As I'm quite happy with the husband that I already have, it may seem an odd thing indeed to have agreed to review a book about weddings. However, the timing of the request was odd and so this review comes down to happenstance. A few months one of my dearest friends, Leanne, asked me if I'd make her wedding dress for her. I hadn't realised it would be until she'd uttered the words, but as a sewer this has to be one of the most lovely things to ever be asked. Heart-flutteringly, missing-a-breath sort of lovely.
However, after a few seconds of total delight, my mind turned to the possible uncomfortable eventualities: how would Leanne tell me if she couldn't stand the dress that I made for her, or worse, would she be too polite to tell me and then embark on the most special day of her entire life wearing a dress that for no particular reason made her feel frumpy or just not very beautiful (because some dresses do...I'm no stranger to changing room miseries). Or what would happen if we invested hours of time planning the dress and then half way through (and with acres of white silk in my possession) I realised my dressmaking skills just weren't up to creating something so far removed from everyday wear? If no amount of refittings could make it fit perfectly. So I said no, and often I half wish that I hadn't, but ultimately I think it was probably the right answer.
|Sam + Leanne: It's hard to express how great my love for this pair is...but it is huge. In fact, Sam was best man at our own wedding.|
This book provides an ecological, budget-friendly alternative to virtually every aspect of wedding planning: alternative venues (from grand historical venues with environmental credentials to an arboretum or wildlife conservation centre); options for invitations using everything from banana paper to home-made seed paper; ideas for greener gift lists; sourcing silkworm-friendly silk for a wedding dress; or perhaps baking your own organic wedding cake.
It lists suppliers throughout and concludes with an exhaustive list of every environmentally friendly supply a bride and her bow could ever need (yes, that's including yurt-hire). All this could make the book sound a bit on the puritan, lentil-driven, holier-than-thou side. But it's not. This opening paragraph gives an idea of the spirit in which these natural options are provided:
"I always say to couples planning their wedding, 'if you can just do one thing...' and by this I mean one natural, eco-friendly or ethical thing. It could be choosing seasonal food, lighting the tables with plant-wax candles, or honeymooning at an eco boutique hotel. If every couple did this, it would make a real difference to the environmental effects of the wedding industry...The Natural Wedding book is here to dispel the myth that an eco-conscious wedding can't be stylish and look exactly like a 'regular' wedding, if that is what you wish for. Similarly, for couples wanting a unique, handmade day, then this is the book to show you how."
Either way it's something worth thinking about when you learn that a wedding puts 14.5 tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, which is twice your personal yearly carbon footprint.
But really the environmental side of things feels incidental in this book when you look through it - none of the images suggest compromise, an embarrassingly amateur appearance (and by this I mean something akin to the time where I tried to make hedgehogs and it didn't quite come off) or hippies wearing their eco credentials on the sleeve of their wedding kaftan. It just all looks lovely, heartfelt and as though it was a party that was created with a real affection for the guests and themselves as a couple. Which is how it should be.
And so this book feels really worth reviewing: not only because I'd love to pass it on to Leanne afterwards, but because it seems such a reflection of the kind of wedding that writers or readers of a craft blog might hope to create: something understated but perfect in its details.
And for those that might be wondering...Sam and Leanne will be marrying in a field in Devon next summer. I can't wait. Other than a venue, so many of the other details are yet to be planned that I'm hoping Leanne will love looking through this lovely book as much as I have.
The book is written by Louise Moon who runs her own wedding planning company, EcoMoon (it shows...it really feels like she's opened up her entire book of contacts and happily shared every single one with you).You can purchase the book here on Amazon or you can go to the Alistair Sawday website to buy it directly.
What was your own wedding like? I'd love to hear. Mr Teacakes and I married when I was only 23. A chilly January day in the centre of London, cosy beneath the ground in the red brick vaults at the Royal Society of Arts. Almost entirely lit by candles, favours handmade by my mother, a menu planned by my sister, a cake commissioned locally by my father on the basis of my sketches and random descriptions (I still have some of the icing roses from it now), surrounded by so many of our lovelies. In retrospect it was vaguely eco-friendly, although I didn't have that in mind when we were planning it....and all that was undone by flying several thousand miles to go skiing in Lake Louise...but so many wonderful memories.
And to finish off with some sewn goodness from last summer: here's Sam....he always uses a napkin (we never use them, so just seeing them actually being used was a novelty that delighted me for the entire evening). He has tucked nothing less than some Amy Butler in Coriander from the Belle collection into his t-shirt.