February 5, 2010

Green and Glam Wedding Gown [Part 2 w/Pics!]

Every bride wants to look glamorous and beautiful on her wedding day…but can you also be 100% organic and eco-conscious?

Last spring I met Kristen, a Northern California gal who challenges herself to live entirely on organic and locally-made goods. She grows her own vegetables and cans her own divine jams (which I have been lucky enough to taste.) She drinks organic, local wine and asks her waiters where they source their produce from. She works for Acre Gourmet, a fabulous farm-fresh, environmentally-friendly kitchen that provides healthy real food for Bay Area school kids and businesses as well as catering for local events. Every single day, she thinks about the choices she makes and their impact on the earth…so why not on her wedding day as well?

That’s when Kristen contacted me about hand-making an eco wedding gown for her romantic summer Redwoods wedding.

(Read my previous blog “Adventures in Making an Eco-Friendly Wedding Dress” for more details of the process…)

She wanted something classic that would fit the surroundings, but also with a bit of a personal flair. We talked a lot about the design that she had in mind and did several different drawings beforehand to get it just right.

Kristen was envisioning a cowl neck top, an empire waist gown with some front pleats, an open back and a little bustle in the back. She had also dreamed of an appliquéd tree on the bottom portion of the dress in a loose-knit organic cotton to represent the deep roots and bond between her and her husband.

Taking all these ideas into mind, we ordered our organic fabrics online from Near Sea Naturals and began the fun part…draping the fabric and building the pattern! I found the texture and weight of the organic poplin and herringbone knit to be easy to work with; they created the perfect balance of eco-friendly and elegant.

I promised to share an update of how the wedding gown turned out after the wedding, and although I’m a few months overdue…I am finally sharing the pictures of the beautiful bride. She was thrilled with how comfortable and classy she felt in her gown, from the vows to the dinner (Acre Gourmet, of course) to the dancing, and she didn’t have to sacrifice her commitment to living an eco-conscious life.

I’m seeing a shift these days, with more and more brides wanting their special day to be green and glam. Working with a local designer, using organic or vintage materials, is one of the best ways to accomplish both! Plus, it’s super cool to be able to  wear a one-of-a-kind gown and feel good about supporting local artists!

Thanks so much to Kristen for letting me share her story with you! It was an honor to be a part of her big day. (I adore the picture of she and her husband giving their personal vows down by the river…amazing.)

Stay tuned! Next up: my other handmade wedding gown project from last summer; made from vintage and organic materials; we were able  to create a jaw-dropping couture wedding gown on a budget!

I’m also excited to be working on three more hand-made wedding gowns for this summer (one in beautiful Boulder, one in wine country and one in Mexico…) using vintage and Scrap materials. One woman is even entrusting me to deconstruct her mother’s old wedding gown to incorporate into her own! (I also did this for my sister’s wedding gown, using parts of my mom’s dress in addition to antique lace of my grandmother’s from the 1890’s!) I’ll be sure to share more stories of green and glam wedding gowns as they unfold! And don’t hesitate to let me know if you have any questions about the process…I’m happy to help!

Rachel Znerold is an artist and independent fashion designer living the good life in San Francisco, CA. www.rachelzart.com

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