My Big Fat Green Wedding -BIG SUR

Spring is in the air, a symphony of birds chirp throughout the day, crickets in
the night. During the 11th hour of planning, it sure went quick and I apologize
for dropping off but I had no time to do anything except plan and keep my head
on straight (although admittedly I lost it a few times). We had an amazing
wedding. I understand why people do it now -it's beyond words. No one should be
denied this experience.

Ken & Janine's Eco Wedding in Big Sur

This was the most intense event I have ever planned. My mother helped me a lot.
So many thanks to her for her incredible organizational skills. She kept me on
track and was my right hand woman. Also thanks to fellow Green Girl, Laura of
Green With Envy (and long time dear friend from high school) who actually told
me about Ventana Inn. Without Laura, we may have had an entirely different kind
of wedding across the street.

If I could recommend resources, I would highly recommend The Green Bride Guide
but also, Celebrate Green which was written by fellow Green Girls! In honor of
my colleagues, I will base my eco-wedding wrap up off of their list of things to
consider when planning an eco-friendly wedding.

Our save the dates, RSVP's, and invites: Digital -except for grandparents
that were printed out on banana paper by "Eco-paper" -a company that produces
paper from different agricultural waste in Costa Rica.

Printed programs: Didn't do them. There were printed menus -did not
realize the hotel was going to make these for us … darn! oversight!

Table cards: Were created on handmade seed paper by our invitation
artist, Amy Tan –and I was just able to recycle those into the creation of
shadow boxes as Christmas gifts to my family
The cards used for each person were made out of seeded paper as well -my mother
ordered those

Gown: Rented from One Night Affair in Los Angeles. I got a $5000 dress
for less than $900!

Bouquet: part of my wedding location "package", made with organic plants
and flowers that matched our wedding theme which was grey and yellow as inspired
by dusty millers, & spider mums.
I did throw in my favorite flower, the protea -native to hawaii but a huge plant
exists at the Big Sur Bakery over by the gas pumps. They are grown on flower
farms here so it was not shipped from Hawaii. I found out after the fact that
Dusty millers are not indigenous either; didn't think about it until after the

Veil: Bought from a local designer, Tessa Kim -not sure if I will donate
it yet or put it into a shadow box for display -I really loved my birdcage veil
that had little crystals on it, representative, to me, of my new husband's band
(The Crystal Method ;)

Something blue: A mala bead bracelet that I would wear during the day. I
had said an affirmation on (given to me by a couple of my favorite yogi's, Ana
Brett & Ravi Singh. They had based the affirmation on the numerology of Ken's
birthdate!). This would "double" later his wedding gift that night.

Something old: -My grandmother's wedding hankie!

Necklace: I just used something I already had :)

Earrings: Custom made by Liza, who designed our wedding rings -also with
crystals in them -she gives back to charities, is eco-minded (as she used to
have a green store in addition to her jewelry business).

Tux: Ken rented an eco-tux made from recycled plastic bottles from
eco-stylist and friend, Phu Styles.

His boutonniere: Included in our "package" -matched our inspiration of
the grey and yellow with dusty miller and organic yellow spider mum

Bridal party's attire: Made by a local LA designer, Laura of Matrushka
Construction. The style was simple, the colors (although both in the grey family
-were picked out as colors my sister and aunt would like so they could wear
their dresses again. I also allowed my girls to pick out their favorite designs
from Matrushka so I could pick the final I thought would best go with my dress
and flatter them both. The dress design was called the Jean Harlow, and just
like old Hollywood glam, it will never go out of style. These dresses are
something both my aunt and my sister good about. My sister's was made short as
that is what she prefers, and my aunt's made long. The cool thing about
Matrushka Construction is that all designs are made of left over fabrics so I
had to pick a color close to the date of when we were going to make it as the
fabrics once they are gone, are gone. Laura is also very involved
environmentally in the Silverlake community where she lives and has her store
and has lots of cool conscious and integrated living events at her store.

Best men: Scott used an old designer suit, and his brother rented

Children's clothing: I didn't want to be too hard on the parents, so I
allowed them to do whatever with our ring bearer -for our flower girl, she wore
a dress made for her by Matrushka Construction as well.

Donating to charities: for the left over attire like,, etc …. I didn't really have too
many things I could donate from the wedding. The earrings are something I will
reuse, Liza has even offered to "rework" them for me at another time to make
them less "wedding like" so I can wear them forever. My shoes might be an option
but I think I need to take a special photo shoot in them first ;) …. I loved
my shoes! I honestly tried looking for shoes from so many sources, I looked for
vintage shoes -couldn't find any that worked, I looked on eco-responsible sites
like,, etc … the thing is this. I wanted them to
go with my dress, I personally like height so I was not doing Tom's unless they
had glittery wedges, which they didn't, and really I wanted something my husband
would like too -he's particular and prefers, actually like I do, a certain kind
of peep toe shoes. I ended up finding the perfect shoes –I loved them and I
have already worn them again to a movie premier. I will probably end up donating
them but I am scheduling that photoshoot and I might where them to one more
event first ;) I was not sure what purse I was going to use until that day
although I had bought one for the wedding from Emersonmade, the same place that
made the family boutineirres. I bought it because I love that company and love
her work. It was also made of linen and the flower detaches so I can wear it in
my hair for a different occasion (as we were going to have another celebration
where more of Ken's extended family could come in October although due to a
series of unfortunate events, it is indefinitely put off -the flower will be put
to use either staying on my clutch, or in my hair). Without the flower the
clutch is very simple and therefore very versatile. Although my sister eneded up
getting a bouquet anyway as it was part of the package, I had bought her a felt
purse from Etsy, and my aunt I bought a purse also from Emersonmade -this would
be there gifts from me and I thought a cute way for them to coordinate with me
in the pictures.

Rings: Ethically sourced diamond from Australia, the platinum was 100%

Ceremony Locale:
Suggestion was have the wedding and the reception within walking distance from
each other -ours was at a resort in Big Sur. Really only 12 people were in
attendance at our actual ceremony. We had another ceremony for the remainder of
our 64 guests at the exact spot the reception was -a "jumping the broom"
ceremony. Cozy location for heat in the winter: Well …it was always planned
for outside with heaters if need be -not going to lie but we were lucky in that
it was record hot that day. Unfortunately I was not able to use my beautiful
bamboo shawl by Aunt had bought me from Naturally Knotty, which matched my dress
exactly! We did have it during the day, however, so that we could always have
access to the sunlight.

Flowers reception: succulent arrangements DIY, dusty miller plants
potted, and yellow flowers were the DIY kits from of gerberas
and spider mums! (They actually added the spider mums as a request by me! -thank
you OrganicBouquet!). is also based out of California as well
as the growers we would be getting our flowers from.

Flowers as boutineer: Custom order from the company, Emersonmade who
consciously creates their products. They are handmade by Emerson and made from
linen therefore they were a souvenir/ memento for the family members in
attendance to the actual ceremony.

My bouquet: Beautiful, I loved it, I am sure it was a "standard" size but boy!
If I had only known to ask, I probably would have requested my size to be my
sister's size -it was too big for me -beautiful -had it wrapped in twine, loved
that but big -I would not have changed the arrangement -that's what Ken and I
wanted, but it could have been smaller for sure. Now that I think of it, I think
it would have been cute to have my bouquet be part of my table arrangement as we
had pretty pots for the dusty millers. I also like the "single flower" idea
given by "Celebrate Green" -although I would have had 3 items then, a protea, a
spider mum, and a bit of dusty miller (again, wrapped in twine).

Flower girl bouquet: It was a DIY. I bought a natural dried flower
arrangement made from mangos. In the jumping of the broom ceremony that my aunt
would speak at, she had bought some ribbon from a conscious store near her. She
had used the ribbon on my bridal shower gift, and then she gave me some to wrap
my broom. I had my eco-stylist friend Phu, wrap both the flower girl bouquet and
the broom. Her bouquet is going into a shadow box for her.

Broom: We got ours from Broom Magic only uses wood that
has naturally fallen off of trees to make their brooms. My beautiful spiritual
sister and officiant Tess will be getting one as her wedding gift -fitting for
the woman that wrote the book, "Magical Housekeeping".

Ring Pillow: We didn't use one! We used instead, a beautiful wood box
from Costa Rica that our friend Lori had given to us as a thank you for letting
her come hang out with us at our Costa Rican house. After the wedding it went
back to the house where it holds special items, like my personal yoga mala.

Reception food: I think the buffet would have been more expensive at the
resort than the plated lunch we had served for our guests so we went plated. The
resort specializes in fresh foods that are locally sourced. Their herbs they
grab from on property! Our menu was 2/3 vegetarian actually! We had a vegan
option, a vegetarian option, and a sustainable fish option. All items were
locally sourced. My only lament was that although I made it explicitly clear
that the 1 vegan option had to be actually vegan, I did not realize that I had
to explain that on the salad that came out beforehand, that for the vegans
(myself and my girlfriend who married us, Tess Whitehurst) had to be vegan too.
I am not a strict vegan although I eat vegan probably 4 to 5 times a week. My
downfall is goat cheeses, I can go without cow cheese. Anyway, I ate goat
cheese, but my girlfriend had to give hers to her significant other, Ted.
There were no food leftovers as it was good and everyone finished their meals,
although unfortunately they took Ken and I's salads before we were done on
mistake because we had gotten up to socialize. Just a minor detail that got
overlooked and I never would have realized to think of in advance.
We were not able to get a vegan cake from Ventana in. However, they did make
sure all the ingredients were organic. We had a wrapper-less petit four cake on
a cardboard cakestand! I think next time I might actually would have tried
harder to find a cake stand that had already been used, or one that could be
reusable as I dream of having commitment ceremonies at our home in L.A. I liked
the cardboard cakestand because it represented us, it was our punk statement
against traditional values. We did not decorate the cakestand with any ribbon as
I was trying to be talked into, instead we only adorned it with natural tapioca
wood flowers in the shape of roses, gardenias, and some other pretty cone like
design of which I still have many for decorations in the future and which I have
been able to use in my shadow boxes as well!

Drinks: little bottles of water were banned from my ceremony :) So we had
a large receptacle down there with water and glassware from the bar. We also had
organic lavender lemonade made with agave instead of sugar.

Liquor: We had a special drink my mom found available for our guests
called "Love in the Afternoon" which was basically a Tangerine Mimosa with rose
water. My mother found the drink in some magazine like Sunset. It was special
because Ken and I had a big date at "Love", the Cirque du Soleil Beatles musical
tribute at the Mirage. Being at the resort it was hard to control what they had
available and we could not bring in our own so we worked with what they had. We
used the resort's glassware.

Table Linens: Rented linens for the tables. The runners were a DIY
project my mom did -we picked out a natural fiber material we bought in bulk.

Napkins: we actually bought the napkins since they were going to be the
same price to rent. They are a nice light grey that will come in hand in many
other entertaining situations since I throw benefit parities for my non-profit,
Green Wave. I have actually used them already at a Green Wave private donor's
dinner I had at our home this past February.

Centerpieces: Potted dusty millers that we have kept alive so we can
plant them (just waiting on my gardeners as we are in the middle of
transitioning landscaping), the succulent arrangements I wish I had people take,
I thought I would use them around our house, but Ken's mom, who had made them
for us, actually very meticulously and sweetly, took them all apart, and
replanted the the succulents around her yard (so they went to good use), cleaned
the bowls and put all the sand back in bags for me! So actually we just made two
arrangements yesterday (as I realized after the fact that I could only see two
spots in our house currently that could use them) and we assembled them from the
bowls I had bought to house the bouquets, and the sand from the reception, and
we repacked the succulents from her yard :)

Name cards: Could be technically planted as they were made of seeded
papers, and most everyone took theirs as souvenirs so there was no (at least
immediate) waste.

Table names: A few people took for mementos as well, the remainder, as I
mentioned we are using for shadow box gifts. They were hand painted by Amy Tan
of Treespace studio, created on handmade seeded paper. Ken and I picked out
inspirational names for the tables like Love, Light, Harmony, Bliss, and Cloud 9
(our table) ;)

Ice Sculptures: Celebrate Green says ice sculptures are virtually no
waste, but we had no need for one and I'm so glad we didn't -they would not have
made it in the 105 degree heat that day! We also had sunlight, so no need for
any other powered light source or candles.

Favors: I made my own! I bought natural muslin bags and stuffed them with
organic chamomile and sea salts to create a foot/ bath soak. I also included a "beering"
boutineer -so everyone had something to wear that day if they chose. My uncle
Scot put it top center on his cowboy hat and Tess's man put it on as well -Tess
had her own Emersonmade one :)
Not communicated well so maybe people think they are chamomile sachets … I
need to send an email out! And hopefully no one mistook it for tea!

Registry: Created on -it allowed us to pick from any
website on the internet. Ken and I went out of our way to select only from Green
Stores. As I have a non-profit, people of course had the option of giving to
Green Wave as well.

Traditions: We created our own. There was no toss (it was prohibited at
the resort anyway -lol! – who wants to clean up an environmental mess?!) No
garter toss but my Aunt bought me a garter from a company that recycles old
Irish lace -gorgeous memento! And my beautiful friend and designer Meghan
created two awesome handmade garters for me as well as a gift for my bridal
shower to be worn at the LA party we would have after the wedding! We also did
not do a bouquet toss. My sister will be receiving a special bouquet made of the
same mango flowers the flower girls bouquet was as her wedding gift (beside that
felt Etsy purse I bought her).

What I learned:

There are great resources all over the web and of course in print (go to the
library or borrow from your wedded friends).
One of the Green Wave tag lines we have is "Be Aware and Share". Sharing is
important … share your ideas with others -they might even have better ones
than you do! A lot of times the stress will make you think of complex solutions
when there might be a much simpler one. Simply talking it out with someone else
might, if nothing else, just give you spring board for something you can search
online for.

Communication is huge! I could definitely re-do some of the communication. Just
ask as many questions as you possibly can. Ask your planner and your friends for
lists of questions to ask. If you don't ask, you will be surprised! I was
surprised with the menus my wedding location printed on "my behalf" -whoops!
There were also other "mishaps" that occurred because I did not think to tell
the hotel staff to keep everything and therefore, some items were thrown away,
like my cardboard cake stand :( At least it will break down.

On positive note, communication did work well with my two girlfriends Ann Murray
(who threw my fabulous bachelorette party), and Laura Rankin (who threw my
bridal shower). I made specific requests that the parties must be vegan and as
eco-friendly as possible. Those girls delivered, and it goes to show when you
express yourself clearly, people come through. The people that love us, want to
see us happy. (Even family members that are not so green gave me eco-friendly
presents this past Christmas because they knew it would make me happy. Gotta
love family). I will write a couple posts next year about those parities, as
they were deserving of press :) as well as our after LA wedding celebration

That day was an incredible experience that makes me want to renew my vows yearly
with my husband. We had so much fun. I'm so happy we didn't elope as I cannot
imagine that day without my family. I am also glad we kept it small because I
was able to spend time with my family and it made a smaller footprint
considering it was a destination wedding. For all you brides and grooms, I wish
you the best! Go forth, get married, and prosper!

You can follow me on Twitter @GreenGeisha

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