Sunday, May 31, 2009

A Delicate and Delicious Green Malibu Wedding

Dan and Daniela got married on April 5, 2009 in their grand parents Malibu villa, built by Daniela's architect dad, Jaime Gesundheit.

The modern, high-ceiling house, cover page of Architectural digest 1992, with it's Koi pond yard and ocean deck was the perfect canvas for the delicate taste of this couple. Both musicians of the alternative kind, both eco conscious, creative human beings, they looked at their wedding as a celebration of life. It meant not only to respect animals and the environment, to offer healthy life sustaining foods and keep pesticides and chemicals as far away from their guests as possible. It also meant to extend their love to everybody, young or old, vendors, family or dad's business partners and to integrate the community as much as possible. Their musicians and DJ's, their photographer and Rabbi were friends or friends of friends co-creating an amazingly loving atmosphere.

Renowned photographer Greg Slick, San Francisco, captured their eclectic and unique style with intuition and great sensitivity, a style, which was at the same time fresh, modern and sprinkled with romantic and traditional moments.

Daniela and Dan followed the outline of Jewish ceremonies but added their own hearts to it: the couple was woven into a Star Mandala by their attendants, every word was hand crafted and their female Rabbi later joined the Klezmer band as their lead singer.

Todd Bracken, eco conscious jeweler for the stars in Los Angeles, created their rings from gold their families fished out of drawers and forgotten jewelry boxes: broken or old fashioned pieces, which were recycled into unique wedding bands full of memories of many dear people.

Hand made paper bound into an antique looking guest book in China and a gift to Daniela's parents and the Kippahs matched the sparkling blue (with orange accents) color of the wedding.

Haute florist Arsine from Shirvan Design used organic flowers for the bouquets and boutonnieres but kept all center pieces alive: only succulents and plants were used or leafs of plants, which continued growing after their trim. Arsine started to grow the succulents in her own garden six months before the wedding, another personal touch adding to the warmth of the reception. They are now happily growing on in mine and gardens across California.

I didn't expect a Klezmer band to rock the crowd, but Kugelplex high energy contemporary sound got guests off their seats - not just for the hora.

The Challah was enormous, too big for the table...

Susan Gesundheit, Daniela's mom and a wonderful artist, offered a colorful water color Ketubah and Lily Goldman, Dan's mom, a well-known water colorist in Montreal, Canada where Dan's parents live, created decorative pieces like the Martini Mashed Potato Bar menu.

The wedding started in the early afternoon, which saved some electricity, but went way into the night and, sorry environment, nobody wants to give up on those amazing lighting effects.
To add the eco touch we used my treasured memories from Farolito-lit Christmas nights in Santa Fe, New Mexico and created Luminarios with recycled paper bags and soy candles, which were placed around all water features and the beach seating.
Classic Party Rentals has become a green rental company with trucks running on alternative fuels. They did beautiful up-lighting, always conscious not to overdo it but still creating a lush effect. We did not need a generator, but when we do, we know where to rent bio diesel generators. (No fear, they are quiet.)
Curtis from Classic and his crew did an amazing job, they placed the floor and over head retro lighting for the beach seating the day before and came early on the wedding day setting up bars, beach and ceremony seating. They did not only help to set up tables and chairs on the yard after the ceremony but stayed all night jumping in whenever necessary and with a smile on their faces. The community spirit seemed to en wrap everybody.

On the practical side: I ordered solar powered bath rooms and eco trash bins to recycle all waste.

Jaime, a wine connoisseur, took care of stocking the two bars. He also knows his cocktails; when Jaime and Susan invited me for dinner at the Garden of Taxco after the wedding, where nervous Dan had spilled the news about their wedding idea a year before, he ordered an amazing fruity drink, its name unfortunately drowned in its powerful ingredients.

Don Kreindler and his crew did their catering magic again: delightful hors d'oeuvres were followed by delicious food stations, most of it organic and certainly sustainable. Winner of the night due to originality: the organic mashed potato Martini bar.
I just love Don, a master of haute cuisine who creates healthy banquets, which simply are to die for.

After a journey through well known bakeries and talking to a dozen pastry chefs, we found that nobody in the wedding cake market was open to create the very specific pies Dan had asked for. The pies were his thing and had to be just right.
Susan contacted one of the restaurants she frequently visits and Aaron from Boneyard Bistro was eager to help: a multitude of colorful pies arrived at the wedding to be served with organic whipped cream and Lavender Honey Vanilla Ice cream.

Danielas brides maids were asked to choose dresses thinking of Daniela - the whimsical and delicate result was just her.

Daniela's dress sums it all up: it is a white designer dress but unpretentious, unique and with that touch of Pixie which is part of the magic of this creative duo, with love for life in their hearts and the happiness of the earth in their mind.

Location: Malibu Beach
Event Planning&Design: Angelica Weihs Events, LA
Photography: Greg Slick, SF
Caterer: Don Kreindler, LA
Flowers: Shirvan Design, Glendale
Rentals: Classic Party Rentals, Culver City
Entertainment: Kugelplex, Chansonniers, Live Piano, DJ (friends), SF
Favors: Home made coco powder in small recycled glass containers, Snowblink CD's
Huppah: home made, family
Rings: Todd Bracken, LA

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Personal, creative and smart wedding invitations

Dan and Daniela's 250 guest wedding in April in Malibu was gorgeous and eco-friendly to the max in a relaxed, fun and creative way. It's their life style after all: to be sensitive to all there is. We were in tune about "green" not just being an exchange of "bad" products with "good" products , but a philosophy of life. Integrating local vendors and talent of the closer community is one part of it.
Daniela, Dan, Susan (Daniela's mom) and I had gone on a vendor trip through LA in December, which started checking out Invitesite in Pasadena. As much as they liked the variety of their eco cool papers, colors and shapes, they got inspired to ask their friends Dave Wilson and Hannah Barr-DiChiara to produce a keep sake, which their guests might even want to frame.
Dave had taken photographs from the beach at Daniela's grand parents home, the prospective wedding venue and then created a water color painting - not knowing that he had just produced the inspiration and art work for a wedding.

The wedding colors, blue and orange and the abstract sunset were composed for an arty design, repeated in the wedding CD, a recording of Daniela and Dan, who are musicians. They tour a lot in Canada and compose songs for (a couple of famous) commercials. Their designers Dave and Hannah made sure that the San Francisco printer was as eco-friendly as the recycled paper. Detail: behind the sunset in the water color is the actual invite, which can be pulled out.
Using recycled paper like Daniela and Dan or paper made from rags and 500 sustainable fibers, offered for over a decade by Helen and Scott from Invitesite, is much less harmful than the "regular" paper making process. The chain saw loving paper industry often doesn't stop cutting down ancient growth and clear cutting rain forests and even the caring paper manufacturer can't avoid requiring huge amounts of water and fossil fuels. Statistics say that the pulp and paper industry is the second largest consumer of energy, ad the printing industry, with tons of ink, toner, solvents, coatings, and adhesives and you are looking at a rather scary picture. New businesses to the rescue: as long as eco friendly products, like soy inks are used, the impact on the environment is bearable. But the traditional wedding invitation - including an outer envelope, inner envelope, the invitation itself, a reply card, and directions to the venue - plus a variety of other stationary is quite a production and requires a lot of energy.
If you can't miss out on the beauty of the printed or written invite, mixing it up is not the greenest but the caring and fun way to go: Send save-the-dates via email, an amazing one piece invitations by mail with the link to your website, where your guests can RSVP, find directions and registries, fun stuff to do and on the latest gossip about your planning adventure. Then take a picture of yourselves in a memorable area of your wedding location holding a "Thank You" sign and email it to all your guests. Even the ones who couldn't make it, can be included.

Sarika and Dave loved their three day celebration in one of the few eco-conscious wedding venues, the Airlie Mansion in Virginia.
I created a website for Jo and Ed's wedding, who, after her favorite designer had bailed out, decided on a complete digital package. Their wedding is coming up on May 23 and their guests have a blast with the process.

Pingg offers nice templates or, if you would like to customize it to the max, have a graphic designer create a personalized online invitation, matching your guest book and escort cards. Jo and Ed will have a huge party setting with lots of surprises and different music groups, from classic over Banjo to 60ties and 70ties rock. Matching the idea of "no down time" is the layout with colorful food stations; guests mingle, dance and browse the different dishes. Tables are an eclectic mix of all sizes, high and low. What's green about that aside of the sustainable fish and organic veges? Casual seating does not require escort cards.
Looking at "green" as a play ground every step of the way is creative and exciting.
(Find links to eco friendly invitations in my side bar)