How to Plan a Green Wedding!

Hey Ya’ll,

One of the biggest changes I’ve noticed over the last few years, in both industry professionals and the clients we work with, is that to the newest generation approaching adulthood, AKA the Millenials, the idea of “going green” is something that they expect as a matter of course. And while I may be a tad older than the Millenials, I too am a huge proponent of producing green events and doing my part to be good to our planet, so I am happy this is starting to become the norm!

Today, I’m shedding some light on how easy it is to throw an eco-friendly wedding that is not granola and burlap, but stunning and elegant! Here are a few tips that are so easy, you may not even know that you are helping to save the planet.

I’m Hungry:
One of the easiest places to begin your eco-friendly journey is the menu. Just asking that the items presented on your menu are grown locally (within 100 miles), organic, pesticide free and including only free-range meat, you have just done a little greening and without even lifting a finger to to exercise your right to health. Making delicious yet smart food choices food on your big day will make a huge impact not only on your guests, but also on the environment.

Divide and Conquer:
Weddings and events always produce a lot of waste. One way that you can cut back on waste, is by inquiring with the venue you choose as to whether they separate the trash into compostable, biodegradable and recyclable bins. If the venue doesn’t participate in some sort of greening effort, there are waste management companies that will drop off a dumpster at the location, and all of the trash you put into the dumpster will be separated and distributed to their proper locations. Otherwise, you should try to create a recycling system of your own, using bins and signs to help guests understand what goes where!

Flower Power:
Second to the wedding dress, flowers are synonymous with weddings, so if you want fresh cut flowers, find a florist that uses blooms from local and/or organic farms. If you are really feeling green, decorate with potted plants, orchids and flowers that will last much longer. These non-cut arrangements can be recycled after the wedding as a party favor to be a lasting reminder of the special day.

Seeded invitations and confetti via http://www.botanicalpaperworks.com

Evite vs. Invite:
I still believe that for a formal occasion like a wedding, a formal invitation through the mail is the way to go. Paper choices today can be stunning as well as eco-friendly and processed without chlorine; some even have seeds embedded in them that can be planted after it is received, and soy based inks that will do the print job beautifully. To save paper, use a postcard (no envelope) for the reply card. Encourage your guests to recycle their invitation afterward or if you really want to “mail” greenly, use www.cocodot.com or www.paperlesspost.com to send creative invitations via the web.

Blinded by the Light:
Lighting can change the entire look and feel of your wedding, so use LED and incandescent lighting to brighten up your celebration by creating various moods and atmospheres while using less power and energy. If you opt for a daytime wedding, let color be your electricity. Vibrant colored linens, flowers and decor elements will illuminate any space naturally.

Recycled Rentals:
There are a number of areas when it comes to your wedding that you may not have even realized that you were being so conscientious. China, flatware and glassware is all reused and if cleaned with environmentally safe products, that is one step further in the right direction. Beautiful and unique linens from www.latavolalinen.com and www.wildflowerlinens.com get rented over and over again, and most grooms rent their tuxedos as well, all of these things are helping to make the world a more beautiful place. Brides and bridesmaids can also partake in the rental of designer fashions these days, through online sites like www.renttherunway.com and www.onenightaffair.com.

Image via rebelliousbrides.com

By making a few ecologically-aware choices, throwing a green wedding is much easier than most couples about to embark on a lifetime together even imagined. No matter if you are a Baby Boomer, a Gen X or Y’er or a Millennial, anyone can use these tips to start creating a better world that we can all share together.
-Brian

Wildflower Linen Giveaway Winner Announcement!

Hey Ya’ll,

I’m glad so many of you took the opportunity to enter our Wildflower Linen giveaway this week! Unfortunately, we can only have one winner. 😦 So, without further ado, our lucky reader is: Kelly Huddy!

Kelly, we love that you discovered Wildflower Linen after researching the linens used for Edward and Bella’s wedding. We hope that you’ll send photos of the runner being used at your own fairytale wedding! In the meantime, please send an email to BrianWorley007@gmail.com, with your full name and mailing address, so that we can send you your Twilightinspired table runner compliments of Wildflower Linen!

Image Credit: Gene Higa – http://www.genehiga.com

Hotel Del Shoot featuring Wildflower Linen

Hotel Del Shoot featuring Wildflower Linen

La Costa Resort and Spa Shoot featuring Wildflower Linen

Hotel Del Shoot featuring Wildflower Linen

I bet some of you didn’t realize that by using rented linens and chair covers from companies like Wildflower Linen, you’re doing your part to help reduce waste on your wedding day. Actually, there are plenty of more fun ways that you can reduce, reuse and recycle on your big day…

Check back in with me on Monday morning, for all of my best tips on how to plan a green wedding!
-Brian

How to Throw a ‘Green’ Super Bowl Party!

Hey Ya’ll,

Since many of you will be hosting parties for the big game on Sunday, I thought that today I’d share a few easy ways to make your Super Bowl XLVI bash all about the THREE R’s: REDUCE, RECYCLE and REUSE! (And the Three F’s too: football, food, and friends, of course.)

Image source: foodnetwork.com

1) Food is always a big part of any party or event, so use your menu to put an Eco-friendly touch on your Super Bowl party by purchasing pesticide free produce and organic meats and vegetables. Stick to a “100 Mile” diet, which means you’re buying locally as opposed to globally, this cuts down on your carbon footprint and also helps boost the local economy. For example, instead of ordering greasy delivery items, put a healthy, Eco-friendly spin on your menu simply by making it at home! Try your hand at Alton Brown’s homemade buffalo wings recipe via Food Network paired with locally grown vegetables and dipping sauces galore!

2) There is always a ton of waste and trash after an event or party, especially one like the Super Bowl where guests will most likely be drinking out of disposable bottles and cans. Do your best to cut back on your parties waste by disposing of recyclable materials correctly and composting any biodegradable items. This way, anything that ends up in your garbage will be delivered to the correct waste facilities. Although, if you want to be really green, skip the beer cans and bottles all together by opting for reusable glassware and a good old fashioned keg! Bonus tip: Dip your glassware (mugs or high-ball glasses) in water and store them in your freezer for frosty cold beers on game day!
3) My favorite parties always seem to be themed, so for your Super Bowl party try to think of a fun theme for your decorations! A great place to start is with your favorite teams’ colors! Then, use things around the house as decor to start with and then add to that. Use your kids’ footballs or borrow from a neighbor rather than just buying them for one time use. If you do buy them only for the party, donate them to a children’s charity afterwards. The same thing goes for any team jerseys, pennants, or other items you buy to use as decor for this one time event. It is unlikely that the same two teams will play each other next year, so donate anything and everything you can. I am a fan of using real decor items rather than those cheap paper cut-outs that are sold at most party stores. Real items may cost a little more, but they can be reused more often than not and therefore don’t end up in the trash. Here are a couple more real/reusable decor ideas:

Football Field Reusable Tablecloth from Sears.com

DIY Super Bowl roman numerals: Order letters from Etsy.com and get creative! Cover the letter in your team's colors or glue fake moss all over it for an astroturf effect!

More roman numeral inspiration...

4) During a party, guests will use a large amount of glasses, plates and napkins, so rather than using paper plates and napkins and plastic cups, contact a local rental company and rent real plates, silverware, cloth napkins and glasses for your guests to use. The great thing about this is that you can return them and they literally do the dishes for you! Or if you entertain a lot like I do, invest in a set of plates, silverware, glassware and napkins for 16 people so that you reduce your party trash by reusing this set anytime you’re entertaining (try IKEA for affordable yet chic dishware you can buy in bulk).
5) If you are really trying to be Eco-friendly, there are websites like www.carbonfootprint.com or www.nature.org/greenliving/carboncalculator/index.htm where you can calculate your carbon footprint and then go to a site like www.carbonfund.org or www.terrapass.com and purchase carbon credits to offset the carbon that you have used to throw your party.

Let me know if you decide to try any of these tips for your Super Bowl XLVI party! And be sure to leave any great tips you have for Eco-friendly entertaining in the comment section below. Together, we can all do our part to create experiences that are not only extraordinary for our party guests, but also the planet!
-Brian

My Own Outdoor Room

Hey Ya’ll,

At 6am the other morning, a large pile of lumber was delivered to my house as Jamie Durie, the awesome landscape artist who has a client list that includes A-List celebrities and five-star hotels around the world, will embark on the challenge of redoing my backyard!

I moved into my house in November of last year and sadly, pretty much everything back there has died or is on its last leg.  That is also not saying much because the previous owners left a rusty IV stand back there among a variety of fruit trees and three different styles of fencing that are all in desperate need of help!

Jamie is best known for the show that he hosts, Outdoor Room on HGTV where he finds the saddest, most depressing backyards and makes them into amazing spaces, similar to what I do when designing an event!  Ok, so now you are wondering why I am not designing my own backyard since I am a designer and the simple answer is two fold. One, I don’t have the time to redo my yard and two, I don’t know the first thing about landscaping, plants or anything in that world.  I’ve never had to landscape a yard as a party design challenge, so I am excited to let an expert do what he does best so that I can continue to do what I do best, produce events!

Literally four days later, my new backyard was revealed to me and I honestly don’t recognize it.  I asked for a space where I can entertain as well as a comfortable area to hang out and enjoy Southern California, and that is what I got!  I now have a very large deck (which explains the huge pile of lumber!), amazing seating areas, tons of plants and greenery as well as privacy from my neighbors.

I’ve included some before pictures of the yard (above) and if you want to see what is looks like now, you have to wait until the spring when the show starts to air on HGTV.  I can’t ruin the surprise for everyone, what is the fun in that?  Now I have the challenge to turn my brown thumbs into green thumbs!

Take a look at my yard before and if you have any suggestions for what Jamie or I should have done let me know… then watch the show to see if you were close to creating the same extraordinary experience.
-Brian

Pumpkin Time!

Hey Ya’ll,

Have you ever carved a jack-o-lantern too early and ended up with a soggy, moldy, collapsed mess come Halloween? It’s the worst! For this reason, I recommend waiting until the week of your Halloween bash to carve your prize gourd or opting for a no-carve design!

Here are a few carving ideas to inspire the perfect pumpkin design for your party:

I also like these creatively carved pumpkins by Southern Living:
However, this year I’ve decided to skip all the gutting, carving and clean up! Instead, I’m going to try my hand at creating a few of these gorgeous no-carve ideas using items like thumbtacks, fishnet stockings, lace, decorative tape, ribbons or paint. Check it out:

You can find these inexpensive foam faces at http://www.orientaltrading.com

At http://www.cutetape.com, you'll find decorative tape in every color and pattern!

Tip: An un-carved pumpkin will last and last, while creating a beautiful autumn vibe around the house from now until Thanksgiving!

Finally, whether you decide to carve or not, try to purchase your pumpkins at a local farmers market. This helps reduce your carbon footprint and is a much more eco-friendly option than those supermarket pumpkins being driven and shipped into town. You can also go straight to the source, by visiting a local pumpkin patch to pluck your favorite one right off the vine!

I hope these ideas help you create the perfect pumpkin decorations for your extraordinary Halloween experience! Let me know what your gourds are going to look like this year in the comment section below.
-Brian

Guest List: Phase 2 and Invitations

Hey Ya’ll,

For the second phase of creating your guest list, I suggest keeping a few key factors in mind…

The first of which, are the holiday’s date and the date of your party. As any holiday approaches, the number of parties that people are invited to dramatically increases and they may end up having as many as three or four parties to attend in one evening.

To avoid the battle of the guest list, throw your party earlier rather than closer to the actual holiday. If you are going to throw the party closer to the holiday, just know that your guests may stop by, have a drink, say their hellos, and then head out to the next event—try not to take it personally!

Next, always keep your budget in mind. The more people you invite, the more you will end up spending on the party (i.e. food & beverages, napkins, plates, etc.). So, if you have a tight party budget, make your affair intimate and if you want to go all out…. invite everyone you know!

Finally, I have always found that it is easiest to invite people that have something in common (usually the host), but it is also a fun opportunity to introduce people that don’t know each other yet… think of it as speed dating or friendship match making!

Now that you have narrowed down your guest list, let’s talk invitations. My recommendation is to create a unique evite that reflects your party’s theme. (Note: I am not a fan of using Facebook event invites because not everyone spends all day on Facebook, and people use Facebook for so many different reasons—managing invitations aren’t usually a priority.)

I suggest using a website like cocodot.com, which offers a modern and more exciting way to invite guests to an event. Think: luxury online invitations!  Also, sending evites is a 100% Eco-friendly option. Here’s a quick example of an invite created using cocodot:

However, as much as I love to try to produce all my events with the environment in mind, receiving an invitation via snail mail is just so much fun!  Here are two creative ideas via MarthaStewart.com:

        

Do you know who you’re inviting to your party and how you’re inviting them? Let me know in the comment section below.

Whatever you decide to send out, remember that your invitation is your first chance to make a great impression and the first opportunity for your guests to get excited about the extraordinary experience your working so hard to create!
-Brian