DIY: NO LONGER JUST A TREND

DIY (Do It Yourself) weddings have far surpassed the trend status and are now becoming a popular practice for creative, budget-minded couples who want to put a personal touch on their event without breaking the bank.  Some of the most lovely and unique nuptials we have ever seen (or attended) are those where the couple put their stamp on the ceremony and reception.  All you truly need is an open mind, some extra time, a few helping hands, and a source for inspiration.

Luckily for today’s brides there is no shortage of sources for said inspiration.  There are a variety of bridal magazines, bridal blogs (we gravitate towards the green selections) and of course, Pinterest.  Tutorials on everything from creating your own bridal bouquet to instructions for printing on pre-folded paper are abundant on the internet.

On our invitation supplies page you can find many of the tools and materials you need to construct any of the hundreds of invitation styles we display.  We have templates and instructions for free here.

F-SeedBox2

Our plantable seed paper box was part of a DIY wedding profile in the Minneapolis St. Paul paper’s “Aisle Files”.  We will soon be adding video demonstrations of the detailed finish work we create, like the lovely leaf seen on this seed paper box.

Cotton Seeded DIY Kits with Eco-Twist Paper Ribbon

For those of you who want to handle every aspect of the invitation process, we offer almost everything you need to make your invitations at home: cotton linters to make your own paper, seed and petal inclusions sold by the ounce, paper folding and tearing tools and all the blank paper and envelope stock you need to print and mail your invitations.

Whether or not you take a DIY approach to your entire wedding, or choose to tackle certain projects here and there, we hope we have provided you with a few feasible options in the invitation and favor departments.  And, if you ever have questions on any of these topics, please don’t hesitate to contact us directly.

Eco-wedding ideas – originally posted in 2004, still relevant today.

Several years ago we collected our thoughts and suggestions on ways to tread a little softer with your wedding planning.  Collected here are some of those thoughts.  I hope you find them helpful.

Rings & Jewelry:
Find out where your diamonds and other gems and materials originally came from. Make sure they come from socially and environmentally responsible dealers. Work with a company like GreenKarat (www.greenkarat.com), who can ensure you that you are buying responsibly.

Favors:

Minimizing the environmental impact of the materials used in your wedding is important.  For favors, consider selecting a favor that will actually be used to help heal the planet.  Saplings of native trees may be inexpensively purchased from The Arbor Day Foundation (www.arborday.org), and can be planted by the wedding guests at their own homes or in a public place.  Seed packets or bulbs may also be dispersed or planted to better the local ecology, whether in a garden or a vacant lot or alongside roadways.

A creative way to distribute seed (using minimal packaging) is when it is embedded in handmade paper.  You may even choose to combine ideas, and use your seed embedded paper as placemats, programs, or for other messages for your guests.

 

Centerpieces:

Flowers are a common centerpiece idea, and come in a variety of forms.  Consider using potted plants instead of cut flowers.  These can then be given to your guests or planted to commemorate the wedding.  If using cut flowers, get them from local growers, and look for organic and sustainable growers.  Stay away from true wildflowers, using only wildflowers that have been cultivated.  You (or a friend with garden space) might even be able to grow your own cut flowers, with a little planning.  After the wedding, the flowers (cut or potted) would be much appreciated at a local nursing home, hospital, or other institutional setting.

Candles make excellent centerpieces, but consider the materials used.   They can often use petro-chemicals and other polluting, non-renewable resources.  Soy based or beeswax candles might make a good alternative to your typical candle.  You may even put custom labels on the holders for a personalized effect.  Soy candles are a highly renewable resource (soy!), burn cleaner than typical candles, are bio-degradable and are versatile.  Barn Loft Soy Candles provide wholesale prices on soy candles.  They can be accessed at www.barnloftcandles.com.   A variety of all natural beeswax candles may be found at  www.candlebeefarm.com.  Don’t forget to shop around and see if there is a local seller with whom you could work to cut down on fuel usage in shipping.

Bamboo is an attractive and renewable alternative to many of the materials commonly used for favors (such as wood or plastic based candle holders.  If you are interested in using candles for favors or as centerpieces, consider bamboo.  For the symbolically inclined, an additional benefit to using bamboo is that it symbolizes good fortune.  Living bamboo shoots are also an alternative to cut flowers as centerpieces or even favors.

Wedding Flowers:
If you wish to use real flowers, make sure you use sustainable varieties (e.g.: stay away from wildflowers unless they were cultivated, try to find flowers that come from draught resistant plants, etc.), use locally grown flowers, and buy from organic, sustainable growers.  You might even be able to grow your own cutting flowers if you have the space, plan well (make sure you consider rate of growth, flowering time, etc.) and have a back up plan in case your harvest doesn’t meet expectations.  Alternatives to real flowers are available as well, but use safe, sustainable materials.  Silk is preferable to plastic and has improved aesthetically over the years.  Silk is a natural and renewable resource, and lasts a long time, so not only will not fade on a hot, sunny day, but can be used to decorate well after the celebration is over.

 

Wedding Attire:

Vintage and consignment dresses will not only cut down on new material use, but will likely be much more affordable, as well.  In fact, the money you save by not buying a new dress, might be able to be used somewhere else in the wedding to be more environmentally sensitive.  If you do choose to buy a new dress, buy it or have it made with organic material that hasn’t been treated with harsh and dangerous chemicals.  Choose wedding party dresses that can be reused at later dates.  Some styles are conducive to shortening for later, less formal use.  Your wedding party will appreciate this consideration, and will probably feel more comfortable in the dress as well.  Consider choosing your own dress with reuse in mind as well.  If you won’t be reusing it later for another event, maybe it can be made with the ability to take it in or let it out for reuse by someone else at a later date.

 

Rings:

Find out where your diamonds and other jewels and materials originally came from.  Make sure they come from socially and environmentally responsible dealers.  Look into buying a cultured diamond, rather than one developed exclusively in nature.  Read about cultured diamonds in Chaim Even-Zohar’s March 2004 article “Cultured Diamonds are Here to Stay” at rediff.com (www.rediff.com/money/2004/mar/31guest.htm).

 Honeymoon ideas:

When considering potential honeymoon destinations, there is a lot to consider.  How to get there is one consideration.  Keep in mind, there are a variety of options available for getting to and from your destination, and each option has its benefits and drawbacks.  Driving has its place, but if going very far, will use unnecessary resources.  Flying will consume fewer relative resources than driving, but is not your only alternative.  The train can be a very romantic and relaxing way to see the sights together in a unique way, while taking advantage of the benefits of mass transit (www.amtrak.com).  If you live near a waterway, you might even be able to enjoy a ferry ride to a romantic, out of the way destination.

Where you go and what you do on your honeymoon can be as varied as how you get there.  If you want to give back and volunteer your time and skills to a cause, there are many options available for you.

Habitat for Humanity offers 7-14 day adventures of volunteering around the United States and internationally.  Habitat for Humanity brings volunteers together with people in need to build houses.  Habitat homes are built at the lowest cost possible, and with energy efficiency and other environmental concerns as priorities. Go to www.habitat.org to find out more about opportunities and itineraries.

For the animal lover, consider volunteering for a week or two at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Utah (www.bestfriends.org).  Best Friends is a common vacation destination for those who want to help out with animals in need, as they welcome people to spend vacation time on site.  Volunteers spend time with the resident animals, helping feed, clean and exercise them.  There are many options for places to stay while helping out, including cottages close to the sanctuary, limiting your travel distance.  While you’re there, you’ll want to take time to explore and appreciate the beautiful natural wonders of Angel Canyon.

These are just a couple ideas for unique, environmentally sensitive “working” vacations that are not just fit for a honeymoon, but for your life together after the wedding.  If a working honeymoon is not for you, but it is important for you to be sensitive to environmental issues when you travel, consider eco-tourism as an approach to your travel.

The eco-tourism concept has developed quite a bit in the past couple decades.  Eco-tourism is not limited to wild, out of the way places anymore.  According to the Global Development Research Center, eco-tourism is a way of looking at “planning, management and development of sustainable tourism products and activities” (www.gdrc.org/uem/eco-tour/eco-tour.html).  By going the eco-tourism route, you can help ensure that your presence does not adversely impact the culture and eco-system of your destination.

BLOG PRESS

It is always a pleasant surprise when we stumble upon our products or work in the blogosphere.  Last week we had a client mention in passing that they had included photos of our seeded paper used on a wedding project in a past blog post.

wedding program on seeded paper

wedding program on seeded paper

wedding menu on our seeded paper

wedding menu our seeded paper

Stacey and Company is an invite, décor and event planning company in California.  We have been working with Stacey since 2007.  She often uses our seeded papers when working with clients who want stylish, green paper options for their events.  We love how this couple used our seeded products throughout the event and also as their take-home gift for their guests.  You can check out the entire post here.

ribbon

The Green Bride Guide is a go-to resource for those searching for “wedding ideas, inspiration and supplies to assist you with planning a green wedding.”  They included our hand dyed silk ribbon as a way to add “glam” to your eco-wedding, and offered some great suggestions for integrating our ribbon into wedding décor. “Speaking of eco-friendly ribbon, there are about a hundred ways to use the stuff in your decorations—from creating sparkling gold garlands to wrapping it around your bouquet. Tie shimmering tendrils to your up-do, or weave some thin strands into the bodice of your dress. Decorate your chairs and tables with ribbon and use it to add some metallic accents to your ring pillow or flower girl basket. The possibilities are endless.”  One of our favorite uses so far has been a wedding background trellis covered by streamers of silk that gently move in the slightest breeze, we are still trying to get Pearl and Godiva to share their images with us (nudge nudge).  You can check out the Green Bride Guide post in it’s entirety here.

Thank you Stacey and Company and Green Bride Guide  for supporting our work!

 

 

 

Was this a mother’s day gift in the making?

A few days ago we shipped out a small order to a customer on the other side of the country.  We talk to many of our customers over the phone as they place their order or before they complete the order and sometimes even right after they put the order through online when they call to just make sure they did it right.  But not everyone calls.  Sometimes we are just left to wonder what the items we box up for them are going to become.  When this simple pair of items was sitting on the shipping table ready to be boxed I had to look closer and marvel at how nicely the colors went together.  I was so impressed with the match that I quickly snatched it up with a promise to return it ASAP.  The resulting photograph is shown here.  I always like seeing when our work pairs up this nicely.  It does make me wonder; was this destined to become an invitation set, perhaps hand made thank you notes or maybe simply a gift for a mom who loves to create with her own hands.

silk ribbon and pink larkspur flowers

Pink larkspur petals and our pink edged silk ribbon blend #046.

We occasionally receive photos and sometimes handmade cards from happy brides who have made their own invitations from our papers.  It is always rewarding to see the amazing results of our customers hard work and talent.  But more often then not we are left wondering just what became of the pretty things that we shipped off.

Wishing you all a happy Mother’s Day weekend and hoping that you find time to work on a project of your own with the people that mean the most to you in your life.

Kevin

You too can have this lovely set of items.  You will find the blend #046 silk ribbon here and you can find the pink larkspur pressed flowers here.

SEED PAPER PROMOTIONAL GOODS

Recently we have been highlighting some of our custom commissioned projects on the blog.  Many fall within the event/wedding industry, and some are in a unique category all their own.  One sector of the business that we are particularly excited about, largely because of how it speaks to businesses making better choices on their environmental impact, are the promotional materials we produce on seeded papers.

Seed paper flyer that blooms when planted

Seed paper promotional handout for a go green project

 

Wal-Mart seed paper promo

Seed paper that sprouts wildflowers when planted

 

We work with numerous advertising agencies to create promotional materials for their environmentally focused client projects.  In the past we have collaborated on collateral for companies such as BBDO Atlanta, Environmental Defense, Walmart, International Paper, Fortune Magazine, Time inc, GE, Home Depot, Ivie Inc, Martha Stewart Magazine, Nieman Marcus, Paul Mitchell and have even produced Christmas cards for Yahoo!

Seed paper flyer

Grand opening seed paper flyer for Greenfire Campus

These flyers were created for sustainable community Greenfire Campus who “aims to achieve a practical balance between green construction and cost-effectiveness.”

We encourage and welcome business of ALL kinds to reconsider the production of seed paper promotional goods.  As illustrated here, being a steward of the environment is not only restricted to companies that market themselves as “green”.  When you consider that these custom seed paper flyers can be produced for less than $1.00 each it is hard to imagine why you wouldn’t join this green movement.  Just imagine, your next promotion can not only generate new leads, new sales and new revenue, it can also generate oxygen as the plants that sprout from the seed paper clean the air!  If you want to rethink the approach to your next print campaign, let us know – we would love to brainstorm options with you!