Amy & Mark's White Mountain Wedding Featured on the Green Bride Guide (Plus Simple and Stylish Steps You Can Take to Go Green)
Congratulations are in order for Amy and Mark, whose thoughtful White Mountain Wedding is now being featured as a Real Green Wedding on the Green Bride Guide's website. The site was founded by Kate Harrison, the author of The Green Bride Guide, and is a highly helpful resource for any couple planning an environmentally-sensitive wedding. This is my second Real Green Wedding to be featured. Last year, Sara and Dean's eco-friendly October wedding at the Asticou Inn in Northeast Harbor was also posted. You can read about their wedding on the Green Bride Guide by clicking here.
As I mentioned last year when writing about my experience (and the education I received in the process) working with Sara and Dean as they planned their green Maine wedding, I've learned that having a green wedding isn't some idealistic endeavor only embarked upon by granola-types. Instead, it's a common-sense, courteous way of thinking about your wedding and considering its impact. Going green forces you to focus your wedding priorities, and surprisingly, results in an often more affordable, less complicated and more personalized event.
Amy and Mark couldn't have been more deserving of the Green Bride Guide's spotlight (illuminated, of course, by an Energy Star certified CFL). Not one single detail of their day escaped eco-consideration and the result was a win-win-win wedding: the day truly reflected the couple's ideals and thus was a most fitting way to fete their marriage; the guests were spoiled by the setting and unarguably treated to the tastiest wedding food ever (how do you top a salad with greens picked on site that very morning); and of course, the planet and its people (especially local vendors) benefited in ways too numerous to name.
In hopes of educating others about the greening process, Amy and Mark were kind enough to share with me and the Green Bride Guide editorial team their planet-friendly planning primer. While it's important to note that both Amy and Mark work in the environmental field --he is a Civil Engineer who earns a living by specializing in wastewater and water improvement projects for Interstate Water and Wastewater Specialists and she is an Environmental Scientist working for the Hach Company as a Regional Sales Manager-- their decision to go green was about more than just walking their day job talk.
"It was very important to me to have a sustainable wedding. I have attended and been a part of over 25 weddings and always felt like there was a lot of waste involved with weddings. It was one of the reasons I waited so long to have my own wedding," Amy explained to me. "At the end of the day, I know we saved money and I felt good about not ending up with a pile of waste. We received so many compliments on how our wedding was unique and inspiring. Several of our friends who attended our wedding are planning their own weddings and decided to incorporate some of our ideas. It was more work than a traditional wedding held at a conference or banquet center but completely worth it. Our wedding reflected who we are as a couple and brought us back full circle to how we fell in love; enjoying the outdoors together. Our outdoor green celebration allowed us to share with our closest family and friends our love for the environment. We hope it left each guest with a better appreciation of the wondrous world of nature and all of its surprises."
Here are some of the day's best eco-elements:
All the day's paper products from programs to place cards and invitations too were printed by the couple on recycled paper and included their signature fern and green and brown color scheme. And because so many wedding guests were from out of town, "We put as much information up on our wedding website as possible to limit the amount of paper needed to be printed and used for the invitations for directions, etc," Amy said.
The stunning setting where the ceremony was held needed no dressing up, so Amy and Mark opted for the existing silvery birches and greenery being the floral focal point. For inside the reception tent, the couple worked with their florist (from Main Street Florist in nearby Woodstock, New Hampshire) to incorporate birch and fern inspired florals into the decor to reflect the white birch forest and ferns right outside surrounding the tent and at the ceremony knoll. "The centerpieces were hollowed out birch logs filled with in-season flowers," explained Amy. "The bouquet stems were wrapped in raffia instead of ribbon. The boutonnieres were made with local leaves and ferns. Flowers used to decorate the tent and other areas around the property were provided right from the Baldwin's garden."
New Hampshire was where the couple first fell in love, and they wanted their guests to experience their new home state at its best. As a result, the weekend became as much about celebrating Amy and Mark, as it did the granite state. "Our guests were traveling from all over New England, New Jersey, and as far away as the Netherlands. We wanted to make the entire weekend wedding experience a special one, customized by us with local influences of flavor from New Hampshire. I moved out of New Jersey shortly after graduating from Rutgers University and marrying Mark was solidifying my roots in New Hampshire. I wanted to share with all of our guests why I love New Hampshire so much and give them a glimpse of what the White Mountains are really all about," said Amy.
When Amy's good friend and rowing partner, Sarah, offered up her parent's 70+ acre homestead abutting the White Mountain Forest, the couple's hearts and their stomach's instantly said yes! "It seemed like a perfect fit...and I knew having it there would allow me to choose Sarah as my caterer (her business is named Welcome Home Personal Chef). I knew Sarah was more than willing to prepare an all vegetarian fare that was near and dear to my heart," Amy explains. "Also, with the large fruit, vegetable, and herb garden, live egg-laying chickens, and Jack the donkey, Sarah would be able to harvest most of what ingredients she needed right from the Baldwin's backyard!" (Note that no donkeys were harmed in the making of this marriage, though Jack did get lots of love and attention on the wedding day.)
The day's menu reflected Amy's vegetarianism, with no meat, seafood or chicken. Ingredients were hand picked right from the wedding site property including all the eggs used in the main course quiches. The salad was made with lettuce handpicked that very morning. Local cheeses and artisan bread and crackers were munched on during the cocktail hour, while guests sipped local beer from the Woodstock Brewery, organic wine and the signature cocktail- a mojito-inspired concoction with mint right from the garden. "I was really nervous about the menu but continue to hear how delicious the food was. There was not much food left but what little remained was used to feed the chickens on the property or the servers and their families," said Amy. "We brought our own tupperware and froze some leftovers of food and cake to enjoy when we returned from our honeymoon in Italy. We were really happy about that once returning back to the States exhausted and jet lagged."
The placecard holders were made out of corks the couple had saved over the years since they started dating, and guest were encouraged to keep them as a gift to hold photos or recipe cards.
In hopes that their guests would go green too, Amy and Mark opted for bookmark favors that were made out of recycled paper containing wildflower seeds that could be planted in the garden or pot. And when guests check into the Woodstock Inn, they were warmly greeted with welcome bags - made of 100% recycled brown bags and tied with dyed green recycled banana leaves- chock full of homemade cookies and brownies from the groom's mother's kitchen, bottle of water, and a program of events for the weekend. Rubber stamps with cut outs of ferns were used with green 100% water based ink pads to decorate the brown gift bags. These stamps were also used on the place cards, menu cards, invitations, and thank you cards.
Amy had told me she and Mark really wanted a wedding album, but were hesitant to order one because a leather album went against her vegan values. After doing some research, I was able to offer them vegan wedding album, which months after receiving, Amy admits to me she's still staring at! "We recently received the album and much to my delight, all of the packaging was handmade paper and wrapped in glorious recycled pineapple leaves, handmade paper ribbon and recycled mulberry leaves. The corrugated box it came in was completely recyclable as well," she raved. You can see more of Amy and Mark's wedding album here.
Thank you for sharing, Amy and Mark! And, I encourage you to head over to the Green Bride Guide to read more about their wedding and about the simple steps you can take to green your own wedding. You can also stay right here on my blog and read a previous post featuring my interview with Sarah and Dean about their green wedding planning process here.)
I hope to photograph more green New England weddings in the coming seasons, and of course, would love you to contact me (and visit the Green Bride Guide) if you are planning one.