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Be Green

The Bouquet Collective: Throwing Montreal's green parties

What happens when 6 women get together to save the world? Actually, a pretty fun party!
Meet Angela, Binky, Adrienne, Farah, Dallas and Liz. Oh and Carmel, who isn't a member of the collective but does all their floral arrangements!

The idea is simple
The Bouquet Collective is a one-stop-shop for sustainable partying. Whether you're planning a wedding, girls' night in or a retirement party, these ladies will help you make sure that you can still respect yourself in the morning... at least environmentally speaking. The neat thing about them is that they didn't start the company and figure out what they each would do afterwards... these women were already walking the talk. They just needed a way to put their services under one umbrella so folks like you and me would have an easier time planning our celebrations.
So what do they do?

Binky Holleran: You know Binky, don't you? She helped us decide which eco-friendly non-stick pan to buy. For the Collective, she caters events and often provides the crockery, cutlery and helpful staff to serve dishes. Her specialty is cooking with local ingredients and using organic, edible flowers. Mmm. Those cupcakes in the photo? They had violet blossoms on them... to die for!

Farah Khan: This lady runs her own web design company called House 9 Design. So for the collective, she helps conceptualize and design invitations, banners, and all manner of branding-type stuff. If you want to go paper-free, she can help you build a custom e-vite. Farah also helps keep a design overview: this means she will liase with all the other women (if you like) to make sure that your flowers, invites, food and makeup all fit with your chosen theme. Talk about one-stop-shopping!

Adrienne Colby: Adrienne is a wonderful seamstress and custom tailor. She can help you rework your mother's or sister's wedding dress to fit your body and style. Or she can help you find socially and environmentally sustainable fabrics to design your own creation for your big event. If you need a nice party dress (or tux) or even matching his and hers organic cotton bath robes, Adrienne's your girl.

Liz Furlong: Liz is a maestro with a makeup brush. She uses natural and cruelty-free cosmetics to help you and your guests look fabulous. She's also a wealth of fun information on D.I.Y. natural beauty products.

Dallas Curow:
Well, it would be a shame to get all dolled up and not have a photo of yourself, wouldn't it? This is where Dallas comes in. Portraiture is her favourite thing to do. She has a bunch of fun props (like feather stoles, fans, etc) that she uses to get folks to lighten up. During an event, she'll act as the paparazzi, snapping candids. And then, for guests who are into it, she'll shoot "glamour shots" that you get to keep!

Angela MacKenzie: Angela offers sanity. She helps plan events. She's also quite well known for her knack with natural products. (You might remember her from my piece on humane pest control). Angela also offers workshops on do-it-yourself cosmetics (perfect for bridal showers or girls' night in)

Carmel Sabourin-Goldstein Carmel isn't an official member of the Collective, but she does all the floral/fruit arrangements. Carmel uses Sierra-Eco flowers. She also does her best to either find funky uses for repurposed containers or guide her clients towards higher end products that are likely to be reused and cherished. She works with locally grown flora, mosses, herbs, fruit and more.

Tips on planning your own green party:

1. Order less! Incredible amounts of food are wasted every time someone decides to celebrate. Be strict about RSVPs and then plan for your expected number of guests plus a maximum of 4. And refrigerate food as soon as possible so you can have leftovers. This approach will save the planet AND some hard-earned cash!

2. Steer clear of disposables: It may mean more washing up later, but using real china or at least washable plastic is a huge boon for the planet. Just picture all the weddings and barbecues and birthday parties in Montreal alone and then start multiplying those by the number of plastic and styrofoam doodads we throw away. It ain't pretty.
Instead, do what I do: If you're the host, gently ask close friends to organize a cleanup crew. If you're a guest, mention in your RSVP that you'd be glad to help clean up after as long as no one's using disposables.

3. Prioritize your budget:
For sure it's easy to burn through your budget when you're planning a big event. So think about what you want: do you want your celebration to be something that inspires and moves people? Something that is simple, tasteful and fully in line with your values in your everyday life?
Sometimes it's a matter of saying, okay, food is really important to me but I can live without party favours. Or I can wear my best friend's wedding gown and create an even more special bond between us and then spend that money on showing my ladies a good time with a DIY workshop. How do you want to spend your money? What legacy do you want to leave?

For more tips, read this earlier post.

Now it's your turn: are you willing to green your own celebrations? If not, what's holding you back? Leave me a comment or call (514) 597-5626

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