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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

Simply Wood Rings’ (almost) 10th Anniversary

Simply Wood Rings has always been about collaboration, connection, evolution, and what if’s. In fact, that’s how it started.  In 2005 Simply Wood Rings’ Gustav Reyes was woodworking in his basement, making all manner of right-angled boxes and clocks. One day, his wife Juanita posed a question: What if you could make wooden jewelry? And what if it were a ring, the kind anyone could wear?

Initially Gustav said, “No, you can’t do that. You could drill them out of the wood, but they would break.”

“I’m not talking about drilling it out,” Juanita said. Gustav looked at her sideways, but a few days later, she brought him a piece of plain white paper, and began to roll it. “You can make it thin like this, and strong like this,” she explained.
Gustav began to understand.

The first wood rings were crude, but Gustav continued to refine the process until the rings were both structurally strong and aesthetically beautiful. Later came wood- and stone-inlays, and the incorporation of metal. Each evolution made wider the possibility of making even more meaningful rings.

SWRRingTrio

to r: ailanthus & walnut with concrete inlay, rosewood engagement profile, mahogany with lapis lazuli

Now, almost 10 years later, Gustav, who heads the studio, and Juanita, who works in the office, feel honored to work with some of the most thoughtful and kind clients in the world. Along with a small team of artisans, Simply Wood Rings has grown into an ethical, progressive, and ever-evolving company, and one that holds strong to its simple origin: partners pushing each other to learn, grow, and create.

Simply Wood Rings always has one foot in tradition and one foot in innovation. Gustav asks himself: how are we honoring the wood and the lives it represents? And also, how can we do better; how can we make the rings even more reflective of the manifest beauty of life on Earth, and of the lives of the wearers?

So, for the company’s almost-10 year anniversary, Simply Wood Rings is launching a new website, reflective of the company’s and the work’s embedded values. “The new site is about telling stories, about refreshing and returning to simplicity and connection,” Gustav says. “We want to communicate our story to clients so that they feel even more welcome to share their own.”

At their heart, Simply Wood Rings are about cohabitating with the past and the future while remaining mindful of the present moment. They are about experiencing the natural world and human life as continuous, magnifying what’s important in life, and celebrating the authentic.

“We’ve always been on the cutting edge of wood ring craftsmanship,” Gustav says. “but what the rings symbolize is age-old: how humans connect to nature, and how they connect to each other.”

Visit the new site at http://simplywoodrings.com.

Choosing liquor responsibly

by Michelle Marchisotta from FIG Catering

Wedding season is upon us! With all of the important customizable decisions to make such as the venue, food and music, couples often don’t put much personalization and thoughtfulness into their libation list. Whether your guests are the type to drink & dance all night long or simply sip a cocktail or two, they should have a selection to choose from that stands alone, reflects who you are, and is of good quality. Often relegated to the groom or passed off on an unsuspecting friend, the bar selections can actually include meaningful selections. Trust me, I know from personal experience.

Michelle at the bar (photo by Cage & Aquarium)

Michelle at the bar (photo by Cage & Aquarium)

When it came to the bar for my farm wedding last year, my soon-to-be husband and I were dead set on choosing what we wanted. We chose Revolution Brewing’s ‘Bottom Up Wit’ because it’s what we had our first date. Even if it meant driving to the brewery the day before our big day to trek 2 kegs with us all the way west to the cornfields, we wouldn’t have had it any other way. We chose Two Brothers ‘Domaine DuPage’ because the farm worked closely with the brewery and it’s local, only a 15 minute drive from where I grew up and have frequented over the years. My husband home-brewed a farmhouse ale, with some Midwestern hops from the insanely friendly and educated men at Home Brew Shop in St. Charles. During our cake cutting, we clinked with flutes filled with Buffalo Trace. Not only is it our favorite bourbon because of taste but because we connect with the distillery’s integrity, values and sustainable practices.

Photo by Gina Cristine

Photo by Gina Cristine

Sounds like we did a not so shabby job with our alcohol selections, right? We did, up until here. Unfortunately, we involved friends and family in the rest of the decision making process which took us in a direction we didn’t intend to travel. We were told we were being too obscure and selfish. We got it all: “My bosses friend’s wife only drinks this,” “ I guess there just won’t be anything for Aunt June to drink,” “You know if you picked something more mainstream your bar package wouldn’t cost as much.” So, what did we end up doing? We added Ketel One, Bacardi, Tanqueray, and some macro-brews to our list making it completely unbalanced and as a whole, not representative of us and what we believe in. When I joined FIG they had just recently acquired their liquor license and I was happy to see that they had put together an awesome list of local brews (including Bottom Up Wit) and spirits from responsible producers.

As it turns out, Buffalo Trace was the first thing to go and most talked about. Since the wedding, my dad and brother have it as a staple in their home bar set-up. The homebrew and the “perfect for summer” witbier with hints or coriander and orange were also talked about long after our big day. We would have loved to and should have included Prairie vodka, Letherbee gin and Old New Orleans rum completing what would have been our ideal list.

There is a lot involved in planning a wedding and sometimes it just feels easier to pass off one of your ‘To Do’s,’ but choosing good drink is just as important as choosing good food so take a few extra minutes to do it. In the end choose what’s best for you, the Earth and be happy that you kept your integrity. Your friends and family just like mine, might just find their new drink of choice. Cheers!

If you’re looking for some great local brews for your celebration, head over to the Dank Haus tomorrow night for Bridetoberfest where there will be over a dozen selections on tap.

The holidays. Right around the corner?

by Julia Franzosa of Julia Franzosa Photography

We all know the time of year too well; the bustling streets, crowded Michigan Ave (or any store for that matter), everyone is rushing around to get holiday gifts for their family. There are so many things to do and sometimes things get put off until the last minute. Often times, people don’t start think about holiday portraits and cards until late fall. The truth is, it should be on your mind now! I am sure you are thinking, “What?!? The kids JUST started school again, how could I possibly be thinking about the holidays…” I promise though, it is better to knock it out early and have a stress free, perfect, still semi-warm family portrait session. Here are some quick tips when thinking about your holiday portraits this year:

chicago-holiday-cards

Send pretty paper cards – Your friends and family love seeing your children grow over the years and with Facebook and e-mail it’s easy to quickly share photos, but there is something special about getting a hand-addressed envelope and opening it to find a cheerful card. Snail mail truly makes a world of difference. If you’re concerned about the environmental impact of printing photos and mailing a card, make sure your photographer or lab offers recycled paper, buy FSC certified and eco-printed cards, and don’t expedite shipping (rushed or next day service will often result in less efficient methods).

chicago-family-portraits

Book your photographer early – Many people simply don’t factor in enough time to get photos taken, edited, and printed. If you want to send your cards out by December 10th, you need to place your final order with your photographer 2-4 weeks prior to this in the middle of November. Most photographers take 1-2 weeks to process your images and place your gallery online or (as I do) meet for an in-person order consultation. So now, you see, your session must take place by the beginning of November. Many Chicago photographers book 4-6 weeks in advance, which to make a long story longer, means you should start thinking about your holiday portrait session in September or October.

View More: http://juliafranzosa.pass.us/hostetler-family

Go digital – Digital photography makes it much easier to pick and choose the best photos from your photography session. Your photographer can delivery your files electronically or on a reusable flash drive. Digital printing makes it easy to do small runs. So, don’t over order! Order what you need because you can always print more later.

Mini Sessions – Many Chicago family photographers offer mini sessions during the holidays. This is a great way to capture a few wonderful images for the holidays without having to invest in a full portrait session.

Green & Gay Weddings: Candice and Alsace

by Nina of Tweedle Press

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What do you do when your best friend since high school gets married? I mean, besides be there to listen to the wedding planning drama, fly your 6 month old child and husband halfway across the country, and give a killer (if I do say so myself) toast? If you’re me, of course, you create awesome wedding invitations. Especially since Candice was the inspiration for the name of my business – we were so joined at the hip during our old school days that people called us Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum.

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Candice and Alsace had an intimate ceremony in Asheville, North Carolina: gorgeous locally grown flowers, delicious food, and damn those brides looked good!

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Even though their home state is on the slow train when it comes to legalizing gay marriage, they had taken a trip up to New York a couple of months earlier to get their certificate there. In addition to the invitations and other assorted paper items, I also designed a wedding contract for them that all their guests signed after the ceremony.

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The morning after the celebration, Candice and Alsace flew off to an enormously relaxing tropical honeymoon. Something I think we could probably all use right about now. Even if we didn’t just get married the night before!

Green & Gay Weddings: Invitations

The Chicago Green Wedding Alliance is participating in Pride Parade on June 30, 2013. All of our members strongly believe in the right of any couple to marry, regardless of their gender, and of course it’d be great if their wedding were eco-friendly as well. A bunch of us have participated in very special commitment ceremonies and gay weddings throughout the year and we’ll be sharing some of those stories throughout the next two weeks. Hope you enjoy!

by Amanda Eich of Spilled Ink Press

Jeanne and Cheryl had been together for years, but wanted to officially share their big day with family and friends (as “officially” as they could in 2011). With a twinkle of sadness, we discussed the invitation wording and how to say “marriage” without saying marriage – even though they would like to be married just like a heterosexual couple they couldn’t according to Illinois law. Their big day wasn’t as “big” as they wanted it to be, but they were sick of waiting for Illinois. It was their one somewhat silent protest. It was important. So in the end we invited guests to come “celebrate their wedding” and we left it at that.

Photo by Amy Boyle Photography 2011

Photo by Amy Boyle Photography 2011

During our consultation they both kept drifting their eyes outside and I realized their furry baby was patiently waiting for them in the dog area outside of the coffee shop. This was clearly an important part of their lives together, as they were not accepting gifts, but donations to the organization, Found. It seemed perfect to add the little guy to the invitation in our custom illustration for them. They sent me studio portraits of him (yes, very dapper studio head shots) and the rest is history.

We hope some day (soon), couples like Jeanne and Cheryl will be able to have a full marriage, but until then we’re happy to help them celebrate any way we can.

Fresh Inspiration for Incorporating Something Old into Your Bridal Jewelry

by Katherine DalPra of Green Diva Jewelry

greendiva-crystal-teardrop-earrings

For the past few years, vintage has been all the rage in weddings. The charming styles of decades past have brought a reminiscent feel to contemporary weddings. But what if your personal style isn’t old-timey? Or what if you’re just plain “vintaged out” and want your bridal jewelry to have a more modern take on old baubles?

In that case, I’ve gathered some inspiration to help you discover new ways you might utilize vintage and reclaimed materials into your wedding day jewelry while still achieving a more modern aesthetic.

greendiva-crystal-earrings-smRather than limit yourself to finished vintage jewelry off-the-shelf, consider the possibility of new jewelry that’s been crafted using vintage components. For instance, I designed these vintage crystal earrings by pairing prisms that were reclaimed from retired chandeliers with my signature 100% recycled silver chain made in-house. So although this set was born from older materials, the design is anything but outdated.

greendiva-recycled-glass-earrings-sm Antique shop finds aren’t the only “something old” you can use in your bridal jewelry. One of my favorite aged mediums to infuse into modern jewelry design is recycled glass. It can either be glass that’s been re-fired from post-consumer bottles or sea glass that’s been washed up on the shore. Both make gorgeous gems to highlight.

greendiva-upcycled-charm-bracelet-smFinally, consider an offbeat mishmash of your favorite childhood charms to create a one-of-a-kind bridal piece that will have both meaning and mileage. A client once asked me to create a sentimental charm bracelet for her wedding day, incorporating a series of personal charms she’d collected over the years. I loved how different and quirky it was! It was so perfect for her cheery personality.

Outdoor Photography: Lighting

by Genevieve Burruss of The Way We Click

Lighting

Photo by The Way We Click

Photo by The Way We Click

Photo by The Way We Click

Photo by The Way We Click

The third thing that is extremely important to keep in mind when shooting a portrait session outside is the lighting. Unlike indoors where we can control all of the light natural light is a little harder to predict, but there are some things to keep in mind. When photographers suggest a session time to you, it’s usually not because we are trying to fit you into our schedule, but rather, we are trying to create a feeling for you, based on your style, and the time of day makes a huge difference in how that is created. Morning light tends to be a bit “thinner” so you will get really pretty long shadows since the sun is still low enough to illuminate from the side, and colors tend to be a little less vivid. A lot of times if you shoot near the lake or in a meadow area you will get some mist from the night’s condensation evaporating which can be extremely beautiful and dreamy. Mid morning to afternoon light, while typically not our favorite, can be great for areas where there are lots of trees to use as filters, or if the skies tend to be particularly epic. A little fill flash in conditions like these where the sun is high and bright can create a truly magical shot if you know what you’re doing. Late afternoon and evening tends to be most photographers’ sweet spot and shooting just before and just after sunset to catch “magic hour” lends itself to some of the most romantic, pretty, and ethereal light. The colors in the sky can also be highlighted at this time of day and there just seem to be more options. Make sure you communicate with your photographer about what images you saw on his or her website that speak to you, and then let them decide the time of day you will shoot to create that same feeling for you. There is no way you will get dreamy golden soft light in a portrait session if you’re shooting at Noon!
Photo by The Way We Click

Photo by The Way We Click

The last thing I can say is just to be open, and let yourself go a little. Some of my favorite shots are the ones that happen when I pretend to fiddle with my camera for a minute and let my couples interact with each other in a natural way. Holding your breath, trying not to move, and holding a smile for too long are all sure-fire ways to make pictures of you look stiff and boring. Instead, listen to your photographer when they tell you to do something, even if it sounds insane, and trust that we will do everything in our power to make you look your absolute best, no matter what.

Outdoor Photography: What to Wear

by Genevieve Burruss of The Way We Click

So, you’ve got your photo locations picked out; now comes the part that everybody struggles with at some point in their lives – what to wear…

Dress

I think this is often a point of some stress and it really shouldn’t be. First the weather will affect what you can/should wear and the accessories you may need on any given Chicago day. In the middle of summer with high humidity you probably shouldn’t wear a long sleeve shirt and pants, and

Photo by The Way We Click

Photo by The Way We Click

you may want to plan on a cute umbrella just in case. I usually have at least one client each spring that shows up to her engagement session in April or May wearing a super short summer dress without a sweater or jacket to layer (in the middle of winter it’s easy to forget that it’s often still pretty cold in April and May). I understand you want to wear your favorite outfit, but if the weather is too cold to wear that silk jersey sun dress and sandals, don’t wear it. You will be cold and uncomfortable which makes it hard to get a good shot (unless you’re a professional model it’ll be hard to hide this discomfort and you want to look happy in your photos!). As we all know Chicago also has a fair amount of windy days – especially along the lakefront or on bridges (see location post above) – so the styling of your hair may be affected by a big gust here and there. Try to choose an easy hairstyle that will be easy to tame back into shape should it get a little tousled in a few shots.

Photo by The Way We Click

Photo by The Way We Click

Second, beyond the weather, there are some general rules to follow when dressing for photos. Choose a color that complements your skin tone (think about whether you’ll be paler or tanner at that time of year). Sticking to solid colors or small prints generally works better. You’ll probably take color and black and white shots so think about how your color/pattern will look in both. Some couples choose to wear matching outfits – unless you do this in your normal life I urge you to resist matching, but it probably is a good idea to talk about what each other is wearing. It’s always fun when I have a guy show up in a casual olive green plaid shirt and khaki pants while she is wearing a bright red fancy dress. Being complementary does not equate to matching!

Third make sure you are comfortable in what you’re wearing. If you’re going to be on the beach or trekking around choose shoes that you can walk in. Even though you want to wear something a little nicer than your normal, every-day wear don’t go overboard or it can seem forced to your guests who know you. You still want to look like yourself.

Finally, stop stressing! Relax and enjoy a little time with your partner; it’ll show in your photos.

Photo by The Way We Click

Photo by The Way We Click

Outdoor Photography: Part One

by Genevieve Burruss from The Way We Click

As the summer sun starts to warm our fair city, so starts the engagement and portrait session season for me and my fellow photographers. Everyone wants to be outdoors and take advantage of Chicago’s sites to capture their special moment, but there are a number of things to keep in mind when planning for outdoor photos.

Photo by The Way We Click

Photo by The Way We Click

Location

Photo by The Way We Click

Photo by The Way We Click

The first thing that I would recommend to anyone who is looking to have a portrait session outside this year is to figure out what kind of location you would most like to have as your background. A lot of people think they want that cool city skyline in their shots, but once you have that shot in the can, what are your options for the rest of the hour or two? Each location is going to have its own unique feel, and of course, there are some spots in town that everyone else seems to want. If you’ve ever been to the Kinzie street bridge area or the Adler Planetarium on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon in summer you’ve seen at least one bridal party lining up for that perfect Chicago shot. While these locations are great, and are popular for a reason, it really takes the creative juices out of your photographer and a lot of times the surrounding area may leave your session looking “one note”.

Photo by The Way We Click

Photo by The Way We Click

I encourage you to explore. Talk to your photographer about whether you’d like a more urban landscape or a more natural lush background talk, and be open to alternate suggestions they may make. I have a library of unique spots up my sleeve that I haven’t seen in pictures a hundred times before and relish the opportunity to flex my creative muscle to create some amazing, one of a kind imagery for my clients! I really love shooting in “weird” places and I can tell you right now the shots I’ve taken in dirty alleys next to smelly garbage cans, weird streets in the middle of an industrial area, parking garages, or stairwells of hotels and abandoned buildings are always the my clients favorites.