Last week's arrangements at Revival

I recently had my phone stolen, and with it the last 5 months of photos from my weekly decor gig at Revival Restaurant and Bar in Berkeley.  This makes me sad, as I like to try and document as many of the Gorgeous and Green creations as possible.  So, I've decided to do a weekly post of the week's decor, so that the photos are shared and I won't be so sad.  I took these pics on my phone granted, so the color and resolution isn't the best, but you get the idea. As always, we try to stay true to the season and use locally grown flowers, and during spring, summer and fall months use locally grown organic flowers.  This last week we were able to get some lovely magnolia branches and lots of other green things. Enjoy, Pilar  

Look at a backyard wedding

The bride and her father

I haven't gotten the full photos yet from the Photographer, Amy Ellis, but I thought I would just share some sweet pics from a wedding Gorgeous and Green did a couple of weeks ago.  Although it was in a backyard, it looked so very nice and quaint, perfect for a celebration.

The centerpieces

The bride and groom had asked for a lot of green and also wanted to include elements like blue thistle and lots of eucalyptus and kangaroo paw to note their heritage.  (The groom is from Australia, so the kangaroo paw and eucalyptus or "gum leaves", were a special notation for him)

The happy couple

The bride and groom looked wonderful and they were a joy to work with.  Cheers! G&G

more of the bouquet and boutonniere

I was able to get more pics from the photographer Michelle Beckwith for the lovely DIY wedding at Stern Grove in San Francisco last year.  Here are some close-up shots of the bouquet and the boutonniere  Gorgeous and Green made for the bride and groom.  The closeup with the bride and her bouquet is just gorgeous. The dahlias and callas were locally grown as were the succulent rosettes, straight from Oakland.  Lovely. In green and health, G&G

A Vintage Jewel of a Wedding

I just posted a blog on The Knot's Green Weddings website, about a wedding I helped with last year.  I am reposting it here to share the gorgeous colors and designs that we came up with!  Enjoy!
Photography by Amy Ellis
Gorgeous and Green had the fortune of being able to help decorate a grand affair at the Piedmont Community Center, and the outcome was fantastic. I whole-heartedly reccomend Community Centers for events when a budget is on the line. And when you spend less on the venue you have all the more budget to spend on flowers and decor!
Photography by Amy Ellis
The bride was looking for a vintage inspired decor using a lot of greens and vivid jewel tones. We rented what we could and used as many local flowers as possible. 
The bridesmaids wore dresses that were dyed at home, and I was able to get a hold of some of the dyed material to wrap the bouquets and boutonnieres.  
Photography by Amy Ellis
Photography by Amy Ellis
The Bride and her Maid of Honor loved succulents and made cute little planted succulent punch glasses as gifts for guests to take home. They went wonderfully with the fern and succulent displaysGorgeous and Green created for some of the table centerpieces.
 
Photography by Amy Ellis
 
It turned out very romantic and classy. I love Vintage! Besides the fact that a vintage look is fabulous, it is also a great way to use used and recycled items! Way to be green!
 
Photography by Amy Ellis
 
Gorgeous!
In Green and Health,

Recycled Silver Jewelry at Gorgeous and Green

At the Gorgeous and Green Boutique we are offering some recycled silver jewelry from Licky Drake.  Her pieces are vintage and rustic, and of course eco-friendly.  She uses 100% recycled fine silver for her pieces including her winged heart necklace and winged heart ring and vintage monograms.   All three are featured at the boutique currently. I asked Licky to share a few thoughts with us so we could better understand her art and decision to make jewelry out of recycled materials: 1. What is your artistic background and specialty? For as long as I can remember I’ve been making things. I have had a myriad of artistic interests- ceramics, painting, mixed media sculpture, photography, but I chose surface design as my major in college. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I switched gears and became fixated on jewelry. 2. Why do you offer jewelry made from recycled materials? It is very rewarding to know that no new silver is mined to make my jewelry. Because my silver is reclaimed it is so neat to think my finished pieces had a previous life. For instance, my Gathered Wings ring www.etsy.com/listing/56846368/gathered-wings-custom-size-ring-in, it was like the design was already embedded in the silver and just needed me to form it. Sometimes I believe I’m not an artist at all, merely a catalyst. 3. In what other way are you ecologically minded? I use hand made soap & shampoo bars without chemicals and I try to buy upcycled items like my tote bag made from an old coffee bean burlap sack that I take to the store so I can avoid using plastic bags. I feel the most important way I can contribute is supporting local farmers so I buy vegetables, fruits, honey, fish, bread, and freshly cut flowers from the farmer’s market on Saturdays. And I’m lucky to live where you can still get organic blackstrap molasses! 4. Out of everything you make, what item is your favorite? My favorite piece would be my Serenity Ring www.etsy.com/listing/61134840/serenity-ring-in-eco-friendly-reclaimed because it reminds me of the sea, with waves tattooed on the band and edges curved to mimic the ever-changing surface of the water. Each is made by hand so every one resonates its own charm. I lived in the Bahamas right on the crystal blue ocean for 8 years and this ring makes me feel a little closer to it. Do come by Gorgeous and Green if you like Licky's jewelry and ethic. In Green and Health, G&G

Interview with a local Event Planner

Here's a post from my Green.Weddings.com blog that shares an interview with Vera Devera, of Va De Vie Events, here in the Bay Area.  I've worked with Vera on a few events now, and we've had a great time.  Thanks Vera for the interview!

 
The cake table is a salvaged piece from Mignonne Decor. Also featured are scraps of ribbon to connect vintage letters with a felt heart in the center, champagne glasses (from her mother-in-law's wedding 35 years prior), an antique white milk glass cake stand found at a local flea market and fresh dahlias.
 
I have had the privilege of getting to work with Vera Devera, a local event planner here in the Bay Area, on a number of weddings. I've asked her to answer some questions about event planning and specifically, green-er events. Enjoy!
1. What kind of services do you provide couples?
Va de Vie Events specializes in month-of wedding coordination, especially for brides who prefer planning the major elements but recognize the need for help with organizing the event flow, managing vendors, setting up decor and determining the final details. We also offer partial to full planning, including providing overall event design consultation and selecting and booking vendors.
Salvaged lace served as the base for an escort card display (recycled kraft paper that was hand punched) and attached to a wrought iron gate.
2. Why would someone want to hire a planner/coordinator?
A wedding coordinator is like the quarterback between the bride and groom with their vendors and key family members. We act on your behalf to ensure that your vision for the day is executed. The greatest value we offer is our ability to troubleshoot and put out fires. Murphy's Law applies to even the best laid plans and it's our job to make sure you don't even know there was a problem and enjoy your wedding -- after all you have invested a lot of time, energy and money into making it extraordinary!
Principal event planner and owner, Vera Devera
3. What kind of advice/suggestions do you give couples who are trying to stay green while planning?
1. Determine how green you want to be. What are your priorities in minimizing your carbon footprint and how does it impact your wedding's look and feel and its budget? For example, when it comes to shopping for a wedding dress -- is the greenness of the material and getting a new dress made of bamboo fiber more important than finding a dress on Craigslist and getting it customized with vintage embellishments? Where are you going on honeymoon and how are you getting there? Are you volunteering together, engaging in an eco-tour or just having a relaxing getaway within 200 miles of where you live?
2. Go local! Where is your venue? Is it near public transit? Does it already have the tables and chairs that you need (or do you need any at all, especially if you're getting married on the beach)?
 
Unbleached cotton market bags printed locally with vegetable dye.
 
3. Hire vendors who share your values. As you're researching or interviewing vendors, find out if they share your philosophy around being green. For example, is your photographer going all digital and will they post a gallery online for your friends and family to view photos? Find out if your floral designer can make a bouquet that you can plant later (e.g. succulent bouquet) and ask your caterer where their ingredients come from and how it's grown or raised.
4. Consider the season, especially for your food and flowers. It doesn't make sense to eat fruits and vegetables out of season and that have to be flown in from south of the equator for your wedding.
5. Shop smart. Thrift stores, antique flea markets or retail outlets that specialize in salvaged materials are great sources for "found" objects that you can incorporate into the look and feel of your wedding. Or, you can shop online. Our go-to is Etsy.com and we suggest searching for vendors (especially local ones) that recycle or use sustainable materials in their work. Keep in mind that it's best to buy locally -- for example, if you find an amazing antique trunk in New Jersey, it's not cost effective or environmentally friendly to get it shipped out of state.
6. Leverage your existing network and consider the reusability of materials. Can you borrow mason jars as vases from a friend? Can your crafty aunt share scraps from fabric projects? Could your grandmother's treasured brooch be tied to your bouquet? 4. What is your favorite part of planning an event?
Partnering with our clients to find solutions to their needs -- whether it's finding a DJ on a particular budget, determining the best layout for the reception, or creatively communicating seating arrangements to guests -- is one of the most rewarding aspects of our work. We pride ourselves in being resourceful and leveraging our community of talented vendors. And ultimately, it's seeing all the moving parts come together that's the best part of our job. We often work with couples months in advance leading up to the day-of and to see the bride and groom, their family and friends and the beautiful details come together is truly awe-inspiring.
 
In Green and Health,
 

bouquets on bikes

I love that so many of my local customers ride to the Gorgeous and Green boutique on their bikes.  I take special care in wrapping their bouquets in recycled kraft paper (never plastic) so they can make the ride home.   Today I made such a large and branchy bouquet for one customer that we decided to rig it on to his back with twine.  Kind of looked like peacock feathers. He also mentioned that he thought I was the best florist in Berkeley, which I have to say was a nice complement. Thanks Keith! In Green and Health, G&G

Let's Change Floral Foam

I have had a lot of positive remarks from the community regarding the conversation I've started about Floral Foam on this blog.  Many folks don't even realize how wasteful it is or how toxic it is.  For thousands of floral designers, clients, workers and anyone else who come into contact with floral foam, there should be far greater transparency about what it's made of and how it's affecting our health and the environment. So, there are two items I would like to ask of the floral foam manufacturers.  And I need your help to get this done. 1. They need to immediately share the MSDS hazardous materials report online, and in print with every box of floral foam.  And,  there should be a warning label on the outside of the box that states some basic facts like: don't inhale, don't ingest, don't handle for prolonged amount of time and discard responsibly. 2.  They need to start making a floral foam that is not filled with hazardous chemicals and that is biodegradable.  Then, it's up to the consumer to make the switch to the less hazardous and more eco-friendly option. Now, there was a company in the UK that was offering a biodegradable floral foam.  So I know it's doable. Who would like to join me in demanding that floral foam manufacturers change their practices? In Green and Health, G&G

Simply City Hall

Weddings come in all shapes and sizes, and sometimes the most simple can be the most beautiful (and the most green and eco-friendly).  I find nothing more romantic than a simple City Hall wedding.  Especially in a big city like New York or San Francisco.  But even the smallest small town could be an ideal location. Getting married at City Hall means less money spent on location and probably your dress, and in turn you're going to leave a smaller carbon and trash footprint.  But it doesn't mean you have to give up on looking cute and carrying a cute bouquet. Just last week Gorgeous and Green did the flowers for a couple who got married at City Hall and their small but major event turned out adorable.  Take a look at some pics and a video their photographers, Reuben Rodgriguez and Vanae Tran provided : The bouquet, boutonniere and hair piece were all made from locally grown yellow button mums and I used locally grown, non-sprayed white dahlias for the bouquet.  I don't ever use floral foam and try to use biodegradable ribbons or ribbons made from recycled plastic. Check out this awesome video of the wedding events:

Thanks Mily and Peter for sharing! In Green and Health, G&G

Gorgeous and Green Deliveries!

I have been doing a lot of gorgeous deliveries for Gorgeous and Green, my new sustainable floral boutique in Berkeley, CA.  It's been hard to remember to take pics, but on occasion I do, and so I have some pics to show you here from past deliveries. Most of my delivery clients are word of mouth, as of now I don't have an online shopping platform, but I hope to get something set up soon. Here is a pic of an arrangement I did for a local Oakland customer: And here's one I did for a Mother's Day arrangement.  The customer wanted as many organic flowers as possible so I included some organic snapdragons, greens and roses I grew!  It was also peony season (a short lived 4 weeks somewhere between April and May) so we had some lovely local bubblegum peonies too.  It was all packaged in a recycled glass vase I carry here in the store. Another arrangement, but this one is actually a living terrarium made with succulents.   I made it by request for a mom who wanted to give something living to her daughter on her birthday.  I love the way the gnarled wood looks in the glass. As always, trying to stay gorgeous and green with reused materials, biodegradable materials and local and organic flowers and plants.  This cylinder was actually left reused from a past event and the wrapping I used was recycled paper and cotton ribbon.  You gotta love biodegradable ribbon!  That plastic/polyester stuff is  bad news. In Green and Health, G&G