Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Eco wedding – pure beeswax candles

Thank you to Cate at QueenB for sharing this lovely post on lighting up your wedding naturally with  beeswax candles.

We’re pretty spoiled for choice on things to write about at Queen B, but I have to say that one of my greatest delights is when our customers share photographs with us of their events and we can see our hand-crafted beauties doing their thing.

It’s one thing to use candles at a wedding or event, it is another thing entirely to use completely natural beeswax candles with their unique golden light (not to mention that your guests don’t have to breathe in toxic fumes all night)… that simple choice will not just create a special ambiance  but you’re also supporting bees, our beekeepers, the regional communities they live in, jobs at Queen B… not to mention the environment and planet!  One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.  Wedding… becomes eco wedding… luxury wedding… different… special!

While my raison d’étre may be hand-crafting natural, non-toxic, carbon neutral, eco candlelight, we are fortunate that our candles appeal just as much to the luxury end of the market as they do to the conscious or eco consumer… not that they’re mutually exclusive!
Anyway, I thought it might be nice to share some of the photographs from events we’ve lit.  A picture speaks a thousands words (and, often, so do I!).  These photographs are from a wedding held at The Wharf in Sydney.  Flowers by

For this wedding, the candles were used in two ways:

  • Ambience – rising to the challenge of creating a warm, romantic, intimate ambience in a huge warehouse space, our 8-9hr tealight candles were placed in mini-fishbowls at each guest’s place setting and dotted along the windowsill around the venue.  NB putting candles into a glass not only provides wind protection but the glass reflects more light… giving you more bang for your hard earned buck.
  • Queen B beeswax tealight candles at each guest’s place and dotted along the windowsill of the venue Queen B pure beeswax 8-9hr tealight candles are the longest burning tealights on the market… so the ambience goes on and on.

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The sea of beeswax candles created a lovely light feature table for this eco luxury wedding created a beautiful impact
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Create a sea of beeswax candlelight with the clever use of fishbowls, hurricanes, plinths, tealight holders, votive glasses etceco wedding, sustainable wedding, eco event, sustainable event
Creating a candle feature at your eco wedding or event is a high impact way of creating instant ambiance 

A sea of candlelight feature table – our bride wanted to create a sea of candles as a feature at the event.  This was cleverly achieved on a budget by using large fishbowls, glass plinths, tealight holders and votive holders along with various sizes of candles to create the look.  The flickering of the flames reflecting off the glass holders of different sizes and shapes created the look of hundreds of candle flames.

A few tips for creating this look:

  • most good florists will have glassware that they can lend/hire to you for the evening rather than purchasing it.
  • if you’re having an event at home or not using a florist for your event, hire glasses (lowballs or highballs) as another cheap way of creating this look without breaking the bank
  • otherwise, most thrift stores have a huge range of glassware for sale… I’ve lit an event before where I bought over 150 glasses for 50c each and then dropped them back the next day.  That’s a win win!  And the different sizes, shapes and heights of the glasses create a beautiful look… if that’s the look you’re going for!… it’s not the luxury eco wedding look, but it is a lovely look!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

How to plan an eco friendly wedding

Often couples who plan an eco friendly wedding want to demonstrate to their family and friends, that they care about the environment and the impact that a large event like this creates and that this is the lifestyle they have chosen for themselves. But for any couple interested in planning a natural wedding, it's a good idea to start with a different frame of mind.

Most importantly - Don't Stress! Trying to make your wedding completely eco friendly may be overwhelming, but by choosing the important parts to “green up” can make all the difference. It’s not just about being the most eco friendly, it’s about working in the right direction to make a difference. In the end knowing that you have made an effort to protect the planet, is well worth it.

Here are a few eco friendly planning tips to help you get started:

Choosing A Venue

One of the first steps in wedding planning is choosing a venue. A truly sustainable ceremony might take place in a venue powered by solar panels and illuminated by light-emitting diode (LED) lighting, and wiped down afterwards with eco friendly cleaning products. When scouting out venues, ask how the facility handles food and drink, table settings and trash, to see if it’s done in an eco friendly way.

The best caterers for a sustainable wedding, minimise waste of resources and use locally sourced ingredients.

A list of questions to ask might be:

  • Do they recycle paper, plastics, cans and glass if it can’t be done on-site. 
  • Do they offer local and organic food choices. 
  • Do they serve food on reusable dish ware that’s washed and reused after the event. 
  • Can you provide utensils like palm leaf plates that are biodegradable in an approved commercial composting facility. 
  • Do they provide condiments, beverages, sides and other items without individual packaging. 
  • Do they donate left-over food scraps to an agency like OzHarvest , Second Bite , FareShare , Food Bank or other organisations that support the homeless by distributing surplus food. 

Virtual invites

Before any of this can happen, you have to alert your friends and family to your upcoming nuptials with an invitation. If you’re planning a sustainable wedding, that can mean breaking with tradition.

For traditional weddings, “the invitation is really what sets the tone for the event, often employing the upcoming wedding’s colours and motif. But more and more green-minded couples are dispensing with printed save-the-date notices and formal printed wedding invitations. One eco friendly alternative is the online invitation website Evite, which offers about 50 free wedding/engagement announcement designs that can be customised with the couple’s event information and sent out to their friends and family via email and Facebook. The guest list is updated in real time; you can opt to be notified when guests RSVP or comment, and can export your guest list to an Excel spreadsheet for easy access.

The Wedding Dress

These days, eco friendly wedding dresses are becoming more and more popular thanks to the popularity that is building on the importance of planning an eco friendly type of wedding. There are a number of wedding dress designers worldwide, who showcase a variety of wedding dresses to choose from whether you are tall and lean, voluptuous and short, petite and slim. Because of this, choices for environment friendly pieces have become aplenty, making it more competitive with non eco friendly dresses. An eco friendly fabric is charmeuse which combines hemp and silk to give a lovely sheen and wonderful drape. Hemp is grown without the use of pesticides or chemical fertilizers and wild peace silk are cocoons that are harvested only after the moths have emerged. You can find made to order dresses using this fabric at Threadhead Creations on Etsy.

The least expensive and best green option is considering a second hand gown or those dresses that are being passed from one generation to another. You may need to do a little cleaning or alterations, but a second hand gown is always the best way to stay sustainable on your wedding day. If you think these dresses are going to be cheap or tacky, think again. Websites like Preowned Wedding Dresses sell designer dresses like Vera Wang and Monique Lhuillier (which retail at up to $15,000) for half price, and sometimes even less.

The Bridesmaid Dress

Bridesmaids may wear dresses they had already purchased for some other occasion or bought at vintage shops. These days there are no rules as to what to wear especially if you have the environment in mind while planning your green wedding.

The Grooms Attire

Both Groom and groomsmen are encouraged to rent rather than buy tuxedos unless the Groom is sure he will get a lot of further use out of it. If your groom has his own kind of style why not consider putting together a second hand ensemble from a thrift or vintage store.


When you look at generations gone by, your grandmother would have chosen flowers that were handy. Give your florist a general style and colour scheme, and any flowers that you dislike, but generally allow them flexibility so they can use what's in season and readily available locally. Though local choices may be limited, it’s easy to be creative. Think out of the box and incorporate things like herbs, fruits and even vegetables, using whatever is fresh you can create an interesting and eco friendly arrangement. Being conscious of the season when planning the date can also create a positive impact. If your heart is set on a certain species choose to get married at the time of the year that particular flower will be in season. Just because strawberries are available year-round doesn't mean they taste great all year, the same goes for flowers. For something really different you could get crafty and make your bouquet out of fabric and buttons as shown on our blog.


Carbon dioxide levels are now at 400 parts per million so consider using low-carbon transportation when the big day arrives by searching for a green alternative to your standard limo company or you could hire a Nissan Leaf or Toyota Prius to make a real eco statement. Inspire guests to leave their cars at home and hop on a bus or train instead of taking a taxi. If you simply can't arrange sustainable transport you can offset your emissions - Easy Being Green offer an all-in-one wedding carbon neutral package.

The Decor

There's no doubt that ensuring your guests are dazzled by your choice of decor, is a huge part of creating the atmosphere for your reception. Get creative, there are so many simple things you can do, even if you don't have a lot of time, rather than depleting the earth’s resources by purchasing your decor, many couples choose to rent them instead, from places such as

The Gift Registry

What on Earth do you wish for? To avoid the waste of unwanted or unnecessary gifts register for gifts that wont hurt the environment. Biome Eco Stores is a Home Body Lifestyle store that has the Planet in mind.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Large Functions in Australia Contribute to 1.3 billion Tonnes of Food Wasted Each Year!

An Australian wedding calls for large-scale preparation of food with lavish menus being the order of the day, which can also result in large amounts of food wastage. When planning large scale events, whether it be for a wedding, private function or corporate event, choose a restaurant, function centre or venue that considers food waste, and reduces it where possible.

By working closely with caterers and event staff, your celebration can also be a an environmental success by reducing the waste simply by asking them to provide the leftovers to OzHarvestSecond Bite,FareShareFood Bank or other organisations that support the homeless by distributing surplus food.

Planning food volumes with your caterer makes them aware of your concerns and together you will be able to minimise the amount of food wasted. It's important that you factor in the number of guests attending and communicate these details properly to your caterer. That way, they can get the number and quantity of food as close as possible.

A good caterer will know how to minimise portions not options. Most people can't eat more than 500g of food for dinner. A buffet with too much variety means that people can't sample everything whereas an a la carte menu can mean less wastage as the portions can be controlled and the options are limited.
When planning your menu consider sourcing lower environmental impact food choices, for example, you can use the Australian Marine Conservation Society’s Sustainable Seafood Guide.

Some other ideas are to plan your menu around what's in season at the time of your event and use local produce as much as possible which will help reduce the packaging and transporting the food vast distances.

Think Eat Save is an anti-food waste and food loss campaign that encourages you to reduce your foodprint. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), every year 1.3 billion tonnes of food is wasted. At the same time, one in every seven people in the world go to bed hungry and more than 20,000 children under the age of five die every day of hunger. Think Eat Save encourages people to become more aware of the environmental impact of the food choices they make and take informed decisions. Think Eat Save provides great advice on their website on how to reduce your food waste.

Another great resource is Love Food Hate Waste.

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