Porter and I have been married for four months as of yesterday, and even though newlyweds always seem to be saying “it’s flown by,” because of all of the travel we’ve done, it’s kind of felt more like four years; four adventure-driven, motivating, laugh-filled, unpredictable, reassuring, crash-course-on-marriage, kind of years. Looking through these photos in depth (& out the window at eight inches of mountain snow) it’s hard to believe we were in the centre of this scene only sixteen weeks ago. Memories from our August twelfth wedding already have that warm, hazy glow around them, but, if I’m being honest, that could be less due to time and more due to just how precisely and seamlessly and God-drivenly perfect the details and (even more so) the energy all around us were that night.
If we could do it all over again, we would do it exactly the same, and I’m so grateful that even though the aesthetics were exactly what we wanted, it’s always going to be the happiness radiating off of everyone who matters to us that night that we’ll hold onto. Special is a thin word, so I’ll say it was surreal, a bit like experiencing something straight on, but simultaneously floating above yourself, watching the night unfold in slow motion.
I’m not going to lie, I’ve been sitting on these photos for a little bit now. Despite having this platform, I generally keep my cards close and have always been cautious of sharing too much on here or Instagram. I’m hyper-conscious of preserving our most valuable memories for us and those who know us. At the same time, I’m daily motivated by the blogs I follow and without their transparency and hearing about the trials they’ve walked through, those pages wouldn’t hold the same depth of purpose for me. So, I’d be lying if I said it was my comfort-zone, but this post will likely be more transparent than any one we’ve done before and include some photos of our friends and family, too. I’m also going to lay things out a bit different. Typically, the text on our posts comes after the photos, but for this one, we’re going to intersperse the writing so the visuals line up with what I’m talking about.
As is almost everything in our lives these days, our wedding was driven by a sustainably-focused mindset. Our goal was to do away with as much waste as possible (in the world of weddings, that’s no small task!). We wanted to incorporate brands that epitomize the ethical focus we believe in in as many small details as possible, ones that are having a positive impact on fragile third-world economies and leaders in driving the industry toward change. I also know that we probably could have taken it even further in certain places, or that we could’ve maintained a sustainable focus but gone in a different direction with certain details, so in case you’re in the planning stages of your own wedding, I wrote up some alternate paths you could take in the different categories we’re going to talk about. Crossing my fingers it’s the helpful resource I couldn’t seem to find when we were in the planning stage…
The wedding world is (unfortunately) one where waste runs rampant, especially when it comes to paper. You can have more papery wedding details than you can list on two hands, the majority of which will swiftly wind up in the trash once the night is through. Knowing this, Porter and I worked with our wedding planners to come up with inventive ways to make as many paper products 1. dual purpose, 2. made out of recycled materials, or 3. not paper at all.
Here’s How We Did It:
Invitations: We sourced our invitations from Artifact Uprising, where they (along with their envelopes) were printed on 100% recycled materials. We used the same site for our thank you notes.
Programs: The programs during our ceremony were one of our “dual purpose” items and doubled as fans. One of our biggest fears leading up to the wedding day was that it was going to be sticky & sweltering. This was our way of avoiding two paper-driven products (fans & programs) and combining them into one. Fortunately, it was cool with basically no humidity at all, but I loved how they turned out and they made for a great keepsake.
Menus: Our menus fall under the “dual purpose” category, too, but they also weren’t paper at all. We went with thin biodegradable cloth menus that doubled as napkins for our guests.
Table Markers: This is another detail that I came across on Pinterest somewhere and swiftly had to have. We had three long tables, divided into three sections each, and each table section was marked by a painted cutting board. We took a couple for ourselves and gave out the rest after the wedding to close friends and family to use in their kitchens.
In this day and age you can do away completely with paper products and go all-digital with invites, thank yous, etc. You could have big blackboards or wooden panels to have a calligrapher write the menu or programs up on like these ones here and here. For us, having these tangible mementos of our wedding day was really important, but if that’s not your shtick, these are just a few of many creative, sustainable ways to get rid of paper products completely.
Wedding Party Dress:
Because we’re deeply rooted in the world of ethical style, it was important to us that our wedding party’s (& our own) apparel reflected our commitment to the sustainable fashion movement. Porter and all of his groomsmen wore these shoes from Nisolo. My wedding shoes were made in Spain from an ethical brand called Mint & Rose. Our bridesmaids dresses were Reformation, and my wedding dress was made using non-toxically treated fabric in NYC. We really focused here on ensuring that whatever our bridal party wore they would and could likely wear again. Every time we visit NYC now, I inevitably see one of Port’s groomsmen coming from work in his Nisolos. Especially because wedding outfits are such an investment, it feels good to know we framed our decisions around not purchasing anything (besides my wedding dress) that could only be worn once.
Take It Further:
Wearing a wedding dress that’s been passed down is a great way to avoid the heavy “cloth consumption” that comes with having a new dress made. You could also dress your bridal party in vintage finds or avoid wearing shoes all together (if you’re getting married at the beach!).
From the beginning, we told the catering team we were working with that locally-sourced ingredients were important to us, and they took that request seriously. Not only does a locally-driven, sustainaibly sourced menu usually mean much higher quality ingredients, it also cuts down on all the CO2 that’s inevitable in the wedding business due to driving things every which way leading up to your big day.
Take It Further:
There are so many amazing sustainable ways to approach dining at your wedding from all-vegan, organic menus to donating leftover food to your local shelter. (If you want to learn more about food waste check out this documentary).
Our wedding cake was half rosemary cake and half blueberry lemon cake with vanilla buttercream, and it was HEAVENLY. Like I almost just did away with saving the top of the cake for a whole year and went after it a couple of days later (Porter held me back). We went with Mayflour Confections, a bakery local to Porter’s family’s home (where we got married). All of the ingredients were organic, sourced from local farmers committed to sustainable farming, and absolutely delicious. For the design we wanted to go simple. I’d fallen in love with naked cakes so we decided to go that route. I loved how well it meshed with every other wedding detail, but (most of all) just how good it was. If you’re from the Boston area, get your cake from Jocelyn. Your guests will thank you.
Flowers are another area where you can find yourself with the most stunning arrangement, but holding a plant that’s riddled with pesticides and shipped from so far away that it has a carbon footprint the size of Texas (I’m exageratting, obviously, but still). Our wedding was focused on matte floral accents and white, so we had lots of eucalyptus and lavender, and aesthetically, avoided anything “glossy” (we don’t even like the word glossy). We avoided “out of pot” florals almost completely (with the exception of the flowers we incorporated into our table runners, bouquets, and our bride & grooms chairs). This meant a lot of the flowers that appeared at our wedding could be preserved and reused.
Take It Further:
Buy local, organic flowers, try to come up with inventive ways for your florals to look exactly as you like them, but be capable of having a “second life” after your wedding. Some people are doing away with flowers completely, opting for their paper cousins or greenery instead. Pay attention to where your flowers are sourced from and what they’re treated with. These three florists out of NYC are getting it right: Peartree Flowers, Saipua, and Molly Oliver.
Throws: For when the night turned chilly, we had blankets from Equal Uprise to later be given as keepsakes and thank you’s to close family.
Lavender Toss: Rather than tossing rice, which can be extremely harmful to birds and other small critters, we had guests toss lavender during our processional. We gave out little cloth bags at the beginning of our ceremony. I actually kept the leftover ones and had a couple in our luggage as we travelled.
More Resources: If you’re in the planning stages of your own wedding, here are some more articles on green and conscious wedding planning that might just help: Eco Friendly Wedding Guide (The Knot), The Secret Waste That Weddings Leave Behind (Huff Post), Using Sustainable Flowers for Your Wedding (Washingtonian), & Fair Trade Weddings Inspire (Business News Daily)
Anna Lisa & Porter
*Images by Mandi Nelson