wedding

Gonna Be Composting at My Wedding

Yup. This is going to be a thing.

Let’s be honest. Weddings are quite wasteful. All that hullabaloo for just one day.

The biggest investment in our “special day” is feeding all of our guests. As a couple, we decided to avoid the detested dry chicken breast and sad, floppy asparagus in an unidentified sauce.

Instead, we are going for food that we love and that we know our guests will love. This will hopefully lead to less food waste since everyone will be cleaning their plates and filling their bellies.

But being realistic, everything will not be eaten. There will be food waste.

I have not yet researched into whether or not it is an option to donate unused food, but for now, I do know that composting is my number one option right now.

Healthy Soil Compost is a member of the Green Wedding Alliance and also the service that picks up my household compost. Since I love supporting my bicycle powered pick up service, it only makes sense that they come and collect any leftover taco bits from our reception.

Up front, I can already tell you that no, my guests will not be scraping their plates into an orange compost bucket. That should be taken care of by our caterer when cleaning up.

Either way, I am super excited to have this important element be a part of our important day!

Passing on A Traditional Florist

I like flowers.

I really do, but spending a fortune on plants that are flown in from far away and most likely going to be discarded the next day is just not my cup of tea.

So I made the easy decision that a traditional florist is not the route I will be going for my wedding.

Luckily we have a family friend who started Avium Flowers, providing fresh-cut flowers grown right here in Chicago in a sustainable and organic manner.

avium flowers

Right now I am working with them on the flowers and colors that I like. When the time comes, they can then order the appropriate seeds and specifically keep me in mind for the next growing season.

My wedding flowers are legitimately being grown just for me, right here in Chicago.

Seriously, how cool is that?

See some of their amazing work below.

All of the 💗🌸💋🎈💖 for @curtismcassell today. You're fabulous!!!

A post shared by Avium Flowers Co. (@aviumflowers) on

We flexed our design muscles this week! 💪🏼 Congrats Julia and Ryan ❤️🎉 #aviumweddings #farmerflorist

A post shared by Avium Flowers Co. (@aviumflowers) on

Remembering these bundles of joy on this brrr day 🌬 #farmerflorist #slowflowers #dahlia #heirloommums #aviumweddings

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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

 

Finally Found Our Venue: UPDATED

A bit ago, I posted that we finally found our venue.

That was premature, my apologies.

While we really loved that venue, communication-wise things were just not working out, and we decided to continue looking for other options.

Before I even had the chance to seriously look, I was suddenly making an appointment to view The Joinery, a new event space transformed from a millwork shop.

joinery2

It has the old, vintage, repurposed feel that I love, yet has all the amenities necessary for a wedding reception (brand new bathrooms, bride’s room, catering set-up space, blah blah blah).

joinery3

Besides the skylight, the coolest part is the woodworking machinery. It was kept purposefully and will be used as a bar! So neat!

the joinery4

What do you think? Well it really does not matter what you think because we put the deposit down yesterday, so this is happening for real!

Wearing Thrift for A Black Tie Wedding

We went to a wedding this weekend and it reminded me of the time I previously wore a thrift store dress to a black tie wedding.

Intrigued? Read on.


Before last summer, I had never been to a black tie wedding before. Fancy cocktail dress, long gown, what does one wear?

After some soul searching on the internet and perusing Rent the Runway, I figured I was just going to wear one of the five bridesmaids dresses I had acquired over the last few years.

The problem was most of those dresses looked very much like bridesmaid dresses and I usually don’t want to look like a bridesmaid in a wedding where I am not one (But that’s just me).

Not having any idea what I was going to wear, I walked into a second-hand shop near home to look around. Lo, and behold, on the mannequin at the front of the store was a hot pink Kate Spade beauty!

WITH THE

TAGS STILL ON! 

Before I got all excited, I had to remember the real drawback of shopping at second-hand stores. The item you find is only in that one size. Unfortunately, you cannot ask an employee to go find you a size small in the back, because there is not one.

I asked for the size of the dress and held my breath. It was a size that I could wear! I tried it on and it was love at first sight.

beth-and-andrews-wedding-2

K insisted on being cropped out of the picture

Everyone loved the dress and I felt super cool telling people I got it at a resale shop that supports a charity. 🙂

 

 

Finally Found Our Venue

It’s been a journey so far, but our venue and date have finally been decided on.

We looked far and wide, from suburban to urban options.

Should we go farther out into the suburbs for a better price, but more complicated transportation for everyone?

Or stay in the City with easy access to transportation, hotels and other things to do?

In the end, we decided to stay in the City, but still make the budget work for us.

The venue is an operating dance studio (which I love because I danced all they way through college). It is not a super common venue for a wedding, which I also love. When I mentioned it to a few other vendors, they had not heard of it as an event space (which can be good or bad, I guess).

We can choose any vendors we want and it is BYOB!

 

latin rhythms

The location in dance studio mode

 

It is an intimate timber loft with string lights already strung across the ceiling and wrapped around the beams. The hardwood floor and exposed brick complete the look I was going for, without the large price tag attached.

There won’t be much to decorate, just a bit here and there.

We just need our long banquet tables for our family style dinner (either BBQ or tacos) and I think it will be gorgeous!

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!

I’d Rather Job/Apartment Hunt than Wedding Venue Hunt

Two weeks into being engaged and I am already considering hiring someone else  (or preferably have them volunteer) to figure this whole wedding planning thing out for me.

 

venue-search

Helpppppp Meeeeeeeee!

 

K and I have created a modest budget that we really want to stick to, so finding a venue in Chicago is pretty darn hard. It is more important to us to use that money towards our first house than on a lavish wedding reception. Therefore, we are additionally looking around Wisconsin, Michigan, Chicago suburbs, and Indiana.

I have already torn through The Knot‘s venue search option and am spouting traditional wedding etiquette facts from the number of wedding planning books I have received.

Chicago’s Green Wedding Alliance has some good resources, but their list of venues is pretty small (There will be a post on eco-resources soon).

There are just so many factors to consider:

  • distance
  • waste collection/diversion
  • food quality
  • price
  • a space that feels like us
  • a lot of other important factors I haven’t quite figured out yet

But there are also so many other things that we don’t actually care about:

  • wedding cake
  • the day we get married (Friday vs. Saturday)
  • the season
  • favors

Hopefully, all of the things that we don’t care about will help us save money in the long run.

Do you have any suggestions on an how to secure an affordable wedding venue in the Chicagoland area?

I will keep you updated as we start to narrow down some options. We probably should figure out which geographic location first! Ugh!