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Conscious Creekside Wedding Shoot Pt 1: Venue , Decor + and the Great Outdoors

Welcome back to our eco-excited brides-to-be! Earth Day 2019 has inspired us to share our creative collaboration highlighting an easy to apply concept of triple-use that not only creates a sentimental and seasonal celebration but reduces waste and supports local vendors. Shot in Cooks Creek, Manitoba this sunny styled shoot had us working in 30 degree humidity and dodging rain drops although you wouldn't know it with the talented Chantelle Dione Photography behind the lens. The first part in our 3 part series focuses on the venue, decor and how we used our natural surroundings to design a dreamy day-time backdrop. Lets look at the details and discover the vendors involved!

Venue: All in the family

The shoot was held in my parents backyard along the picturesque Cooks Creek. When selecting an eco-conscious location look for spaces that utilize natural sunlight, don't require dozens of outside vendors to complete the day and has reasonable access to clean running water. Dozens of our brides have been married on family properties making this both a popular backdrop for a variety of themes and a cost-effective setting. If you are planning an indoor wedding look for hotels or restaurants that implement recycling programs, utilize bio-degradeable products and source local and/or seasonal food. Large windows and open rooms can also harness natural lighting and require less electricity during the day. If your venue is outside the city consider renting a shuttle for your guests which can also reduce emissions and provide safe transportation after the reception. We chose to have our ceremony, photos, dinner and reception all within the same space which reduces travel time, investment and environmental impact. And this the first example of how triple-use was applied in our mission to minimize!

Decor: Au naturel with a nod to nostalgia

Just because you are embracing an eco-friendly event doesn't mean you can't design a day that looks elegant and completely styled. This is where concept of triple-use will really pay off for you. As the day evolves simply moving some elements from one area to another will create new vignettes for guests to enjoy without adding additional expenses. Our alter area was styled using thrifted fabric from a local Salvation army, ornate picture frames in various sizes and a stunning antique chandelier rented from the Vintage Nest in Steinbach, Manitoba. Set againt a wall of trees and bushes courtesy of Mother Nature our outdoor setting provided the most beautiful and effortless backdrop. (We will transform the alter later on, you will love how we revisited the space as the celebration continued!) The seating for our ceremony featured vintage chairs in various cool white and green shades in the front row- perfect for priority seating for close family and friends. Behind these, the dark reclaimed wood benches handmade by the The Last Limb Woodworking & Event Rentals. The benches will be added to their equally stunning counterparts- reclaimed wood harvest tables also made by the same family owned business. Not only does this reduce the amount of seating you need to rent (and the cost!) it also creates a cohesive look throughout your spaces.

Our bridemaids walked the aisle holding thrifted lanterns adorned with pictures of loved ones who had passed. Not only does this reduce the use of florals, it pays homage to loved family members and includes their memory in the wedding day. The lanterns were then hung on shepards hooks as the proceeded towards the alter creating aisle decor that was truly meaningful. The florals and greenery we did use? Naturally grown and foraged from the property itself! Our favourite piece? The wooden love seat from The Vintage Nest that hosted signage by local maker Mockingbird Makery! This classic bench welcomed our guests to the ceremony, helped create a fun photo booth, provided additional lounge seating during the reception and finally the perfect photo-op for a post-wedding snuggle by the creek. Talk about working triple-time!

We love thrifting- why buy new when the perfect preloved piece already exisits! We used a vintage marble top table to hold signage, a chalk-painted refurbished table for our drink bar, a classic wheelbarrow to chill the most essential beverages, a brass painted metal two-tiered table in the lounge area for sips and s'mores and various wooden crates and pots from around the garden. All of our fabric was sourced secondhand. Familial details like the brass snuffer, brass candle holders and cut-crystal wine glasses (a wedding gift to my parents!) with floating candles were family heirlooms that add a nostalgic touch without costing a dime. Even the candles were sourced from a secondhand shop.

Let's make some memories!

Remember the ceremony space we promised to put in an altered state? With the addition of some wooden props, a sign designed from a vintage mirrored vanity tray and a preloved table our outdoor photobooth was born. Why waste the opprtunity to capture your more pictures that beautiful canopy of antiques and trees? We love how the picture frames literally declare,"photo ops happen here." The guestbook station was placed beside the card box, both displayed on a harvest table. The cardbox was so simple it seemed revolutionary- a wooden crate placed upside down. The slats create the perfect drop-box while keeping the cards secure. Our guest book was another locally made, memory-making accent. Hand lettering by Parasayo on a wooden board accompanied by paint pens allow guests to leave personal messages which can later be displayed in your home for years to come.

Scrap fabric, lanterns of love and vintage cut-crystal completed our tablescape.

It's almost dinner time!

The Last Limb offers gorgeous reclaimed wood harvest tables that fit perfectly into our theme. Handmade locally, the dark grain really elevated our creekside reception providing the perfect backdrop to the dinnerware, glassware and flatware we rented from BelAyre Rentals. You'll recognize the lanterns from the ceremony, making their third appearance as centerpieces! Consider gifting table decor to parents or close family members- offering them a tribute of a loved one they can display and enjoy in their home. Our table runner was a thrift-store find of gauze-like textured fabric and the centerpiece? An edible fresh-baked appetizer with fruits and fixings on natural wood platters. Don't worry- we will be talking all about tableware, food and bevvies later in the series!

Thrift-store finds, rented vintage chairs & family heirlooms layered throughout the lounge area.

Our lounge area was placed beside a beautiful creekside bonfire - the perfect spot to finish off a day-long celebration. We added our ceremony chairs and those oh-so versatile benches (both making their third appearance!) and simply wheeled our beverage barrel from drink station to fireside cocktail bar. The wooden loveseat creates a special place for our cute couple and the various tables we enjoyed throughout the day now make the landing place for cocktails and those late-night snacks. Which we will tell you all about in the 2nd part of our Conscious Creekside Wedding Styled Shoot! I can't wait, I am so hungry...

The recap: The takeaway for decor is less is more- choose pieces that can be used multiple times throughout the day. Make sure they are easy to move and functional. Use your space wisely and get the most out of your efforts by creating new purposes for already enjoyed areas. Why buy new when you already have the perfect piece? The antique hutch collecting dust in moms dining room is a great option for a drink stand or dessert bar. For the must-haves make them memorable- handmade options designed to make great keepsakes are worth the investment. And finally, when in doubt thrift it out. One might argue that sourcing volume (for example, enough matching fabric for 10 table runners) is unrealistic but what isn't is finding 10 pieces of fabric in complimentary shades that will add depth and detail to your design. Happy Earth Day everyone!

NEXT: Conscious Creekside Inspired Shoot Part 2: From Food to Favours-Let's Eat!

Conscious Creekside Vendor Love:

Videography - Kaboha Photography

Co-ordination + Planning - Simply You Events

Creative Styling + Womens Attire - Pearl & Birch

Veil - Handsewn by Robyn for Pearl & Birch

Jewelry - Vintage Bling

Hair pieces + Belts - Luna & Stone

Makeup Application - Noir Cosmetic Studio

Makeup Products - Portia Ella, Elate Cosmetics, Pure Anada

Frames, Chandelier, Coloured Chairs, Bench, Wheel Barrow - The Vintage Nest

Harvest Tables + Benches - The Last Limb

Guest book & S'mores Sign - Parasayo

Wooden Signs - Mockingbird Makery

Wild Flowers - Shop Public

Plantable Stationary + Biodegradeable Confetti - Botanical Paperworks

Glassware, Plateware, Flatware - Bel Ayre Rentals

Food + Dessert - Loaf and Honey

S'mores- Folk & Fire

Jam Favours - Flora & Farmer

Our mission Pearl & Birch maintains an ethical approach to everything we do, from the reusing of our garment bags to the upcycling of dated gowns to modern day dresses. Our mission is to sell-abrate slow fashion, offering options for all once-wear events. By rewearing and repairing dresses, shoes and accessories we decrease textile waste and reduce the global environmental impact of clothing production. April 22 is celebrated as Earth day and we wanted to showcase this beautiful eco-conscious styled shoot we created with a team of over 20 local vendors to encourage people to make mindful purchases and plan with purpose all year long. There are so ways to reduce our impact- follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and our blog for more inspiring ideas.

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