Next time you’re in need of some centerpiece inspiration, look no further than your pantry. Dried beans serve as a pretty earth-toned base to anchor a single spring clipping. Both the beans and the flowers can be composted once the table has been cleared.
Amp up the exotic vibe at a laid-back summer get-together with this low-impact idea. Fill a simple bowl or serving piece with water and tropical colored floating candles. Place a few orchids in the water to float beside the candles; you can also scatter several orchids across the table for an easy, organic vibe.
Instead of using electricity to light an outdoor buffet or bar, consider this simple, yet romantic solution. Gather clear apothecary bottles (which can often be found in bulk at flea markets) and fill them with wicks and lamp oil. Arrange the bottles inside of a hurricane (you can reuse it after the party) to protect the flames from the wind. Depending on the size of the individual bottles, the flames should last for at least several hours.
Disguise small drinking glasses with Chinese paper lanterns to add low-impact pops of color to your party. To achieve this look, simply trace the top of the glass onto the top of the lantern so that your glass will easily fit inside of the paper. Then, cut out that circle and slide in the glass. The lantern should catch on the rim of the glass. Fill each glass with water and bunches of locally grown flowers. No one will realize that the quirky vases are actually costumed juice glasses taken from your cupboard!
Why burn up extra electricity if you can avoid it? If you’re considering hosting an evening affair, add some style (and some safety) to a footpath with mason jar candleholders (they would look equally pretty for a daytime party). Place a soy (or other eco friendly) candle into a reused jar and alternate with some simple seasonal flowers (as pictured below). After all the guests are gone, wash each mason jar with warm, soapy water (after the jars have cooled from the candlelight, of course) and reuse for extra storage or as a vase. Or, opt to keep the jars as decorative candleholders that you can use year-round!
Give your guests something to talk about during dinner. Instead of purchasing new, traditional chargers or placemats, rummage through your bookshelves for some décor inspiration. Gently tear out pages from an old book (or a dictionary, as pictured below) and place the pages beneath plates for a “smart” (pun fully intended), vintage feel. After a few glasses of wine, guests are certain to share some laughs while reading their favorite passages to each other.
I first became interested in aromatherapy when I was about 13, thanks to my very cool, very “in the know” aunt. Once I realized the deeply healing affects that plant essences could have on my body and my mind, I was hooked. Since party planning, specifically wedding planning, can include so much stress, I’ve been thinking for a while now that aromatherapy products might be a nice gesture to offer a hostess or a group of bridesmaids.
About a month ago, I had the pleasure of meeting Valerie Bennis, the founder of Essence of Vali, while browsing at the NYC Go Green Expo. Essence of Vali specializes in beautifully packaged aromatherapy products – everything from bath oils to body mists – that leave skin soft and have soothing, subtle scents. Essence of Vali products are all-natural and are made in the U.S.A, which means you can give them entirely guilt-free. Looking for a thoughtful, yet affordable, going-away gift for a couple of honeymooners? Check out the sleep travel set, which comes packaged in a pretty organza pouch. In search of the perfect sexy something to compliment your bridal shower gift? Try the sensual passion-scented massage oil and body mist. I especially like the company’s “Sleep” line; I’ve been dabbing the concentrated sleep-scented oil on my pillowcases for several weeks now and have enjoyed many nights of peaceful, uninterrupted rest. For more about their products, please visit Essence of Vali.
For a colorful, vintage-inspired accent, gather a collection of loose buttons in a simple vase or mason jar. Arrange a small cluster of button vases in the center of a casual cocktail table or scatter several across a buffet.
Reduce the amount of potential waste in your next centerpiece by sticking with a clean but modern design. Place a single, colorful stem into a translucent glass vase and fully submerge with water. The water will slightly magnify the flower, transforming something simple into something decidedly stylish.
Give your guests something sweet at your next get together. Instead of a candy bar, arrange individual bags of organic cherries or any other variety of local and/or organic seasonal fruit for guests to pick up and enjoy on their way out of the party. They’ll be grateful for a healthy, yet sweet, snack.
While spring-cleaning this season, forgo the temptation to ditch all of last season’s sweaters. Instead, consider giving new life to gently worn sweaters by repurposing them as fashionable décor. Dress up plain bowls by pulling a sweater sleeve over each bowl; line up the cuff with the top of the bowl and secure with some hot glue. Have some old vases or jars hidden in the closet? Simply slip a sweater sleeve over the vase, stretch the fabric so it is long enough to cover the full length of the vase and hot glue into place.
Dress up a set of simple cloth napkins with pretty button cards. The cards, which can be found at secondhand shops, garage sales, or, as in the case of my family, nearly any drawer in my grandmother’s home, are the perfect size to serve as feminine, vintage-inspired napkin “rings.” Simply punch holes on either side of the card, lace some ribbon or twine through each hole and loosely tie on the underside of each napkin.
If you’re in search of some fun, off-the-beaten-path favor ideas, be sure to check out the many options available on Etsy. Here is a collection of some of our recent favorites. All of the products featured below are budget-friendly ($20 or less) and would make adorable, eco-friendly favors for nearly any spring celebration.
This spring and summer, look to your local farmers’ market for favor inspiration. Although the many fruits, vegetables and other artisanal food products will add a burst of color to any centerpiece, consider the packaging as well. Small pint boxes, commonly used to store berries and tomatoes, are the perfect size to carry a miniature collection of favors for your guests. The bright colors of the reused boxes, as well as their instant association with the warm weather seasons, will give any table a fresh, summer look.
Reception halls, in general, are not exactly known for being green. Once each party is complete, the amount of electricity used for lighting such a large space and providing music and AC, as well as the amount of food that often ends up in a garbage bin and the numerous bottles that find their fate mixed in with the common trash adds up to be quite a massive pile of often unnecessary waste. However, where else is a hostess to turn when looking for a space to throw the party of the year?
There are many creative and eco-friendly venue options, especially during the spring and summer months. Consider a local farm, park or vineyard when shopping around for locales for your next special event. Or, as the couple seen in the pictures below did, choose to host a casual party at a local greenhouse. The space will provide the perfect scenic backdrop for photographs and you can rest easily knowing that your party helped to support local agriculture.
Burlap, commonly known as the itchy fabric used to make potato sacks, is given a stylish makeover as a table runner. When paired with crisp white linens and easy tabletop décor, a burlap runner makes for an unexpectedly elegant eco accent (burlap is made from jute, a fast growing, sustainable and renewable resource).
Growing up, I spent a lot of time in my parents’ floral shop playing around with different varieties of moss. Both Spanish moss and sheet moss have served as common staples in the floral design world for years now; however, mostly, the moss is used as a quick “filler” to dress up the rims of potted plants. Recently, moss has been making a center stage appearance, serving as the focal point of many simple, green centerpieces. When shopping for moss either independently or with a floral designer, be sure to request only natural varieties of moss (I prefer sheet moss, which reminds me of a sort of fuzzy, woodland carpet [pictured below]), and request wholesale growers who choose to use exclusively organic growing methods, as well as natural and chemical free drying methods for their mosses.
H&M’s new Garden Collection proves that sustainable fashion can be stylish. The new collection, released just in time for spring, is made with environmentally adapted materials like recycled polyesters, organic cotton and organic linen. Available at H&M stores nationwide, the collection includes a range of warm weather separates, as well as on-trend accessories such as silky scarves and headbands. We especially love the many affordable party-worthy dresses, as pictured below.