By Rena Sweeney, Alchemy Events
ON LOCATION: Audubon Tea Room
STYLED BY: Rena Sweeney for Alchemy Events
PHOTOGRAPHY: Sarah Alleman Photography
CUISINE: Executive Chef Molly McLaren, Marie’s Fleur de Lis Catering
FLORALS: Berry Blossom Flowers
STATIONERY + CALLIGRAPHY: Eglantine Rose Letterpress
CAKE: Shake Sugary
MACARONS: Grey Bird Baking Company
EDIBLE BEVERAGE BRANDING: Quianta Treats LLC
RENTALS: Perrier Party Rentals
A growing concern that has become a common question from my clients in the last few years is how they can be more conscientious with their wedding. Sometimes that means they want to be more environmentally friendly, want to incorporate vegan or gluten-free foods into their menu or make sure they are giving back in some way.
Even if you aren’t sold on doing a fully vegan, eco-friendly wedding, there are still ways you can lessen your environmental impact or give back while still hosting the amazing, luxe wedding of your dreams.
We showcased a wide variety of ways to be conscientious in the following Eco-Luxe editorial, however, there are many other easy things that anyone can do to implement small changes to their own wedding.
Don’t be afraid to ask
As you begin your planning process, don’t feel shy about asking vendors if they are green. This might include using only local produce, tree free paper in your invitations, cleaning with environmentally friendly products, growing their own flowers, etc.
Asking your florist to use traditional arrangement techniques instead of Oasis floral foam is also a phenomenal way to make a change that is beneficial to everyone involved. Oasis foam contains known carcinogens that are dangerous to breathe in plus are not biodegradable.
With a degree in Marine Biology and previous experience teaching Environmental Science, Berry Blossom Flowers owner Amy Marshall has a strong affinity for taking care of the environment. “I have spent most of my life having a soft spot for environmentally friendly living,” she shares.
We love that Marshall uses “old school” methods in creating her floral designs.
Instead of using Oasis foam, which is bad for the environment and health, Marshall uses chicken wire to help structure her arrangements. The featured orchids were all potted and cleverly disguised with sheet moss so they could be later repurposed. She also repurposed containers for the plants from recycled materials in addition to using containers sourced from antique stores.
You can also commit to waste reduction at your wedding by asking that anything that can be recycled is recycled; food scraps can be composted and left over food or flowers donated to a local shelter or nursing home.
Renting items such as china, natural linens, flatware & glassware are also fantastic for waste reduction as the items are being reused. In New Orleans it is sometimes not possible to use china or glassware, especially in some of our historic buildings and courtyards, and in those cases, there are many eco-conscious items such as bamboo plates to use in place of breakable products. Ask your caterer about these options.
Incorporating real china and flatware elegant linens is a great way to be eco-conscious.
Vintage and thrifted items keep your wedding eco-friendly and reduce your carbon footprint.
“Letterpress…is very eco-friendly,” shares Eglantine Rose Letterpress owner Jennifer Vencill. “It’s printed on antique cast iron presses: each piece is placed into the press one at a time, by an artisan printer. Because the volume is small, and the level of care is very high, it doesn’t have a lot of waste of materials or resources. I use about a teaspoon of ink for an invitation suite, and clean up with soy based solvents. My presses are treadle-powered, so they use no electricity. I also love that the presses were manufactured in the 1890s and are still going strong. They are environmentally-friendly by virtue of having been built to last forever.”
“Handmade paper is also great for eco-conscious brides. It’s made by small studios, one sheet at a time, from cotton scraps which are offcuts from the garment industry. It’s tree-free, and is made using what would otherwise be waste. And cotton papers can be recycled right along with wood pulp papers.
The ribbon we used was cotton muslin, torn into strips. For the pink color, I hand-dyed it with watercolor. Muslin is frequently used in fitting clothing patterns, so if a bride is having a dress made from scratch, the seamstress might have scraps of muslin left over.”
Personalize Your Cocktails
Go Gourmet Vegan with a Certified Green Caterer
Marie’s Fleur de Lis Catering is a 3-star Certified Green and Woman Owned caterer. With their extensive resources and experience Marie’s Fleur de Lis Catering creates delightful menus for fabulous events in the finest locations New Orleans has to offer.
On the board:
Cavi-art Black and Orange Vegan Caviar Alternative: This unique alternative to caviar is made from seaweed, but looks and tastes like real caviar.
Orange Zest + Aleppo Pepper Fig Salami by Hellenic Farms: This vegan salami is made with premium dried figs, Aleppo peppers and dried fruits and nuts to mimic the taste and texture of traditional salami.
Vegan Smoked Salmon by Sophie’s Kitchen: Made with konjac root, an ancient superfood, this vegan smoked salmon has all the flavor of traditional smoked salmon but in plant-based form!
Strawberry Balsamic Artisan Cheese by Reine Royal Vegan Cuisine: Try this seasonal, artisan cashew cheese and experience all the flavor you’re expecting from a traditional white cheddar, but without soy, diary, gluten or GMO ingredients! This cheese is blended with a strawberry balsamic reduction and accented with black pepper.
Cracked Pepper Dill Artisan Cheese by Reine Royal Vegan Cuisine: Perfect as a spread on crackers or crispy bread, this vegan cheese has notes of chives, dill and cracked black peppercorns with the tangy flavor you expect from aged dairy cheese.
Complete your vegan “charcuterie” board with crisp breadsticks and a selection of dried fruits and nuts.
Herb crusted and roasted cauliflower steak is topped with spicy harissa, a smoky, spicy sauce, and served over farro, a nutty flavored grain, with grape tomatoes and fresh basil.
Another opportunity to think green includes candle decor. Obviously many of our historic facilities 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.
As couples are often combining households, there has also been a rise in “charity registries” where your guests can donate to a charity instead of purchasing home goods which many couples already have an abundance of. Couples may also choose to donate to their favorite charity in lieu of traditional favors. Guests won’t miss receiving a favor & will love the sentiment of having helped others in need instead. One of my personal favorite charities is the Humane Society of Louisiana who we spotlighted in the Eco-Luxe editorial!
Be fashionably “green”
From jewelry to couture fashion, vegan options abound! Check out some of these eco-friendly and luxriously fashionable options in our Eco-Luxe Style File.
ABOUT ALCHEMY EVENTS:
Alchemy Events owner Rena Sweeney has been creating exceptional experiences in New Orleans and around the world for two decades. Rena carries her passion for eco-conscious, ethical living into designing events and is the go-to event designer for couples wanting to make a big impact without making an impact on the environment.
If you are fully on board with this concept and want to explore further options, make sure to follow our blog series: The Ultimate Guide to Eco-Friendly, Ethical Weddings at www.alchemyeventsnola.com and sign up for our mailing list for updates as we continue to bring you more information on this topic.