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Pushing the envelope with trendsetting ideas

Pushing the envelope with trendsetting ideas
Elsje Designs creates fun & functional gifts, stationery and table decor with a true South African touch


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Thursday, June 3, 2010

Steps to a Green Wedding: Part 1

Part One: Steps to a Green Wedding

Every engaged couple wants their wedding day to be a special celebration that reflects who they are and what they care about. Going green is a great way to make the festivities unique and meaningful--and show friends and family just how fun, beautiful, and delicious a sustainable lifestyle can be.

Here's how to start planning your green wedding:

1. With this ring...

A green wedding begins where any engagement does: with a ring. Don't start off on a sour note. The beautiful alternatives to "blood diamonds" (those that are mined in war zones and fund conflicts) include:
• vintage rings, whether a family heirloom or an antique find
• diamonds certified as "conflict-free" under the Kimberley Process, an ongoing effort to reform diamond mining in Africa
• one-of-a-kind wooden bands (for a proudly South African indigenous beautiful ring - with a twist - please visit

2. Location, location, location

Your choice of venue sets the tone for your wedding day--and accounts for a big chunk of the money you'll be laying out. Spend it wisely! Consider:
• having the ceremony and the reception at the same place
• picking a unique local spot--like an art gallery, nonprofit space, organic restaurant or farm, green hotel, botanical garden, - that supports a cause you believe in
• an outdoor setting that will infuse the whole event with a natural sensibility (and require less decorating too!)

3. Please join us...

Your invitation is the first impression guests will get of your green wedding. Look for:
• recycled, handmade, or plantable papers processed chlorine-free and printed with vegetable- or soy-based inks. Elsje Designs are very proud to use a vegetable ink printer.
• tree-free paper made out of hemp, banana stalks, bamboo, kenaf, or organic cotton
• papers that aren't metallic or plastic-coated, characteristics that make them hard to recycle
• opportunities to reduce paper use, like sending a postcard (instead of multi-enveloped notes) for your save-the-date, or using online invitations and a wedding blog to let people know about the bachelor/ette parties, rehearsal dinner, and gift registry
And don't forget to pick up some extra green paper products for your guest book, place cards, and thank-you notes. (You will be writing thank-yous, won't you?)

4. Here comes the bride... a gorgeous hemp-silk gown. When it comes to outfitting the bridal party, green options abound. You can:
• go vintage (and update your look as necessary with tailoring and modern shoes and accessories)
• pick clothes made from hemp, bamboo, and organic cotton or silk--or find a dressmaker who will make a one-of-a-kind item out of these sustainable fabrics (men's suits and shirts come in organic cotton or wool too)
• borrow an elegant gown from a stylish friend
• buy something you'll wear again (and let your bridesmaids do the same)
• accessorize with a unique recycled purse and/or jewelry
• use vegetable dyes on your shoes (or go barefoot for a beach wedding)
• accentuate natural beauty with all-natural makeup
• donate the dresses to charity after the event.
(Text from

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