Summer flower garland by Gorgeous and Green for a local wedding with sunflowers! and dahlias

Sunny Sunflowers and other late summer blooms last fall

Lat summer, early fall is a wonderful time of year for flowers and for sunshine.  Here's some sunny beauty we created for a small event order that came in from our online ordering system. 

Revival's flowers July 20th 2011

This week at Revival bar and kitchen, the flower arrangements Gorgeous and Green created included some bright protea and local berries.  Here are a few pictures of the week's arrangements.

 

The host table has one yellow pincusion in a vintage candlewick drinking glass.

 

The Large French bucket in the back is stacked with bushy branches and some bright organic and local sunflowers.

 

The vintage vase (my favorite vase) has some pink protea and lovely local amaranth, organic bells of ireland and local branches and berries.  

  In green and health, G&G

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

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,
 

Thanksgiving Centerpieces and green thanks

Photos courtesy of Corduroy Media I recently shared some pics and some thoughts with the Allison Beck, an editor of a website in NYC called The Daily Meal.  They showcased some Thanksgiving themed centerpieces that my assistant Celia and I worked on for Gorgeous and Green.    I also answered some questions about sustainable arrangements and Thanksgiving.  Take a look at some thoughts I shared in the article: When creating centerpieces for Thanksgiving, what inspires you? Pilar: With any of my arrangements, I always look to what is locally in season. Follow the seasons around you to find colors and themes; in the fall to use browns and yellows and reds, because as plants and leaves die, we get to see some magnificent colors. Squash is also prevalent, so we see the use of pumpkins and gourds and squash in a lot of displays and arrangements. Pilar, what about creating stunning centerpieces, without breaking the bank? In a lot of my arrangements, I use vintage and reused containers and items that a lot of people may have around their house but never thought to combine with flowers or plants—I love unique containers. Sometimes an old gravy boat, candy dish or an old bird cage make for a stunning display. Plus, it's all about reusing and reinventing and that means it's also eco-friendly. Pilar, what are some "green" floral decorating tips that people should remember when purchasing materials? In addition to reusing and buying local/in season, it's also important that people pay attention to pesticides, organics and fair trade as well. As with food, flowers can be sprayed with a lot of toxic chemicals that affect everyone involved, from the cultivators of the flower to those who cut, sell, arrange and end up enjoying its beauty. I try to use as many growers as possible who don't use sprays, so that we can have fewer toxins that affect our people and the earth. Fair trade is also important to think about, and is directly linked to the health of communities and the environment. Hopefully, when you buy local or fair trade, you are supporting businesses who can then support and pay their employees fairly. Hopefully if you are going to celebrate Thanksgiving this year, you can remember to show your thanks in the many actions it takes to put something like a dinner or gathering together, and all the people and the planet that is touched by our actions, every day. 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

Simple Green and Light on the Budget

I just posted a short picture story of a wedding I did a few weeks ago that was very local, very sustainable.   We used locally grown flowers, vintage vases, and I even used a leftover piece of beautiful sage ribbon to tie up the bride's bouquet.  We kept spending low but elegance was high...

Photo by Terry McCarthy tmcphotography.com

Read more about this wedding at my other blog location on the Knot's Green.Weddings.com website. I have many more weddings and pics to include, so I'll be posting in the coming weeks, stay tuned. In Green and Health, G&G

Bay Area (green) Event Venue

And a great place for a soak! I recently posted a blog on The Knot's Green.Weddings.com website about Wilbur hot springs, a wonderful hot spring location not far from the Bay Area.  They offer accomdations and even yoga and guest chef weekends, but what may interest you most is their availability as a wedding venue.  Check out the pics and story below:

(photography above by Gia Canali)

One of the first decisions (and some would argue the most important decision) most couples make when planning their wedding, is deciding where it's going to happen.  The venue...   For the green couple, finding a venue that will represent their value systems and green choices is important.  But, not all venues talk green and not all actually walk the green talk.  This brings us to Wilbur Hot Springs.  Yes, it's a local and sustainable event Venue. If you're a Bay Area local, you may already be familiar, and if not, it's definitely worth checking out, multiple times, I might add. 1. How is Wilbur a sustainable wedding/event venue?  Wilbur is 100% off the grid, powered entirely by solar panels and propane. Renovations and improvements are performed using eco-conscious building materials and practices. The solar panel array was installed in the early 1990s. Up to that time, the Wilbur hotel had been lit with kerosene lamps. The transition to solar-powered lighting was completed in 1991. The refrigerators are all electric and are specifically designed to run on solar power. They are more efficient and use approximately one-third the power of consumer refrigerators The stoves in the kitchen, and the fireplaces, which heat the hotel in winter, are powered by propane. Wilbur uses compact fluorescent light bulbs and low-flow toilets. And the cleaning products we use are all eco-friendly. Wilbur’s hot springs flumes are non-impact. In other words, the water is simply diverted from the geothermal source, held temporarily in the flumes and then returned to the creek. No chemicals are added to the flumes,and as a result no chemicals are being added to the water table. The hotel and hot springs are located on approximately 240 acres. In 1999, the surrounding 1560 acres were purchased and designated as a nature preserve. In 2006, Wilbur began working with range ecologist Craig Thomsen from UC Davis to restore native plants to the area, and combat invasive species. Thomsen’s work continues currently, with Wilbur participating in raising grant money, and providing lodging in trade to guests who work with Craig.... To read more about Wilbur please go to: Green.Weddings.com In Green and Health, G&G