Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Real Green Stories: Leslie's Wedding

How will YOU make green your color?

The Green Wedding Showcase wants to hear from YOU - from real brides going green on your day. Please send us your Real Green Story with photos of the eco-friendly elements you are planning for your Big Day in 2010 - or if it already happened, send your wedding picts and tell us all about having a green wedding!

Learning from each other is a great way to be both eco-friendly and friendly! Email us your story and pictures and we'll get them on the Mid-Atlantic Green Wedding Showcase blog to share with other environmentally-aware brides and grooms!

Leslie's Story: When Bob & I got engaged last July, I was so excited to start the wedding process, but I found myself thinking, "how can I be a holistic health counselor without having a green wedding?" It really wasn't a question, but moreso - how I could find the right vendors to fit my needs? And so, the search began.

I love research and here are some great finds:

The Green Wedding Consortium DC is a helpful resource for anyone new to this process. They have a list of green vendors and you could spend hours just checking out vendors! My search led to my next recommendation.

Reception Decor & Flowers: Katie Martin is the owner of Elegance and Simplicity she has been doing green weddings since 1998. I had no idea she was right in Bethesda until I came upon her website. I met with Katie for an hour or so and we came up with an elegant, yet creative combination of decor, lighting and flowers for our wedding day. Katie's green certified and here are a few small ways that she does it:
~ Flowers from Veriflora certified farms
~ Local and national farmers that are USDA Certified Organic
~ Suppliers & vendors that are members of Green America (I love them and I'm a member)
~ Farmers that are using innovative techniques to reduce waste & water usage
~ Farmers that either use herbicides or are pesticide-free
That's just a snapshot on how to "go green," solely with flowers from Katie. I learned so much from Katie about the cruel farming and low wages paid to workers in Mexico and the Caribbean with farming flowers. I am so thrilled that we're going green for our decor!

The Reception: We did a lot of searching for a site on the water that would have a vacation feel, but is not too far from DC. After visiting about five places, we fell in love with Herrington on the Bay From the moment we arrived, we were glad we made the trip. It's not as "far" from DC as it feels from a map.

Herrington is truly on the Chesapeake Bay before the Bay Bridge, but not as far south as Soloman's Island. (30 mins north) The resort is at a quiet inlet, in a little town that doesn't have much to offer outside of the resort. Just how we liked it! They also have palm trees, gorgeous gardens, an olympic size pool AND a tiki bar with live music. Unlike other wedding venues that rush you in and out for the, "15-minute sales pitch," Herrington's natural, eco atmosphere simply sells itself.

On to the green aspects of Herrington:
~ An outdoor, on site ceremony (on the water) makes this location carbon neutral for the reception afterwards. No need to drive!
~ 30-plus sleeping rooms on site. Another carbon neutral for out-of-town guests...we have a lot of family and friends traveling to MD.
~ An Eco-Walk Trail - a two-mile trek from the East to the West Beach along the Chesapeake Bay and around the marina basin.
~ A full list of their Green Initiatives is available in pdf format

photo by balance photography

Invitations: After receiving several samples, we settled on a wonderful invitation package from Forever Fiances . The best part about the invitation is not only that they're made with renewable energy using recycled paper, sugar pulp and no trees, but there is no envelope which equals less waste!

photos by Leslie Edsall

The invitation comes with a tear off reply card and the reception card folds "in" to the ceremony card, all in one! I can only assume that the reply card stamp will cost less since it's the size of a postcard. Another bonus! Forever Fiances also offers plantable cards, but we opted for this type due to the higher cost on the plantables. Plus, we really liked that we didn't need envelopes. When you're mailing them yourselves, it's one less step!

Photography: Although this event is co-produced by Rissa and Nathaniel, I cannot say enough about this wonderful, photography duo of Balance Photography. We met the team and we knew right away that we'd love working together. They are both passionate about green living AND they offer you a discount if you use another green wedding vendor on their list. Our officiant, Rev. Laura Cannon happens to be one of their preferred vendors. It's just a bonus for us to go green! Balance Photography offers the bride and groom so many fun, green options for albums too. Just talking to Rissa & Nathaniel makes you want to go green and support their goals, along with your own. Their personalities are just fabulous and unique to boot!

DJ: We chose MyDeejay not only because we clicked with the owner, Evan, after meeting with him, but because he is conscious of green initiatives as well. A few ways that MyDeejay goes green:
~ Offsetting our electricity and travel with Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs)
~ Maintaining a "paperless" office
~ Utilizing recycled materials for any documents produced
~ Maintaining memberships and certifications from various environmental organizations.
Did I mention Evan is rated as one of the top DJs in the VA, MD and DC area? We saw this as a nice bonus!

Wedding Favors: Here are a few eco-friendly options to consider...
~ Herbs or spices sachets from the local area
~ Seeds for planting flowers
~ Soy candles
~ Eco-friendly, sustainable chocolates
~ Hand-made gifts
The list is endless!

A Simple, Eco-Registry: You can do an eco-friendly registry by registering for your honeymoon excersions at The Honeymoon. This registry is creative, you'll receive less wasteful gifts, there is no gift wrap to throw away and it helps guests feel like they are truly contributing to your honeymoon experience!

~ from July 2010 bride, Leslie


  1. This is Brandon Warner, President of Traveler's Joy honeymoon registry. I love the idea of a green registry for household items. I thought I'd mention some of the initiatives we are taking at Traveler's Joy to help our Members learn about the environmental impact of traveling (specifically the honeymoon of course!).

    We recently partnered with NativeEnergy Travel Offsets to make it as easy as possible for our Members to calculate and purchase offsets for their honeymoon travel. In fact, the banner/link we have is smack in the middle of our Member's account page. With this launch, we also created a specific 'CO2 Offset' item that our Members can register for and help pay for the offsets purchased through NativeEnergy.

    Finally, we love the IDo Foundation and our partnership with them helps our Members give to their favorite non-profit. We encourage all of our Members to sign up with them and the best part is that the donation comes from us - not our Members - so they get to keep those dollars for that extra pina colada on the beach :)

    Best Regards,
    Brandon Warner
    President & Co-founder
    Traveler's Joy Honeymoon Registry
    Traveler's Joy, Inc.
    Skip the blender. Register your honeymoon.

    Traveler's Joy in the Press!
    Honeymoon Stories from our Members!

    *Honeymoon Registry Partner with, The Knot, and*

  2. We found a website called that not only let us create an eco-friendly registry by letting us open cash funds, like your honeymoon fund, but it also let us pick things from any store to add to the registry, so we only registered locally to reduce our carbon footprint, and we found the most green items we could for our kitchen. We also used this site's eCards as our save the date cards, so we didn't waste extra paper on that.

  3. We found a site called that let us create a totally eco-friendly registry because you only register for cash gifts. We're with Shay, we like to shop locally, but we're not ready to get everything yet, so once we get the money (which we can redeem via direct deposit, so we can even avoid mailing!), we'll buy what we need as we go. You can use Deposit a Gift for your honeymoon, or really anything you want to register for. We're doing a combination of honeymoon, home goods and a charity. We love the flexibility!

  4. While it may not be 100% "green," I found several eco-friendly gift ideas at this wedding registry.