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We’re taking a brief break from our green groom theme to celebrate Vegetarian Week with this post on edible flowers. Over to Tara…

Seasonal flowers bouquet

Seeing, smelling and eating colour – The joy of edible flowers

I love talking, thinking about and eating good food! And, I don’t think I’m alone in that. Planning the gourmet aspects of your wedding day can be exciting, and challenging.  After all you want to get it right, because for many, the feast is the favoured part of a wedding celebration, and you want everyone to enjoy what they eat.

One of the most wonderful things about communal festivities is the ritual of sitting and eating together, so basic, so ancient and yet so intimate.  But what about adding something really unique and unforgettable to the veggie fare? What about the idea of eating the flower arrangements?

Lettuce Flowers display at wedding show

Sushma Windsor is the founder and director of a flower shop with a difference.  Her company Lettuce Flowers provides fresh, seasonal living floral displays for weddings and events.  Many of the flowers and plants are edible.  This makes for a delightful multi-sensory experience.  As guests admire the beauty of the scented bouquets on their tables, they can simultaneously savour the taste of those same coloured petals in a delicious edible herb and flower salad.

Lettuce flowers use only seasonal plants grown in the UK for their wedding flowers, which eliminates the need for carbon heavy transportation and required by traditional cut flowers flown in from far off places.

Lettuce Flowers gift for guests

Then at the end of the event,  guests can take the flower displays home with them to put on their windowsills or re-plant in their own gardens.

As Sushma says:

“Our displays say that you care about sustainability and symbolise perpetual growth as they make perfect keepsakes”

We recently contacted Sushma to find out a little more about her inspired approach:

Where did the idea for Lettuce Flowers originate?

Back in 2008 my husband proposed to me. We decided we would have a simple ceremony with a wedding picnic with all our friends and family to enjoy a day out in our lovely county of West Sussex.

We chose a local venue which has a very strong ethos on nature conservation.  We also decided we could not use cut flowers and especially not non-seasonal.

Lettuce Flowers displayed in pots

The estate manager was delighted when we offered to donate the growing wild flowering plants we were going to use for our day on the picnic tables and around the grounds. All the food arrived with edible flowers in various colours and the guests were thrilled to see the bees and butterflies flying on the wild flowering plants. So much so that they all took them home and asked for planting instructions.

How did this experience develop into a thriving business?

The following spring, I kept getting calls from my family and friends telling me how they loved seeing the plants come up again and how much it reminded  them of the edible flowers on the food. This sparked an idea for both of us, what if we could combine the plants with edible living flowers and keep them seasonal?

Edible flowers by Lettuce Flowers

After months of research and relentless negotiations, we found nursery suppliers who specialised in herbs, salads and edible flowers.

“We thought: Imagine how wonderful it would be to use Lettuce Flower arrangements for an event or send them to your friends, when they can use the plants in their cooking and garnishes.”

What ethical considerations lie at the heart of the business?

With my background in sustainable and ethical clothing, I wanted to ensure similar principles applied to this new business of events and gifts. Our search continued and we found some wonderful options for compostable containers, including a beautifully hand crafted heritage trug made in Sussex.

Arrangement of seasonal flowers in a trug

Armed with the knowledge of the UK cut flower industry worth over £2 billion, of which 90% are imported from Kenya and Columbia, where the land water could be used for food production, we decided it was the right time to offer UK customers a seasonal and slightly quirky alternative to intensively farmed cut flowers from abroad.

Longevity through living plants makes complete sense.

Cut flowers have to be thrown away into landfill: most local councils do not consider them as part of garden waste. Unfortunately this will add to methane gas production as the flowers decompose in the landfill.

We recently joined Positive Impact on a challenge to make us do things in a better way as we always put environment at the heart of everything we do. Lettuce Flowers should be certified ISO20121 by the end of 2013.

Can you describe some of your most memorable events?

Our first event was a wedding followed by an Italian restaurant launch in Isle of Dogs. The reaction was simply of intrigue and we saw how people wanted to touch, feel, rub, smell and taste the arrangements. A multi-sensory reaction was not what we expected, but were thrilled to learn from it. We started to offer a recipe inspiration and care instructions with every arrangement and the feedback has been very positive.

Quiche with edible flowers

At a recent business presentation, we took some canapés made using herbs and edible flowers to show how food can not only look beautiful but inviting. Needless to say, not only was all the food polished off, but the general consensus was that it was much more engaging than expected. So when we say, ‘Grow don’t throw’, it should conjure up an image of Lettuce Flowers edible arrangement and not an ordinary bunch of unseasonal cut flowers.

You’ve recently started an online service, was this something that was in demand?

To date, we have adorned dinner tables at Gala nights, Award ceremonies, birthday celebrations and weddings and without exception they all wanted to know if we had an online service they could use to send Lettuce Flower arrangements to their friends and family.

Vintage floral display by Lettuce Flowers

Early this year, we started our online shop to cater not just for the main calendar dates, but also for people to say thank you, a birthday or a ‘get well soon’ wish to their friends and family. We want people to be excited about using seasonal plants and get creative with cooking. Children may be intrigued if they see their parents using edible flowers, and who knows, it might just plant a seed for the future, in those tiny busy minds!

Tara
Tara is a writer for the marketing and communications consultancy, We Are All Connected

Ethical Weddings

What next?

5 great green grooms

Today I’m sharing my top 5 green (read: eco, alternative, ethical…) groom stories as delivered to me very kindly via the wonders of the world wide web. Enjoy – and be inspired!

1. The crafty groom

Bride and groom in front of DIY 'My Beloved' sign on reclaimed wood
Incredible photos from Frolic Storytelling

Ok, so the story is told by the bride (Chase) but the groom (Aaron) was fully on ‘board’ (that’s a pun – as you’ll see). His background is in architecture, hers is in graphic design and they run a crafty Etsy business together. Almost everything for their wedding they made together from reclaimed wood – it’s amazing. I was peering at the photos thinking – is that wooden bunting? A wooden necklace? A wooden buttonhole?

Thank you to Green Wedding Shoes for sharing the story: Crafty Reclaimed Wood Wedding: Chase + Aaron

2. The team player

Erik and Shelley high five after getting married
Photo by the wonderful onelove photography

I found this feisty couple on the fabulous offbeatbride.com. Shelley is a video game artist and Erik is a student of robotics so things got crafty quite quickly. This was a joint project – for example, Shelley made the table numbers, Erik made the wooden place cards. Erik also surprised Shelley by making her ring. My favourite bit though was the vows that they wrote together – especially this line: “Will you always keep making brownies at midnight, even on a school night?” Brilliant!

Read the full story at offbeatbride.com: Shelley & Erik’s crafty DIY and bluegrass wedding

3. DIY Groom

DIY coffee bar by groom

This is a very short, simple and sweet post that I stumbled across. The bride wanted to serve drip filter coffee at her wedding. The venue didn’t understand. So the groom, Will, built a coffee bar. Love.

Read the DIY Groom post at Wolf Haus and see the incredible wedding photos at a stunning Scottish location here.

4. The reborn vintage fashionista

1960s 3-piece Herringbone tweed suit

The suit, from Bookster

I love this guy! This post details his dedicated trawl through charity shops and vintage shops – both virtual and brick & mortar, across London and Brighton in the hunt for the perfect suit with a passion that would match that of any bride in pursuit of The Dress.

But our man gets extra greenie points because not only is his suit secondhand (1960s vintage), he’s likely to get a lot more wear out of it than a bride will from her gown – even with the best intentions. In fact he is already: “Roo often comes in from work to find me watching the TV, lounging in the jacket…”. Go green groom!

Read the full story on Rock n Roll Bride: Something borrowed, something Roo: The groom’s view by Lamb (AKA Mr Roo!)

5. The offbeat groom

Groom in embroidered suit
Photo by Diana Clock Weddings from another excellent Offbeat Bride post: “Let’s check out this groom’s kick-ass embroidered suit

We’ve heard from the Offbeat Bride now it’s time for the Offbeat Groom to have his say. He lays into the wedding industry that celebrates the ‘princess’ and relegates her prince to the sofa with the footie and a can of beer. He overturns the stereotypes and he gets involved, properly involved:

“Turns out I like thinking about readings for our ceremony. I like designing invitations. I like scouring Etsy for the perfect name cards. I like tasting food — she’s with me on this one — and creating a menu. I like sewing her wedding dress by hand. Turns out I like my fiancée quite a bit.”

Read the full story on Offbeat Bride: Musings from an offbeat groom

And those are my 5. I have to say it has been a struggle to find even this much groom perspective. Grooms, if the wedding industry isn’t listening maybe you need to shout a little louder. Tell us about your experience planning your wedding, tell us what worked and what didn’t, tell us how you can be a green groom. On this blog, we’re all ears.

Katie

Related articles:

Here comes the groom

Seven stylish ethical cufflinks

Keep calm, you’re getting married

My alternative husband

Meet the Groom: Collaboration, Cream Tea & a Céilidh

Ethical Weddings

What next?

I’m very excited about this post but first I must apologise for the hiatus in our ‘All about the Groom’ theme – I’m blaming this largely on 2 bouts of chicken pox (1 each – nicely spaced). Anyway, we’re back with a great line-up of posts about the man of the moment. Over to Tara…

Bronia on the wedding stage with wellies and umbrellas

Lewis Davies told Ethical Weddings about the ups and downs of his earth friendly wedding.

We love a unique perspective here at Ethical Weddings, we’re mad about the devilish details of real life experiences, after all, nothing beats a true story. And so, in accordance with this month’s theme which focuses on that all-important, handsome, patient and often unsung hero of the wedding party – The Groom – we talked to Lewis about his wedding day.   We hope you enjoy his engaging, comical and astute take on things as much as we did.

Which things were most important to you in the planning of your wedding?

“I think my major priority was that no one in either family got stressed out.”

If I could have measured, for example, the anxiety levels of my future mother-in-law at the beginning of the project, and at regular intervals throughout, and kept those levels at a constant, then I would have  considered the wedding to have been a success. I am aware now that it was the fevered dream of a mad man.

We didn’t want everything to be too heavily staged managed. We’d been to a wedding the year before in the Downton Abbey house, and while we didn’t and couldn’t get married there (even though it has a mummy in the basement – an actual Egyptian mummy), we both liked being able to wander around the gardens in the down time. So I think the idea of a ‘wandery’ relaxed wedding appealed to us.

Kids playing on wedding ceremony stage

I grew up in Cornwall and we had the reception at my wife’s parents’ farmhouse in Devon. I know right? What could ensure the wedding was stress free better than deciding to have the wedding in one of the principal participants’ homes? Where they were both the parents of the bride and the venue managers?

Fevered dream. Mad man.

But, it was incredibly cheap, incredibly beautiful and had enough open space for that ‘wandery’ thing we liked.

“What was important to me was using local facilities.”

I have very strong ties to my identity as a Cornish man and to the West Country so I was really happy to keep all suppliers local. Almost everyone we employed was known by people we knew. I don’t think we Googled a single supplier, with the exception of the tent people.

Everything else came from people we knew in the local area by recommendation, so that was nice. The tent people were from a bit further away, but they did a thing to ensure the transport was carbon neutral.

Group of wedding guests enjoying wedding breakfast in a yurt

“One of the things that was really important to Bronia was that it was a collaborative project with our friends”

She had spent a lot of her youth in the Woodcraft Folk, a sort of left wing pacifist version of the Scouting/Girl Guide movement with Brown Owl replaced by a woman in a home knitted jumper who had been at Greenham Common, and Akela was replaced by a man who sold Socialist Worker on the weekend and smoked roll-ups. Bronia liked the idea that all of our close friends would come down to the venue together a week early, along with her extended family, and would prepare the venue for the wedding.

A guest in yellow dress and wellies sweeps the stage ready for the wedding

At some level this unsettled me.

I was really keen on the idea that the last stages of the project would be completed by people with whom I had some sort of official contract, so that if they breached, I was in a position to demand my money back. I’ve tried to get people we know in our personal life to sign contracts like that, but Bronia says it’s not allowed. Anyway, that was important to her and I am happy to tell you that I was 100% wrong about it being a bad idea. A large group of our friends did come down before the wedding. And they did toil in the wedding mine on our behalf: they cooked, they cleaned, they built a stage for the ceremony and turned a garden into a venue.

The wedding wouldn’t have been possible without them and I think one of the things I took away from it was not only that I was marrying an amazing woman (which I’d already known) but that she had surrounded me with amazing people too.

How involved were you in the planning of things and was this important to you?

I think I had input in the early stage planning: “It’s going to be in a tent in your mum’s garden”.  And at a more micro day-to-day level: “I’m going to put up a fence around this abandoned quarry on the site so that a child doesn’t fall in and drown”.

Bronia & Lewis making their wedding vows in the rain - she in red wellies and he in a kilt

I did quite a lot of the sourcing of materials because we were more on my home turf than we were on Bronia’s. However, the planning in between was mainly hers. It’s worth pointing out that Bronia’s job at the time was as assistant to the woman who designed the closing ceremony of the 2012 Olympics. So her logistical and planning skills outstrip mine to quite a degree.

I don’t know if I cared what things looked like in particular, beyond things that I thought were going to generate more stress for people.

I organised the barbeque – a guy from a local farm shop who also had his own fishing boat, but stayed far away from the additional catering that went on in the kitchen of the farm. That was the beating heart of the project, overseen by Bronia’s formidable grandmother. It was operating under a long established Polish tradition -  that you need to make enough food for two weddings in case a wedding down the road has all their food stolen by invading Russians and they need to come and borrow some of yours.

Did you have a stag do, and if so how did you celebrate?

I had the world’s most circumspect stag do. I went to Brighton with two friends and got mildly drunk. I think they can be terribly forced affairs with people trying to act the way they think they are meant to act because it’s a ‘staaaaaaag!’.

Lewis in the wedding yurt with friend

I didn’t do the stripper thing, not because it’s unethical but because, as sex work goes, it looks like a really inefficient way of using one’s financial resources, and they don’t really make strippers who look the way I’d like them to. Also, what are you meant to be feeling while your friends watch a naked person dance on you?

I think all in all stag dos are something you have to try to come out of not feeling like a pillock. I can’t imagine what my ideal stag do would have been like.  I guess that means the one I got was okay.

Can you describe the day and what was most memorable, beautiful or unique?

“Instead of confetti we had wild flower seeds thrown on us as we ran round a track cut into the grass of the bottom field”

We got married in a registry office in the morning with as many people as we could fit in the office in Tiverton and afterwards we drove back to the house where there was a cream tea. Then we did a little personal vow and music ceremony on the stage we’d built. Then we did dinner and had a Céilidh and a bonfire. We wrote our own vows, and that’s pretty special.

Lewis (in a kilt) and Bronia (in red wellies) make their wedding vows

Wedding speeches

Wedding guests doing readings

We ate and danced in the tent with everyone pitching in to clear the tables and chairs between the two sessions. I’d recommend a Céilidh because then you can do your first dance with six other people.

Ceilidh at Lewis & Bronia's wedding

Ceilidh at Lewis & Bronia's wedding

Have you got any advice you could offer our Ethical Weddings grooms who might be in the process of planning their wedding?

  1. Try to minimise stress for others, but accept that this will never be a system that is 100% efficient.
  2. There aren’t any objects or stuff or experiences that will ensure that your wedding is ‘perfect’ –  only people can do that. Although striving for perfection is ill advised too.
  3. Take the opportunity to try to tell or show your wife how you feel about her. I did it in vows but that may not be your thing.
  4. Do jobs little and often.
  5. After your fiancé, your friends can be your most valuable asset.

Tara Gould

Related articles:

Here comes the groom

Seven stylish ethical cufflinks

Keep calm, you’re getting married

My alternative husband

Ethical Weddings

What next?

My alternative husband

First things first, I need to clear something up.

I wrote this post and was pretty pleased with it – then I looked back at the title and thought, hang on, that could sound like I’ve got another, alternative husband stashed away in a cupboard – for when I get bored of my current one.

I’m happy to reassure you that this is not the case – as this post will hopefully demonstrate. We’ve been talking about The Groom a lot this month and we’ve talked about what makes a ‘traditional’ groom and what makes a slightly more ‘alternative’ (read: into eco/ethical stuff, non-mainstream, nontraditional) one. It’s the latter definition I’m applying to my other half (otherwise I guess he’d be my other third?). So. That’s alright then.

As I was saying, this month has been mostly about The Groom so I thought I should pay some attention to my groom – especially since it was 8 years ago today that he became my husband.

Couple at End of the Road Festival
‘When we were very young’ or ‘Before children’ – you don’t want to see us now, the lines!

On the surface he probably appeared a fairly traditional groom – certainly the hired suit was nothing unusual. But while he was no Groomzilla (thankfully) he did get involved in the wedding planning: coming along to all venue visits, liaising with suppliers, making invites, orders of service, place settings, seating plan and favours (with help from our willing groomsmen and bridesmaids), running around Bournemouth with me at the last minute trying to track down matching ties for the males of the wedding party, and even – and this is the biggie – making the wedding cake. Or rather cakes – he made a fruit cake and a white chocolate mud cake. The mud cake caused me some concern as in the practice run it came out uncooked in the middle but on the day it was fantastic.

He also sorted out the honeymoon in every loving detail (it was a surprise so I knew nothing about it until we were at the airport and I was handed a ticket to San Jose, Costa Rica) and supported me through The Dress Disaster (which one day I will summon up the strength to write about on this blog but today is not that day). All in all, a good bloke, I’m sure you’d agree.

But more important was what happened afterwards, the being my husband bit. You see, we’d been a bit old-fashioned and hadn’t actually lived together (sleepovers and travelling don’t count) until we tied the knot so it was a delight to discover…

1. he cooks – much better than the dishes he prepared for me as a student suggested (super noodles, gravy and pie was a favourite back then). What’s more, he cooks most of the time – more than me. He gets home from work and he cooks dinner.

2. he bakes – not so often these days, we have 2 children under the age of 4, but I and many of our friends have enjoyed his Bakewell tarts, lemon tarts and chocolate torte. He has also made bread on a couple of occasions and only today said he would like to do it again – yes please!

3. he does housework – an equal share. Ok, maybe more than his share (I do do most of the washing though, just for the record).

4. he’s a great dad – but not just the fun bits. He gets up when they wake up in the night. Post nighttime breastfeeding, I rarely do. He gets up when they wake early in the morning while I get an extra 30 minutes (maybe a bit more…).

5. he’s not into sport – at least not in a way that interferes with normal life. He might listen to the cricket on the radio and he follows American football but as it’s usually on in the middle of the night it’s not too much of a problem.

6. he understands my need to Make The Most Of The Day and is sympathetic when we don’t achieve this aim rather than telling me to snap out of it. He also comes up with good ideas on how to save The Day when I think all has been lost.

7. he doesn’t engage in stupid arguments – he just waits till I emerge from my grumpy mood so we can have a nice time again.

All these things should not make him ‘alternative’ but from what I hear anecdotally – from friends and colleagues, and in various reports and surveys in the news, they do. One woman with a similarly hands-on husband wrote to The Guardian’s Family section agony aunt, so worried was she about his penchant for helping out.

So, on this day, our anniversary, I would just like to say thank you to my husband for ignoring what the media and society say he should be, for being ‘alternative’, for being himself, for doing his share in making our marriage work. I want to say thank you, and I love you.

Katie

Ethical Weddings

What next?

We heard Fiona’s story back in November and her wedding dress is now with Clare Clements waiting to make its way to Malawi.

Today we’re sharing Lucy’s story. Early this month her email popped into our inbox – short and very sweet:

I would like to donate my wedding dress to Malawi as per the article on your website. If you could let me know how this is possible I would be grateful.

Bride in wedding dress enjoying a glass of wine

We quickly put her in touch with Clare who is helping to coordinate the project from the UK and Lucy kindly told us a bit about her big (or small!) day and her dress.

“Thank you so much for your reply. I’m so happy to be doing this.

“I was married in Leu Gardens, Florida on the 7th May 2009. There were no guests, only myself and my husband so it was a very small, intimate ceremony.

Couple making their wedding vows

“Several of my friends have borrowed something from my wedding for theirs. A very close friend borrowed my tiara for her wedding in Las Vegas. My best friend borrowed my veil for her wedding at Gretna Green. I decided to donate my dress as friends had borrowed accessories so why not give someone the ultimate borrow: my dress? I am never going to wear it again and the thought that someone else could benefit and feel as special and as lovely as I did makes me smile and feel really happy.

Bride in her wedding gown in the evening

“The dress is a size 10-12 with a corset back and bejewelled bodice.

“I would love to follow my dress and see other people in it and being happy!

“Thanks again Kate, this means a lot to me.”

We love Lucy’s story of a small wedding that was all about her and her husband and the commitment they were making. It sounds like her friends may have followed her example with their Las Vegas and Gretna Green weddings!

Follow that dress logo for Ethical Weddings initiative
Find out more about the Follow That Dress project

We look forward to seeing who wears Lucy’s dress next once it has made its way to Malawi.

Katie

Related posts:

Follow That Dress – every dress tells a story

Follow That Dress – first donation

Donate your wedding dress to Malawi

Ethical Weddings

What next?

We are celebrating the groom this month and along with ethical clothing, crafty grooms and the shiny cufflinks we also want to talk about the stuff that’s on your mind.

We want to talk about how you might be feeling, under pressure to be a perfect groom, wanting to ‘get it right’ for your bride along with any niggling worries about the big triggers of doing the speech or that first dance.

Pre-wedding nerves

Nervous groom

So, how are you feeling about the wedding day? Does thinking about any specific part of the day bring a nervous feeling into your stomach or a lump in your throat? The wedding morning is often a stressful time for both bride and groom. Getting everyone ready, worrying about getting there on time, any last minute crises that could happen and those “what if…?” questions that swim around our psyches.

Ideally, we’d all like to be cool cucumbers but what if you know this isn’t your normal state, that your stress and anxiety levels are already pretty high, and the big day might just add to that pressure cooker feeling?

There are many techniques that can help you relax so don’t wait until you are a bag of nerves on the wedding day , investigate the following techniques to see which one is right for you: hypnotherapy, EFT, meditation, life coaching, and cognitive behavioural therapy. Here’s a bit more detail on two of our favourites that you can get started with right away.

Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT & Matrix Reimprinting)

tapPoints-2
Tapping points courtesy of EFT Training Courses

This self-help technique is based on the same theory as acupuncture, except you tap points on your body rather than insert needles. Its popularity is growing rapidly and it is thought to be one of the “greatest healing tools of the 20th century” (Deepak Chopra). Here is what one bride said:

“We are just back from honeymoon after an amazing wedding and I just wanted to say thank you SO much for the work we did together – apart from early morning nerves I felt so calm throughout the whole day and it was incredible! I really was amazed at how relaxed I was the whole day. No overwhelm at all, just lots of grounded happiness” EFT Brighton 

Meditation

Meditating man

You don’t have to be a monk on the side of the mountain to meditate, it’s simply taking time to be still, relax and be present. There has been lots of research on the effects of meditation, but essentially it is the opposite of anxiety. It trains your brain to quieten down. There are hundreds of different types of meditation but here are some great minute meditations (perfect for a moment of calm on the wedding day morning) or perhaps you’d prefer a course from the highly scientific Transcendental Meditation Institute.

The speech

Whether it’s writing it or delivering it the wedding speech can keep even the most confident orator awake at night. Fear not, there are people that can help and they come in the form of speech writers and vocal coaches. But the content needs to come from you; it’s your speech after all. To brainstorm, get a blank piece of paper and answer the following questions:

  1. Why do you want to get married to your fiancée?
  2. What are your bride’s best features and why?
  3. Where did you meet?
  4. What funny stories do you have about your dating time together?
  5. What do her family think of you?
  6. What do your family think of her?
  7. What are the nicknames that you have for each other?

You’ll soon start crafting some content, get into the flow, forget punctuation and just keep going. Then when you are ready, pick five of the points and elaborate on them and you will have the bones of your speech in no time. Once the first draft is done then it’s time for some help. Who do you know has a good command of English? Bribe them to help you edit it and, most importantly, take a break from it for a few days and openly listen to their feedback.

If all else fails then hire a speech writer, but if you’ve done the ground work then it will be faster and cheaper for them to turn a first draft into a polished speech. Try Burn the Toast and Staggered for a recommended speech writing service.

Right, the speech is written and now it’s just the thought of delivering it in front of all those wedding guests that’s worrying you. If the worry is reaching fever pitch then go back to the earlier therapies that could help. You can also hire a vocal coach or a friend to practise in front of. Yes it’s a cliché but practice will really make your delivery perfect, reading it aloud also highlights any areas that need changing.

Another good tip is to print your speech out in a large font (at least 16pt), laminate it, and mark where the natural pauses or applauses are. Read slowly and carefully, have water by your side and don’t be afraid to take a moment to let the audience really hear your words. What you have to say is important.

The dancing groom

We’ve all seen those brilliant wedding dances on YouTube, and if you’ve got time and the inclination then hire a local dance teacher to help you craft something special or perhaps just go for the downright hilarious like the Frog Song. The most important thing is to enjoy it, if learning to tango six weeks before your wedding feels too much, then it probably is.

But gaining confidence in your dancing ability could be as simple as hiring a service like Go Experience or opting for something more inclusive of your guests such as a drumming workshop.

BassToneSlap_TeamBuilding18

Image courtesy of Bass Stone Slap

It’s not only brides who can feel pressured by all that is expected from them on their ‘big’ day. So, grooms, take some time for yourselves and figure out how you are feeling, then take some action to help you through it with ease. Yes, we’re keen to help you go green on your wedding day but we want you to look after yourself as well as your environment.

Take it easy!

Kate

Related articles:

Here comes the groom

Seven stylish ethical cufflinks

Ethical Weddings

What next?

Did the Elizabethans create the greenest cufflink ever with their ‘cuff string?’

Maybe, but unless you are a having a farm wedding with themed costumes to boot (think Worzel Gummidge) then string is not going to be the best look for 2013. With the advances in Fairtrade precious metals and ethical designers recycling interesting materials, grooms have more choice than ever. Here are our top picks for ethical cufflinks.

1. Seahorses mate for life

seahorse-cuffs fifi
Ethical favourites Fifi Bijoux have done it again with these beautiful seahorses crafted in 9ct Fairtrade gold. Craft a romantic moment with your bride by whispering into her ear that seahorses stay together for life while showing her the beautiful specimens on your wrist.

2. For the Parisian in you

IMG_3719_bees

This cufflink is from a Parisian themed collection and quite the bling bee on your wrist. The bullet-black, crystal adorned, honey-gold rhodium bee cufflinks are inspired by the diverse wildlife in the Jardins des Plantes. Bond47 makes a donation to a charity of your choice  (from 8 selected) with every purchase of cufflinks.

3. Lego loving lad

Double-Brick-Lego-Cufflinks-Grey-Yellow-The-Bristol-Shop

What do recycled lego cufflinks say about you on your wedding day? That you know marriage is a serious business but it should be fun too! Bring a piece of your childhood to your wedding. These cufflinks from The Bristol Shop come in a variety of colours and shapes to suit.

4. Debonair gent

Diamond culture ebony diamond

If you wear cultured diamonds on your wrist, you know that they were grown in a laboratory rather than mined under potentially poor working conditions and with a greater environmental impact. These elegant Diamond Culture cufflinks are made from Ebony wood with a blue (lab-grown) diamond and ten small white diamonds dotted down the central stalk.

5. Who’s that knocking at my door?

3750_silver_large CRED

Does your love for your betrothed send you wild like a wolf – even just a teensy little bit? Then these bold cufflinks make a fashionable statement. Designer Oria, based at Cred only uses sterling silver sourced from artisan miners in Bolivia who don’t use cyanide or mercury for extraction.

6. Gorgeous geek

ecocentric

We couldn’t resist these geeky cufflinks from made from recycled circuit boards. Ecocentric offer black, blue, red and green for that superchic geek look on your wedding day.

7. Irish rose

Rose of Donegal cufflinks

Wear the flower that is the symbol of love on your sleeve with La Jewellery’s ‘Rose of Donegal’ Cufflinks.

They are made from 100% recycled silver, bought from a number of charities, and hand-crafted here in the UK. They even come in 100% recycled packaging.

Have you been inspired by our ethical cufflinks? Perhaps you want to design your own cufflinks that highlight a passion of your own. Many ethical boutique jewellers take bespoke orders, head over to our ethical jewellery suppliers section to have a look.


Coming up next on the Ethical Weddings Blog is some great advice for the groom. Forget boring wedding lists, we’re thinking of ways to help you with pre-wedding nerves, dancing and speech writing. Plus some fantastic articles on alternative, organic, upcycled wedding wear for the green groom. We’d best get writing then!

Kate

Related articles
Here comes the groom

Ethical Weddings

What next?

Here comes the groom

We’re devoting the next few weeks to the man of the moment, the too often neglected groom.

His traditional role is limited: choose a car to get to the church on time, maybe research the honeymoon, sort out some of the money stuff, put on a suit and turn up, say a few words.

Groom and corsage

But what about  the men who want more – who want an equal share in their big day and an alternative route up the aisle?

We’ll be looking at what makes a green groom – what his eco and ethical options are (when it comes to fashion, generally fewer than for the bride) and meeting some grooms who have taken this path less trodden.

We’re not ignoring the traditional bits – take a look at our favourite ethical cufflinks feature coming up next on the blog – but we hope we’re giving them a green twist.

If you are or know a groom who’s decided to do things differently, get in touch, we’d love to share your story.

Katie

Ethical Weddings

What next?

This review is long overdue. I was sent ‘Seating Arrangements’ by Maggie Shipstead, hmmm, middle of last year? Oops!

When I was first approached about reviewing it I suggested the author did a Q&A with us sharing what she had discovered about weddings through writing the novel and any ideas the process had given her on eco and ethical weddings. But the publishers said she wasn’t an expert, it was only a novel, and basically, well, just read the book. And having spent a former life (pre-children) as a bookworm, I agreed.

Seating Arrangements by Maggie Shipstead

From the title, I imagined something pink and frothy looking, probably with one of those stylised sketches of an unfeasibly skinny woman in stiletto heels striding across the cover – a mobile clamped to her ear and a small dog clutched under her arm. As I opened the padded envelope to examine my free gift, I anticipated a volume that would sit nicely on the ’Chick-lit’ or even ‘Wedding Porn’ shelf.

Instead, a cream cover with blue writing (title, name of author) and a picture of 2 lobsters and a blue heart at the top greeted me. This could be ok after all, I thought. And so it was.

The blurb on the back of the book tells us: “A romantic three-day wedding weekend on an idyllic New England island erupts in a summer blaze of adulterous longing and salacious misbehavior as the bride and groom find themselves presiding over a spectacle of marital failure, familial strife, and monumental loss of faith in the rituals of American life.”

This makes it sound more riotous than it is. I found it to be a delicious dissection of different relationships. We see little of the actual wedding but learn a lot about marriage: “…a glossy white box the size of a child’s coffin [...] held Daphne’s wedding dress” – what does the wedding spell, the death of an immature relationship through marriage?

Helping out the bride’s mother, a friend of the bride makes an acute observation on the modern day wedding: “…it seems to me the real backbreaker is being in charge of manifesting someone else’s idea of perfection. Not necessarily Daphne’s, just this idea floating around out there about what a wedding should be“.

Unusually, the Father-of-the-Bride takes centre stage – not (quite) in the hapless Steve Martin mode but almost as an outsider, trying to figure out his own relationship and history as well as everyone else’s at a time in his life when he clearly feels he should have reached a state of supreme self-confidence.

He approaches the wedding weekend as, “… a treacherous puzzle, full of opportunities for the wrong thing to be said or done“, and so it proves.

A rather strange incident with a whale draws the book to a close – a metaphor for marriage perhaps. Like the whale, it’s a really big thing, no-one can articulate why it’s so important but it is – one false move and it all explodes.

Buy Seating Arrangements from Waterstones (UK)

Buy Seating Arrangements from Indie Bound (US / Canada)

Katie

Ethical Weddings

What next?

We’ve been rather lax about updating our events page of late (big, big apologies to all those who asked us to list events and who we have disappointed by our incompetence in the event-listing arena) so we are mending our ways and bring you: Craft Central Gets Hitched.

Newlyweds kissing by 9 Rhapsody Road wedding photography
Wedding photography by Rhapsody Road

Ok, yes, it did launch tonight and if you’re about to dash over there don’t because it finished at 8pm. But that was just the small talk and cocktails bit – you haven’t missed out on the main event. Get yourself to 33-35 St John’s Square, London (EC1M 4DS) for some:

  • Late Night Shopping tomorrow night (Friday 22 March) from 4 till 8pm

or

  • Avoiding the high street on Saturday from 11am to 5pm and Sunday from 12 till 4pm

Craft Central Gets Hitched event in London

The idea is to offer an antidote to the huge, warehouse, wholesale style wedding fairs which leave you feeling like you’ve gone several rounds with an oversized floral arrangement. This is a much more intimate affair where you get to meet the makers behind the pretty little things that put the sparkle into your special day.

There are 60 designers waiting to meet you – I’m going to pick a few pics to share.  I can’t say favourites though as they’re all fabulous!

Apple blossom veil by Bee Smith
Apple blossom head band with long veil by Bee Smith

Amanda Li Hope Fairtrade Fairmined gold ring
Fairtrade & Fairmined Gold Engagement ring with Cognac Diamond by Amanda Li Hope

Federica Bruno bridalwear
Bridalwear by Federica Bruno

Kate Edmondson Bridal
Kate Edmondson Bridal Couture

She said yes - Timbergram wooden postcards
‘She said yes!’ – Timbergram wooden postcards

Have a lovely time if you go – come back and tell us what you bought.

Katie

Ethical Weddings

What next?

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