Photo Card Save-The-Dates

One of the things I suggest in The Green Bride Guide is having your save-the-dates do double duty as holiday cards. This is exactly what Lisa and Kevin did - but they took it one step further by sending photo cards two years in row:

The first year friends and family members received a christmas card featuring a picture of the couple reading a copy of Wedding Planning For Dummies. The caption was "Be Married and Bright and Please Save the Date!"

Photo: Gene Higa Photography

The next year the card had a photo from their honeymoon on the beach in Thailand that read "Happy Holidays from The Honeymooners!"

Lisa had the cards printed using Kodak Gallery. "I just got full frame, no border. 5X7 for the Save the Dates and 4X8 photo cards for Just Married in sand."

The full fame option makes the cards look like regular photographs, so they are more likely to find their way into a frame than into the trash can.

What a fun way to share the good news!


DIY Paperbloomster Wedding

Lisa Yuen and Kevin Rhoads were married August 4, 2007 in The Green Room in the San Francisco War Memorial and Performing Arts Center - across from San Francisco City Hall (pictured below).

Kevin is a golf professional at The Country Club in Brookline, Massachusetts and coaches the Harvard womens' golf team. Lisa is an actress (who has performed both on Broadway and in several movies). For entertainment, Lisa asked some of her colleagues to share their talents. "I asked 4 of my friends from Miss Saigon, Annie and The King and I to sing at the ceremony and cocktail hour. For the recessional, my friend Derek Isetti sang "Orange Colored Sky". Richard Rockage, a musical arranger for The Rodgers and Hammerstein Organization created a new arrangement of "I'm in Love with a Wonderful Guy". We started the reception with our first dance - some fun choreography by a Miss Saigon alumnus (Alan Ariano) that incorporated ballroom waltz, lifts, the Robot and moves stolen from the movie, Napoleon Dynamite. Another friend, Peilin Chou, of Lifefilm Productions made a documentary about our courtship and our families that was shown during the reception."

In addition to calling upon friends from the entertainment industry, Lisa personalized her wedding by incorporating designs from the business she runs with her sister Janice Yoshihara called Paperbloomsters. Janice made the flowers for Lisa's wedding, including "peonies, roses and cherry blossoms - about 200 of them!!!" Each flower was made by cutting petals from sheets of dried recycled paper. You can watch Lisa demonstrate the process on Martha Stewart by clicking here.

For the ceremony, Janice decorated the flower girl basket with paper flowers and the ringbearer presented the rings on a giant paper peony.

At the reception, paper flowers lined the walls and perfectly complimented the (live) centerpieces.

The live flower arrangements were designed by a good friend of Kevin's, Karen Burling of Huckleberry Designs and the bouquets (shown in image above) were done by Matika Angkatavanich of Simply Blooms.

Invitations, Seating Cards + Favors In addition to all of the flowers above, Lisa used her paper craft talent throughout the wedding. As Karen Burling wrote on her blog, Lisa's guests received "not just a piece of paper....but a handmade book! I was told that Lisa had spent precious hours making these for her guests. Talk about a personal touch!"

She also made matching seating cards!

Favors And that is not all...Lisa used the leftover paper from her invitations to make individual favor boxes for her guests.

And what was in the boxes? "The outside of the box represented me and inside was all Kevin." Because Kevin is a golf pro, that meant each guest received a Titleist golf ball reading "Kevin hit a hole in one! August 4, 2007.'"

Photo Credit: Gene Higa Photography

To read Lisa and Kevin's green wedding planning tip click here.


California Courting

Mandy and her husband Joe were married in Anaheim Hills, California in May 2008. Their wedding took place on the "grounds of Kindred Community Church, in the hills" and their reception was held in Woodbury Community Park where the site fees "go back into the upkeep and care of the beautiful hillside oasis - home to tons of birds, lizards and other woodland creatures. [It was] hard to believe that a bustling city and freeway weren't far away!"

Another cool thing about their reception location was that the park utilizes low energy appliances. "Mother nature provided the ambiance and light for the wedding itself and the reception location provided low energy appliances and fixtures [for the party]." In addition to choosing eco-friendly locations, the couple incorporated a number of other green elements into their plans as well.

Recycled Paper Mandy and Joe used recycled paper for their invitations, programs, menu cards, etc.

Instead of having a guestbook they used an "old branch for a 'wish tree'" which guests hung little tags on.

Bamboo and Rice Paper Parasols To keep her maids comfortable on the hot California day, Mandy gave each of them a bamboo and rice paper parasol (both biodegradable natural materials).

The men enjoyed them too!

Locally Grown Flowers Throughout their wedding Mandy and Joe used roses from Growers Direct in Tustin, CA (a local grower).

For their centerpieces, they set the roses into vases full of sliced organic limes, which they surrounded with soy votives. "No rocks or other things to throw away - everything was biodegradable and the vases we gave away."

Favors Mandy and Joe wanted their favors to reflect their love of nature and wanted to encourage their guests to get outside and explore. To this end they chose "Love Beans" and reusable compasses. "Continuing with our nature theme, we gave little potted plants with a bean inside that says, "Love" when it grows. We also encourage walks through nature, and provided these compasses for said walks with non-animal (leather) synthetic cords."

Cake After a vegan dinner they cut a fake cake! Instead of getting a cake they knew would go uneaten they had a faux cake from Fake The Cake and offered guests a simple sheet cake made by a local bakery instead. They had just enough cake for every guest to get a slice.

When their wedding was over - what did they drive away in? Their own car - and they did not have to drive it far either! "The house where we came home to after the wedding was only one block away from the reception (and the wedding was less than 15 miles from the reception as well)! Low emissions!"

Photo Credit: Nataly Lemus


Dinner Party Wedding with DIY Style

Darryl Harvey and Alissa Lewis had an intimate wedding - "only 40 of our dear friends and family members" - at restaurant 121 in North Salem, NY on April 6th. "We had the wedding set up to be more like a dinner party than anything else. I walked down the aisle to Annie Lennox's version of "Waiting in Vain"--this was kind of an inside joke between us because I am forever waiting on Darryl to get ready, to get downstairs, to get out the door, to come home...He's a bit of slowpoke! We wrote our own vows which were tremendously moving for each of us and for all the guests--for weeks after people were remarking on how special and emotional the ceremony itself was."

Alissa is extremely crafty. In fact, she has her own invitation company Mew Paper Arts - where every item is "handmade with pure intentions for the environment" and proceeds go to "support a quirky gal and her fat cat." Needless to say, when it came to planning her wedding, "the DIY theme went all the way through--from the stationery, to the music, decorations--even the cake!"

Handmade Paper Alissa flexed her paper making skills and created one-of-a-kind favors that doubled as seating cards. "I made all of the stationery items--and being a designer myself I felt like I had to really show off! The invitations were made with partially recycled materials to match the sapphire/diamond theme of the dress. I combined placecards and favors by giving each guest a set of handmade notecards with their names on it placed at their seat. I felt like our favors were something that would be used and not tossed out."

Flowers "Instead of spending hundreds and hundreds of dollars on flowers for the tables I just had a gorgeous bouquet made by a florist and used candelabras that I got on clearance at Home Goods for each table. My mom used flowers from her own garden and the local market to make a few large arrangements to spread through the room. We saved a bundle by doing this...and the candelabras are being reused in our home!"

Music "During the cocktail hour and dinner we played music through our IPOD using the restaurant's sound system--we had a kooky mix that included everything from Bill Withers, Aerosmith, The Beatles, Alicia Keys and The Allman Brothers."

Cake Alissa and Darryl even had a homemade cake. "My best friend and Maid of Honor made us a beautiful, petite cake. A lot of our wedding focused on reducing waste--often these big weddings are so over the top, cost a ton and there is so much wasted, including food. So our cake was sized for the amount of guests, as was the rest of our menu--people were well fed, but nothing was thrown out afterwards."

"Overall the event was a dream come true--super low key, but really memorable as well. Having such a small group of guests made it easy for us to spend time with each one and make everyone feel special about being there and know that we appreciated them."

To read about Alissa's unique wedding gown click here.


Eco-Chic + Vegan Too!

Rachel Venokur and Christopher Clark were married June 1, 2008 at The Garrison in Garrison NY. "We chose The Garrison for it’s natural, beautiful grounds, organic chic feel, the ability to use food from their gardens and [the fact] that they use locally grown, sustainable and organic [food] whenever possible."

Rachel is a Holistic Health Counselor (she does private consulting through her company Renew...For a New You), so it was important to her that her wedding be "as eco and conscious as possible." She is also a vegan, and "The Garrison was able to provide amazing and interesting vegan options that everyone enjoyed, along with an organic and local non-vegan menu." In addition to choosing an eco-friendly venue, here are some of the other ways Rachel and Christopher "went green":

Invitations, etc. Their save the dates, invitations, escort cards and menus were printed on 100% recycled paper with soy ink (by Sweet Letter Press).

The Gown Rachel bought her wedding gown from Veka Bridal in NYC, because they are "known for their non-traditional not too bridey wedding dresses, which was what I was looking for." She is planning on donating the dress to charity and is currently, "considering a few places, like the Bridal Garden in NYC. I just would like it to go to good use."

Local Flowers Their ceremony took place under a bamboo chuppah which was covered in herbs, berries and local flowers.

Rachel carried a bouquet of wildflowers wrapped in lace from her mother's wedding dress. She also used her Grandmother's diamonds in her wedding band and she and Christopher displayed family wedding photos at the reception. "Everything was very personal, from the escort card photos to the old family wedding photos, to our choreographed first dance to a Queen Song. We really wanted to add a personal touch to an organic, yet elegant wedding. People walked away saying how the wedding was 'so Chris and Rachel' and that is exactly what we wanted. We did it in an eco way that didn't bombard our guests with how to save the earth, but elegantly presented to them how easy it is to make a few simple changes that can go a long way."

To decorate the tables they used "local wild flowers, herbs and berries in vintage, recycled and refurbished pots." These were surrounded with soy candles poured into " vintage glasses that were either already in the family or bought at antique sales and thrift shops. The candles and glasses will be re-used by our florist - StoneKelly." Instead of having favors, Rachel and Christopher encouraged their guests to take home the vintage pots of flowers from the tables.

The escort cards and table numbers (imprinted with photos from the couples travels) were also nestled in containers of sustainable blooms.

Dinner For dinner, their guests enjoyed local, organic and vegan fare. Click on the menu below to see the full details - sounds delicious!

Dessert Instead of a traditional wedding cake, Rachel and Christopher had "a Vegan cupcake trio made by The Groovy Baker with organic ingredients as our main dessert." The cupcake tiers were topped with adorable (edible) vegan marzapan people made to resemble the bride and groom. Cupcakes are a great green alternative because they are easy for guests to take home.

Eau de'Toilet Even their bathrooms were green! Rachel and Christopher "used green and organic products in the ladies and men's room baskets whenever possible." Including baskets of eco-friendly toiletries is a great way to help spread the word about your favorite green products.

Kate's Note: Being green runs in the Venokur family. Rachel's cousin Danielle owns dvGreen - a green event company in New York. Danielle is one of the green wedding experts I interviewed for The Green Bride Guide.

Photo credit: Photomuse