Eco-Friendly Weddings Made Easy

The best part of being the Founder of Beauty Heroes is the people I have met on this path, amazing visionaries, leaders, inspiring women and all around really smart people. The Beauty Heroes community is made up of those who know better, want better and do better. We, as a community seek to use less, and love more. Recently while corresponding with one of our customers about healthy beauty and lifestyle, I discovered that she started Le Vert Bride, that plans intentional and eco-friendly weddings, from the wedding dress to the honeymoon. Talk about using less and loving more. Naturally, I had to learn more.

Susannah Dellinger, is that customer and the Founder of Le Vert Bride. She is a Beauty Heroes member and my new Hero. I recently asked Susannah some questions about eco-friendly weddings and when she responded she added that in light of the recent attack in Orlando, she is donating her wedding planning services to five same sex couples in support of love and equality. So, please read on to learn more about why you want to and how you can plan a gorgeous and green wedding. And, if you know a same-sex couple who would love to get some help with theirs, be sure to let Susannah know!

Jeannie Jarnot: What sparked you to start Le Vert Bride?  Was it planning your own wedding, or a friend’s wedding?

Susannah Dellinger: Le Vert Bride really came to me when I had just worked on a makeup client at her wedding  (my background is in luxury cosmetics). At that time I was feeling moved to share my own organic health and eco journey that I had discovered from ongoing health issues. I was playing around with how best to spread what I was learning and it hit me square in the face!  Brides are starting out their lives with this big, beautiful day and how incredible would it be begin married life by lowering your environmental impact and giving back to the earth at the same time? I was excited to see brides light up at the thought that they could use their day in such a positive and meaningful way. What I’ve found is that most people WANT to make a difference; they just don’t where to start. They are relieved to find out they can have the wedding of their dreams while still being kind to the planet. It’s such a win/win and no brainer!

JJ: What services do you offer your clients?  Do you plan the whole wedding applying eco-best practices?  Or do you work with a wedding planner?  

SD: I offer multiple services since a bride’s needs vary. I either consult with their wedding planner on eco-luxe selections (such as Venue, Catering, Invites, Floral), or I work directly with the bride and plan the wedding of their dreams all with eco-luxe options that fit their style and budget. For example, a couple I’m working with now met with me after they had already picked their venue location, but within the first week I was inspired to share a few other venue options that were socially responsible. They fell in love with one that I presented, the modern and sophisticated South Carolina Aquarium that fit their style and supports the largest sea turtle hospital on the east coast. They are huge ocean lovers so they were excited to that their wedding could support a cause that was deeply meaningful to them.

South Carolina AquariumEven if a bride doesn’t want to have the entire wedding be completely green, there are four main areas that I advise on how to lower the environmental impact: venue, food, paper (Invites) and floral.

The average wedding creates over 400 pounds of trash! When you tally up the number of weddings that take place annually in the US that becomes a staggering figure. For food also recommend using local and sustainable options that are local to the wedding location. Here in Charleston, South Carolina, we are lucky to have the Sustainable Seafood Initiative and amazing local organic farmers.

South Carolina Aquarium_Eco-Friendly WeddingOne of my favorite eco-luxe products are these gorgeous plantable invitations I recently stumbled upon. They are heavy beautiful cardstock that have been seeded with wildflower seeds. Guests can literally plant the invite in the ground or a container and stunning flowers bloom to remind them of your wedding day!

We work on every aspect of weddings ranging from a socially reasonable photographers, ethically sourced or local bridesmaid gifts, green hotel and lodging options to eco-travel honeymoon options.

JJ: What are a few of your easy green tips that any bride can get to make her special day more sustainable? 

SD: The first thing is to ask your vendors about their sustainability practices and how they can help you lower the impact of your wedding. Most caterers (even ones that don’t call themselves organic) will work with local & sustainable food vendors and farmers if you just ask them to consider what is in season where you live at that time of year. They will also accommodate a request to not use plastic to transport your food, just ask for “no waste in/ no waste out” at your reception.

Work with your wedding planner to find out other ways such as the gorgeous invite options, swapping out flowers that have been shipped from overseas for local blooms (they will smell fresher as well) and consider mixing gorgeous into your reception décor instead of all cut flowers (less water waste).

FullSizeRender-1One of my favorite tips, and a service I offer my brides and grooms is to coordinate the donation of left over flowers and food to local senior citizen homes, hospices and local food banks. I am working on donating a blooming trellis to the outdoor garden of a hospice right now. What better way to start your life together than a donation for others to enjoy that will last for years?

JJ: How do you think having a wedding that is more eco-sensitive enhances the event?  What do your clients tell you about their event once it’s over? 

SD: First of all it feels great!! I have noticed it really does cut down on some of the stress of planning the wedding when you focus on what you are giving the world with your day through either the donations from the venue you chose (many venues will donate a portion of your fee to a charity they are affiliated with), the donations of your floral/flood, as well as the interesting conversations that result with friends and family as you share aspects of your day! The plantable invitations are a favorite as it’s something many guests have never seen. Newly engaged couples call our former brides asking how they found them and it starts a great conversation about doing better for our planet.

On the flip side, it’s interesting how many guests will never even notice that your wedding had an eco luxe spin unless you tell them! I focus on the luxury and feel of a wedding, just as much as the eco aspects. Guests always comment on just how beautiful our events are while the couple smiles to themselves knowing that they also did well at the same time.

JJ: Do you think that weddings in the United States are more wasteful that weddings in other parts of the world?  What have you learned, if anything from other cultures? 

SD: I don’t want to single out weddings here versus weddings abroad, as each culture has their own traditions. I think what’s most interesting about US weddings is that we’ve adopted a lot of customs into our weddings based on our heritage, and I think that’s exciting and beautiful. Long gone are the days of throwing rice and harming birds! We definitely have some of the largest weddings in the Western world, but India has us beat with their multi-day wedding celebrations!

Leila dress 1JJ: What about eco-fashion?  Are there any designers making organic wedding gowns?  

SD: Yes! Sustainable fashion is near and dear to my heart. It’s one of the hardest areas to get a bride to consider, but when they do, they are surprised at how stunning they are! One of my favorites right now is Leila Hafzi from Nepal. Her Instagram is gorgeous with stunning couture bridal that is hand beaded. She’s been crafting sustainable bridal gowns for over 10 years, and they are nothing short of remarkable. I think it is so beautiful to help a bride realize that she can make a difference in a woman’s life from a third world country by supporting ethical and sustainable clothing options for herself and her bridesmaids.

I also follow Livia Firth on Instagram who started the #whomademyclothes sustainable fashion movement. With her celebrity status (she is Colin Firth’s wife), she is sharing bringing to new ethical designers constantly.

JJ: In general, if a bride decides to make her wedding more sustainable, will she save money, or spend a little bit more?

SD: That’s a great question because eco-luxe, sustainable and organic has a reputation for being more costly. I work with brides and grooms of all budgets and there are many ways to get the same “wow effect” at the same price or less than a traditional wedding. Rarely is it more costly to “choose green”.  I do think a lot of that depends on who your consultant or planner, so I recommend working with a consultant who understands different levels of options and can save you money and waste.

JJ: How did you first hear about Beauty Heroes?  

SD: I started my obsession with beauty heroes through a now dear friend’s you tube channel: Mercedes with L’Amour et la Musique. When I was first started discovering eco and organic beauty and lifestyle, I turned to YouTube to help educate myself on cleaner personal care products. I loved her channel immediately! We started corresponding via email since we had several things in common and recently met for the first time! Mercedes couldn’t stop raving about Beauty Heroes, so I signed up immediately. I love the idea of slowing down the discovery process. I have very sensitive and acne prone skin, so too much too soon is an issue for me. Knowing someone was curating a healthy, green Hero product every month was so intriguing! What made me a customer for life is the amazing service you offer. When I was feeling overwhelmed with my skin and emailed a product question, I was floored to hear back directly from you, the Founder of the company! The information you share is invaluable and you make it so easy to understand what we should and shouldn’t look for, for example in a body oil!

JJ: What’s been your favorite Beauty Heroes selection and why?

SD: That’s tough! I would have to say the SkinOwl Mangosteen Beauty Drops PM! I am really cautious with any oil that I put on my skin, but it just smelled amazing. I knew Mangosteen fruit was a superfood so I started using the tiniest amount and then was hooked and now use 1 1/2 droppers every night as an acne treatment, since I don’t want to use the prescriptions from my dermatologist (so many toxins I there!).  I travel quite a bit, so I also love it for long flights and pressing a couple drops on my lips, around my eyes and even on my elbows helps so much!

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