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Eco-Luxe {Make an Impact with Less Impact}

Eco-Luxe {Make An Impact With Less Impact}

By Rena Sweeney, Alchemy Events 

FEATURING:

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. 

An interior image of The Audubon Team Room

Perfectly polished hardwood floors, soaring 45 foot ceilings and a lush private garden setting await you at the Audubon Tea Room. This most prestigious of the Audubon Nature Institute venues can accommodate up to 750 guests reception style.

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.   

 

Friendly Florals 

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. 

Recycle 

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.   

Reuse 

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.  

Here Harmony White linen and napkins from Perrier Party Rentals are the perfect contrast for Perrier’s ivory and gold banded china and gold plated flatware. Gold Infinity Chairs, also from Perrier, are the perfect accent for this elegant table design.

Incorporating real china and flatware elegant linens is a great way to be eco-conscious.

 

Vintage handkerchiefs

Vintage handkerchiefs for tears of joy or a spontaneous Second Line can be sourced from family or at thrift stores and are a beautiful option for eco-conscious couples.

Vintage and thrifted items keep your wedding eco-friendly and reduce your carbon footprint.

Letterpress wedding stationery suite by Eglantine Rose Letterpress

We’re in love with this eco-friendly stationery suite from Eglantine Rose Letterpress.

“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.” 

 

Vegan macaron escort cards by Grey Bird Baking Company featuring calligraphy by Eglantine Rose Letterpress.

Delicate and delicious, these macarons created by Grey Bird Baking Company owner Taylor Moore are not only delightful treats for your guests, they also serve double-duty as escort “cards”. Grey Bird offers macarons in an array of vegan flavors, including our favorite, Pistachio. Calligraphy in edible ink by Jennifer Vencill, Eglantine Rose Letterpress.

Blush, four-tier vegan wedding cake by Shake Sugary.

Shake Sugary lead pastry chef Dawn Snead, creates beautiful, delicious vegan confections in her unconventional Bywater bakery. Some of the vegan flavors Chef Dawn creates include chocolate raspberry ganache, raspberry buttercream and homemade lemon curd – all flavors you’d expect from a high-end bakery but vegan!

Personalize Your Cocktails

Quianta Treats creates these edible wafer “floaters” branded with your wedding’s logo or other image of your choice. These are the perfect addition to a foamy drink such as this Pink Lady drink. Substitute aquafaba for egg white in a traditional Pink Lady recipe to make this cocktail vegan!

Edible rose petals are another great way to 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.  

Vegan "charcuterie" board

Enjoy these cruelty-free, vegan nibbles at your next event! Find all these vegan alternatives at veganessentials.com 

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. 

 

Vegan "scallops"

King oyster mushrooms stand in for traditional scallops in this delightful vegan appetizer by Marie’s Fleur de Lis Catering. Chef Molly plated the “scallops” atop pickled julienned vegetables with a spicy soy glaze. Green pea tendrils are a delightful finishing touch.

Harissa Cauliflower Steak with Tomato Basil Farro

Harissa Cauliflower Steak with Tomato Basil Farro

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.

For the light, bright vegan pudding, Chef Molly blended coconut milk with fresh strawberries and chia seeds. She topped the pudding with whipped coconut cream and coconut flakes and an edible pansy bloom for garnish.

Be delightful 

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.   

Instead of favors, donate to a great cause in your guests’ names! The Humane Society of Louisiana, leaders in the fight against cruelty to animals, is a particular favorite of ours. Learn more about The Humane Society of Louisiana at humanela.org

Give back 

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.

1. Stellium Diamond with Champagne Halo Ring in 14k Yellow Gold by Bario Neal, bario-neal.com. 2. Malta textured vegan leather box clutch with metallic gold finish, top snap closure and chain shoulder strap, by Urban Expressions, urbanexpressions.net. 3. Billie is a luxurious French crepe body hugging gown that caresses your curves beautifully, by Made With Love Bridal. Made With Love Bridal gowns can be found locally at Unbridaled, unbridaled.com. 4. Victoria floral crown by les Couronnes De Victorire is hand-made of preserved flowers which will last forever, you can order this flower crown online only at lescouronnesdevictoire.com. 5. Stevie, by Made With Love Bridal features a deep V-neck figure hugging gown made of exclusive hand-made lace and nude underlay, Made With Love Gowns are available locally at Unbridaled, unbridled.com. 6. ALTR™ Created diamond earring in 18k White Gold with 5.55 CT TW, find out more about ALTR diamonds at alto.nyc.com. 7. Brie pale nude satin rhinestone pointed-toe ankle-strap heels in luxe satin is made from all vegan friendly, man made materials by Blue by Betsy Johnson, available at lulus.com.

 

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.  

 

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