We Talked to a Newlywed for Her Tips on Planning a Sustainable Wedding - Love Stories TV

We Talked to a Newlywed for Her Tips on Planning a Sustainable Wedding

By Katie Kortebein

Even if you’ve been living under a rock, you probably wouldn’t be surprised that there’s a rise in green and sustainable weddings. From using compostable plates to biodegradable confetti to recycled dresses, couples are trying to throw a more thoughtful wedding and we’re so here for it! We think a pretty easy place is to start with those gorgeous florals. Why let all that hard work and year of planning go straight into the trash when you could give your florals a second, even third life? This is exactly what Repeat Roses does. We talked to Jessica Myers, the Global CSR Partnerships Director of Repeat Roses, to get all her tips on throwing a sustainable wedding and the behind-the-scenes on her own wedding. Watch her wedding video and then read on for her newlywed expert advice!

1. Tell us about the proposal.

We were attending my best friend’s wedding in Spain and were continuing to travel throughout Spain afterward with our other friends. I was unaware that Adam had actually planned a proposal at Refinery Hotel with dinner at Parker & Quinn, our favorite restaurant, with a reserved space at Refinery Rooftop for celebratory champs and a hotel room with rose petals a couple of weeks before. I ended up having an unexpected work trip and had a horrible cold so kept saying I didn’t want to go out. So, Adam canceled the entire thing, consulted with my bestie and decided to propose in Spain.
He decided to propose in Alicante, which is a very special place for me because my maid and matron of honor both studied abroad there. Adam planned to scope out the best spot on the beach when we arrived but I pushed to go to a different beach recommended by our Airbnb host (so basically I messed it up again!). On the way back to our Airbnb later that day, I saw a cute garden nearby and suggested we take a walk after getting ready. Our friends pretended to have horrible stomachaches and said they wouldn’t be able to come to the garden (unfortunately our friend actually did end up being super sick the following day—bad luck!). On the way to the garden, Adam started speaking very quickly and I soon realized what was happening and walked through the garden with him until he got down on one knee and proposed. As we were sitting on a bench reflecting, we looked up and saw a sign that read “el jardin romantico” or The Romantic Garden. It took a few tries but it ended up being perfect! I was so glad to have our friends there to celebrate and to continue the special trip in Spain.

2. How long were you and Adam engaged?

I wanted a long engagement and to have a wedding in 2020 or 2021. We looked into a few venues and were hoping for Memorial Day 2020, but so many places were booked on that weekend until 2022! We decided to visit the venue my college roommate got married at, which we loved. When we walked in, we immediately knew it was where we wanted to get married. There were only two dates left in 2020 and not the ones we were hoping for. Then, our event coordinator told us May 25, 2019 (Memorial Day weekend, our preferred time) was available—it was October 2018 so only seven and a half months before the date! They told us we had three days to decide so we called our family and friends to see if they were available and just went for it! It was a wild ride, but we had so much fun planning a wedding with not so much notice!

3. What were your top three focuses when planning your wedding?

It was important that both faiths were represented at our wedding and that we included so many of the important people in our lives. For those we didn’t ask to be our bridesmaids and groomsmen, we asked to speak at the ceremony. While we knew it would be difficult to find a rabbi and a priest that would do an interfaith ceremony, we also knew it would be difficult to find a pair who would take the time to get to know us and truly help us perform a beautiful ceremony that celebrated our love and who we are as people instead of a generic service. It took us a long time and we had to do a lot of research and speak to many people and in the end, we found a priest and a rabbi that created an unforgettable ceremony for us. Our friends and family are still talking about it and so many people have told us it was the best ceremony they’ve ever been to and how touched they were by the experience.

We’re so glad we didn’t just dismiss this portion in all of the stress and time-consuming planning of the wedding. It brought us closer together because we did the work together to create the ceremony we truly wanted. Our advice to couples is to not get so caught up in the stress andyour wedding day to-do list, but truly take the time to make sure your ceremony has a focus too. This is where you promise yourself to your partner—the whole reason you’re having the wedding in the first place!

I work for a sustainability company and have always had a passion for non-profit work and giving back so it was important that the wedding represented this as well. All of the flowers were designed by Repeat Roses and later donated to multiple sclerosis and cancer treatment centers—two causes that are close to our hearts. Trees were planted because of the invitations we purchased and we even ordered our own paper straws so guests wouldn’t have to use plastic straws.

Food was also one of the most important parts of our wedding—we love food and we wanted our guests to be full and happy throughout every part of the night! Flowerfield allowed us to have an “Around The World” type of cocktail hour with more passed hors d’oeuvres than we could count, stations and a plated meal with multiple options. We hated hearing about the stories of our friends with dietary restrictions and allergies who would go to weddings and not eat because there simply weren’t any options for them. Flowerfield accommodated so many of our requests and naturally had a nut-free menu as well so all of our friends and family were thanking us because they were able to take part in the food experience—and indulge in cocktails on a full stomach! We also made sure to have an after-party at our venue because we knew we wouldn’t want to leave. We served fun late-night bites and it gave us more time to spend with guests we hadn’t yet been able to speak to during the actual reception.

When your friends and family are taking the time and spending the money to travel to celebrate you, you want to accommodate them in every way you can and make sure they feel truly happy and loved!

4. Obviously, you know the importance of sustainability, so choosing Repeat Roses was a no-brainer for you, but why would you suggest Repeat Roses to another couple?

So many reasons! As someone who was an event planner for several years, I planned so many events that produced so much waste. I really wanted to be conscious of the waste our wedding was producing and figure out how we could be more eco-responsible. Repeat Roses was a natural solution because we don’t just move waste from Point A to Point B by picking up the flowers from an event and donating them to patients, we recover the materials for composting and recycling to close the loop and create a true, zero-waste experience. If you’re looking to “green” your wedding, it’s a natural solution.
Repeat Roses was not only a way to give back to both people and the planet but also a way to honor those close to us who couldn’t be at our wedding or are currently fighting a disease. To be able to donate our flowers to those suffering from the same diseases our family and friends struggle with and create some joy really meant a lot to our families and to us as a couple. My boss always likes to say Repeat Roses can be your first charitable act as newlyweds…and you haven’t even gone on your honeymoon yet! It’s so true.
We also did this charitable act in lieu of favors, which our guests really loved. We were able to share the photo confirmation email with them after our wedding, which showed all of the facilities that received our flowers and our waste diversion data report. It was a really special thing to share with everyone.

5. Was there a specific reason behind what flowers you chose?

We really wanted our flowers to be bright and colorful and different from the typical white and pale pink (which is also so beautiful!) we’re used to seeing. We just felt we wanted something different.

6. Where were your flowers donated and why?

We donated our flowers to multiple sclerosis and cancer treatment centers in honor of our family members who have been diagnosed with these diseases and who have passed away from them. It was a special way to honor those who could not physically be with us on our wedding day.

7. What was your favorite moment on your wedding day?

Our favorite moment was the ceremony. I think it’s easy for people to focus more on the party and getting ready, but this was such a special moment. We really did a lot of research to find a priest and rabbi who would perform an interfaith ceremony that was very special and intertwined our traditions and religious beliefs. It was so special to walk down the aisle with my dad and see all of our incredible family and friends and have our bridesmaids and groomsmen there to receive us and then hearing Adam’s vows and giving our parents roses during the ceremony. Adam’s favorite moment was watching me walk down the aisle.

8. Is there anything you regret doing or not doing?

Our priest asked us to write an essay about why we chose each other. It was my understanding that he wouldn’t read it verbatim and would simply take some items to create his homily. He read my ENTIRE ESSAY verbatim and I was so embarrassed! I definitely would have written it differently had I known. It was like I was having my diary read out loud to every important person in my life. Everyone told us how beautiful it was and we also got made fun of for some silly things I had written so it was totally fine, but it was so shocking in the moment. I wish I had told the priest beforehand that I didn’t want it read verbatim.
We also had an issue with our transportation company because they said their vehicle was handicap accessible. I went through this with them twice and they explained they had a ramp. However, the day of the wedding, they had a driver in charge who had never had a handicapped person ride in his vehicle so he didn’t know how to use the ramp and just put the person in our wheelchair in the aisle without actually using the handicap seating. He didn’t know how to work anything and was completely unaware. It was very stressful and upsetting. I wrote a letter afterward to the company about being kind and compassionate towards those with disabilities and their families and how awful of an experience it was. The owner of the company called me and was beside himself saying how sorry he was and how he didn’t know his employee didn’t know how to manage the handicap-accessible vehicle. My advice is if you need a handicap-accessible vehicle to see if you can speak with the driver beforehand to explain more about the situation and really understand the ins and outs of the vehicle and if it will really meet your needs and if the driver assigned to you is really the best fit.

9. Any advice to our soonlyweds out there?

What it comes down to is you should both really find meaning in every decision you’re making and not just check off the boxes of things people say you should have. Also, when your partner gets stressed, take the reins. When I got frustrated that we had interviewed so many videographers and still hadn’t found the one we felt would really capture the essence of our wedding day, Adam continued the research and found the perfect studio. When Adam got worried about budget and said we should perhaps think about having a DJ instead of a band, I put my foot down and made sure we accommodated the cost of a band because it was something he had always talked about having at his wedding before we even got engaged. We recognized that we both have different skillsets and, at the end of the day, we were in this together so we made sure to both be involved in all aspects… and it made it so much more fun!

Even though most say pre-cana can be really uncomfortable, we actually really enjoyed ours. Some really important questions were posed to us and it provided a platform for us to talk through a lot of things that helped us to learn a lot about each other. We learned a lot of things that we’ll take with us throughout our marriage. We suggest that everyone does some sort of pre-cana before the wedding.

Enjoy every minute of the journey, let your friends and family be a part of it and savor every moment. You get to learn so much about each other and have a blast doing it!

Watch Jessica and Adam’s wedding video here, then follow @repeatroses on Instagram and check out Repeat Roses on to see their work and learn how you can make your wedding sustainable.