This week we interrupt our regular Friday’s FAB Finds with a special themed installment – Green Wedding Ideas! We’re all trying our best to be more environmentally conscious in our every day lives (hopefully!), so why shouldn’t that commitment also translate to one’s wedding? Aside from the some of the more obvious suggestions such as moving your ceremony flowers to use at your reception and using recycled paper for your invitations (bonus points for using soy-based ink!), thankfully it’s getting easier and less expensive to be “green” in a stylish, innovative and fun way. Don’t believe us, just see for yourself! 🙂

Ideas We Love – Fan Favors

This just might be the perfect favor for a Summer wedding. Put them out on the ceremony chairs so guests can use them if they get a little warm during your vows, like Lindsey & Tripp did for their August wedding.

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Photo by Eric Kelley for Holland Photo Arts

Or have them in a basket at the reception, like Daniela & Matt. Theirs also paid tribute to Daniela’s Spanish heritage!

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Ideas We Love – Tea Towel Save-the-Dates

This FAB idea comes courtesy of inaugural issue of Southern Weddings magazine. How adorable are these recycled cotton tea towels from Chewing the Cud and what a great way to announce your wedding date?! Perfect for an outdoor affair or a barnyard reception. (A few years ago, we had a wedding where the guests sat on silk-covered hay bales for the couple’s ceremony that took place on the bride’s family’s farm!) Your family and friends will certainly enjoy reusing these towels in their kitchens if they’re anything like me! Be sure to check out their stunning letterpress invites printed with soy ink on 100% Cotton rag.

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Ideas We Love – Chalkboard Menus

I found this awesome, eco-friendly idea in the latest issue of In Style Weddings and thought of a few different ways you could use the idea. One, have a mini-chalkboard for a guest’s individual menu with a note at the end to take the chalkboard home as their favor. Their kids will love using it for their drawings and they’ll come in handy in the kitchen for shopping lists. Even better, use the chalkboard for its original idea and write ever-changing love-notes to your spouse! If you have a larger wedding you can just have one chalkboard menu for each table, as seen in the example below. (By the way, how cool are the terrarium centerpieces?)

Photo by Red Loft Studios via InStyle Weddings

Photo by Red Loft Studios via InStyle Weddings

Another option would be to have a few large chalkboards on easels stationed at the entrance to your reception, listing the evenings menu. Or use them to show them the table layout & names/numbers so your guests can find out easily where they are sitting.

Christy Murray Photography via The Knot

Christy Murray Photography via The Knot

Chyna Darner Photography via The Knot

Chyna Darner Photography via The Knot

Use chalk to illustrate your board with your logo, theme or items on the menu. Consider having your calligrapher or an artist friend do this for you. And while our examples here show only white chalk, why limit yourself? You could easily write in your wedding theme’s colors.

If you can’t find large chalkboards that you like, simply take any large frame you like and paint an insert with chalkboard paint found at most hardware supply stores. We’re partial to the black chalkboard paint for its neutrality and ease of re-use, but any colors you like (your wedding colors, perhaps!) could be fun.

Invitations We Love – New Orleans Suite

Here’s another FAB Find courtesy of Southern Weddings. Since we were married in the Big Easy, we’re especially partial to these gorgeous New Orleans-themed invites from Kenzie Kate. Ten percent of the proceeds from this invitation suite go towards the Green Project, a nonprofit that encourages environmental sustainability in New Orleans!

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Places We Love – Ronald Regan Building and International Trade Center

If you’re in search of a wedding venue, you’ll want to be sure to check out the gorgeous RR/ITC building on Pennsylvania Avenue in downtown DC. You can read more about their green initiatives here, but the lowdown is their amazing chefs are committed to offering an organic menu and donating leftover food. Their sustainable building is based on “a four-point ‘green'” strategy that includes: (1) sustainable landscaping, (2) recycling, (3) environmentally preferable purchasing (EPP), and (4) employee ride share programs. We’ve had the pleasure of photographing several beautiful events at the RR/ITC and we adore working with their incredibly friendly, competent and professional staff. If you’re planning a wedding, be sure to contact Rachel Berbeza and her team today!

Carissa & Farrell chose ITC for their late Fall wedding. Such a cool space!

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The ceremony took place in the dramatic Pavilion room.

Photo by Eric Kelley for Holland Photo Arts

This photo below by Bill was published in Susie Coelho’s gorgeous Style Your Dream Wedding book!!

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Emily & Rob’s beautiful cake took center stage at their Spring reception.

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Places We Love – Woodend Sanctuary at the Audubon Naturalist Society

Another of our favorite wedding venues is Woodend Mansion in Chevy Chase, Maryland. Holding your eco-friendly event there only solidifies your green commitment, as part of the rental fee goes towards their environmental education and preservation of open spaces and their clean air and water preservation programs. They’re don’t just practice what they preach either and have dedicated themselves to ensuring green practices are in effect at their facilities, such as using lighting timer devices, installing energy efficient heating and cooling systems and recycling all paper, cans and bottles. Read about how one couple planned their green wedding in their Audubon Naturalist Newsletter (printed on 30% post-consumer waste paper!) entitled “Green Weddings: Great Ways to Start a Marriage”. Feel free to contact Rebecca Robinson if you have any questions and would like more information on hosting your event at Woodend.

Kelley & Rick chose Woodend for their April affair and had an incredibly beautiful day.

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Sara and Nadim married at Woodend on a lovely May day.

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Links We Love – Eco Chic Weddings

Emily Anderson, founder and creator of the popular Eco Chic Weddings blog, doesn’t accept advertising and fills her site with stylish, fun ways to make your wedding more green. She’s been featured in Martha Stewart Weddings and Town & Country Weddings and she’s  recently taken her fab tips and ideas and compiled them into a book of the same name!

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Links We Love – Great Green Wedding Blog

Another great, up to date source for many green wedding tips and ideas!

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Holland Photo Arts is also committed to partnering with companies who enforce sustainable practices. The following are just some of eco-friendly efforts we and our album companies we work with are committed to:

  • Paper  and binder board made from recycled materials or highly renewable plants rather than forests of trees
  • Paper made from cotton-linters, which are a by-product of the textile industry
  • Paper scraps and partially used materials are donated to local elementary schools for art projects
  • Biodegradable, recyclable foam peanuts in album shipments
  • Partnerships with paper mills who use hydroelectric power by using their own water source, which preserves the public source
  • Man made micro leathers that have a sumptuous leather look and feel
  • All office paper, cans and bottles used within the offices/kitchens are recycled
  • Additionally, to offset our travel-related carbon footprint, we are investing in renewable resource projects and will be completely carbon-neutral in our wedding-related activities.

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In that vein, we’re proud to be an inaugural member in the invitation only, Virginia Green Wedding Consortium! Visit the consortium for more ideas and information on how you can make your wedding more eco-friendly!

Other eco-friendly ideas include:

  • Ask your caterer and cake baker about using local, organic and in-season ingredients in your wedding cuisine and check to see if they’ve been recognized by the Green Restaurant Association. Occasions Caterers was recently certified as the nation’s first off-premises catering company to achieve their highly sought after environmental certification.
  • Using eco-friendly makeup and hair products (Aveda, Sephora, etc.)
  • Providing transit such as a bus or local trolley for your guests so they’re not all driving their cars to your event
  • Use local and pesticide-free flowers and donate table flowers to a local nursing home or close-by hospital
  • Buy a vintage dress or consider recycling your new gown to Brides Against Breast Cancer
  • We recommend hiring a planner for most events anyway, and you can find one who specializes in green celebrations such as Katie Martin or Aimee Dominick
  • If bridesmaids can’t or prefer not to wear their dresses again, encourage them to donate them to the Glass Slipper Project, which distributes gowns and accessories to disadvantaged girls for their proms
  • Use clean burning soy candles over petroleum based paraffin
  • Opt for bar spirits made from organic grains such as Square One Vodka and organic wine and beers. Serving locally-brewed beer not only reduces the transport-related emissions but literally gives your traveling guests a local taste.
  • Inquire with venues and caterers about recycling paper goods instead of throwing them away. Reward those who practice sustainability by giving them your business.

So those are just a few tips and ideas to make your wedding a more green affair, but there are obviously many, many more. Don’t be “green” with envy – we’d love to hear what eco-friendly things you’re doing! Thanks so much for joining us this week and have a wonderful weekend!

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