In this episode of Ellwed Talks we talk with Opi Kaur about Eco Conscious Destination Weddings.
This topic is very dear to my heart as I am a strong believer in minimizing our footprint wherever we can. I am glad to have this chant with Opi, the founder of Open the Door Events, a sustainable event designer based in Andalusia, Spain.
Open the Door was founded in late 2014. Opi finds that her long lasting experience from other sectors like travelling, books, nature and people in her life are the important pillars of her brand.
She creates intimate events in harmony with nature. Although, her style is laid-back, there is an effortless elegance that ties her work together. Every detail and vendor that goes into designing an eco conscious wedding is thoughtfully considered. To ensure their ethos of bringing stunning eco conscious events to life, is being honoured.
They have been featured on international wedding blogs on numerous occasions. Such as Green Wedding Shoes, Junebug Weddings, Bridal Musings, Rock my Wedding, Nouba, Martha Stewart, Together Journal, Festival Brides, White magazine and in 2020 they were also interviewed by Vogue on eco conscious weddings.
In this episode we get to know Opi and her story of becoming a sustainable event designer. She will explain what it means to haven an eco-conscious wedding and where to start. In this guide to Intimate eco-conscious destination weddings.
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Tell us a bit about your story, what lead you to your current career path?
I moved to Spain in 2012 to teach English. I had been working in events in London for years and knew one day I would own my own company. However, I didn’t really know what. Then I met my fiancé, who became interested in wedding photography. He showed me how beautiful some of the locations in Andalusia are, shortly after getting together. But the weddings were so typical, nothing unique whatsoever. I soon realised that there were not many choices and nothing appealing for someone like me to get married in Andalusia. Therefore, I founded OTD in late 2014.
There was nothing that mattered more to me than setting up a business that synchronised with my beliefs and values. So I started designing minimal waste sustainable events without marketing OTD as that. As I felt environmentally friendly events had a certain aesthetic about them. You know the Kraft paper and twine look, very shabby chic. And my ultimate goal was to design the dreamiest, most meaningful and emotional event for my couples that happened to be eco friendly.
And once I had a beautiful portfolio, I began to market myself as an eco friendly wedding planner.
What are eco weddings? Can you elaborate on what makes one wedding an eco conscious wedding?
An eco conscious wedding or event is one that doesn’t impact the environment negatively and instead maintains balance or even regenerates the environment in someway.
- Working with suppliers who prioritise quality over quantity and are conscious about how to reduce waste and offer alternative eco friendly solutions
- Selecting ingredients that are local to the area, seasonal and sustainably produced
- Using foraged greenery or organically grown florals or dried florals that can be reused
- Renting decor instead of buying
- Choosing a venue that runs on natural energy
- Carbon offsetting the travel of your guests and your selves
- Not using any plastic in the production whatsoever and substituting for ethically, sustainably produced materials
- Carefully sourcing attire that has been ethically produced
- Gifting with intention
- Using LED lighting
- And ensuring that EVERYTHING used in the wedding aligns with sustainable and ethical practices.
If someone wants to plan such a wedding what are some things they need to consider before starting?
The most important thing is to reduce, so finding a naturally beautiful setting for the wedding to take place in is essential in minimising the decor. Decoration should be used to personalise and enhance a space.
Work with catering companies who have close contact with their farmers, fisherman and bakers, so the produce they offer is local, seasonal and aligned with sustainable practices.
Keep it small, weddings are meaningful, intimate and emotional events. They are to be shared with the people closest to you, those who understand your relationship and want nothing more than to celebrate the deep connection you share. The smaller the event, the less impact it will have on the environment. The closer relationship you have with your guests, the better experience you will have.
Stay focused on what is important. Your gift to your guests is making them feel welcome and enjoying a wholesome experience together. At Open the Door events we put emphasis on creating unforgettable ambiences and advise our couples that buying little gifts for guests are not going to be missed. So not to worry about little details on the dinner tables, welcome packs, dance shoes, sun hats, fans and so on. Which are used for a couple of hours and then tossed away, so let’s not add to the unnecessary waste our planet receives every second.
We’ve had lots of creative sustainable wedding gifts given to our couples in the past, one couple chose to carbon offset their whole wedding. Another couple asked for their guests to donate to their favourite NGO, and the best part is that their bosses at Google matched the total amount!
What was your best experience as a sustainable wedding planner?
There is a profound beauty and honour being part of one of the most special days in the lives of others. We are in the midst of it all really. The emotions, the laughter, the tears, the joy and it truly is an honour to experience it all first hand. There are uncountable parts I enjoy about my job but if I had to narrow it down to one experience I would say it was the intimate wedding I created for Writer and Film Directer Andrew Cohn and his wife Farah. They put their full trust in me and
just let me to what I do best which is design. Here’s the link to their magical intimate wedding in the mountains. https://www.openthedoorevents.net/blog/wild-palm-leaves-beneath-the-full-moon
However, I also want to add, I never thought my clients could become such big parts of my life. But when you go on such a unique journey with someone it’s inevitable that a connection is created. So all the new friendships created are another big part of why I love what I do so much!
Where do you get inspiration for your eco conscious weddings?
My inspiration comes from spending time in nature and being mindful and present. When I do, looking up at the sky and down at the earth. Touching the trees and plants as I pass them and taking in their scents, textures and mood. I feel we are our best in nature, we breathe more, we smile more and we become more balanced. These are the vibes I want to transmit in my events.
I also get inspiration from films, theatre, music festivals and readings. But I would say I feel most inspired when my life is healthy and balanced. And my time is equally scared between taking care of my wellbeing and my relationships etc. When I am my best, my best work is born.
Would you say that Intimate eco conscious destination weddings are becoming more popular and gaining momentum?
I believe people are becoming more conscious and aware of their carbon footprint in general. We are finally paying attention and talking about the negative effect our choices have on society and the environment. There is a global awakening happening – and it’s incredible to see.
Most people who have been to a wedding or who works in the industry understands the amount of waste that is generated over a very short period of time. It’s absolutely terrifying. So I think having a sustainable wedding is beginning to appeal to more and more couples. Once they understand that they can have both a stunning wedding and and eco friendly one and it won’t be compromising on their aesthetic of choice.
Tell us a bit more about what you are currently working on?
One to one Mentorships, a new organic skincare brand 🙂 and an epic editorial…mantra
If someone wants to get in touch with you, where can they find you?
Find this episode below and follow Ellwed Talks podcast on your favourite podcast app like Apple podcast! And feel free to leave a review!
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