Paperless & Powerful – The Eco-Ethical Wedding of RecessCity

Hey hey hey eco-conscious galpals. Let’s talk #goals: Anna Lisa. She makes travel blogging look easy (and if you’ve ever tried to live out of one suitcase for more than a week, let alone 3 months, you know that’s a challenge!) What else did she make look #iwokeuplikedis? Her wedding. That she planned in 3 months. And it was filled with ethical wedding details. She was kind enough to answer my questions via email while she was sipping on coconuts on Sri Lanka. Cozy up with some popcorn to read on about her story:

1. You and Porter have been together for almost half of your life! Can you tell us little ways you know that your partnership works well?

Even though Port and I have known each other for literally as far as my memory goes back, it doesn’t mean we’re immune to the kind of bickering I think all couples, and especially those who work together, are susceptible to. The important thing isn’t really the little ways we work well, but the big ones. We have the same core belief system, the same vision for our business, the same leanings toward what we like in art and photography, and we both trust each other’s instincts implicitly. I think the fact that our opinions and beliefs on all the big ticket list items for Recess City and for the way we want our lives to unfold makes us feel like we’re in a “safe space” to have differing opinions on smaller things, which I think is a good thing! One of the things I’m most grateful for is just how different Porter and I are. He constantly surprises me both as an artist and as a person, and I think that feeling that I’ll never be done learning from and about him keeps our lives, even when we were staying put and he had a 9-5 job, from getting predictable. I like constant change (can you tell from our lifestyle, haha) so that element of his personality is something that will always be very attractive to me.

ethical groom help bride with her dress

2. I read in your recent blog post that your word/intention for the year would be “learn” – what did you learn about weddings and marriage in the process of planning your own wedding?

They are work. If you have never been around wedding planning, take the amount of effort you’re imagining and multiply it by 20. We were prepared to have lots of decisions to make and are quick to pull the trigger on what we like and move onto the next thing, but when you’re getting married there’s just so much emotion involved in every little thing. I don’t think people realize that, that it’s kind of like you’re trying to apply all this critical thinking to making decisions for a day that ultimately is so much more about how you feel and your spouse feels and your families feel. As an introvert, all that “feeling” involved was a bigger energy drain for me than I was prepared for, but it was a learning experience I’m so grateful I had. I can only imagine how emotional it can be when you move onto step 2 and start to plan a family…

engagement ring and watch on ethical bride and groom

3. I loved that you tried to use as little paper as possible for your wedding; where did you get educated about eco-friendly practices?

I think just living in our modern world today we’re fortunate to have a lot of eco-thinking stimuli around us. I read a lot of “green” blogs and ethical fashion sites like The Good Trade. I sort of picked up bits and pieces even before we were engaged about the eco-industry and had been attempting to make our apartment as free of disposable items as possible in the months prior.

simple paper used as table assignments minimal paper used at this ethical wedding, manus printed on fabric on tables

4. What ethical ideas, products, or vendors did you stumble upon in the wedding planning process?

I came across a wedding that was completely zero waste and I thought that was so commendable! It was inspiring but just a bit extreme for us personally, so I kind of lifted a few ideas here and there and spent a lot of time talking things out with Porter and brainstorming roads we could take to reduce the waste at our wedding. Again, sites like The Good Trade were huge for me here. It also is kind of a breath of fresh air in the wedding process to read about other weddings to get your mind going. Eventually, you’ll hit a creativity block just because of the sheer number of decisions you need to make, and those sites saved me!


5. What ethical wedding products did you wish exist?

To be honest, I didn’t see myself coming up short in terms of product in the planning stages at all. There are so many fantastic companies out there driving others toward change with their example. On a bigger scale, something that tends to always bother me is areas where we already have a clear solution to an unethical problem but it’s not being picked up by the broader public. I think all cars in this day and age should be electric. It’s something I think about and talk to Porter about constantly (especially because when we were traveling through Europe we rented electric cars a whole lot! I just feel like every time I get in one of those machines I’m like how in the world is this not what everyone’s driving right now ?! Can’t we just convert all the car types we already love and make them electric? I’m really not sure if that’s how it works, to be honest, (I know almost zip about car manufacturing) but with all the wedding deliveries and people traveling in, I saw the gas guzzling as our wedding’s biggest carbon footprint.

6. How did you divy-up your budget? What parts did you invest in more? What was least important?

We’re all about the visuals. Our tablescape we spent a lot of time on, agonizing over the exact shade of gold for the cutlery and the font for the stitching on our cloth menus. This really mattered to us because it was the space that was going to be the most communal and where a lot of time would be spent. The space where conversations were going to be had that we and our guests remembered and the space where the people closest to us were going to share their hearts and speak. Fortunately, we were both in love with the way they turned out. Least important to us was actually the invitations. We’re minimalists so having an ornate invitation just didn’t feel very us. Also – as previously mentioned, we were trying to avoid paper consumption. We went with a super simple recycled card stock and, as I assumed would be the case, it’s rarely the invites that people remember when it comes to experiencing a wedding!

communal tablescapes for heartfelt conversations was the couples high priority communal tablescapes for heartfelt conversations was the couples high priority

tablesetting at Anna Lisa's ethical weddingcommunal tablescapes for heartfelt conversations was the couples high priority

7. What would you wish was easier in planning an ethical/eco-friendly wedding?

I wish there were more high end women’s ethical shoe brands. For standard go-to everyday shoes we fortunately have a lot of options, but nice heels with a broad range of styles and colors, the options because a bit more limited. I got lucky with the pair I got from Mint and Rose, and the men were covered by Nisolo (who have awesome formal mens shoes!), but I think that’s a gap in today’s ethical fashion market.

Mint & Rose ethical shoes Brides' Mint & Rose Ethical Shoes Groom in Nisolo, Bride in Mint & Rose groomsmen in Nisolo's that they use for everyday wear as well

8. If you had a boomerang button, what moment in your day was so perfect that you would you want to do over and over?

The dancing. We had such a blast having all of our friends from everywhere in one place and it was the point where everyone could do away with the formality of the event and just have fun. The videos and pictures I have of all our friends from elementary school on up are such special keepsakes for me. Also Porter *thinks* he’s an incredible dancer and is hysterical to watch.

the ethical wedding couple dancing together the ethical wedding couple dancing together the ethical wedding couple dancing together

9. If you had a do-over button, what moment in your day would want a second chance at?

I wish things hadn’t been so rushed! I think that all weddings tend to be rushed for the bridal party because the getting ready process is just so long, but it kind of stinks when you think about it that most of your big day you spend getting your make up and hair done rather than just kind of sharing a fellowship with the people you love that are around you. I would’ve tried to find a way to have an extra hour or hour and a half before arriving at our wedding site to just breathe in the people around me and get a little more centered.

surrounded by a great community of people like her bridesmaids in Reformation dresses

10. Any word-from-the-wise would you share to a soon-to-be bride? 

Refuse to be stressed. It’s an impossible piece of advice, of course, but you’ve just got to zero in on what’s important and have some sort of mantra that reminds you that this is meant to be joyful not stressful. The small decisions are not life or death, and the most important thing at the end of the day is who you’re ending up with. The union of two people is a huge, huge blessing for your own lives and those who have invested their lives in yours. I found I was always calmer when I thought about how to make the day special for the people around us, rather than being anxious about being the center of attention. lavender is more easily composted than rice or bubbles so it's a great eco alternative


11. And most importantly (*wink), if you and Porter were “Friends” characters, who would you be and why?

Our favorite characters are Ross and Phoebe, but I think my occasionally neurotic tendencies have me pegged as a Monica, and Porter’s sarcasm would cast him for sure as Chandler! We’re not quite as uptight as those two though, and I definitely don’t think I wear the pants in this relationship as much as she does!

Anna Lisa & Porter of RecessCity on their sustainable wedding day

See Anna Lisa’s full wedding post:
Photographer Mandi Nelson
Planner Lauryn Prattes

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