The Earth Friendly Floral Process via Amanda Jewel Floral and Design

Earth Friendly Floral Process | Written by: Amanda Lankford of Amanda Jewel Floral + Design | Photography by: Katey P Photography 

Some time ago Amanda Jewel Floral + Design had the pleasure of inviting a fellow Black Sheep Bride vendor into our studio to help us tell the visual story of floral design. Katey Penton, owner of Katey Penton Photography, brought her camera and shot our methods for two days.  

At Amanda Jewel Floral + Design, we strive to be as green as possible when it comes to creating beautiful designs for each event. We would like to offer you a little insider view of how we work in our studio.

Step One | Pick up the flowers

Believe it or not, flowers don’t arrive in beautiful packages. They come in plain cardboard boxes with a lot of packing material.  Luckily, we don’t mind because we reuse most of it to pack for events. Whatever is left over we recycle.  

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Step Two | Processing the flowers

This is one of the longer steps when it comes to floral design, and if done correctly is a key ingredient to lasting freshness. Each flower comes in a bundle and must be shed of its cellophane, rubber bands, and then trimmed and pruned.  This part of the process leads to a lot of plant waste, which we use as an opportunity to add to our compost bin. We always have a lawn bag nearby for clippings and excess leaves that come off of each stem.  This never goes in the trash.

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Step Three | Design Day

Once our flower processing is complete, we begin designing – this is the fun part! And if you thought processing the flowers led to a lot of waste, this makes even more!

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Step Four | Compost

Once our bag is full of clippings, we dump it in our homemade compost bin.  This compost is then used in our cut flower bed right outside the studio.  We like to keep our garden full of a variety of things which we can incorporate into our designs.

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Step Five | Event Day

Surprisingly, we can reuse things on an event day instead of simply throwing them in the trash. We always try to recycle/reuse any ribbon, boxes, packaging materials, and any other hard goods that some might throw away.  We turn the flower boxes into a vessel to carry bouquets and arrangements. We use these as many times as we can before they get recycled.  

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Step Six | After an Event

This is always the hardest part. We put so much love and care into the entire flower process that it sometimes seems like events end so quickly that the flowers have not fulfilled their entire purpose.  At this point, we refuse to throw any stem away. In our consultations with brides, we offer a couple of options of what we can do with the flowers after their event. They can either take them home to enjoy, or allow us to donate them to local nursing homes, friends in the community, etc. This brings joy not only to us, but also to those who receive a fresh flower arrangement from us here at Amanda Jewel.

We hope this little insider view of the way we work inspires you to be earth friendly in everything you do. There are many aspects of weddings that are wasteful, and these are a few of the ways we strive to meet the needs of our clients without compromising the ability of future generations to enjoy the beauty of flowers. 

To find out more information about Amanda Jewel Floral + Design visit their website here.

30+ Favorite Wedding Gift Ideas via SoKind Registry

SoKind Registry isn’t like other registries. With SoKind, you can register for anything you want. Really. Anything! You can register for concert tickets, guitar lessons from a talented friend, DIY help, a secondhand stand mixer, a monthly date night, a favorite recipe…you name it, and a SoKind user has probably registered for it!

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Here are some real gifts from real SoKind Registries that we absolutely love:

Fun Experience Gifts

  • Canning lessons
  • Graceland tickets
  • Live music fund
  • Craft party
  • Treasure hunt at a junk yard with us
  • CSA Share
  • Marathon fees
  • Brew lessons for two

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The Right Stuff

  • Sunscreen for the honeymoon
  • Coffee from your city. (“If you have a favorite roaster, buy a bag and we can have a coffee collection to enjoy this year.”)
  • Wedding ring tattoos
  • Tiny home fund
  • Organic Beer Kit
  • Meyer lemon tree
  • Ancestry DNA Kit

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Heartfelt handmade and helpful gifts

  • Pre-wedding guest hosting
  • Board game loans for the wedding reception
  • Stock our bar
  • Three decorating divas on our wedding day
  • Moving help
  • Write us a story!
  • Relaxation tips for newlyweds
  • Wedding scrapbook
  • Dig up perennial plants from your yard  (“We would love to think of you when we head outside and see your beautiful plants in our yard. Hook us up with your flowers and herbs!”)
  • Music list for DJ
  • Pet staycation while on our honeymoon
  • Nerd help (“We’re both interested in learning skills related to small business website design and server maintenance.”)

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More-than-just-money gifts

  • “Get out of jail free card” (“Help us when our car breaks down on our road trip honeymoon.”)
  • Help repaying student loans
  • Potluck rehearsal dinner contributions
  • “The last-minute mishap fund”  (“This is a fund to cover all the last-minute expenses that we know will come up in the last few days of wedding planning.”)
  • Big tip to the best waiter or waitress of our honeymoon trip (“Help us give a huge tip to an unsuspecting waiter/waitress.”)
  • Foster an elephant
  • Papal Blessing of Our Marriage

SoKind Registry was designed as an alternative to the traditional, retail-based gift registries. SoKind Registry wanted to create a platform that allows registrants to receive meaningful, customized gifts from their loved ones while still making the process for the gift-givers easy and elegant. And SoKind Registry knows they’ve succeeded based on all the amazing gifts that SoKind Registry users create. We hope you’ll join their incredible community of couples who want more fun and less stuff!

Create your SoKind Registry today! 

Last Minute Mother’s Day Gifts (That Give Back Instead)

Is your Mom like mine?

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For many years, Mother’s Day was a real challenge for me to prepare for, my mother could care less about brunch, rose bushes, or jewelry. Her love language happens to be quality time, and so is mine… I also love to receive words of affirmation, but that is neither here, nor there (you can email me your kind affirmations at anytime). It wasn’t until I had children, that this dilemma was resolved, due to my own selfish desires. Three years ago, my husband asked me what I wanted to do for Mother’s Day and after much pondering I suggested we go tubing down Rainbow River, a sacred place, for local Floridians, in the spring and summer. I pitched the idea to my Mom and that has been our Mother’s Day tradition ever since.

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No fancy gifts, no overcrowded restaurants, no need to get dolled up. We take a short road trip north, lock our phones in the cars (hence no photos), tie some tubes together, and float in crystal clear water for half the day. This is my idea of fun, where I can JUST BE in the sunshine and refreshing spring-fed waters, with no responsibilities, while my boys hop in and out of the tubes, periodically snorkeling and exploring with their daddy, like untamed baby river otters.

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However we don’t share traditional gifts these days, we still value giving back to others on Hallmark Holidays!

 

Here is a list of 5 amazing organizations and projects you could give to, in honor of your mom!

 

Preemptive Love Coalition – Donate $25 and help refugee moms in Syria and Iraq, by donating in your mom’s honor and receive this sweet digital download to deliver the news.

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Heartful.ly Mother’s Day Campaign – Donate $20 to provide a week of healthy meals to one woman residing at N Street Village, in Washington D.C..

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Every Mother Counts: Donate $25 and provide the basic supplies and treatment needed for a new mother in Uganda to give a safe and healthy birth. #OrangeRose

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Promise Love Foundation: PLF is in place to assist families in need with fundraising the cost of adoption and providing resources to the community about the fostering and adoption process. #NationalFosterCareMonth

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ApParent Project: Host a Mother/Daughter Cereal Box Drive! One cereal box can produce over 50 paper beads and provide over 11 jobs in Haiti!

ApParent Project is a social enterprise non-profit that offers opportunities for the Haitians be able to provide for themselves and their families, empowering them to rise up out of poverty… to be able to keep their families together… to avoid relinquishing their children to orphanages, through upcycled jewelry, home decor, etc.

 

Hope you all have a lovely Mother’s Day! 

10 Ways to Waste Less on Your Wedding Day!

According to Green Bride Guide the average wedding produces roughly 400-600 lbs of waste, per event. Between left over food, flowers, decor, etc there is a lot of waste that comes along with that Pinterest Perfect Wedding Board most couples desire!

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So let’s talk about 10 ways your Big Day can WASTE LESS !

1. Food :

One of the biggest wastes that can be avoided on a wedding day is FOOD! Buffets, cake, prime rib, untouched cocktail hour veggie platters, the possibilities are endless and sadly I have seen it all land in the trash! With hunger at an all time high, it seems so silly to take perfectly good food and throw it away, when there are organizations everywhere across the world taking waste food.

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Photo by Gray Kammera Photography

When I was in LA, last year, I had the opportunity to tour the L.A. Kitchen and learn how they are using unwanted waste food to make amazing dishes for assisted living communities and also employing aged-out foster kids and the previously incarcerated members of society to learn a trade in culinary arts! These places exist all around the country, find a food bank in your area via Feeding America or a food rescue center via The Food Rescue Database.

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Image via Feeding America

Disclaimer: It is common for caterers or food service providers to push back because of the substantial liability for such food donations. Thankfully any good-faith food donations are free from such liability due to the latest federal government law 42 U.S.C. 12672, the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act.

 

2. Flowers:

Imagine the scene… The Bride and Groom are on their way off to their honeymoon and the clean up team is hard at work. As they put away the chairs and dishes they notice one thing they are unsure of what to do with…. Thousands of dollars worth of left over flowers! ‘What should we do with them, we can’ t take them back on the plane’ and the perplexed helper regretfully places piles of fresh roses and hydrangeas in the trash bin!

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Photo by Gray Kammera Photography

PLEASE FRIENDS! There are so many organizations out there ready to take your leftover flowers and uplift and inspire those in hospitals, nursing homes, or rehabilitation centers. Do the research, call ahead and let them know you want to donate these blooms to their cause. They will even give you a tax-write off for your love offering!

Random Acts of Flowers, Petals with Purpose, Floranthrophy, Repeat Roses are just to name a few of the organizations ready to take your blooms.

Video via Random Acts of Flowers

 

3. Gift Registries: 

Back in the day, couples would leave their parents homes and have to make a home from nothing and hence the wedding guests would bring them all the welcome home goodies their newlywed hearts would need. Nowadays the statistics show that couples are getting married later and later in life. They want to have their careers in place and independence aligned before nuptials are even thought of so most of those engaged love birds already have a lot of crap! So let us do our wedding guests a favor and skip the gifts! OR consider a gift registry that doesn’t involve wrapping paper and plastic wrap.

Here are a few charitable/sustainable wedding registries that can help your wedding impact others:

Heartful.ly– A gift registry that empowers couples to fund life changing projects around the world.

So Kind Registry – A registry and wishlist service that encourages the giving of homemade gifts, charitable donations, secondhand
goods, experiences, time, day-of-event help, and more

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If you do still need goodies consider a few fair-trade online options:

Bambeco– Recyclable, sustainable home goods that give back.

West Elm– Support fair trade and often local artisans in each store, West Elm is the perfect one stop shop for any soon-to-be newlywed’s love nest needs!

ZOLA – You can combine all of the things/brands you might need for your new home under one roof and then ship all the goods at once and reduce your waste/carbon footprint. You can also fund a honeymoon, portion of the wedding costs, or donate to charity as well.

 

4. Transportation:

Carpool, Uber, Bicycle, Smart Car, Moped, or charter a boat taxi to take your bridal party to the reception! The eco-friendly options are endless!

 

5. Favors:

Having been to my fair share of weddings I’ve seen a variety of cheaply made wedding favors that no one will ever use again and it breaks my heart. Try sponsoring a child, or redirecting your favor budget toward the charity you plan to support, such as these sweet doggie cookies that support a local dog shelter.

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Photo By Alissa Dineen

 

6. Paper Goods/Invites: 

Paper goods can be one of the most obvious waste makers, but it is equally one of of the easiest parts of the wedding that can lead to positive change. There are so many options like:

Recyclable/Sustainable Paper Types, design shown below by Citrus Press Co. / Photo by Regina As The Photographer

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Or if you are a bit more new school, try an e-vite, or video wedding invite, etc and save some trees and postage along the way!

 

7. Function vs. Fancy

Fancy is fun, we get it! There is a certain level of exclusivity and experience that comes along with black tie affairs, however they aren’t always the most functions and sometime the more wasteful events can be those that are the highest end people with the abilities and budgets to make more sustainable choices. This is where functionality comes into play… The best things in life are simple, functional and intentional… Here are a few examples:

Glass Jars to take home vs. Champaigne Flutes

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Photo by Image Clairity

Decomposable Bamboo Utensils vs. Polished Silver

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Photo by Emily Dykema

Ceremony Programs that double as Pop Corn Bag Holders (or any other reception treat you might choose)

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Photo by Emily Dykema

8. RENT AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE

Renting is far more waste-preventing, and minimally impactful to the environment than flat out buying things you’ll never use or wear again. Literally there are rental options for practically every aspect of your wedding day process,  your dress, your tuxes, the bridesmaid’s dresses, your decorations, you name it and it can most likely be rented!

Here are few rental companies to consider:

Menguin – Tuxedos

Borrowing Magnolia– Wedding Dresses

Rent the Run Way– Elopement, wedding attire, rehearsal dinner garb.

Happily Ever Borrowed– Rentable Bridal Accessories, Veils, jewelry, etc.

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The biggest misconception about DIY Weddings is they will be better on the pocketbook, but after the time is spent buying the materials and flea market finds to put the projects together, you are in better use of your time, dollars and energy to rent the things you are trying to faux-antique and you will save yourself space after you’re married.

Not only will it save you money, it will be reused multiple times by others and treated just like new!

9. Reuse/ Reduce/Recycle

This is obvious friends. If you have reusable goods, save them aside, donate them to your local non-profits, half way houses, etc. Reduce and Recycle what you can! Set out separate bins for recyclable trash vs. regular trash vs. compost… When given the opportunity people will make the right choices.

 

10. Composting is your friend! 

At the end of the day, if you aren’t able to find a non-profit locally that will take your flowers, or food…. COMPOST your biodegradable waste, so the earth can benefit from your waste in a productive and positive manner, like using it in a co-op garden vs. ‘wasting’ good soil nutrients in a land fill. COMPOST NOW has pick up services across the nation ready to grab your garbage and turn into garden goodness!

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BONUS!

11. Buy with Purpose!

Even if you have the budget dollars in the world, or would rather buy new, do so with integrity and value businesses that put the environment and humanity first! A few examples of sustainably-minded wedding brands are Rebecca Schoneveld Bridal, MiaDonna Eco Diamonds!

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Photo: Rachel Gomez Photography 

 

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Now Happy Waste Less Wedding Planning to You and Have an Intention and Impactful Earth Day! Let us make every day about helping making the world a better place!