Saturday, April 26, 2008

Going green on your wedding

No, I'm not suggesting you do up your wedding like a St. Paddy's Day parade. No, no, no. In honor of Earth Day, which we all celebrated this week (right?), a friend suggested I do a post on green weddings. At first, I was like, eh. Going green is like going organic -- the latest yuppie trend. But, as I thought about it more, I liked the idea.

Photo by Flickr's Blue Orchid Designs

It can be as easy as buying potted plants for your centerpieces, rather than having a cut flower arrangement. But because I haven't done this myself, I'm going to let the experts have their say.

The Kaleidoscope of the University of Alabama says its as easy as brides making thoughtful choices:
Brides can choose to have a cake made with completely organic ingredients, or buy organic wines from the local wine store. One of Bennett’s favorite things to provide for guests is an organic potted plant placed on the dining tables so that guests can take it home to remember that couple’s special day.

The Jewish Journal of Los Angeles spotlighted one bride that went kosher and green:
But the nontraditional dress was just one part of Kraft's "green" simcha. In lieu of sending out paper invitations, Kraft and her husband, Jordan Elias, sent out their invites via e-mail, used organic flowers, registered for green products like bamboo kitchenware and bath towels made of organic cotton and hired a biodiesel van (which runs on peanut oil instead of gasoline) to transport their guests to the ceremony. In addition, they donated 3 percent of their gift registry proceeds to the National Resource Defense Council, a national environmental action organization. has a nice, handy list on ways to go green on your wedding day, but to really go hardcore eco-friendly, you have to go with TreeHugger's comprehensive guide on getting married in a green way. And oh, is it comprehensive -- not only are there 10 Tips on ways to go greener, they also give you ways to do more and give you stats on how much CO2 all the weddings in the U.S. produce each year. Oh, and they give you a list of other sources that will further bring out the green in you.

Photo by Flickr's lilfishstudios

Of course, going green can be as easy as recycling old stuff for your own purposes -- like, say, getting married in the wedding dress your mother wore. But who does that nowadays?! (Sorry, I'm done being sarcastic.) I found this cute, innovative concept on bouquets on Flickr. I mean, who woulda thought button bouquets???

However, when it comes to getting married in an eco-friendly way on Flickr, no one did it better than zzilch. She had a slew of pictures of all the little things she did to make her wedding as eco-friendly as possible.

Photo by Flickr's zzilch

For example, she used origami flowers for her bouquets, rather than using cut flowers. Cheap and eco-friendly! Although, I imagine there would be some people who would take issue with using so much paper. For those people, there is what zzilch did with her invitations.

Photo by Flickr's zzilch

If you can't read that, it says "Plant Me! This handmade tree-free paper is embedded with flower seeds. Soak paper in water for one day, and plant under a thin layer of soil and keep moist. Happy planting!"

What. A. Cool. Idea. Seriously.

Of course, you may wonder if what I've done in the past is eco-friendly. Well, when I decorate, I use draping materials that we keep at certain lengths. I don't ever cut them and we always wash them and reuse them. While my mom, as a florist, uses cut flowers for arrangements, we use equipment that is reused again and again, unless the bride wants to use vases or some other vessel she wants to be given away to her guests. So, yeah, I guess you could say that often what I do as a decorator is green.

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Saturday, April 19, 2008

Wedding dress, schmedding dress

This has nothing to do with decorating weddings, but I still love the creativeness of this.

Photo by Fickr's berger.erica

I'd been meaning to blog about the trend of trashing your wedding dress for pictures for a while now. I saved this one article from the Ventura County Star:
A couple of weeks before her Dec. 21, 2007, wedding, 24-year-old Brenna Ross walked across Silver Strand Beach in her bare feet, the ivory-colored train of her mother's 33-year-old wedding dress trailing in the wet sand. Thousand Oaks photographer Ginger Hendrix clicked away as Ross draped herself over a lifeguard station, then waded in the foamy surf framed by powerful winter waves.

"You get a chance to do something in a wedding dress that is rarely seen," Hendrix said. "The thing I like about it is the grandness of the photos."

Ross and Hendrix were taking a twist on a trend that has gowned brides across the nation doing everything from sitting in Dumpsters to floating, Ophelia-style, in the nearest body of water.

The "trash the dress" trend is a form of edgy post-wedding photography in which the bride ditches the pre-wedding "careful, don't get the dress dirty!" mentality.

Why do I love the idea? Well, in a way, it emphasizes the fact that your wedding day, while it is a milestone, is one day. Make it great, but don't take it too seriously. Click for some more great photos I found on Flickr's Trash The Dress pool.

Photo by Flickr's Nick Haskins

If the hotel nearest this shot above had been smart, they would have bought this photo for their wedding brochures.

Photo by Flickr's UltimateImageWeddings

This one is also awesome because of how non-bridal this shot looks. Usually, you see brides looking all soft and demure, while this lady is in the ocean, practically forming her hair into a mohawk. Awesome.

Photo by Flickr's Mil0 [Millzero Photography]

This photo, out of these four, is my favorite, I think. The colors are vibrant, its a crisp shot, yet the couple is in the distance and out of focus, almost like we caught them in an intimate moment (skinny dipping, anyone?).

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Monday, April 14, 2008

Wedding Venue: Adamson House in Malibu

I'm always curious about how people find venues for their weddings. I'm thinking most people choose their wedding sites based on weddings they've attended in the past. I try to help people out by always identifying the spot where my Wedding Decorator pictures were taken. But since I'm not doing many Wedding Decorator jobs now, I'm thinking I may just start visiting venues on my own -- or crashing weddings. Won't you let me crash your wedding? *wink*

I figured that my recent "field trip" to Adamson House in Malibu would be perfect to share here. The spot is spectacular -- 13 acres overlooking Surfrider Beach. The house is a National Historical Site and a California Registered Landmark, so yeah -- you can't have your party in the actual house. But if you do opt to have your party on the grounds, you can opt to allow your guests take a tour from official docents.

There is not a lot of room at any one section on the Adamson grounds, so don't think you can have a 500-person party here. This lawn was probably the largest, flat grassy area, with that nice little nook next to the tree perfect for a sweetheart table, but the drawback to this area is that there is not much of an ocean view from here. It sure is quiet and peaceful, though.

The lawn next to the iconic star fountain is probably where most of the weddings are held. This is also the area with the most direct beach access.

Check out that view.

So here are the dirty details. Weddings are held at the Adamson house from April to October only -- I think. The cost to have a party on the grounds is $6,500 and they don't provide anything -- you would have to bring in your own chairs, tables, caterers, etc. But check out that view! Call (310) 457-8185 for more wedding information.

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Thursday, April 03, 2008

Want to get married on the beach? Check out a state park

Photo by Flickr's steveroake

Everyone wants to get married on the beach. In California, its totally possible. It can get expensive though. One way to get around that is to take advantage of the vast number of California state parks. There are a few in the metropolitan Los Angeles area that you can take advantage of, including San Clemente State Beach, pictured above. San Clemente State Beach is probably most often used for engagement and wedding photos, but did you know they have a Historic Cottage? Yeah, its available for rent for weddings, receptions and special events.

Photo by Flickr's Sonia and Anil

Adamson House in Malibu is another one of those spots. Its owned by the state parks system, so its probably a bit cheaper than other spots in Malibu. The grounds of the house overlook the ocean, and probably makes for a chilly evening reception, hence the portable heaters in the picture above. I've actually been planning to visit Adamson House for months, so I'll take tons of pictures and share them on flickr.

Photo by Flickr's rbenjaminross

Again, down south in Orange County, another spot I've been wanting to visit (for camping, really) is Crystal Cove State Park. Apparently, there are bluff tops perfect for beach weddings. For receptions, though, I'm not sure what facilities are available. Maybe the Interpretive Center? Who knows. You gotta call them to find out.

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Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Aloha! Time for a luau and buffet

Consider this post and the one immediately preceding bonus posts, since I was MIA for two weeks. It's been busy at Wedding Decorator HQ, and unfortunately, not with weddings.

Pictured above was a backyard party with a luau theme. Most backyard parties are buffets, and that makes sense. Thing is, buffets are really easy to decorate. Everyone should take advantage of buffets.

Really, all you need is a few big arrangements. You can make them as creative as the one above, throw in a few apples, oranges or other exotic fruit. My mom loves using green beans (they're dangly) and eggplant (I think because they're purple), but I love it most when she uses mini pineapples.

Use a few boxes to give some varying heights to the table, throw on a couple of white tablecloths, and maybe some brightly colored fabric on top. Place your food dishes on the boxes, and maybe some flowers scrunched into the tablecloths. And enjoy!

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Flowers can look beautiful for end-of-life events, too

Is it strange that I'm posting funeral photos on a Wedding Decorator blog? Maybe. But while I was working with my mom, we did all kinds of flowers, not just weddings. So it so happens that these photos of these vibrant red roses are from a casket cover.

Funeral jobs actually tend to be easier than weddings. Most of the pieces are large and not intricate (meaning, less intricate finger work), and the delivery is one way. With weddings, there are the small boutonnieres and corsages to create, there's major prep work, there's delivery, clean up and pick up. The drawback to funerals tend to be that they are last minute jobs, meaning you often go to the flower market just hours after getting the phone-in order.

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