“Here’s to matrimony, the high sea for which no compass has yet been invented!”
Well, three weeks since the big day and it’s given me a wee bit of time to exhale after all the festivities have ended and we settle into married life. Recently, a website asked if they could feature our “green wedding”, and it made me grin, thinking about how we were able to do it exactly our way.
When they say “green wedding”, all too often you see couples following the exact same tradition, using recyclable materials, eating organic foods, but still ultimately focusing on following the status quo. For us, we wanted to make sure our day was about us first and foremost, and keeping everything else incredibly simple. To me, green and simplicity go hand-in-hand.
So, with that, inspired by some of the other websites I’ve seen that I found very helpful, here’s the basic lowdown on our wedding, including how we kept things simply green…
* Engagement Party: We dined with friends & family at St Kilda’s Graze on Grey, where the owner Neil put together a great assortment of small plates (delectable, fresh, natural, simple ingredients), amazing wine and fantastic dessert, and where Dan did short video interviews with everyone so that they could be integrated by our videographer into the video montage!
* Ceremony Location: Short Sands Beach, Oregon (part of Oswald West State Park). No cost, and surrounded by nature. Nothing was displaced to make room for us. We also got married at 10am on a weekday, avoiding the crowds and enjoying the ceremony with only the sound of the creek and the ocean in the background.
* Transportation: We carpooled to the beach! Why would we all go in separate cars when we’re all going to the same place? For the reception, everyone met at our house and we all walked over to the cafe as a group which I loved (also kept me from feeling like a hostess at the reception).
* “Rehearsal” Dinner: While there was nothing to rehearse, per se, we all drove to the beach the night before so no one was driving through Portland rush hour to get out to the coast. We enjoyed a fabulous dinner with local and sustainable foods and wine at Newmans at 988, where Dan & I spent New Years.
* Lodging: With exception of one couple who wanted their own private digs, we rented a small beach cottage for our guests to share the evening before our wedding, just a few blocks from our beach motel, The Blue Gull Inn, which gave us space to get ready while also offering eco-friendly touches in the room
* Pre-Ceremony: Realizing we were asking folks to be perky by 10am for our ceremony, we took everyone to Insomnia Coffee first thing to get everyone’s caffeine requirements fulfilled – and they had gluten free treats!
* Officiant: Rather than pay for an officiant who didn’t know either of us to marry us, we asked our friend Amy, a very talented writer (who I met on the blogs by the way!), to write something special for the day and do the honors. One of my favorite lines of hers was, “It is my hope for you both, that as the years go by, and life brings along what may appear at first to be oceans too vast to cross, you will each remember that your love was born while learning to cross the sea.” She was fantastic and it was wonderful to have someone who knew our journey to guide us into this next chapter.
* Photography: Found on a blog with exactly the style I was looking for, we engaged Ashley Forrette to document our day, from coffee in the morning through the reception that evening in Portland. We were really impressed at her skills as a color photographer – being a black & white gal myself, I give huge props to the color pros! As we wanted to include our Australian family & friends, we also engaged Little King Studios to create a video montage of the events that day – something we are very excited to receive the final version of soon! A bonus for us was that both of these photographers had spent time at Short Sands, so were familiar with its beauty and simplicity.
* Apparel: As my original custom-made dress plan fell through at the last minute, I found a purple knit dress, made in the USA (woo hoo!) online that fits my figure and allows me to wear it in the future if I so choose (anniversary, maybe?). Dan’s ensemble (minus the hat which he already owned) came exclusively from Nordstrom and was also American-made.
* Ceremony: We wrote our own vows, Amy said some beautiful words, and had five friends around us. We didn’t want it big and showy, just the people who not only knew us but supported us throughout our journey.
* Rings: Both of our rings were made from recycled white gold, mine including recycled diamonds, both made here on the West Coast by incredible artisans, at non-ridiculous prices. During the ceremony, we did a hand blessing rather than a ring exchange, as both Dan & I already were wearing our rings – mine was first put on when he proposed in January, his in early May when I arrived in Australia for our engagement party and moving him home to America.
* Flowers: None. Nature was my accessory!
* Wedding Brunch: After the morning ceremony we bought everyone brunch at Bread and Ocean in Manzanita who made crepes with grilled veggies and ham for us and of course, more coffee 🙂 They are very eco conscious as well!
* Favors: None. Not something we understood a reason for.
* Invitations: We ordered inexpensive Shutterfly postcards for the events. I think I spent thirty bucks total, yay!
* Reception: The wonderful Gretchen Glatte of Woodlawn Coffee & Pastry (our favorite hangout in our NE Portland neighborhood)closed the cafe down to host our event, using her local, organic and sustainable ingredients to make us three pies (strawberry-rhubarb, blueberry, and sweet potato) and a bread pudding to die for. We enjoyed incredible BBQ from Crown Q – pulled pork and ribs that come from the wonderfully sustainable Stroupe Family Farms, along with insanely delicious mac & cheese, red beans & rice, and collard greens. To drink, I brought in a few bottles of local, organic wines plus one from Dan’s home state of Victoria.
* Music: Local big band singer and friend Claudia Knauer started out the reception with “That’s How Strong My Love Is” by Otis Redding. She’s got an amazing voice and I was thrilled when she asked if she could sing for us. And my surprise gift for Dan was calling my friend Shirley Nanette to stop by and sing “My Funny Valentine”. We had our iPod mix on the rest of the time, mixing in everything from Norah Jones to Jimmie Rodgers to Willie Nelson to A Tribe Called Quest to Amy Winehouse, and more. No need for DJ’s or fancy stuff – having our friends sing to us was the icing!
* Post-Func: Walking back home from the reception, we stopped at the Oregon Public House, our favorite pub that’s also 100% nonprofit, and met up with more friends to have a quick toast before going home and crashing.
* Honeymoon: Rather than break the bank after extensive travel the first half of this year and the wedding costs (it was inexpensive relative to most weddings, but the photography and meals we bought did still cost a bit), we chose to schedule our honeymoon in September, after everyone is back in school. Dan & I are taking a road trip through Washington, spending time in our own area of the country while visiting places we’ve never been including the San Juan Islands, Olympic National Park, and visiting Raymond Carver country. It’s a great loop staying at eco-friendly hotels and ending up on the Fruit Loop of the Columbia Gorge so I can get a whole bunch of goodies for canning!
I can’t think of anything else right now but if readers have any questions please feel free to leave them in the comments! Thank you so much for all your kind words during this time and as I shared this experience in my blog – it was great fun and starting next week I’ll have a new blog series to share…