Monday, February 14, 2011

Enter Online Photo Contest to Win $13,000 Dream Wedding and Honeymoon

Velas Resorts in Mexico are offering the chance for couples to win an all-inclusive destination wedding.

Velas Resorts have earned 26 AAA Diamond ratings and many other international awards. Their resorts include Casa Velas, a boutique adults-only hotel and ocean club located on the Marina Vallarta Golf Course; Velas Vallarta, a family-friendly all-suite resort located on 10 acres of oceanfront; and Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit on the Banderas Bay and Grand Velas Riviera Maya, with both jungle and beach settings. Velas Resorts offer packages for weddings of any size which include romantic extras like candlelit dinners and aromatherapy couples massage.

Now the Velas Resorts are offering to make wedding dreams come true with their new photo contest which opens on Valentine’s Day.

One lucky couple can win a complete, all-inclusive, luxury beach wedding at Grand Velas Rivera Nayarit and a three-night honeymoon at Casa Velas.

The grand prize winning couple will have the opportunity to stay for four days and three nights in a luxury ocean-front suite at Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit and have a complete wedding ceremony with up to 8 guests that includes: a welcome dinner, a symbolic ceremony, a full wedding reception, decorations, minister, live music, wedding cake, and a three-hour open bar.

Plus the couple will receive a wedding package that includes: a photographic session by Dream Art, a 50-minute couple’s massage, a gift certificate and necklace for the bride from Diamond International, and lingerie for the bride from ëa Lingerie.

The winning couple will also receive a honeymoon complete with accommodations in a Grand Class Suite with private plunge pool, VIP roundtrip airport transportation service, a bottle of champagne or wine upon arrival, one Spa Experience for two, and gourmet dining along with premium beverages.

Second prize winners will receive a three-night honeymoon at Velas Vallarta, where they will stay in a luxury ocean-view suite and enjoy champagne, a romantic dinner, boat tour for two, and other romance amenities.

The contest is open from Valentine’s Day (February 14, 2011) to March 14th, 2011.

This contest is open to residents of USA, Canada, and Mexico who participate by sending a creative photo along with 50-100 words describing why you want to have a wedding at Velas Resorts.

For more details on how to enter the contest and submit your photo and essay, please visit

All photos entered will be published at

The Velas Resorts Communication Committee will choose the best 14 finalists, based on originality, enthusiasm, and emotion.

Final voting will be open to the public and the the first prize winners will be chosen from among the finalists.

Entries must be submitted between February 14th and March 14, 2011.

Public voting will occur from March 16th-31st, 2011, and the winners notified on April 1st, 2011.

BambuHome One of the Vendors That Sponsored My Mother's Wedding

Plates and Trays from BambuHome

When my mother announced soon after Thanksgiving 2010 that she was getting married in January of 2011 I was stunned- briefly.

Then I quickly got to work on planning her green wedding.

I am green partially because of my mother- the woman has always been a "save that don't throw it away repurposing person". I got that from her and she got it from her mother who lived through the Great Depression and a lifetime tough economics. Growing up my world was naturally crafty and green.

So I knew that her wedding had to be green as well.

Having a less than a little over a month I had no idea if I could pull off a green wedding. I didn't have a lot of time to do DIY projects that I normally would have done with more time. I did still manage to create all the floral arrangements and bouquets from artificial flowers I had on hand (left over from my floral design days) and I used glass bowls and mirror tiles for centerpieces that have been making the rounds from friend to family member for various parties since 1999 when my best friend originally purchased the bowls for her wedding. I added the mirror tiles in 2003 for my own wedding.

The biggest challenge other than food was the table settings- I couldn't stomach Styrofoam or plastic disposables yet with our minimal budget we couldn't afford fancy china and real silverware.

Bambuhome offered a fabulous solution with their bamboo veneerware plates.

The plates offered simple elegance and eco style while still being convenient and disposable. The larger plates were used for the buffet table while the small plates were absolutely perfect for the cake and dessert tables.

The bamboo bar trays in kiwi added a gorgeous splash of color to the tables and were perfect for holding napkins and silverware.

My mother was very pleased with the eco products and everyone at the wedding commented on how stylish and unique the plates were.

The wedding was a simple, budget and eco-friendly wedding done in record breaking time (from start to finish less than 2 months). It wasn't lavish and over the top but simple and down to earth just like my mom. It was perfect.

I can honestly say I'll be turning to bambuhome products for future events.

small cake plates and another kiwi tray from BambuHome

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Your Essential Guide to Green Weddings in 2011

Your Essential Guide to Green Weddings in 2011

As a bride-to-be, you may be wondering exactly how to plan the lavish wedding of your dreams without causing a negative impact on the environment or breaking the bank. Fortunately, you have come to the right place…

1. Give thought to your guest list. Not only will it reduce stress to only invite people that you really care about, but it will also cut down on the environmental impact caused by sending extra invitations, paying for additional guests, and asking more people to travel to your wedding.
2. Ask your guests to carpool to your wedding.
3. Check out local artists to create wedding invitations, favors, and decorations for your reception.
4. Look for a wedding photographer that prints photos and albums on recycled paper.
5. Use organic disposable items like sugarcane plates and plastic supplies made of corn-based materials.
6. Choose a convenient wedding location to cut down on gas and travel costs.
7. Opt for an outdoor wedding to cut down on the use of lighting and also provide a beautiful and natural location for your ceremony.
8. If you’re having a night wedding, light the tables with candles to cut down on lighting and also create a romantic ambience.
9. Choose a location wisely that focuses on recycling and water conservation.
10. Use green transportation on your way to the church, like arriving in a new hybrid car.
11. Have your ceremony and reception in one place to reduce travel that creates excess carbon emissions.
12. Create your own wedding website to offer convenience and cut down on save the date cards, RSVP cards, registry cards, and even invitations.
13. Create your own wedding invitation design to minimize the resources used.
14. Print your wedding invitations on cotton, hemp, and bamboo products.
15. Choose a vintage gown as opposed to a brand-new, very expensive wedding dress.
16. Customize your mother’s or grandmother’s wedding dress to offer a sentimental touch as you recycle old materials.
17. Consider renting a wedding gown to save serious money since you will only use it one time.
18. Purchase a wedding diamond that is certified as conflict-free.
19. Choose wedding diamonds from Australia and Canada that were mined in peaceful conditions.
20. For original wedding bands, choose wooden touch rings as an eco-friendly option.
21. Decorate your reception with potted plants instead of cut flowers.
22. Decorate your ceremony with organic candles made from soy or beeswax.
23. If you use balloons for decoration, make sure that they are FSC certified.
24. Choose a wedding vendor that caters local, seasonal, and organic foods.
25. As a healthy and environmentally conscious alternative, serve mainly vegetarian cuisine at your reception.

Not only will these innovative ideas ensure a fun and memorable wedding celebration, but they will also seriously cut down on your total budget and environmental impact!

Bethany Ramos is a professional makeup artist that also co-owns her own website, The Coffee Bump. For a great selection of the Bunn coffee maker, check out Bethany Ramos' website today.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

I Planned My Mom's Real Green Wedding

I have been writing about green weddings for a couple years now but I have not put my advice into real wedding planning practice, at least not completely from start to finish, until now.

I used a lot of green ideas and DIY ways in my own wedding back in 2003 but this was before eco-friendly cups, napkins, and the like were readily available and somewhat affordable. So we did what we could with lots of DIY decorations and accessories along with many other green and greenish practices.

I've also helped many brides incorporate green and eco ways into their weddings over the years from using reusable décor to recycled materials.

Recently though I had the chance to plan a green wedding from start to finish and realized... sometimes it's not easy being green.

The biggest obstacle I encountered was time...or lack thereof.

My mother announced a couple weeks before Christmas that she was getting married- and the wedding date was set for January 15. Yikes, a little over a month to plan a wedding- with the holidays smack dab in the middle of it all. My next obstacle was discovering that due to the major economic downturn of the past few years almost all of the wedding companies I had previously worked with locally were gone. My cake lady was gone, the small bridal shops all gone, even my decorating and supply store was gone.

Keep reading here.