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Event Recap: Committed 2015

Committed, the 4th annual wedding showcase of the Green Wedding Alliance was Sunday, February 22nd at Greenhouse Loft. Committed is a boutique wedding event for engaged couples to meet and interact with green, local businesses that they might want to hire for their wedding.

Each room had different music provided by Toast and Jam, Cage & Aquarium, and Neil Dixon Smith.

Photo by Greenhouse Loft Photography

Photo by Greenhouse Loft Photography


Photos by Greenhouse Loft Photography

Photo by Greenhouse Loft Photography


The event was laid-out to create an easy flow for guests to have the opportunity to take in each booth and talk with often the owner of the business.

Guests picked out props and fun hats to have their photo taken by Steve Ewert in the adjacent photo studio.

Photo by Greenhouse Loft Photography

Photo by Greenhouse Loft Photography

Catering companies (FIG Catering, Goose Island, Pure Kitchen, Big Delicious Planet) were stationed throughout the event offering small bites and pairings with beer and custom cocktails.

Photo by Heather DeCamp Photography

Photo by Heather DeCamp Photography


Photo by Genevieve Lauren Photography

Photo by Genevieve Lauren Photography


Photo by Heather DeCamp Photography

Photo by Heather DeCamp Photography

For sweets, guests sampled red velvet and salted caramel cupcakes from Elysia Root Cakes and assorted truffles and marshmallows by Katherine Anne Confections.

Photo by Heather DeCamp Photography

Photo by Heather DeCamp Photography


Photo by Heather DeCamp Photography

Photo by Heather DeCamp Photography

Midway through the afternoon, the main room of Greenhouse Loft was transformed into a runway for models wearing gowns designed by member dress designers Mignonette and Dame Couture including gowns re-designed from vintage dresses. The models’ hair and make-up was done by Karen Marie Salon and CALM Natural Skin Care.

Photo by Greenhouse Loft Photography

Photo by Greenhouse Loft Photography


Photo by Tuan Bui Photography

Photo by Tuan Bui Photography


Photo by Heather DeCamp Photography

Photo by Heather DeCamp Photography

Tuan Bui fashion3

Tuan fashion4

Committed in a zero-waste event with vendors, including caterers serving in compostable servingware like palm leaves and bamboo toothpicks that Collective Resource (a GWA member) composts after the event.

Photo by Greenhouse Loft Photography

Photo by Greenhouse Loft Photography

The show featured over 30 Chicago-based small businesses who are members of the Alliance to provide a fun way for engaged couples to gather wedding inspiration and meet the people who are passionate about green weddings in Chicago.

Photo by Greenhouse Loft Photography

Photo by Greenhouse Loft Photography


Cheers and hope to see you at the Recyclery!
Photo by Greenhouse Loft Photography

Photo by Greenhouse Loft Photography

Photo by Greenhouse Loft Photography

Photo by Greenhouse Loft Photography


Vintage punch bowl - Photo by Greenhouse Loft Photography

Vintage punch bowl – Photo by Greenhouse Loft Photography

Spotlight on a Member: Bright Endeavors

In 2015 we are learning a lot about our members! You can listen to Neil Dixon Smith’s awesome podcast interviews with CGWA members or check out our featured member profiles where we visit their places of business and conduct a short interview. Here’s one with John Guido from Bright Endeavors.

John GuidoHow did you get involved in Bright Endeavors?

I was connected to Bright Endeavors through the non-profit volunteer community in Chicago.  I worked in the private sector and was thrilled to have the opportunity to use my skills to develop a growing social enterprise.


Why is Bright Endeavors a sustainable business?

Dreambean candlesOur business is sustainable in a few ways.  First, we use non GMO soy wax and domestically sourced ingredients to make our candles.  Second, we provide candle rentals for weddings and restaurants, drastically reducing the amount of candle glass that is wasted following the event.  Third, we invest in our community by impacting two generations simultaneously.  We teach transferable job-skills to our young moms, who will, in turn, be empowered to pass those skills along to their children in a more financially stable home environment.

What is your favorite thing about going to work every day?

Working with a great team that navigates a variety of business development challenges in order to build a sustainable social enterprise for our participants.

Making candlesWhy did Bright Endeavors join the CGWA?

We saw an incredible opportunity to work with like-minded small business owners who are serious about creating positive social, economic, and operational change within the wedding industry.

Bright Endeavors teamWhat inspires you?

The young moms in our program who refuse to give up hope as they struggle to overcome enormous hurdles each and every day.

What is one thing people would be surprised to learn about you?

At Bright Endeavors, we are dedicated students of the pun.   I’d offer an example, but I wouldn’t want to school anyone.  We do try to keep it classy around here.

All photos are taken by Jamie Davis of Greenhouse Loft.

Spotlight on a Member: Katherine Anne Confections

We recently sat down with Katherine from Katherine Anne Confections to discuss her business and why she is a member of the Chicago Green Wedding Alliance.

What inspires you?

Smiles. Seeing the reaction when people try our sweets: watching their faces brighten really makes my day. In the end, my job is really to make people happy, and I think we do that.

What is one thing people would be surprised to learn about you?

I think most people know I grew up on a 200 acre goat farm by now (right?) but few would know that I exhibited said goats at the Royal Agriculture Winter Fair in Toronto, and won second place in showmanship when I was a teen. Ahh, the glory days.. I also played piano for 10 years and went to the State competition as part of a musical group for several years.

Katherine Anne's delectable truffles.

Katherine Anne’s delectable truffles.

Why did you chose to open a sustainable business in Chicago?

Besides a love of red tape, amirite? Seriously, Chicago is a great city. I love the people that have created an old-fashioned small business support network, so I feel like I am part of one big family. It’s becoming easier every day to be sustainable, from composting to recycling to the advances of protected bike lanes. I may never leave.

What is your favorite thing about working with local ingredients?

The quality. Fruit is the most ripe, flavorful, and juicy when it was picked just days or hours before we receive it. We then get to infuse that flavor into our sweets. It makes for an incomparable flavor. Plus, we get to put names and faces to our farmers.

Box of truffles
What is your favorite sweet?

Citrus truffle, hands down. It has lemon, orange, lime, and lemongrass – it’s very refreshing and summery.

Can you give us one Green Kitchen tip?

Compost – I can’t say it enough! Maybe it’s a given by now, and I’m preaching to the choir, but it makes a huge difference. We compost about 5x as much as we throw away.

A couple of additional tips would be to not waste anything. Have a bag in your freezer for garlic/onion skins, mushroom stems, and other things that would add undesirable texture to foods. As long as it’s not dirty or spoiled, it will add great flavor to homemade stock. I also substitute items all the time when I’m cooking at home – if a recipe calls for milk and I have some sour cream or yogurt about to go bad, I’ll put that in instead. Thinly slice broccoli and cauliflower stems and use them in soups, or right alongside the florets.

Why did you want to join the CGWA?

It started off as a great group of people I really enjoyed hanging out with. Then it evolved to the same group of people really trying to make a difference. I truly believe we will need to make changes in the way we live our lives in order to continue existing on this planet. I’m doing what I can, and hoping that we can all influence others to be just a little more mindful in their day-to-day life.

Katherine Anne Confections will be participating in Committed with sample truffles and a hot chocolate bar in the Rumpus Room!

rumpus room

Event Recap: Wedtoberfest 2014

Memorable_Jaunts_Chicago_Green_Wedding_Alliance_Wedtoberfest-1On Thursday, October 16th we threw our second annual beer tasting-wedding show mash-up dubbed Wedtoberfest. We love beer festivals, but feel many are overwhelming for novice drinkers and don’t offer practical options for wedding couples (are you really going to serve a hop-heavy, hard-to-find beer to your guests?). And most wedding shows are very “girly” and don’t appeal to grooms (or many brides). So we created Wedtoberfest as a solution to that – a small beer festival offering local beers that couples might actually purchase for their wedding, and a small wedding show that’s not too feminine.

This year we were pleased to be joined by Tighthead Brewing, Goose Island, Finch’s Beer, New Holland Brewing, Begyle Brewing, and Solemn Oath Brewery.

Memorable_Jaunts_Chicago_Green_Wedding_Alliance_Wedtoberfest-41Memorable_Jaunts_Chicago_Green_Wedding_Alliance_Wedtoberfest-92 In addition our caterers offered German-influenced food including waffle sandwiches, pretzel bites, beignets, and mini brats (of course!).

Memorable_Jaunts_Chicago_Green_Wedding_Alliance_Wedtoberfest-34Memorable_Jaunts_Chicago_Green_Wedding_Alliance_Wedtoberfest-61Cage & Aquarium spun tunes and we raffled off great prizes from CGWA members and the participating breweries.

Our planning lounge was a low-pressure way for couples to browse through members information without the sales pitch or a litany of questions…

Memorable_Jaunts_Chicago_Green_Wedding_Alliance_Wedtoberfest-4Memorable_Jaunts_Chicago_Green_Wedding_Alliance_Wedtoberfest-19 We threw in some green facts to let couples know why we do the things we do… Memorable_Jaunts_Chicago_Green_Wedding_Alliance_Wedtoberfest-24Memorable_Jaunts_Chicago_Green_Wedding_Alliance_Wedtoberfest-35Thanks to Loft on Lake for hosting, Memorable Jaunts for the photos, all of the breweries and participating members (especially Art of Imagination who hung the fabulous, sparkly lights), and of course the couples. Until next time…
Memorable_Jaunts_Chicago_Green_Wedding_Alliance_Wedtoberfest-97

Event Recap: Wedtoberfest

Memorable_Jaunts_Chicago_Green_Wedding_Alliance_Wedtoberfest-1On Thursday, October 16th we threw our second annual beer tasting-wedding show mash-up dubbed Wedtoberfest. We love beer festivals, but feel many are overwhelming for novice drinkers and don’t offer practical options for wedding couples (are you really going to serve a hop-heavy, hard-to-find beer to your guests?). And most wedding shows are very “girly” and don’t appeal to grooms (or many brides). So we created Wedtoberfest as a solution to that – a small beer festival offering local beers that couples might actually purchase for their wedding, and a small wedding show that’s not too feminine.

This year we were pleased to be joined by Tighthead Brewing, Goose Island, Finch’s Beer, New Holland Brewing, Begyle Brewing, and Solemn Oath Brewery.

Memorable_Jaunts_Chicago_Green_Wedding_Alliance_Wedtoberfest-41 Memorable_Jaunts_Chicago_Green_Wedding_Alliance_Wedtoberfest-92 In addition our caterers offered German-influenced food including waffle sandwiches, pretzel bites, beignets, and mini brats (of course!).

Memorable_Jaunts_Chicago_Green_Wedding_Alliance_Wedtoberfest-34Pretzel sammieMemorable_Jaunts_Chicago_Green_Wedding_Alliance_Wedtoberfest-61Cage & Aquarium spun tunes and we raffled off great prizes from CGWA members and the participating breweries.

Our planning lounge was a low-pressure way for couples to browse through members information without the sales pitch or a litany of questions…

Memorable_Jaunts_Chicago_Green_Wedding_Alliance_Wedtoberfest-4Memorable_Jaunts_Chicago_Green_Wedding_Alliance_Wedtoberfest-19 We threw in some green facts to let couples know why we do the things we do… Memorable_Jaunts_Chicago_Green_Wedding_Alliance_Wedtoberfest-24Memorable_Jaunts_Chicago_Green_Wedding_Alliance_Wedtoberfest-35Thanks to Loft on Lake for hosting, Memorable Jaunts for the photos, all of the breweries and participating members (especially Art of Imagination who hung the fabulous, sparkly lights), and of course the couples. Until next time…
Memorable_Jaunts_Chicago_Green_Wedding_Alliance_Wedtoberfest-97 Continue Reading →

Cheers for Wedtoberfest

This post is a little late but we’re still buzzing over here at the CGWA about Wedtoberfest. What a fun night! Thanks to all who came out and to everyone involved.

If you didn’t make it over to the DANK Haus in October to celebrate with us, you missed some good beers and brats! We had nine breweries in the mix serving up some seriously delicious beers—some of which Chicago had never untapped before! We also had our CGWA approved caterers and sweeties serving the best Oktoberfest style foods.

 

Our planning lounge was a huge hit too. Couples got the chance to walk around in the lounge area and get ideas for their wedding or shop vendors without being “sold” to. This was great for the couple that wants to meet cool vendors who are green and non-traditional, but doesn’t want to experience the hustle and bustle of a formal wedding show.

 

Cage and Aquarium kept the night alive with their tunes and helped us make some very important announcements. You see, not only did we have food and drink Fit for a King, we also had a pretty sweet raffle! We announced winners every hour and some lucky couples took home hundreds of dollars worth of goodies. From Parisian earrings and engagement sessions to sauerkraut kits and beer, we had something for everyone.

Best of all, our event was nearly zero waste with Collective Resource composting all disposables, food, and even the décor! The next show is not to be missed. Just check out all these photos from Allison Williams Photography!

Bridetoberfest

Our brewery lineup: Goose Island Brewery, Revolution Brewing, Tighthead Brewing, Two Brothers Brewing, Metropolitan Brewing, Half Acre Beer Company, Finch’s Beer Co., Lakefront Brewery, 3 Sheeps Brewing

Our eats and sweets vendors: FIG Catering, Goose Island Catering, Pure Kitchen Catering, Katherine Anne Confections, Luscious Layers

Other vendors seen at Bridetoberfest:

Beauty- Karen Marie Salon, Noktivo Salon & Spa

Décor- Nimble Well, Chicago Vintage Weddings, Art of Imagination

Dress and accessories- Simply Wood Rings, Mignonette Bridal

Favors- Bright Endeavors

Flowers- Pollen, Larkspur

Photographers- Serendipity Portraits, Allison Williams Photography, Tuan H. Bui Photographer, Heather DeCamp Photography, The Way We Click Photography

Planners- Lisa Gordon Events, Naturally Yours Events

Stationery- Spilled Ink Press, Tweedle Press

Venues- Catalyst Ranch, Loft on Lake, Greenhouse Loft

Real Green Wedding: Heather and Matt & Eco-Friendly Affair at the Swedish American Museum

Heather and Matt tied the knot last summer and the two of them made a point to source local, reduce waste, and support greener businesses. So, how’d they do it without compromising their vision or spending a lot of money?

I remember our first meeting well. They shared all of their amazing wedding details– reception at Uncommon Ground, a school bus shuttle, local bouquets/boutonnieres (from Pollen), a ton of DIY details, and their excitement for the Chicago Green Wedding Alliance. Then, at the end of the meeting, they mentioned the little snag of not having a ceremony space a month before the big day because theirs just burned down!

All-in-all it worked out beautifully, as it usually does. They quickly found another space to hold the ceremony at the Swedish American Museum in Andersonville. It is wonderful to be able to give back to the community and support these types of spaces. The venue itself didn’t need much decoration with wonderful pieces of art hanging on the wall and a lovely winding staircase for the bride to make an entrance.

Since the ceremony venue was so close to Uncommon Ground, the couple loaded all the guests into school buses and took a short ride. Guests enjoyed craft brews and local wines during cocktail hour while Heather and Matt had a few moments alone on the greenest rooftop in Chicago– the restaurant’s rooftop garden.

As guests made their way to the table for dinner, they grabbed their escort card that were hanging from cut pieces of repurposed laces and fabric ribbons. The escort cards themselves were also repurposed from Heather and Matt’s original invites (they had to reprint due to the change in venue, but found a creative way to reuse them as escort cards and table numbers. How perfect!

One detail I greatly enjoyed about Heather and Matt’s big day was the food! Not only did they choose one the greenest restaurants to host their event, but they also selected an all vegetarian and seasonal menu. Later, guests enjoyed the perfect summer wedding cake from Cafe Selmarie with a whipped frosting and fresh berries.

We saved the best detail for last. Heather and Matt spent days and days making their own favors – handmade soaps. They smelled amazingly of fresh herbs and were hand tied with repurposed strips of fabric. They looked so lovely in this mint crate!

Reuse and Reuse Again: Green Benefits of Vintage Wedding Rentals

by Kate Lerman of Chicago Vintage Weddings

CVWBlog
Running a vintage rental company is rewarding work but working with vintage wedding rentals is always rewarding. I started my own company, Chicago Vintage Weddings, after realizing that there were a lack of unique rental options for couples planning weddings in Chicago. My collection of furniture and mismatched china had already been growing steadily, so this would be the perfect excuse to rescue more pieces! Since then my inventory has grown to thousands of items which rents out for multiple events every weekend.

I’m in good company. Aside from Chicago Vintage Weddings, other vintage rental businesses in the Chicago Green Wedding Alliance include Nimble Well, Aged Vintage Rentals, and Vintage Place Settings. Each has a beautiful collection of goods for rent.

Vintage rentals are a clear green choice. Beautiful objects with rich history are kept out of landfills, reused countless times, and are a wonderful alternative to purchasing or renting something with a “Made in China” label. The vintage rental companies in the CGWA take things even further, finding good use for pieces that can no longer be rented out.

Broken plates are an unavoidable part of running this kind of business. Thankfully, mosaic artist Leesa Tolbert turns broken plates from my collection as well as that of Vintage Place Settings into works of art. Listen to this recent story by DNAInfo on Leesa’s collaboration with Coreen and Stacy of Vintage Place Settings. This kind of upcycling is what Green Wedding Alliance members are all about!

Whether it’s rentals, planning, music, or food you can rest assured the CGWA members are finding creative ways to conserve that can help the planet, help your wallet, and still be beautiful and upscale.

Reuse and reuse again

by Kate Lerman of Chicago Vintage Weddings

Running a vintage rental company is rewarding work. I started my own company, Chicago Vintage Weddings, after realizing that there were a lack of unique rental options for couples planning weddings in Chicago. My collection of furniture and mismatched china had already been growing steadily, so this would be the perfect excuse to rescue more pieces! Since then my inventory has grown to thousands of items and rents out for multiple events every weekend.

I’m in good company. Aside from Chicago Vintage Weddings, other vintage rental businesses in the Chicago Green Wedding Alliance include Nimble Well, Aged Vintage Rentals, and Vintage Place Settings. Each has a beautiful collection of goods for rent.

Plates from Chicago Vintage Rentals - Tuan Bui Photography

Plates from Chicago Vintage Rentals – Tuan Bui Photography

Vintage rentals are a clear green choice. Beautiful objects with rich history are kept out of landfills, reused countless times, and are a wonderful alternative to purchasing or renting something with a “Made in China” label. The vintage rental companies in the CGWA take things even further, finding good use for pieces that can no longer be rented out.

Broken plates are an unavoidable part of running this kind of business. Thankfully, mosaic artist Leesa Tolbert turns broken plates from my collection as well as that of Vintage Place Settings into works of art. Listen to this recent story by DNAInfo on Leesa’s collaboration with Coreen and Stacy of Vintage Place Settings. This kind of upcycling is what Green Wedding Alliance members are all about!

Whether it’s rentals, planning, music, or food you can rest assured the CGWA members are finding creative ways to conserve that can help the planet, help your wallet, and still be beautiful and upscale.