about the only part that I'm a princess about... My compromise has been to find designers that have their dresses made in Canada and are therefore sweatshop and slave-free. They are also more expensive. Sigh.

This post seems a little crazy, as I've never been the foofy "wedding" type. I never dreamed about my wedding growing up and swore up until about three years ago that I would NEVER get married. The best advice I have read so far about how to plan this entire affair... to think of it as a celebration of our love and commitment... and NOT as "THE WEDDING". This truly has helped put things in perspective. There are no "rules", just us and our family and loved ones coming together to celebrate our... gulp... marriage.


  1. Great post!! Interestingly Diego and I were just talking about our wedding plans (he has yet to propose...) this weekend! They have evolved from a 5 day party in Mexico to a smaller affair in Halifax as eco-friendly as possible! I like your winery idea, I will have to look into that! As for a dress. I was going to opt for a used one. They are only used once in your life (you hope) and I feel that the $$ is better spent on free booze for the guests! :) Just my 2 cents...

    Looks like you are going to have an amazing wedding. You are definitely keeping it real and I love the idea of some yoga to start the day. I am positive you will have a great time with minimal stress!

    Oh yeah...Andrew...good choice on the beach/sand dune!! Goes well with the gorgeous opal ring! :)

    PS. I also wanted to let you know that I replied to your comment on my blog, essentially saying...go for the sugar scrub there is no tea tree oil in it!! :)

  2. Best of luck in avoiding the *family* issues...ack..they do get in the way of a perfectly sane and agreeable (to you) celebration, don't they? *grin*

    Our wedding was of the fairly non-traditional sort (shocking, I know) - we got married under the grand tree in my parents garden; then we had a barbeque. I picked a bunch of daisies from the neighbour's yard (with permission, of course) for my bouquet and the wedding *party* - one bridesmaid, one best man - got to wear whatever they felt comfy in (just like yours). I wore a sundress - which I have indeed worn since so it wasn't a one-off affair. After the ceremony, pretty much everyone changed into shorts and t-shirts and got on with much feasting and drinking and having of fun....this year is our 9th anniversary and people are still talking about how much fun and 'laid back' our wedding was....which is what it should be. Granted it was second-time-around for both of us so the fairytale wasn't a factor but when you consider all of the stress (as you mentioned) that's involved, it would all pass in a big mental blur if you signed on for that level of madness.

    It sounds like you guys are on the right track....stay strong, my Dear, stay strong....and three cheers for a Green Wedding!!

    I think No Impact Man had a post about green weddings and what people were doing to make them as green as possible...there were some pretty cool (and whacky) may wish to peruse...:)

    ~much love~

  3. Well, congrats.

    Can there be any better example of what's wrong with our society and why we're rapidly destroying ourselves than the ghastly displays of conspicuous consumption and rampant materialism that make up so many weddings? It's all about showing off how much money the groom can spend on the engagement ring (what wily jeweler thought up that insane 1/4 of your annual income thing?...or is that 1/3?), how much the bride's family can spend on the wedding, and how much the groom's family can spend on the rehearsal dinner...and don't even get me started on the CD I got of my cousin and her groom singing fundamentalist Christian love songs to each other that I just threw away....

    Then, a number of my friends recently have either had tiny justice of the peace ceremonies followed by a nice, laid-back party to celebrate their love and commitment. If I ever manage to find a woman kindhearted and/or foolish enough to take my sorry ass in holy (or not-so-holy) matrimony, I can only hope she'll agree to something very similar....

  4. Sounds like you two have tons of great things planned! I would love it if you came and shared your story after your wedding on The Green Bride Guide real green weddings pages ( Very inspiring!

  5. How exciting! The vineyard sounds fabulous. Sounds like you have a plan that is traditional enough for those in your family that would be wildly weirded out by what we did - which was a mixed Catholic/Quaker/poetry reading service and a Quaker potluck reception. We were still in graduate school and lacked stray cash. Parents were grateful the day had ever come, though.

  6. How exciting! Congrats! Love the ring. My brother-in-law got my sister an aquamarine (her favorite stone) for their engagement. I LOVE to see people do engagements outside the box!

    Your plans sound wonderful. And the idea to do yoga beforehand...perfection. Can't wait to hear more as your plans progress.

  7. I so understand this... Like I have said, I would be so happy to just be married somewhere with hardly anyone around but F's Mum would certainly have problems with this... I know it is more wasteful but this is why I want to have a huge wedding - if I have got to do it, I want the people I care about to be there and their children, which means that by the time all those priority family members and family friends have received their invites.... *sigh*

    Thing is, we don't have the money, so we just arn't getting married at the mo. I am so hoping F will give in at some point and we can slink off somewhere. My family wouldn't mind, they did the whole wedding thing for my sister who is now divorced but F is his Mum's only chance at a wedding really....

  8. Aww thanks everyone!
    Alli: I did seriously consider a used dress- has a whole SLEW of beautiful dresses on their site... but I'm really not great at the order online thing... I was a little nervous about that. It IS one of the better ideas though- you should check out their site :)

    Mel: i SO wanted to have something similar- i wanted a BONFIRE reception... but the families are kinda not into that idea... lol. We won't be having a "dance" reception though- right now we're at mingling with maybe a copper portable firepit?? we'll see what the vineyard says lol.

    YogaforCynics: hahah. sigh. Well Dr. J. I totally agree, but you are a bit more forthright with saying it lol. I guess what I've come to realize is that our families wanted big weddings so they could share their joy and happiness with everyone... and not so much about flashing the cash... especially since our families don't have all the much of it! lol. There are things about weddings that go against our feminist perspectives as well... but our families would be SO upset if we took this moment away from them. Our love is shared with our families- so they should be a part of the celebration. :) The important part is to be happy, however trite that sounds.

    Kate: Ouuu! I would be HONOURED :) we still have more than a year to go (lol-eco weddings take some time to plan!) but I will email you. :)

    Greenspell: thank you! aquamarine- SO COOL. I wonder- does she get lots of questions about her ring? I often get:"I love your mood ring!!" lol, it was a bit weird at first, but everyone is so nice about it :)

    Rose: yes- I was thinking about you and F while writing this actually- with your wonderful "dream" wedding description a few weeks ago. I understand the big family thing. There are ways to do it on the cheap- check out, but things will be different than a "traditional" wedding. A good piece of advice was to write down what was MOST important to you both about the wedding... everything else is extra and not as important to have :)

  9. oops!
    Mary Ellen: I have heard beautiful things about Quaker wedding traditions!! How they involve lovely rituals (for lack of a better word) with family members :) It sounds like it was perfect for you.

    It's so great to hear so many other kindred spirits supporting a non-traditional wedding :)

  10. hey lisa...

    i'm in the midst of stressing out over an upcoming wedding in moncton (for which, all the fuss and pre-wedding traditions involve some contribution on my part, as a bridesmaid). and your post reminded me, again, of the real purpose of the "wedding" - the celebration. i know my own wedding will be very similar to what you're planning, when it happens a few years down the road. i just don't understand all the excessiveness and fuss of a typical wedding. i'm also glad that chris and i both have parents who will be completely supportive of whatever we choose to do.

    best of luck. and i'm still looking into that pastry chef for you! i promise.


  11. I only have one real request for this wedding, when it all comes down to it. I want us to have fun, and I want us to be smiling. It seems like all the stress and planning can get to people and they just go about the day praying nothing goes wrong. If we can't have a good time at our own wedding, whats the point?

  12. Jen: oh dear! it's coming up is it?? I was soooo ANGRY by the end of the weekend at Moncton (and it was Andrew in the wedding!) that it ruined all feelings of joy and happiness we both had for the couple. It cost us 800$ for that weekend... and we were expected to give a wedding gift! sigh. let me know if you need to vent :)

    BTW- WE HAVE BIKES!!!!!! :) I will facebook you :)

  13. Oh Wow I must have missed somewheres in your archives that you are getting married. Congratulations to you and Andrew. My daughter is getting August 29. I love what you have planned so far and the winery sounds like the perfect location. Great idea about practicing yoga the morning of the wedding - perfect start to a beautiful day !

  14. Congratulations. Well that is all!

  15. Congratulations! Sounds like you will have a beautiful wedding. Make it what you want and be sure to have FUN. It is a celebration! And, I love the succulent idea!! :)

  16. yay congrats!! love all of the green ideas!!

  17. Thank you for your wish for me hun! So glad you are going to join the sisterhood! I don't think any of us have quite the bodies we want....

    Looking forward to hearing more of your wedding plans and I shall go check out that site!

  18. Russ and I are going through all this now- we've planned our engagement party with minimal waste which is coming up, but the wedding is making it harder.
    Some things I've been thinking?
    Not only using recycled paper, but also soy ink. It's much gentler. When you speak to a printer ask them about it- it's pretty common.

    Growing succulents is a great idea! I was thinking of herb potts- I like the idea of basil sitting in the centre of the table. Or ivy- it grows really easily via transplant and looks pretty and unique when you have all those tendrils. I don't want to have flower arrangements either! Unless it's wild flowers that I pick myself or something

    Russ and I actually were debating the idea of not having a seating chart at all! Everyone coming knows everyone else (we made it at 45 peeps!) and there's no real wedding party to speak of since we're not into that, so we figured yummy organic finger food- maybe a buffet and people can sit where they like. No freaking singles tables!! It also removes the need for those little cards- or perhaps writing on leaves. At lest you know it'll bio degrade...



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