Photo courtesy of Pexels
In honor of Earth Day we wanted to share a few easy tips you can use when planning an eco-friendly wedding. It’s easier than you think and you don’t have to sacrifice your style or your vision. By choosing to have a green wedding you will be doing something good for the environment - all in the name of love!
Choose a venue where you can have the ceremony and reception all in one place to eliminate guests having to travel to two locations. This will cut down on fuel emissions. If you must travel between venues, encourage carpooling or hire a shuttle to take a large group. When looking for an eco-friendly venue, be sure to ask about their energy usage such as lighting and appliances. Ask if they use products that are bio-degradable or if they have a recycling program. An early morning or afternoon wedding will allow you to take advantage of the natural sunlight to cut down on electricity usage or having to rent additional lighting.
Venues such as Imagine Park in Santa Barbara are advocates of using locally sourced food as well as being environmentally conscious. Imagine Park is also tied to local non-profit organization Alpha Resource Center. The fees to rent the venue go towards helping this organization while creating more awareness around charitable giving and community.
Invitations and Stationary
To save money (and trees!) many couples are opting to send wedding invitations online via Evite or Paperless Post. Create a personal wedding website to tell your story and share all the important wedding details to keep everyone informed. Most websites have an option for guests to RSVP directly on the website, or you can create a wedding email address where you can keep track of all you guest responses.
If email is a bit too casual or if some of your guests don’t use email, a traditional paper invitation can still be an option while staying with your green wedding theme. Opt for recycled paper products or even plantable invitations such as the ones from Forever Fiances or Botanical Paper Works that are embedded with seeds and can grow into herbs or wildflowers!
There are so many options now for choosing local, fresh, organic food to serve at weddings. Try to choose organic food that is free from harmful chemicals and pesticides that won't harm the environment. If organic food isn’t within your budget, another option is to choose a caterer that uses locally grown food and food that is in season. If food has less distance to travel it won’t use as much fuel to get to where you are. Also, if you have a buffet ask the venue or caterer to package the leftover food for guests to take home or ask if they can have it donated to a local homeless shelter to reduce waste.
Choose flowers that are in season and local in your area to decrease the amount of pollution from transportation due to shipping and fuel. You will also save $$ by doing this which can be used for the honeymoon! If you are using centerpieces on your tables, consider only having flowers on 1/2 or 1/3 of the tables instead. The tables without flowers can be decorated with votives, hurricanes or lanterns to add some variety to your reception décor.
Photo courtesy of James & Jess
When using live flowers, try to re-use them whenever possible at the venue. such Bridesmaids bouquets can be used as decor for the head table, dessert table or cake table. Another great way to re-purpose flowers is to donate them to a nursing home, hospital or school. You can also make an announcement at the end of the wedding and ask that people take them home as a way to say thank you for coming.
Another popular trend right now is using paper flowers! Many DIY-ers are choosing to create beautiful paper flower bouquets, boutonnieres as well as backdrops for photo booths and sweetheart tables. Kits can be found at stores like Paper Source and Michaels. If you're looking for more professional look, Fanciful Designs in Santa Barbara offers custom paper flower design for events and weddings such as in the photo below. This gorgeous design was used as a backdrop for my wedding last year!
Photo courtesy of James & Jess
More often now, people are forgoing the traditional favor and encouraging new ways of giving by asking guests to donate to their favorite charity. Let people know ahead of time and include a link on your wedding website or save the date. Websites such as I Do Foundation, Zankyou and SoKind make it fun and easy for people to choose to make a donation to an cause that is close to your heart or give the gift of an experience over a store bought item.
Your wedding day should reflect your personality and style and most of all - L.O.V.E! Have fun and make it about you! Be sure you incorporate all the things that are important to you and your partner in the process.
Three words come to mind when I think of Ana and Miguel's wedding day - Faith, Family and Festive! These two lovebirds definitely know how to throw a good party and keep it going all night long! From the Mariachi to the DJ to the 13 piece live band- they kept their guests entertained! Their love is rooted in Catholic faith and family values which showed in their traditional ceremony that took place at St. Raphael's Church while surrounded by their close family and friends. Even with everyone there witnessing their vows, the ceremony felt very intimate and personal as if they were the only two people in the room.
During the months leading up to the wedding, Ana and I communicated often by email and met in person to work on various aspects of the wedding day. With an expected guest count of 300, several professional vendors, friends and family involved and lots of personal touches, there was much to coordinate to ensure Ana and Miguel had a flawless, stress-free wedding.
With so many moving parts and the wedding ceremony and reception in two completely different locations, it was important to stay organized with a detailed timeline. Once we had all the particulars covered, everything fell into place!
The ceremony was followed by a spirited reception in the ballroom at the Carrillo Recreation Center in downtown Santa Barbara. With its high ceilings, balcony and stage where the banda and DJ would later perform, it was the perfect setting for a fun-filled night of dining and dancing. Guests enjoyed a Mexican buffet, a hosted bar, decadent cake and hours of festive music that kept people on the dance floor courtesy of Banda La Invasora and DJ Alex Cruz. Before heading to the reception, the bridal party hopped on a party bus and headed over the Santa Barbara Pier where they enjoyed taking photos in the sand and sun!
I had so much fun getting to know Ana and Miguel and being part of their journey! Thank you to all the vendors who came together to create this fun-filled and memorable wedding!
Ceremony Venue: St. Raphael's Catholic Church
Reception Venue: Carrillo Recreation Center
Wedding Coordination: Gatherings for Good
Photography & Videography: Inspired Eye Images
Rentals: Amigo Party Rentals
DJ: DJ Alex Cruz
Mariachi: Mariachi Nuevo Jalisco
Band: Banda La Invasora
Flowers: Contreras Flowers and Party Rentals
Hair and Makeup: Ursula Rojas, Mi Salon
To start planning your dream wedding, contact us today!
As the weather warms up and the flowers start to bloom nothing is lovelier than a young couple in love! With their 100+ family and friends gathered around Michelle and Corey said "I Do" in the stunning Santa Barbara Courthouse Mural Room.
The bridesmaids wore black formal gowns with brightly colored bouquets in hand while their groomsmen escorts looked buttoned up and smart in black tuxedos and matching boutonnieres. The sound of violin and harp filled the room with beautiful music while bride and groom were escorted by both their parents down the aisle. The gorgeous bride wore a delicate white lace gown which was previously worn by her mother over 30 years ago and completed the look with a cathedral length veil and hand tied all white bouquet of tulips, roses and gardenias.
The celebration continued at The Narrative Loft where they held their reception. The guests dined on a Mexican style buffet from Catering Connection and were entertained all night by music from Best Value DJs. Tables were lined with classic white linens with light and elegant floral arrangements from the fabulous Ella & Louie. The wedding was the perfect blend of modern romance, new and old traditions mixed with a whole lot of fun!
The wedding was perfection! Thank you to the amazing team who helped make this day unforgettable!
Ceremony: Santa Barbara Courthouse
Reception Venue: The Narrative Loft
Coordination: Gatherings for Good Events
Rentals: Amigo Party Rentals
Lighting: Bella Vista Designs
Flowers: Ella & Louie
Photography: Kacie Jean Photography
Catering: Catering Connection
DJ: Best Value DJs
Brenda Cali is a professionally trained Wedding Consultant and plans a variety of social and corporate events.