Plantable Paper Wedding Invitations: the work of Botanical Paperworks

When I was planning my wedding, I came across Botanical Paperworks and fell in love with the idea of flower seed paper. Since then, they’ve come up with a fun line of wedding invitations in addition to their memorial cards (which we got for my grandmother) and plantable confetti. Here are a few of my favorite plantable wedding invitations (click each invitation for more information)!

Leaf plantable wedding invitation

Plantable tropical wedding invitations

Doing DIY? They can do that too!

Volunteer Honeymoons: An Opportunity to Make a Difference Together

Travel, especially international travel, has a big impact on our environment. Instead of simply taking a vacation for your honeymoon, why not take this opportunity to make a lasting difference in our world?

Below you will find a list of national and international opportunities to take a volunteer honeymoon vacation. Contact each charity for details:


Charity Guide
Browse by category for opportunities to volunteer and make a difference during your vacation.

Habitat for Humanity
They welcome everyone who can help as they build simple, decent, affordable, houses in partnership with those in need of adequate shelter. Since 1976, Habitat has built more than 100,000 houses in more than 80 countries, including some 30,000 houses across the United States.

Lean on Me
If you’re looking for volunteer opportunities in New Orleans, and have any kind of construction/contractor skills, they can definitely use your help!

Sierra Club
Sierra Club founder John Muir was convinced that the best way to persuade people to fight to save valuable wild areas was to take them into the wilderness and let them experience for themselves the beauty that needs defending. As a result of this conviction, in 1901 the Sierra Club Outing progam began.

Sousson Foundation
For over 14 years, the Sousson Foundation has organized hundreds of volunteers to help bridge the gap where government resources are unable to meet the growing need for preservation and rehabilitation of fragile wilderness ecosystems within our National Parks.

Student Conservation Association
This is America’s largest and oldest provider of national and community conservation service opportunities, outdoor education and career training for youth. SCA volunteers and interns annually perform more than one million hours of conservation service in national parks, forests, refuges, and urban areas in all 50 states.

Volunteer America
VolunteerAmerica connects individuals, families and groups with volunteer opportunities and volunteer vacations on public lands all across America. Offered by a variety of organizations, volunteer vacations range from trail building and restoring meadows to archeological digs and whale counting.


Cactus Volunteers Abroad
Cactus Volunteers Abroad has teamed up with i-to-i to produce a range of award-winning volunteer projects. These volunteer projects provide unique travel and work experiences to people of all ages and backgrounds. Whether you’re young or old, just graduating or on a work break, volunteering could be your perfect opportunity to get out there and do something different.

CARE Corps Abroad
CARE Corps Abroad, in conjunction with partner, Cross-Cultural Solutions (CCS), provides a unique volunteer travel opportunity for just about anyone interested in educational travel or working abroad.

Cross Cultural Solutions
Cross-Cultural Solutions is a nonprofit organization that sends volunteers abroad to provide humanitarian assistance with their Volunteer Work Programs in China, Ghana, India, Peru, and Russia.

Cultural Restoration Tourism Project
CRTP works with local communities to restore culturally important structures, and promoting responsible tourism through volunteer vacations.

EarthWatch Expeditions
Earthwatch Institute is the world’s oldest, largest, and most respected organization directly involving the public in scientific field research. This year, Earthwatch will support more than 130 expeditions in 45 countries, and will send some 4,000 members of the public into the field to work side-by-side with leading scientists. These teams of volunteers will collect data under the scientists’ direction and work as full-fledged expedition members, sharing the costs of the research among them.

Explorations in Travel
If you’re looking to spend an extended amount of time in an area, working on a foreign language, developing or using skills that will help in future employment, or who just want a new, challenging experience, their volunteer placement provides an invaluable opportunity.

Globe Aware
Globe Aware, a nonprofit organization, currently offers volunteer vacations in Peru, Costa Rica, Thailand, Cuba, Nepal, Brazil, Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam. These short-term adventures in service focus on cultural-awareness and sustainability, and are often compared to a mini peace corps experience.

Global Citizens
Global Citizens Network seeks to create a network of people who are committed to the shared values of peace, justice, tolerance, cross-cultural understanding and global cooperation, to the preservation of indigenous cultures, traditions and ecologies, and to the enhancement of the quality of life around the world. They have many opportunities around the country and the world where you can help and learn.

Global Volunteers
At the request of local leaders and indigenous host organizations, Global Volunteers sends teams of volunteers to live and work with local people on human and economic development projects identified by the community as important to its long-term development.

Heritage Conservation Network
Join Heritage Conservation Network and take their mission around the world. Hands-on building conservation workshops bring participants together with local residents working to save their cultural heritage.

Oceanic Society Expeditions
The Expeditions programs offer opportunities to enjoy and learn about wildlife and natural habitats or to assist scientists with field research.

Peacework arranges international volunteer service projects around the world for colleges, universities, and service organizations. Volunteers help meet the critical needs of marginalized communities in developing areas by working with host organizations on existing self-development projects.

Volunteers for Peace
Services include providing consultation and a placement service for workcamp hosts and volunteers, linking people with programs. Programs foster international education, voluntary service, and friendship. In the last 20 years, they have exchanged over 20,000 volunteers in international workcamps world-wide.

Volunteers Visions
Volunteer Visions offers project placements throughout the world if you seek adventure, cultural immersion, and have the desire to make a difference.

WLS International
Volunteer in China and Vietnam. WLS International has volunteer work opportunities in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam and in Beijing, China.

For more comprehensive resources about Volunteer Vacations:
Free Vacations & Bargain Adventures in the USA
Volunteer Vacations
Ideas for Volunteering Wisely from JustGive

Wedding Ceremony Confetti Options

The quintessential wedding image: the newly-married couple leaving their ceremony, being pelted with rice.

Why the heck do we do this, anyway? Throwing things at a newly married couple is a very old tradition, and is intended to give newlyweds good luck. Most of the items thrown at the couple represent fertility and abundance.

Although the rumor that rice kills birds is widespread, it’s actually an urban myth. If you’d like to have it thrown at you (and your venue allows), feel free. Looking for a more eco-friendly wedding rice alternative? Check these out:

Seasonal Wedding Flowers

Seasonal Wedding Flowers

Flowers are the go-to decoration for weddings, and for good reason: they’re gorgeous! But wedding flowers can leave a big environmental footprint—countless cut flowers are imported from developing countries with poor environmental and labor regulations. Choosing local—and hopefully organic—flowers helps lower emissions and avoids unwanted pesticide use, while growing your local economy.

We have compiled a collection of beautiful, in-season flowers for each season on Pinterest. Please click below to visit each board.

Wedding Day Florals: the Work of Flora Grubb

When we came across the beautiful work of Flora Grubb, we couldn’t wait to share it with you. We especially love that these centerpieces can be given away as gifts or to your guests at the end of your wedding night, and they will live well beyond your wedding day.

Check out these beautiful succulent centerpieces that won’t be dead in a day:

For more of Flora Grubb’ work, check out her website, follow her on Twitter or like her on Facebook.

Celebrate Green: Ten eco-chic ideas for a stylish and sustainable wedding

Ten eco-chic ideas for a stylish and sustainable wedding from I Do Foundation

Ten eco-chic ideas for a stylish and sustainable wedding

  1.  Let it Shine – Make informed jewelry decisions by considering their source. Choose a jeweler that uses recycled materials and ask questions that help you feel good about your purchase.
  2.  Be Fashionably Green – Get a unique look with a tailored, vintage wedding dress; use organic fabrics; and choose a bridesmaids dress that they can (actually) wear again.
  3. Location, Location, Location – Select a venue rich in décor. Botanical gardens are lush with foliage and museums have objects d’art. You’ll support a non-profit and save on decorations.
  4. Gifts that Give Back – Raise money for causes you care about by requesting donations to charity as your wedding gifts. Start a charity registry with I Do so guests can conveniently give.
  5.  Eat, Drink, and Be Savvy – When selecting your meal, narrow down the options and insist on an organic caterer, local food choices, and organic wines.
  6. Flower Power – Think organic, seasonal, and potted. Use a local florist and ask your wedding party to help make DIY centerpieces and bouquets that are environmentally friendly.
  7. Do the World a Favor – Thank your guests and share your values with wedding favors that support a meaningful cause, making a difference through charity.
  8. Green your Footprint – Use one of many easy-to-use online tools to calculate your wedding’s carbon footprint, and then offset your emissions.
  9. Eco-Invite – Create your own Wedding Page. Save on printing costs by putting your save the date and RSVPs online, and include maps, lodging suggestions, and even your proposal story! If you do send invites, choose recycled or tree-free paper.
  10. Recycle, Reduce, Reuse – If it can’t be recycled, reduced, or reused . . . Rent! Ask if your vendors have a recycling policy. Plan ahead and find a shelter or retirement home for leftover food or flowers. Creatively use recycled materials throughout your ceremony and reception.

We have started to receive gifts, cash and donations for our wedding. How do I properly thank guests?

How to write nice thank you notes for your wedding gifts

Although it can be an overwhelming task, there is no job more important than that of showing guests your appreciation with a thoughtful thank you note.

Organizing your thank you notes

Keeping track of what notes you’ve written can be difficult, and you don’t want anyone to slip through the cracks. Keeping organized is key! We are big fans of Google Drive, which allows you to create a spreadsheet or word processing document and share it with others. Create a spreadsheet to update with the name of the gift-giver, a short description of the gift, the date you received it, and the date you sent the thank you note. Update this spreadsheet every time you receive a gift (and share it with your partner).

Keeping track of money raised through a charity registry

Use your donation report (part of your charity registry) to track the donations you have received. You can also use the amount of money raised to aid you in writing your notes: “We are thrilled to have raised $XX for our charity so far. We are hoping to make a big impact through our wedding!”

Electronic thank you notes

Looking to go “green”? While a thank you e-mail is too casual, check out Paperless Post’s thank you note option—these classy e-cards are delivered with a beautiful animation of an envelope opening. Paperless Post has truly found a way to make online mail more formal.

Writing your thank you notes

Need help writing your thank you notes? There are many websites online that help with sample wording, but we prefer something personal and to-the-point for traditional gifts:

  1. “We were so excited to receive your gift the other day.”
  2. Name the gift, and say why you liked it: “The bamboo bowl is beautiful, and we love how it looks on our dining table.”
  3. Say how you’ve used it: “We used it for salad just last night!”
  4. Thank them: “Thank you so much for the thoughtful gift—it is so ‘us’.”
  5. Tell them you look forward to seeing them on your wedding day, or say how much you enjoyed seeing them if the day has already passed.

Did you receive a cash gift? Try this:

  1. “We were so excited to receive your gift the other day.”
  2. Say how you have used it or plan to use it: “We are saving for a downpayment on our first home, and your generous gift has gotten us even closer to our goal!”
  3. Thank them: “Thank you so much for the thoughtful gift—it means a lot to us.”
  4. Tell them you look forward to seeing them on your wedding day, or say how much you enjoyed seeing them if the day has already passed.

donation though your charity registry? Here’s what we would suggest:

  1. “We were so excited to receive your gift the other day.”
  2. Tell them why you decided to support your charity: “We decided to support the American Cancer Society in honor of John’s dad, who passed away last year from lymphoma.”
  3. Tell them how their donation will help: “The American Cancer Society works to find a cure, and your donation helps!”
  4. Tell them how much you have raised: “So far, we have raised $X.”
  5. Thank them: “Thank you so much for the thoughtful gift—it means a lot to us.”
  6. Tell them you look forward to seeing them on your wedding day, or say how much you enjoyed seeing them if the day has already passed.

However you write them, and however you send them—just make sure to do it, and promptly. Did you drop the ball on some of your thank you notes? If a lot of time has passed, write them anyway. You know what they say: better late than never.

How do I ask for donations instead of regular gifts?

How do I politely inform my guests that I would prefer donations instead of gifts?

Many couples have their fill of silverware and china, and would rather give to charity than open a traditional gift registry. As with anything non-traditional, though, asking for donations instead of gifts may be confusing for some guests. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Add a charity registry to your wedding website, in addition to or instead of a traditional registry. Make sure to include the reasons you’re choosing charity.
  2. Explain it to your parents. Once they understand it, they can spread the word to older or less tech-savvy relatives and family friends.
  3. If someone asks you directly, answer with something like, “I’m sure whatever you choose would be wonderful, and we really appreciate your generosity. We are asking guests donate to charity in lieu of traditional gifts.”

Remember that some guests will prefer to give traditional gifts—accept them graciously, and don’t forget to write a thank you note!

Waste Not, Want Not: Chic Wedding Doggie Bags

chic take home bags for leftover food at your wedding reception

from I Do Foundation: chic take home bags for leftover food at your wedding reception

Wedding receptions often result in a lot of waste: at the end of the night, garbage cans are heaped high with flowers, signage and food.

Many eco-friendly wedding planners recommend donating your leftover goods to homeless shelters or retirement homes. Unfortunately, regulations in many states prohibit the donation of food items—so what can you do with all that leftover food?

What about letting your guests take home your leftovers? Wedding fare is usually delicious. Try providing chic take-home doggie bags for your guests: this is a great way to reduce food waste and treat your guests for an extra day or two.

Check out a few of the great ideas we found online:

Wedge-shaped Pie Box take-home kits

When we found these adorable “doggie bag” alternatives on Etsy, we were thrilled. Can you imagine what a beautiful display you could make with these?

Compostable Take-Out Boxes

Buy fully-compostable take-out boxes and decorate them with fancy ribbon to match your wedding colors. Close with a chic sticker.

Stamp your own kraft bags

Use regular kraft paper lunch bags, and stamp or write on them. You can also print custom stickers featuring your wedding monogram or theme.For more ideas, see our Wedding Reception Pinterest Board.

I will be reusing my ceremony decorations for the reception. How do I make this happen?

how to re-use your ceremony decorations for the reception

Reusing decorations from your wedding ceremony for your reception is a great way to save resources — both environmental and monetary.

It can, however, be a bit of a logistical nightmare to get your decorations from place to place if you aren’t organized. Which is why, of course, we suggest:

  • You and your partner should not be responsible for setting up the ceremony or reception. Your job is to get married and enjoy the day. Delegate these tasks to a Day of Coordinator or a trusted family member or friend. You may also be able to pay your florist to help, for a small fee.
  • Create a checklist of items that need to be moved, along with their location at the ceremony and their destination at the reception. Make sure this checklist is in the hands of at least two of your helpers. Store back-up copies in an easily accessible place in case the originals are misplaced (if you have a smart phone, try storing it in your email).
  • If you have a lot of items to reuse, delegate specific tasks: two people to pack up items at the ceremony, two people to move them, and two people to set up the reception, for example. Think about having an “understudy” for each function, just in case someone is unable to help you on the day of.
  • Consider whether you will need large vehicles, a dolly, or multiple people to transport the items.
  • Take photos of each decoration that needs to be set up or moved. If possible, take photos of each item as it should be displayed in each location.
  • Create a timeline. At what time do things need to be set up in each location? When should the items be moved? How long do you estimate it will take to do the setup?
  • Make sure that all items are well organized. Provide tupperware bins and anything needed to protect the items during the move from location to location.

Remember, the key to a well-run wedding is organization. Try to anticipate the issues that may arise, and make alternate plans in case they’re necessary.