Thursday, August 31, 2006

Ethical Wedding Giving

Bonsoir brides and grooms, I am back from les vacances at the beautiful Moulin Fresnaye in the Loire Valley (big thumbs up!). Although fully rested and very relaxed, I am still feeling just a little bit lazy and so am taking this opportunity to crosspost a recent piece I wrote for City Hippy on ethical wedding gift lists. It discusses the various options open to the couple not in the market for more toasters! Do you go for charity giving or an eco gift list? Have a read and let me know your thoughts on the subject - I'm all ears! Present & Correct? Slap bang in the middle of the wedding season, you're probably, like us, being faced with a range of wedding gift lists to examine and dissect. A recent entry in the Observer's regular ethical living column, asked: ‘Can I say ‘I do’ with an eco wedding list?’, and proposed ‘offering up your wedding list to a higher purpose’ discussing the merits of an actual gift list versus a charity gift list where rather than buying gifts, guests donate to the couple's charity of choice. The ‘eco-themed’ list, offering devices to help you make your home more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly was deemed a ‘lite-green’ option as opposed to the charity list which was termed the ‘true ‘ethical’ list’. At Ethical Weddings we wholeheartedly approve of charity gift lists to replace the buying of goods when they are neither needed nor desired (we often use them ourselves for Christmas and birthday gifts) and The Alternative Wedding List will soon be appearing in our directory. However, we also see the ‘eco-themed’ (insert also fair trade, organic and recycled products) as an excellent one-off opportunity. Not only do you get to furnish your home with all those energy-saving devices that you always meant to get around to buying, beautiful organic bed linen and a complete set of fairly traded crockery to supplement the chipped bowl and plate you’ve had since your first term at university (ok, maybe just us!), but you get to showcase these wonderful products to your guests without preaching at them, and you are supporting small producers and community cooperatives who, given the choice, would probably prefer to earn a living from what they create than be the recipients of charity. If you choose to do without a wedding list, that’s great. The only problem is, it’s a wedding, it’s a celebration, however much you tell them not to, your guests will still want to buy you something, and if you don’t give them a clue, that’s when you end up with multiple toasters and kettles. When it comes down to it, the invention of the wedding list was an exercise in sustainability – to avoid waste, avoid duplication by giving the bride and groom just what they need to set up home – and nothing more! There are ethical gift lists out there of all shapes and sizes and to suit all tastes. Ganesha is an Aladdin's cave of lovely fair trade items to make you and your home beautiful. Their wedding gift list launched in March and the happy couple can sign up here! Greenfibres is a well-established online and high street shop in Totnes offering high quality organic and fair trade items for the home. They have an excellent gift list - guests could even contribute to a new marital bed! Find out more here. For something a bit different, why not try Otterton Mill? A centuries old working water mill, their gallery sells work from a selection of the best artists from Devon, Dorset and Somerset. You can support them through The Otterton Mill Wedding List Service selecting unique works of art from the gallery to adorn your walls and surfaces. Or for the eco gift list option, head for the Centre of Alternative Technology. Their wedding gift list has a massive range of products all aimed at helping you live more sustainably; from organic bed linen and towels, recycled wine glasses and bird-nesting boxes through to the UK's best range of environmental books. And if you happen to be Stateside, why not check out one of these stylish eco-friendly stores. BTC Elements, based in California already has a gift list ready and waiting for you, while Greenjeans in Brooklyn are looking forward to launching their gift list later this year. Happy wedding planning! Katie ethicalweddings.com Technorati tags:

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Biological weddings!

Allow me to present my excuses for the lack of posts over the last week... we have been entertaining guests from afar - well, Barcelona! As well as trying to keep their (very cute) 2 year old occupied, I have been attempting to explain the concept of Ethical Weddings to them. They seemed very receptive to the idea but having not spoken Spanish for nearly a year, I was struggling a bit for the translation of eco-friendly, recycled, vintage, fair trade ('comercio justo' since you ask!) ...and organic. 'Organico', 'organica' - I tried but apparently no. In Spain, the term they use for what we understand as organic is 'biologico' - biological. With my English fondness for alliteration, and knowledge of Spanish (wedding in Spanish is 'boda'), I spotted an opportunity to move into the Spanish wedding market with, wait for it... 'Bodas Biologicas'! So, do you fancy a biological wedding? What would a biological wedding consist of? Answers on a postcard please! And talking of postcards, Ethical Weddings is off to France for a week of relaxation and wine tasting so... a bientot mes amis! Katie x ethicalweddings.com Image courtesy of www.freeimages.co.uk Technorati tags:

Friday, August 11, 2006

Bridezilla?

Wow - weddings are world news now! In last week's Sunday Times (under World news), this little gem caught my eye: 'Bridezillas fall to earth with the blues' Apparently, more and more brides are being diagnosed with PWD - that's Post Wedding Depression to you and me (previously described as PND - Post Nuptial Depression in The Observer in 2003, or PBD - Post Bridal Depression on Australia's girl.com). The depression sets in once the confetti has settled, the dress is back in its box, and the last drop of champagne has been drunk. After the build-up to the big day, every day life seems mundane and dull. Sounds worrying... So what can you do to ward off this condition that in some cases has been known to develop into clinical depression? Well, if you're reading this blog, chances are you're doing it already. According to The Sunday Times article, 'The bigger the wedding, the harder the return to ordinary routines'. It goes on to say that, 'The vogue for ever more expensive and elaborate ceremonies appears to be creating a generation of brides-in-therapy who never recover from the loss of attention that accompanied their wedding planning.' Planning an ethical or green wedding, while it can still take up a lot of time, tends to lead brides and grooms to look at ways of downsizing their wedding, to avoid excess and waste wherever possible, and to make the most of local services and products. Picking up the tab once the event is over can be made a bit easier by the thought that some of your hard-earned cash is helping to support businesses and causes that you believe in. All that planning can set you up for a more sustainable married life too as, chances are, you will have stumbled across some great resources in the process of sourcing items such as fair trade clothes, organic food and wine, stylish vegan shoes, ethical jewellery and eco-friendly transport for the big day. And let's not forget the green gift list that's kitted you out with all the latest energy-saving gadgets for carbon neutral wedded bliss! So... in conclusion, if you want to beat the bridal blues, go green! Take care, Katie ethicalweddings.com Technorati tags:

Monday, August 07, 2006

Shoes & Chocolate!

Two ways to a woman's heart... and we've got them both at Ethical Weddings! First up, the stylish but ethical vegan shoe company, Beyond Skin, which boasts Natalie Portman and Chrissie Hynde as fans, will be joining the Ethical Weddings directory when it launches later this year. An exhibitor at the recent Crafts Council 'Well-Fashioned: Eco Style in the UK' exhibition, Beyond Skin's founder, Natalie Dean, declares: “I’d continually found in the past that attempts to combine fashion and ethics generally resulted in one side of the equation being sacrificed. I wanted to prove that they could go hand in hand.” As you can see in this post's pic, I have tasted the proof of the pudding, having been lucky enough to procure a pair for my own wedding last April! Our other newcomer is The - does exactly what it says on the cake tin - Organic Chocolate Cake Company. Trading as Top Hat Cakes since 1985, they thought it was about time their name reflected the fact that they were the first chocolate cake specialists in the UK to be recognised by the Soil Association. They have made cakes for everyone from Aardman Animations to Massive Attack and they could be baking for you. Just make sure you're not too hungry before checking out their fabulous wedding cakes! If you're a potential Ethical Weddings supplier, why not think about taking advantage of our 3 month free trial? Or drop us an email to find out more - we'd love to hear from you. Coming soon... keep a look out for a post from the so far silent partner of Ethical Weddings - it's Jamie, the husband! Take care, Katie ethicalweddings.com Technorati tags: