How to Plan and Budget for a Green Wedding: Part 1

This was an original post from my previous website and blog, The Green Queen! Original date is May 2012.

As the self-proclaimed Green Queen, I’ve always been a tree hugger (and labeled as one). It is and has always been very important to me to be eco-conscious in all areas of my life. This dates back to my early years when I would hide my grandmother’s aerosol hairspray cans so she couldn’t destroy the ozone layer anymore! I was going to save the world, one hairspray can at a time! Now from covert green ops to full-frontal mission: I embark on a new chapter of life, MARRIAGE! I am planning our wedding to be as ‘green’ as possible! I was nudged to share my ideas, tips and the process. Here’s plans from round 1 of brainstorming!

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The Future Mr. & Mrs.
(in 2012!…babies)

Our carbon footprint. My fiancé and I were born and raised in the Washington DC metro area and we both come from GINORMOUS families, (between the two of us we have 40+ aunts and uncles and that does not include spouses or their children- adding those numbers up and you’ve got about 160 right there). I mean we went 10 deep just to view the space which was bare bones! Sooooo, instead of having a crap-load of F&F (friends and family) fly to our home in California, the two of us and *hopefully* a few friends from the west coast, will be flying east for the fiesta!

Our venue. We are getting married on the campus of our alma mater, The University of Maryland, (gag so sweet, right?!) UMD has tons of resources. UMD is in the middle-ish of our respective hometowns so our F&F from the east coast can car pool or take the metro to our ceremony.  The ceremony, reception and the hotel are all located on campus, everyone will be able to use their feet and the clean campus shuttles as modes of transportation! The icing on the cake is…drumroll…that we will be married on the first stage we performed on together, (so sweet, right?), The Dekelboum Theatre, which is located inside the beautiful and nostalgic Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center (CSPAC).

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Dekelboum Concert Hall
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A Rabbit’s Tale
(the Future Mr. is inside that giant puppet and I’m on the back of the little puppet!

Sustainability. I have already been in touch with the school’s Department of Sustainability and we are working together along with the campus’s catering, Good Tidings, to create a green catering menu. We will be trying to utilize only local and seasonal fare for the reception as well as having a mostly vegetarian spread (might have some seafood). We will also be setting up different disposal areas for compost, recycling and trash (the latter we hope will be the smallest of the disposal bins!). Within these areas we will post lists to let our guests know what is acceptable in each! Many people don’t realize how many things are actually compostable and recyclable.

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Veggie Gazpacho w/Pabst bear foam

Transportation. We will be utilizing the campus’s shuttle buses (the same ones we used to ride as undergrads!) to take our guests to and from the hotel. UMD has a fleet of over 60 hybrid and clean diesel campus shuttles and they seat about 40 people per bus.

DIY decorations. I’m currently in the R&D stage with decorations! I’ve joined and become insanely addicted to Pinterest– check out my creative flow. I’m looking at paper flowers, broach bouquets, boa altars, painted mason jars, etc etc- there are soooo many eco-friendly options!

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Broach bouquet

No flowers. Also in the same R&D phase as decorations. I’d rather have personal funky and colorful decorations, I’m not into cut flowers and for me, personally, I feel that they’re a waste. I live amongst living beautiful flowers every day, all seasons of the year in LA, I don’t want to see them cut and than quickly die. Cut flowers also have a negative environmental impact. See here.

Gifts. Still trying to figure this part out. For us -sending and/or taking the love home with us. For our guests – I want to have some kind of cute green party favors for all!

Website and e ‘save the dates’ + invitations. Much to the dismay of he, we will be utilizing technology to the fullest for all of our tech saavy F&F, especially those that like to misplace items ;). The website will save paper and time by having one concrete location for all of our information, i.e. reservation links, guest book, directions and updates. The e-‘save the dates’ will def save paper and can allow our F&F to have digital copies of pictures to send on, print out and post online.

So far so good…I hope, I pray! *Fingers crossed* Now off to Robeks in Hollywood to meet a friend and fellow green gal who has expertise in green event planning. Let’s see what ideas we can conjure up together on dresses, decorations, food etc.

– xOx

No Shit?! Plunging in on Elimination Communication!

Swirl around and around // Going down down down // Swallowing yesterday // We stand // Free from waste // Creating space // Today’s clean slate. 

And we begin, Day 1. 

I have a hippie friend named Aurora who I love dearly, we share the same passions for being ridiculously Earth-conscious, being comically frugal and being referred to as “crunchy af”! 🙂 She’s my play-wife. Our kids are 16 months apart and Aurora has been hella influential in the way I have incorporated crunchiness since even before baby’s birth (she’s the one that started me on the home birth kick and encouraged my vegan pregnancy!). When Aurora told me that she was doing Elimination Communication (EC) aka infant potty-training aka baby peeing and pooping in the toilet before they can even walk and talk, I KNEW I’d be following her down this yellow brick road.

Last week, Aurora gifted me her 2 year old daughter’s former potty, a two-toned hot pink Minnie Mouse potty complete with a lid (he needs to learn y’all!) and a hand-le that shouts “Hip Hip Hooray!” when you “flush”! This potty is a epitome of our relationship! For one, t’s a hand-me-down so no waste and no having to purchase any new plastic items. Two, it was FREE and three, we’re freakin potty-training our infants, well, Aurora’s on her way out! Before I left with my Disney donation, Aurora advised me to start watching for Ro’s cues before and after he peed and to start sitting him on the toilet after every feeding. Check!

This week, I decided to go next level and went down the internet rabbit hole of EC and discovered a woman named Andrea Olson, author of Go Diaper Free, she seems to have this stuff down to a simplified science. I mean, I’m definitely aware that I’ll be teaching a new human to use a toilet, so it will be hit or miss some days, but this lady has 4 kids and they’ve all been out of diapers before the age of 2, so basically I’m going to follow all of her advice! When I read the statistic that most kids in the world are out of diapers around the age of 1 and in America the average baby is in diapers until the age of 3, I was sold on the idea, I mean duh! For the Earth, for our budget and because I believe that this is possible and I’d rather do it now than later when work picks back up or I have another bebe on the way! One of my favorite lines from her website re: our kids and their poo, [do we] “teach them to ignore their instincts, train our kids to poo and pee on themselves and pretend it isn’t there, give them the huge responsibility to train themselves out of something we’ve trained them into? Do we dishonor the Earth by stuffing Her with poo-filled Pampers?” Right?! Because no matter how they label disposable diapers “Pure Pampers”, they don’t break down and they’re mountains of them in our landfills, full of biodegradable waste. Ugh! Makes me so mad! (Side note: use cloth diapers people!) Andrea also shares that in the 1950s, it was common for babies to be potty-trained by 9 months, moms weren’t gonna hand wash those cloth diapers forever! Hell no! I know I’m not about to. Go to Andrea’s site, she has some outstanding free resources, plus monthly q&as and a fantastic blog! If you’re interested in finding out more, seek her out, she’s also on IG. I’ve barely begun to scratch the surface and I feel confident that if I follow her advice, we will be successful!

TODAY, I decided to start putting babes on the toilet for all “pottytunities” as Andrea suggests AND MY BABY PEED IN THE TOILET y’all!! He is not sitting on his Disney throne yet, he’s still wobbly in his sitting and it’s not comfortable for him, so I’ve just been straddling the adult toilet backwards and sitting him in my lap with his thighs in my hands, penis pointing down while I let him stomp on the toilet lid and rip up toilet paper, it’s his new thing and it totally keeps him occupied while we sit there from 10-20 minutes. His incredible first pee happened on our 3rd time on the toilet after we came in from walking the dog, I took him out of his carrier, (a “pottytunity”!) and we sat down, he peed within 2 minutes! I may have gotten a little on my pants, but WHO CARES?! MY BABY PEED IN THE TOILET! I won’t get too crazy excited, I know there’s more consistent work to do and I am all for it! Ro is 7 months and my goal is to have him out of diaper dependence by 15 months! Can it be done?! Stay tuned!

– xOx