Going green and sustainable at a wedding we are discovering is an immense and thoughtful process. Everyday Steph and I discuss the problems with the climate and how our little footprint affects the world and this has made us rethink what we do and how we live.
We do try to live our best and cleanest life, we beach clean as we live by the seaside we try to avoid buying unsustainable foods and items packaged in plastic we pay for recycling (and we have a green council go figure!)
So today I popped to my local shop to pick up some items and saw these beautiful roses that were past their most beautiful stage. I chatted to the lady in the shop about flowers and she showed me some fresh ones (which were not as nice!) I explained I wanted them to dry the petals to make confetti for my wedding day and she was so sweet and found all the half decent ones and reduced them to 25p! Now sadly shop brought flowers always come in plastic but fear not this will be reused somehow.
Confetti originally was sweets that were thrown such as sugar plums, I don’t know how you would feel but mini missiles springs to mind! This comes from the Italian confetto meaning small sweet. Tradition in England and Germany is or was rice but we all now know this is not good for birds. Over the years things have changed and plastic or ribbon and paper have been introduced a big no no for our green wedding!
We decided we would dry out own petals for the wedding and I went old school with heavy books filled with petals weighed down all over the house eeeekkkk! This is really not feasible to create in large quantities so we investigated buying a dehydrator and what a revelation this has been! Not only can we make our own confetti but we are wasting less overrule fruit by sticking it in the dehydrator and creating super yummy snacks!
I recently completed a floristry course creating items like the above and through this had beautiful flowers in the house every week and decided that once they started to droop instead of throwing them in the garden waste they get a second chance to be beautiful and appreciated so all the petals are from flowers I have had at home or ones that are reduced and will just end up in landfill.
We are making paper cones from old books on flowers and they will be filled with our beautiful homemade confetti! These will go in a basket for my beautiful niece to hand out for our guests for a tradition in our in many ways untraditional wedding!
With our home grown flowers for the wedding decorations I feel so proud of creating something beautiful for our special day that is recycled and being resourceful. We are saving money as a friend was quoted £400 for dried petal confetti and we are being kinder to the planet by not throwing paper or plastic but returning nature to its rightful place.
Being an avid crafter with my roots firmly planted in sewing soil I have to add my craft to our wedding and this is where I have the potential to increase my already horder worthy fabric collection!
However that does not fit into our sustainable wedding plans so no buying brand new fabric!
Bunting has been around since the 1600’s and was predominantly used to decorate ships with the sailor whose job it was to raise the flag being called the bunt hence bunting!
In England we traditionally have bunting at any celebration we possibly can, village fetes to royal weddings we love any opportunity to get our bunting out!
So how can I make this beautiful and traditional decoration green?
By using second hand fabric and scraps only. So far I have cut up a dress I got for £1 A pair of pyjama bottoms and some old curtains alongside all those little pieces that are not quite big enough for anything else.
This set of curtains so far has produced 20 triangles and as this our outdoor decorations we need metres and metres! So having set myself this mammoth task alongside making individual napkins I have to get going as only 4 months to go.
With that in mind I have run off a heap of triangles tonight after work they are all sewn and turned through so now to iron them all.
Loving the curves and textures of nature, we chose the perfect rings which have been hand crafted locally.
Although living in the UK, Sophie and I keep some German traditions in our lifes, so we decided we would wear our rings on the right hand. In Germany the engagement ring is traditionally worn on the left hand and then moved to the right on the day of marriage (using the same rings or a new one). They are usually very simple bands made of gold. In 1942 in the UK gold content was limited and due to second world war restrictions jewellery creation resulted in “utility” wedding rings. They were forged with 9 carat gold rather than the traditional 22 carat.
The plan is that Sophie’s little nephew will be our ringbearer (as it is tradition in both our cultures to use the youngest family member) but how do we make sure they are safe in the hands of a 5 year old?
Easy…. pick a book from the shelf (in this case we bought it second hand for £1)
The cutting out the keyhole was straight forward, modpdge’ing the pages took a little thought as once they are glued, they dont move with the “opening and closing” of the book…. I am glad to say it worked out just as planned in the end and both rings fit perfectly.
This book will be living in our library and maybe one day our children will be curious to know what’s the secret behind the cut out keyhole.
The question of wedding favours! It’s a tricky one as you don’t want people to think they have to take some tat home and then throw it in the bin. That is not sustainable! Also wedding favours can cost a fortune, we wanted to make a favour that meant something to us and represented our day.
So here are our handmade wedding favours. We used paper from a beautiful book about butterflies that I found in a second hand shop costing £1!
I made a template to create the envelopes and Steph created hand stamped labels thank goodness we only have 31 guests!
We are filling our bee envelopes with wild flower seeds so our guests can plant some seeds for the bees whether they choose to do this in their gardens or seed bomb somewhere urban that needs some colour and more importantly some bees!
We had to include the birds! Another important part of our wildlife are birds. Using the same template we used a very ancient readers digest gardening book again for £1!
We will be filling the bird envelopes with a mixture of bird seed to encourage all different garden birds into our guests lives.
The wild flowers will be exactly what we hope to have on the table outside and we really hope our guests love our wedding favours as much as we have loved making them. The bonus is they can be reused as an envelope for gift cards at Christmas double upcycling=happy Sophie and Steph!
Today we went on an adventure into the woods. Steph brought me this day as my Christmas present and it links nicely into our trying a new thing every month!
We met in some beautiful woods where you can wild camp, Dernwood farm near Waldon. Ruby from native hands took us into her special space in the woods to learn how to make bark containers from foraged wood to completed piece.
Firstly Ruby took us to cut down the wood from the sweet chestnut coppice she taught us about tree care and why they cut the trees right down to allow more to grow. We fell in love with the pruning saw and had to purchase one on our way home! We also collected some willow branches which can be used to make the bark containers, today however we were using the willow bark as our thread.
Then we built the fire and had some fruit tea, we are both avid coffee drinkers but embraced the fruitiness! Then to our practice debarking! Actually all went really well, scored with the knife and the used our handmade spud and good old fingers to ease the bark off in one piece. Practiced folding it into a pocket then had some lunch.
Removing the bark from the large piece was a lot harder to keep in one piece and I managed to split the end which actually worked in my favour in the end! Once you had your piece ready it was time to score an eye shape in the bottom to help fold the bark. Tricky……..
Once the pieces were trimmed and lined up it’s time to drill holes in the bark for your willow thread. My piece of bark naturally had an overlap so I got to use the power tools to make my holes great in theory, difficult in practice as had to then try and thread together in a small gap! Steph used Ruby’s handmade palm drills which are just stunning made from antique handles they fit so beautifully in tour hand.
The thread is made by scraping the outer bark off and using the inside piece. Stripping this off and then cutting into fine pieces with a sharp point that dries to create your needle I used a running stitch due to my overlap and Steph did a cross stitch to join the edges together. Fiddly work especially in an unpredictable hail storm and with smoke from the fire in your eyes but we love a challenge!
Once the two pieces are together then it was time to create a bark rim using a small piece from the original piece of bark and place it around the top to reinforce your opening as this is a natural material it will dry, shrink and colour differently over time, we shall enjoy watching the changes. Then more holes drilled and adding the thread around the top and we are done!
We really enjoyed our day in the woods and felt very at one with nature. If you are ever in Sussex do check out Ruby and native hands but wear lots of warm clothes!