The Green Wedding Chronicles: Introduction

The first purchase: sterling silver earrings with natural moss, perfect for our walk through the forest down to the ocean, created by Polish designer Sylwia Calus.
The first purchase: sterling silver earrings with natural moss embedded in natural resin, perfect for our walk through the forest down to the ocean where we will exchange vows, created by Polish designer Sylwia Calus.

Yup, so I’m planning my wedding. I be gettin’ hitched, saying “I do” to my one and only, and changing my last name.  He’s the chocolate to my peanut butter, the bacon to my eggs.  My best friend, my partner in crime, and the love of my life.  And with that, I thought I’d share a diary of sorts each week in these next few months before The Big Day.

Because I tend to see a lot of things in life a bit on the nontraditional side, yet still have some romantic notions that confuse the hell out of some folks (because they can’t put me in any one particular box), the idea of and logistics around getting married can be a bit of a doozy.

Now, this isn’t my first time tying the knot, but this, my second marriage, is one that I’m entering into with eyes wide open and with wisdom I never could have imagined having in my mid twenties. This time, my partner is someone who sees me clearly, loves me more deeply than I ever thought possible, and is someone I love tremendously on every level – intellectually, spiritually, emotionally, mentally and physically.  We have better talk than anyone I’ve ever known, we share an independent spirit, and are both so committed to developing who we are both as individuals and as a couple. And, well, he’s rad. The raddest. 🙂

Anyhoo, when it comes to planning a wedding, the only significant expenditures I budget are in buying a pretty dress and snagging a great photographer to document our day. Everything else we want can be figured outwho’s creatively, or is optional.  And being that this is me we’re talking about, we’re going to tread as lightly on the earth in everything that we do and acquire for this day we join our lives together.  And our perspective on some of the traditional areas of wedding planning came ou as follows…

  • Venue: Seems folks can spend a whole boatload of cash on their venue(s), and for us, a traditional venue was out of the question, as the place we love the most is out in nature, requiring no folding chairs, no fancy lighting, no floral arrangements, no sound systems, none of that stuff. We’re exchanging our vows freely, walking together to the edge of our quiet place along the sea. No reservations necessary.
  • Colors: No matching costumes. No table runners. No formal wedding “party” to worry about. Our colors will be reflected in the green of the forest, the brown of the tree trunks, and the blue of the ocean. And that’s that.
  • Flowers: Carrying flowers always seemed to block the view of the bride. Sure, those bouquets of deep red roses or loosely gathered daisies are gorgeous, but honestly, spending hundreds if not thousands on flowers (that are, for most weddings, grown in another country) just isn’t a priority. I have flowers in my garden I could cut, but again, the visual distraction perplexes. Did you know the origin of the bouquet was to mask the immense BO of the bride, since they rarely bathed back in the 15th century? So, I’ll leave this tradition behind, and my hand will hold my fiance’s as we walk down the path. And I’ll adorn my skin with my favorite, Yancy Lael’s Coconut Vanilla Body Balm. Organic and eco-friendly ingredients, recyclable packaging, and made locally, I adore this stuff.
  • Food: Yes, we love to eat. But dinner for hundreds created to please the crowd rather than ourselves, while much often goes to waste? Nope. While our original thought was a simple backyard BBQ, my honey and I quickly realized that there’d be a serious chance I’d be compelled to clean if it was done on the premises, so we’re going to a local joint we both adore and enjoying the evening with friends – eating a good dinner, drinking good wine, and celebrating LOVE. No fancy catering crews, no transportation (we’re walking), and the food is all fresh, local, sustainable…and scrumptious! This and a celebratory dinner with our family and friends when we’re back in Oz? What more could two crazy kids in love want? 🙂
  • Favors: Huh? Umm, no. Do any of us honestly keep the monogrammed stuff they give away at weddings? I don’t. And really, if you have to dress it up by buying gifts for everyone just for attending? Shouldn’t they be attending because they love you, and leave it at that? Use the money you would have spent on all these extras and give it to one of the many deserving charities in your community.
  • Rings: When we went to the jewelry stores, we were blown away at the upper 4 and 5 digit price points of rings. We’d rather spend that kind of money on our honeymoon, exploring somewhere new, creating memories that will last a lifetime. And to add insult to injury, most of these rings are made from raw, unsustainable materials and conflict diamonds, plus – for me – none are what I’d want to have on my finger while working in the garden. As I told my fiance the other night, I don’t ever want jewelry that I need insurance for. My ring, made right here in the West, was not only much more affordable, but is seriously eco, made from recycled white gold and repurposed diamonds. While we did consider vintage jewelry (another great option), for us it was important that, while no new materials were used in creating our rings, that what we put on each other’s  finger would visually be ours for the first time.  Kind of the best of both worlds, you know? (So I respectfully disagree with YES! Magazine’s recent article generalizing all rings as not being eco, because it’s just not true.)
  • Music: Isn’t that what creating a mix on the iPod is for? I don’t get spending money on a DJ, and the thought of a wedding singer honestly freaks me out. No, I do get having someone sing, but spending money on it for us is just not a priority. At our wedding ceremony, there will be no music – we will be immersed in the sounds of the forest and the sea. At our dinner here in Portland, a friend has asked if she could sing us a song or two, and my sweetheart is creating the mix for the iPod. We are cool with that.

There are a million other areas I could talk about when it comes to traditional wedding planning, these are some preliminary thoughts on the key areas seen when reading a typical bridal “checklist” in a magazine. And take note of the word “bridal” – because in modern society it seems to be all about the bride doing the work and not the couple. My fiance is very involved – we’ve gone through every detail and made every decision together, and are keeping each other calm when our brainstorming gets a little crazy. Hey, even keeping it simple can be quite a task – there are so many ways of just doing that. But we know this, and this for sure, like he said to me last night, “it’s just you and me til the very end baby.”

So with that I’ll leave you for the week, and next week start sharing my thoughts about the planning process in general, from how I am keeping it uber-green, to battling societal expectations when it comes to getting married, to thinking creatively every step of the way.

We’re getting hitched, y’all. Ain’t love grand?

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14 thoughts on “The Green Wedding Chronicles: Introduction

  1. Okay, I am SO with you on this stuff! Except the flowers – I’d love a pretty bouquet of flowers, BO or not. LOL! But seriously, I totally agree with you on all this stuff. I never understood the expense for the matching wedding party, the venue, the rings. I’d spend my money on a good dress, a good photographer (all as you said) and AWESOME food.

    P.S. I’m soooo honored to be *present* at your wedding in the form of my CVBB!! ❤

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    1. Haha yes I do get why people love bouquets – I just like them more being handed to me by my sweetheart then putting them in a vase, hee hee 🙂 It’s an interesting evolution from the stuff we were dreaming about as little girls – the other day I bought a bridal magazine and just tossed it in the recycling as there was not one idea in there that I could relate to! But looking forward to next week’s post and sharing some discoveries I’ve made …

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      1. I never much had a bridal gene. I often pretended to walk down the aisle when I was very young, but once I hit puberty and beyond…nothing. I mean, I totally want to get married, but don’t care much about the wedding and all that, except on the terms you’re talking about here. That’s my kind of wedding!

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  2. If we hurt the environment or go into (big time) debt, it seems (in my opinion) to put a dark cloud over the start of a married life. I love your choices and the fact that you are making them together. Your day will be special and will respect everyone concerned …. including the earth. Good on you both!! 🙂

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    1. I agree – the costs that people spend on just a day (or a few hours) is kind of sad to me because if you DO already have the money, help others, and if you DON’T, like you said, why start off the marriage with more debt? it’s amazing how beautiful of a day you can have without going overboard financially 🙂

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  3. I love your earrings! I am going to enjoy this series on your wedding plans. Only once did I consider getting married and I had very strong feelings even then in the early 80s. I didn’t want an engagement ring as it felt wrong that only the woman would receive a ring plus I could see better uses for that kind of money.

    My boys each had inexpensive weddings. My oldest son’s wedding was impromptu as he was being shipped overseas and his girlfriend was pregnant. He wanted to ensure his child was covered should anything happen to him in combat. They wed in the Justice of the Peace’s office then had all friends and family meet at his wife’s favorite restaurant.

    My youngest son put more planning into his, years. His wife is from Arizona but they live in PA so they decided to get married in AZ. It was an outdoor event and had a small buffet catered. He found us inexpensive lodging with kitchens and the leftover food was given to those who traveled for the wedding to save us on the cost of food while there. He refused to charge anything which I was happy to see and told me that even with rings and her dress the total cost came to less than $5,000 and his wife says it was her dream wedding.

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    1. That’s funny, I was just having a conversation with a friend earlier today about the whole engagement ring thing, because no one ever said the man can’t wear one too! My engagement ring is more like a wedding band because it’s just the one I liked the best. We may or may not get me a ring to pair with that – to be honest, it won’t kill me if I am simply wearing this one as I don’t know if I want to have two rings on the same finger. And I want my fiance to be wearing a ring beforehand too – no reason for the world not to know that HE is taken as well 🙂

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      1. My understanding was that an engagement ring was given to a woman to show she was now property of a man to be wed to and for other men to not pursue her. That alone irked me. I think it would be great for your fiance to have a ring before hand if you do.

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