The Ultimate Guide To Eco-Friendly, Ethical Weddings:
Part 3, Decor
We have some exciting news to go along with part three of our eco-friendly blog series! The latest issue of New Orleans Weddings Magazine (on newsstands until the end of February 2020) includes our editorial Eco-Luxe: Make an Impact with Less Impact! The concept with this shoot was to show that you can still have the gorgeous, luxe wedding of your dreams while still being conscientious. To go along with that, part three of this series is going to focus on decor and I’ll also touch on some of the items we used in the magazine editorial as part of this.
Photos by: Sarah Alleman Photography
Coordinators & designers often rely on our partnerships with rental companies to bring in the elements that will help bring our vision to life and luckily, this is the perfect way to be eco-conscious as well since these items can be used time & time again. If you also want to use natural or vegan linens, make sure to reference our list of materials & what they are made of (the cruelty-free fabric guide) in part 1 of this series. One of our favorite linens is the Tuscany Natural from La Tavola Fine Linen Rental. In addition to being gorgeous, it is ethically sourced linen (which is made from the flax plant) & processed with no dye or harsh chemicals.
Renting china, flatware & glassware is also a fantastic idea if possible. In New Orleans & many other historic cities, glass is prohibited and china will shatter when it hits old brick courtyards. In those instances, your caterer should be able to guide you to eco-friendly disposable options made out of a variety of different materials, a popular one being bamboo. In our eco-luxe editorial we did not have that need so we were able to feature these stunning gold rimmed china & gold flatware pieces from Perrier Party Rentals here in New Orleans.
Photo by: Sarah Alleman Photogrpahy
Another opportunity to think green, which we mentioned in the magazine editorial, includes candle decor. Obviously many of our historic facilities in New Orleans do not allow open flames, including candles, so in those cases, battery operated ones will be your only choice. However, if possible, try to use unscented candles made from soy, coconut wax or hemp oil instead of paraffin which is made from fossil fuels (a non-renewable resource). If open flames are allowed, you can also ask your caterer to make sure they are using an eco-friendly chaffing dish fuel such as Sterno Green Heat or Greenscapes BioFuel.
We love working with New Orleans company Firefly Ambiance for not only candle rentals but other specialty decor pieces such as unique furniture, chandeliers, hedge walls & architectural pieces. This is a fantastic way to bring some beautiful elements into your wedding design without having to source items yourself. As I travel to produce weddings, in areas that do not have companies with specialty or lighting rentals like this, often brides are left with no other choice but to source these themselves for one-time use for their own weddings. Many then try to sell the items afterwards via online marketplaces with varying degrees of success. Once you consider the time and money put into it, the labor of cleaning glass, taking stickers off containers, storage & trying to sell items afterwards, it typically makes more sense to rent these items, in addition to knowing that they will be cleaned & used again which is also more eco-friendly. So if possible, try renting these items, however, if services such as this are not available in your area, you may wish to begin seeking out other brides before your wedding day to see if they would be interested in the items after you use them.
Photo by: Dark Roux Photography
Finally, florals! This area of decor allows for many ways to be more environmentally friendly. Our partner for the editorial, Amy Marshall of Berry Blossom Boutique Florist, has a degree in Marine Biology and previous experience teaching Environmental Science so she has a strong affinity for taking care of the environment. For our shoot, we worked together to take the design concept & incorporate reusable pieces, such as orchids potted in re-purposed pots covered in sheet moss. She also used containers sourced from antique stores & used “old school” methods such as chicken wire to hold flowers in place instead of the more modern, commonly used Oasis foam. Oasis foam contains known carcinogens that are dangerous to breathe in plus are not biodegradable, so while they are often a convenience used by modern florists, they are not only unhealthy for humans but for our planet as well.
Photos by: Sarah Alleman Photography
An increasing request from our clients is to donate their flowers after the wedding also. While there are several national or regional companies who can help you with this, your florist or coordinator may also be able to help facilitate this if there is not a group operating in your area. We love donating flowers to nursing homes, hospice facilities, hospitals or shelters & charitable organizations such as the New Orleans Mission, although there are many other options if you want to do this. You may even consider taking some of the flowers to place on a loved one’s grave, to a local police station or to your place of worship.
A few of the regional groups that facilitate floral donations include:
- Hope Blooms NOLA – New Orleans
- The Reflower Project – Boston
- Flower Angels – Cape Cod
- Floranthropy – Austin, Houston, San Antonio
- Petals with Purpose – Palm Beach County, Florida
- Random Acts of Flowers – Chicago, Knoxville, Tampa Bay, Indianapolis
- The Flower Shuttle – Raleigh, North Carolina
- Petals for Patients – Wisconsin, Illinois
- Petal Share – Washington, D.C.
Check back in for our next blog post where we delve into part 4 of our Ultimate Guide to Eco-Friendly, Ethical Weddings & make sure to sign up for our email list with news, helpful tips & notifications on upcoming blog posts!