green

Numerous Unnecessary Wedding Paper Goods

If you have not planned a wedding in the past 10 years, do you have any idea how many wedding paper products the wedding industry wants you to buy?

It is just not wedding invitations anymore, my friend.

Here are all of the suggested items to buy:

  • Save the Dates
  • Bridal shower invitations
  • Bachelorette party invitations
  • Rehearsal dinner invitations
  • Engagement party invitations
  • Thank you cards
  • Gift tags
  • Place cards
  • Menus
  • Programs
  • Table number cards
  • Stationary suites
  • Napkins
  • Coasters
  • Signs for literally everything (wait this is where the cake is? The giant cake did not give it away)

 

wedding paper products

A catalog from Wedding Paper Divas

wedding paper product2

Same Wedding Paper Divas catalog

I can easily tell you that I do not need/want half of these things.

Cross these off right now.

  • Save the Dates
  • Bridal shower invitations
  • Bachelorette party invitations
  • Rehearsal dinner invitations
  • Engagement party invitations
  • Thank you cards
  • Gift tags
  • Place cards
  • Menus
  • Programs
  • Table number cards
  • Stationary suites
  • Napkins
  • Coasters
  • Signs for literally everything

What You Can Do or Not Do Instead

First of all, most wedding-related invitations can be replaced by email, and the market has responded to that. Green Envelope lets you create and send beautiful invites via email. As much as I would love to do e-vites for the actual wedding, I do have a sentiment for formal invitations in the mail.

Even more so, you don’t need gift tags if you don’t provide favors. #SorryNotSorry I am throwing a giant party for you, you don’t need another koozie/bubbles/mints/matches/etc.

Instead of individual place or escort cards try a seating chart. They are all over Pinterest. Keep in mind that escort cards are basically going to be thrown out immediately unless you have weirdly sentimental guests who like to keep them forever for no particular reason other than feeling bad throwing them out (me).

Individual menus can be also be replaced with a singular menu board, preferably one another bride could use again, such as a chalkboard. Or just surprise your guests!

So far, I have not gotten into much of the necessary paper portions of the wedding yet.

That will come soon enough, but I have done one thing.

To ask my bridal party, I purchased handmade recycled cards, because everyone loves a good snail mail surprise in their mailbox.

I could have just sent a text to be real anti- wedding paper products, but my friends and I do enjoy sending each other things that are on a piece of paper and not a screen.

 

bridesmaid invites

Cards ready to be sent

 

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Green Wedding Resources

As I go about this experience of planning a wedding, I have attempted to compile some information and resources for other ladies and gents who are taking in consideration the footprint of their big day.

Resources for Anyone Anywhere:

A Practical Wedding

This amazing website and book tell you basically everything you need to know. In true fashion, I ordered the book secondhand from Amazon for about $4 and devoured it in 3 days.

apw

via Amazon.com

APW is focused on creating a culture that supports laid-back, feminist weddings. All that stuff wedding media tells you that you have to have? We think you
don’t have to have it (unless you actually want it). And we don’t believe that all those things people tell you are tradition
s actually are traditional. -APW

Craigslist

I live for Craigslist for all of my furniture (I have several tabs open as I type this), so there is no reason not to turn to it for wedding materials. All you need to do is search wedding and there will be tons of results for local brides selling items they used only once. From crafty DIY materials to table runners and decorative pieces, wedding dresses & rings, Craigslist has it all.

craigslist

Thrift Stores

Are you pining for that mismatched vintage look? Head over to your local thrift stores to see what little pieces you can start collecting. For your tables, look for glassware, plates, platters, serving trays and cake stands. For decorations, look for old books, candlesticks, globes, and frames. Your purchase may also support a local charity!

Resources for those in the Chicago area:

Green Wedding Alliance

GWA is a group of eco-friendly vendors in the Chicagoland area. They put on great events like the Committed Wedding Event and the Great Wedding Recyclery.

green-wedding-alliance

Chicago’s Green Wedding Alliance connects a growing community of environmentally and socially responsible event vendors with the conscious consumer for mindful weddings, commitment ceremonies, and social events. The Alliance is a collaborative network of over 50 member vendors who strive to grow and inform their responsible business practices. -GWA

Do you have any other suggestions that I should be aware of? Let me know!

Committed to a Green Wedding

Yesterday, I got to be a super nerdy bride-to-be and attended the Green Wedding Alliance‘s Committed event, Chicago’s only eco-conscious wedding event.

gwa-committed-wedding-banner

I bought my tickets for the event approximately 3 days after getting engaged because I knew I wanted to be in a room surrounded by vendors who cared about the same stuff I did.

There was no need for embarrassment like the time I asked a reception venue if they would accommodate a composting service to come collect food scraps, or when I asked what can be done with any extra leftover food (answer: nothing, due to health code stuff).

At Committed, that’s all normal shop talk with these people. My people. I had the chance to meet the following:

  • Florists that use locally grown flowers and donate them after the event so others can also enjoy them
  • Caterers who use locally sourced ingredients
  • Vintage rental companies that use all vintage place settings
  • Planners who specialize in eco-friendly events
  • Local printers that use recycled paper from a supplier powered by wind power

SO COOL. Anyway, I am nowhere near picking any of these vendors. I still have to figure out where and when this wedding is going to be!

Tis the Season For Frozen Compost

“Baby, it’s cold outside”

So cold that my compost bucket (which we keep outside on our fire escape) had frozen shut.

After a weekend of numerous home cooked meals, our compost bowl was starting to overflow, and its contents needed to retreat to the outdoors.

There was no way I was getting the lid off the bucket, so I figured I would bring it inside to warm on up.

 

frozen-compost

Nice and cozy compost bucket

When I got back from work, I soaked up the remaining water and was able to add my food scraps no problem.

The bucket is back outside now,  but I am sure that will not be the last time it gets to dodge the fire escape’s winter chill. Stay tuned!

 

One Less Straw This October

Do we really need to use straws? What is wrong with just drinking from the glass?

Every day in the U.S. 500,000,000 plastic straws are used and then tossed in the trash, or in some cases, on the beach.

You can assist the OneLessStraw pledge campaign by signing a pledge as an individual, business, or school, to say no to plastic straws for the entire month of October.

one-less-straw-logo

My mom has always been a smoothie drinker and would use plastic straws to drink them. That was until I got her metal reusable smoothie straws for Mother’s Day this year! (You really have to watch out for me and gift giving now, you may just end up with a bamboo toothbrush!)

There are plenty of places where you can find reusable straws. Life Without Plastic is one example, or you can check out OneLessStraw’s resource guide if you really cannot live without a straw.

I saw the below video a number of months ago and it completely changed how I look at straws. It is graphic and disturbing, but maybe we need that for us to understand that these straws just don’t go away when we toss them into the garbage can.

 

 

 

Treehugger: 7 Tips for Green Spring Cleaning

Spring is finally here! And if you haven’t started purging half your belongings like me, you can still do your spring cleaning responsibly. I will be using these methods to clean my new apartment when I move in next week. Ah! So soon!

http://www.treehugger.com/cleaning-organizing/7-tips-green-spring-cleaning-without-toxic-chemicals.html

Day 24: That Look You Get From the Cashier When You Bring Your Own Bag

I have been keeping an eye on things and over the past week here are some of the plastic-avoiding actions I did:

  • Refused a plastic lid and straw, went for the paper cup only at dinner on Tuesday
  • Refused another straw at lunch on Thursday
  • Used my handy dandy reusable bag (I will post about this at another time) at Target, the mall, and the grocery store this week

Side note: I love when I check out at the store and say, “I have my own bag,” and then pull this magical re-usable bag out of my purse. I would say by that by the time the cashier has finished ringing me up, 50% of the time, they have forgotten that I brought my own bag and start to put my things in a plastic bag. I gently have to remind them that I will not be taking their store-provided bag of plastic.

Day 16: They Wouldn’t Put The Smoothie I Ordered In My Water Bottle

So last night I was at yoga class that ended at 8:15. I had not eaten dinner beforehand and figured a smoothie at the gym’s cafe would do the trick for some post-workout sustenance.

Problem is, it comes in a plastic cup with lid and straw. Although the cup and lid are recyclable, that straw is not.

While giving my order, I asked if I could have the smoothie be put in my now empty water bottle. They said no.  At least I tried. It wasn’t even that good of a smoothie anyway, so I guess that is what I get for still buying it.

 

 

Day 8: Going Out to Eat Makes Things Complicated

It has been 1 week since this challenge started, and I definitely do not feel like I am living a plastic-free life. This is most likely because I am not.

What I have noticed over the past few days is that sometimes you just cannot always be prepared with your plastic-free alternatives.

Here is what I have encountered while eating out a number of times this week:

  • Straws: The drink I ordered came with a straw already in it. I guess I could have asked for it without a straw, but I really did not think that I had to think that far in advance.
  • Takeout Containers: I assumed my leftovers would come back in a Styrofoam box (which also isn’t good either), but instead it came in a plastic container. At this point I could have either left my food and had that go to waste, or taken the container and at least recycle it when I got home. BONUS POINT: I did remove the plastic bag my leftovers came in and used my handy dandy reusable bag that I keep in my purse instead. Unfortunately, that plastic bag probably just got thrown out after that by the busboy.
  • Cups: At a fundraiser this weekend, drinks were being served in plastic cups. Unless I carried around my own glass, I could not avoid this one.
  • More Takeout Containers: We ordered takeout Chinese for dinner one night and although most of the food came in the standard Chinese takeout containers, a couple of the juicier entrees were packed in plastic containers. The plus side of this is that they were good containers that could at least be used a couple of times.

This makes me sound like I eat out all the time, which I in reality, I usually don’t.

In the future, I will be more aware of ordering at restaurants. No straw please!