June: A Month of Joy and Weddings

When you design home interiors for a living, as I do, it’s quite natural to find yourself designing events as well. I occasionally decorate clients’ homes for Christmas and other special occasions, so when it came to my own wedding several years ago, I was delighted to have the fun of creating my own celebration.

Although my wedding date was May 1st, auspicious as May Day and known as a spring festival, June is universally known as the month for weddings.

In Roman mythology, the month of June was thought to be lucky for marriage because its namesake, the goddess Juno, promised happiness and prosperity for all who married then. (June was also a month known to be warm enough to take off your clothing and indulge in an annual bath.)

A healthy life is a happy life. So in the spirit of living with joy and celebrating love, here are my ten sweet ideas for a beautiful wedding, taken from my own celebration.

 

Sweet Ideas for a Beautiful Wedding

1. What do you love? (Other than each other, of course!)

Frank and I split our time between a house on Connecticut’s shoreline, and a home on Nantucket Island. We married at the Roger Sherman Inn in Connecticut, but wanted to honor the special place Nantucket holds in our hearts, as well. Our wedding included elements of Nantucket sprinkled throughout, like the top of our wedding cake: it’s a Nantucket Lightship basket, created in sugar.

2. Carry the theme throughout your celebration.

We continued the theme with wedding favors of Jordan Almonds and chocolate scallop shells covered with silver, from Sweet Inspirations (www.nantucketchocolatier.com) on Nantucket.

3. Include something special for just the two of you.

There were two blue butterflies on our cake: one represented me, the other represented Frank. It wasn’t a secret, but not everyone knew why they were there, other than as decoration. But we knew.

4. Share your favorite things!

I collect vintage hotel silver, so the cake rested on one of my treasures: a Victorian hotel silver cake plateau.

5. Enchant with details.

Weddings are made for details: from the ribbons and bows to the flowers and food. I had such fun planning darling confections and pretty place settings. Nothing was too small to be special, such as these sugar cubes for coffee and tea, fashioned into exquisite little blossoms.

6. A perfectly planned event is like telling a story, and the venue is your setting. It should be uncommon, captivating, completely extraordinary!

When we chose the room where we would marry and entertain our guests, the shape of the space lent itself perfectly to the idea of a carousel. Festooning the ceiling with great swoops of asparagus fern entwined with sparkling white lights made the room feel smaller and more intimate, and created an other-worldly atmosphere that carried all of us away!

7. Fill your day with flowers!

Flowers and weddings go together, both for decoration and by tradition. Bouquets of your favorite blooms infuse the celebration with your unique spirit, so don’t hold back! Roses, hydrangeas, tulips and lilies of the valley were abundant at my wedding, some in sugared icing draped around the cake, others in small groups of posies gathered in silver chalices, and many more cascading from gorgeous arrangements throughout the room.

8. Lots of pretty little things are charming, and add a dash of fun.

We had lots of delicious cakes and candies to tempt our guests. Each was a delectable work of art all its own, which made the feeling that much more festive! These cakes were mini tabletops, one with a topiary of sugar, and they came in pink and green and blue and white.  Darling!

9. Your family and friends are part of what you’re celebrating: share the love!

Each of our guests took home a miniature wedding cake decorated with blue hydrangeas. Guests who couldn’t attend had little cakes delivered to them. it was our way of telling the people we loved that we couldn’t have done it without them!

10.) Once the stage is set with all the things you love, relax and enjoy your wonderful day. If something goes wrong, laugh it off, kiss your spouse, and celebrate with joy!

Best Wedding Flowers are Chemical-Free

I have a favorite source for healthy, chemical-free blossoms: Organic Bouquet. I’ve written about this company before, because many people do not realize that most hot house flowers are grown in greenhouses filled with pesticides. On your wedding day, you don’t want the blossoms in your bridal bouquet drenched in toxic chemicals.

You can find beautiful bridal arrangements at organicbouquet.com, such as roses in pink, white or soft lavender, gerbera daisies, iris, lilies or sunflowers. All of their flowers, from select farms in California, Ecuador and Columbia, meet stringent requirements for environmental safety, monitored by multiple certification agencies and associations.

Their eco-friendly flower arrangements also include calla lilies, tulips, hyacinths and alstromeria lilies, and are shipped nationwide to all 50 states. They also offer a selection of organic wines. All of their shipping boxes are made from recycled and recyclable materials, and boxes, inserts and gift cards are printed on recycled or recyclable materials using soy-based ink.

What a wonderful way to celebrate the beginning of a new life, by respecting the life of everything on earth!

Visit them at www.organicbouquet.com.

Sustainable Seafood

Although nutritionists agree that eating fish is a great way to add healthy protein and omega 3’s to your diet, there is an issue in our oceans today. Quite simply, for thousands of years, humans have been fishing, and the vast varieties of life in the seas have regenerated themselves. But over the past five decades, technology has entered the oceans, allowing us to fish deeper and more efficiently than ever before. Today, there are estimates that we have lost as much as 90% of the large predatory fish, such as shark, swordfish and cod. In 2003, the Pew Oceans Commission warned that the world’s oceans are in a state of “silent collapse.”

Mercury in Seafood

The other issue in seafood consumption is contaminants, such as mercury.  According to the EPA’s National Listing of Fish Advisories, mercury advisories have risen steadily over the past decade. Mercury is released into the air when fossil fuels (coal, oil and natural gas) are burned.  Mercury falls directly on the land and water, and also enters streams, rivers and oceans through rain and surface water runoff.  Bacteria then converts it to an organic form called methylmercury, which is dangerous to humans.

When small fish with low mercury levels get eaten by bigger fish, the level of methylmercury is magnified.  Thus, according to the EPA, mercury concentrations in fish can be many times the mercury concentration in water.  Mercury is most frequently found in long-lived or predatory fish, such as swordfish, shark, orange roughy and tuna. For that reason, the physicians at Canyon Ranch and many holistic physicians recommend that we only eat fish that will fit into a small frying pan, such as herring or mackerel.

There is Good News!

There is a way we can have our fish and eat it too. There are fisheries being run in a sustainable way, and chefs like Rich Garcia, executive chef at 606 Congress at the Renaissance Boston Waterfront Hotel, are leading the way with their commitment to sustainable practices.  I met Rich at the Great Wines in Grand Houses dinner on May 20th on Nantucket, featuring Saint Emilion wines.

(I’m seated to the right of Edouard Moueix of Saint Emilion wines, my husband, Frank Fasanella, is across from me.  Behind me, standing, is Dennis Toner, wine festival founder.)

At the dinner, I learned that Rich Garcia is one of many people actively promoting the idea of sustainable fishing, ensuring that our oceans’ food supply will no longer be depleted at its current rate.  Rich was recognized in 2009 by industry leader Star Chefs (www.starchefs.com) as one of Boston’s rising star chefs for his commitment to sustainable practices.

Learn More

Here’s how to learn more about this important issue:

1.) Read Rich Garcia’s blog at www.chefsdailyfoodbank.com

2.) Check out www.cleanfish.com. CleanFish works closely with its producers to create next generation practices, from raising fish in polycultures, to wetlands filtration systems, to experimental deepwater aquapods.

3.) Investigate www.traceandtrust.com. Trace and Trust began when experienced New England fishermen and a few chefs in Rhode Island met to discuss what information their customers wanted to know about the high quality, fresh seafood they put on customer’s plates. Today, the company works with retailers and restaurants to ensure customers know exactly who caught their seafood, as well as when, where and how it got caught.

4.) Read Seafood Watch at www.montereybayaquarium.org. for a complete overview of the current situation with our fish, our oceans, and our solutions.

Keeping Nantucket Beautiful

There are few things more important to me in life than efforts to retain what is rare and beautiful on this earth.  Nantucket, a tiny island just three and a half miles wide and fourteen miles long, can only be reached by boat or plane, making it a world of its own.

Its distance from the mainland has helped it to retain its quaintness and its charm over the years since it first found itself drawn on a map in 1602.  Grey shingled buildings, roses tumbling over fences, sandy beaches, hundreds of historic homes, and boats bobbing in the harbor combine with the natural beauty of the island to make it a priceless treasure.

ReMain Nantucket

ReMain Nantucket is one organization dedicated to strengthening the vitality of downtown Nantucket, while preserving its unique character and spirit. ReMain is committed to supporting a healthy, year round community on the island, and a flourishing downtown.

In the past twelve months, they have sponsored workshops on seasonal parking issues, presented by transportation experts; held a conference about rising sea levels, in collaboration with the Egan Maritime Institute, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, The Nature Conservancy, Climate Central, and the Maria Mitchell Association; and hosted a presentation on sustainable downtowns, presented by the director for the National Trust Main Street Center.

They have been responsible for community initiatives, such as purchasing the Mitchell’s Book Corner property and leasing it to a local entrepreneur, Mary Jennings. With the goal of renovating an historic property in an environmentally thoughtful way, they sought the expertise of local engineers and architects.  The building renovation was awarded a silver LEED certification from the U.S Green Building Council.

ReMain Nantucket is a sponsor of Nantucket Race Week, August 13-21, 2011, the Nantucket Comedy Festival, July 28-30, 2011, and the Nantucket Garden Festival, July 20-23, 2011.  The organization only sponsors non-profits, and they ask for a pledge of sustainability for their events, as well as offering guidelines to help make that happen.

Learn more about this wonderful organization at www.remainnantucket.org.

Sustainable Nantucket

Sustainable Nantucket is working to build a more locally-based and self-reliant food system on-island, along with a strong local economy.  They are making efforts to expand agricultural production, promote local farmers’ markets, encourage local food use in Nantucket restaurants, schools, hospital and other venues, and educate the community about sustainability.

Islanders can support their good work at the annual Farm Fresh Feast, happening July 16 at Moors End Farm. The menu is all “Nantucket Grown,” and will include a Nantucket Bay Scallop Ceviche, Herb-Crusted Dayboat Cod with Tomato Basil Salsa, Grilled Seasonal Vegetables from Pumpkin Pond and HUmmock Pond Farms, and a selection of delicious desserts.  For more information and to purchase tickets, go to http://www.sustainablenantucket.org/events-2/upcoming-events/

Approximately 1/3 of our carbon footprint as a nation comes from industrialized agriculture, which also uses pesticides and herbicides, degrading our soil and water.  When you support local food production, you help to reduce the demand for food produced by this system, and at the same time, enjoy better taste, fresher foods, and a higher nutritional value.

Sustainable Nantucket operates a Farmers and Artisans Market on Saturdays on North Union and Cambridge Streets from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Enhancing the Nantucket feeling of community, vendors include growers, artisans and prepared food purveyors.  There are live music performances, kids’ activities, demonstrations and more.  July is Tomato, Tomato Month, with a “making salsa” demonstration on July 23rd.

Vendors include one of my very favorite places for fresh organic produce, Pumpkin Pond Farm (www.pumpkinpondfarm.com), as well as Bartlett’s Farm, Gourmet Gardens, Nantucket Coffee Roasters and more!

There is also a Mid-Island Market at 113 Pleasant Street on Tuesdays from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. that will run through August 30th, providing a second location and date for islanders who may not make it to the downtown market on Saturday, or who are ready to replenish their supplies.

Sustainable Nantucket also operates a Farm to School program to serve healthier meals in school cafeterias, builds school gardens and provides information to parents, teachers and students about healthy eating.  A Youth Council Program began in 2008 to help the island’s youth become leaders in implementing sustainable practices, and ongoing Outreach/Education efforts are made through classes, workshops and targeted campaigns.

Learn how you can help at www.sustainablenantucket.org.