Zero Waste Wedding Part 2

I am SO excited to be sharing the wedding part 2 with you. All of the photos in this post were taken by the amazingly talented Allison Andres

She also took our engagement photos which are featured in our zero waste home tour. If you missed part 1 you can read it here

A zero waste wedding ceremony and reception brunch in San Francisco, CA from www.goingzerowaste.com

On Sunday afternoon, Justin and I ferried into San Francisco with our families. The weather was perfect! Like - I don't need a jacket - perfect. I honestly can't think of a single time I've been in SF and not needed a jacket.   

Once in SF, we walked to our hotel The Marker.  I cannot rave enough about our experience at this hotel. They went above and beyond in every single aspect! They upgraded us to a junior suite which was so nice!

Justin and I had separate rooms the first night so I got to hang out in the spacious jr. suite for an extra night! 

Once everyone settled into their hotel rooms, we met in the hotel living room for wine and champagne. We decided to check out the pizzeria in the hotel called Tratto. It was delicious! 

Their Italian soda cocktails were all served with stainless steel straws. How cool is that!? After dinner, our parents went to bed and my future sis-in-law, my bridesmaid, Justin and myself all snuck down to the Bourbon and Branch library. 

It happened to be right around the corner of our hotel. We had a lot of fun, but we didn't stay out too late because I had to get my beauty sleep. ;) 

Danielle and I woke up early the next morning to start getting ready. 

A zero waste wedding, getting ready at the marker hotel in San Francisco from www.goingzerowaste.com

hair and makeup: 

During my hen party Danielle and I went to credo beauty to purchase some makeup for the wedding day. Credo beauty is a mecca of organic, green beauty. Almost everything is sold in sustainable packaging.  

  • HAIR: I washed my hair the day before with Plaine Products, which I talk about in this post. I curled my hair with a curling iron and used an organic hairspray I bought at Credo. I love it because of the packaging. It is in a plastic bottle, but it's clear and can easily be refilled with a homemade salt spray or hairspray. 
  • EYES: I borrowed an Alima Pure eye pencil and Kjaer Weiss mascara from Danielle. I also used my Kjaer Weiss eyeshadow.
  • FOUNDATION: I used the RMS uncover up and used some bare minerals powder on top. I've had the bare minerals PZW. 
  • LIPS and CHEEKS: This was the other product I bought at Credo beauty. I bought a Tatta Harper lip tint in green glass and I absolutely love it! The color is exactly what I was looking for. 
A zero waste wedding from www.goingzerowaste.com

the dress: 

You can read all about my mostly miserable wedding dress shopping experiences here. I wound up finding a wedding skirt second hand on eBay for $100 and then I purchased a vintage wedding corset top on Etsy for $35.

I am so happy with the way it turned out! I am not sure if I want to sell it or if I should chop the skirt off and dye the whole thing hot pink! What do you think?

A zero waste wedding with a second hand wedding ring and wedding dress at the Marker Hotel in San Francisco, CA read more at www.goingzerowaste.com
A zero waste wedding read more at www.goingzerowaste.com

first look:

The jr. suite had pocket doors which were a huge blessing! I was nervous about the first look location, but the pocket doors presented an amazing solution!

I was most nervous about this part of the wedding. What if he looked at me like it was any old Monday?

In fact, I started having nightmares that when I walked down the aisle he was wearing huge sunglasses so I couldn't see his reaction. Thankfully there were no sunglasses, and you can see his reaction below. 

A zero waste wedding, first look with pocket doors at the Marker Hotel in San Francisco, CA from www.goingzerowaste.com

a safety pin emergency: 

When standing still the skirt rested on the top perfectly. When moving, the train is rather heavy and pulled the skirt down revealing a strange peek-a-boo in the back. 

There was a Walgreens right across from the hotel. We ran in and grabbed some safety pins which were packaged in plastic. I have zero regrets. My dress looked perfect in the rest of the photos. 

flowers: 

My mom picked up the flowers and the cake the morning of the wedding at Whole Foods. The flowers were all plastic free! The headpiece and boutonniere did come in a small cardboard box.

But, I'm so happy with the way they turned out. Whole Foods was very reasonably priced. The flowers are sustainable, all in season, and fair trade.  

A zero waste wedding! The flowers were done by Whole Foods and all came packaged free read more at www.goingzerowaste.com
A zero waste wedding! The flowers were done by Whole Foods and all came packaged free read more at www.goingzerowaste.com

transportation: 

Our immediate families flew out to be with us. They did not have vehicles and I was not about to bring mine to the city. We all used Lyft to carpool to city hall and to the reception afterward. 

a zero waste wedding from www.goingzerowaste.com

the ceremony: 

We arrived at City Hall and it was very similar to going to the DMV. 

You wait in line. You take a number. You sit and wait/run all over city hall and take pretty pictures. They call your number. You head up and sign your marriage license and then you wait until your officiant is ready. 

A zero waste wedding read more at www.goingzerowaste.com
A zero waste wedding read more at www.goingzerowaste.com
A zero waste wedding read more at www.goingzerowaste.com

We had the cutest officiant. I loved her! 

picture time:

After the ceremony, we took family photos. Justin and I took some photos together and then we headed to the restaurant. 

A zero waste wedding at San Francisco City Hall read more at www.goingzerowaste.com
A zero waste wedding at San Francisco City Hall read more at www.goingzerowaste.com
A zero waste wedding at San Francisco City Hall read more at www.goingzerowaste.com
A zero waste wedding at San Francisco City Hall read more at www.goingzerowaste.com
A zero waste wedding at San Francisco City Hall read more at www.goingzerowaste.com
A zero waste wedding at San Francisco City Hall read more at www.goingzerowaste.com

reception brunch: 

After the ceremony we Lyfted to Kitchen Story. Finding a location that provides brunch on a weekday and took reservations was a challenge! 

Kitchen story does both! Well... kinda. Even though we were on time, they gave our reserved table to someone else. We were stuck in the back by the kitchen arguably the worst table in the house. 

I was not happy. Especially because I confirmed our reservation not once, not twice, but four times. I confirmed once a month (as they requested) leading up the event. 

A zero waste, brunch wedding reception at Kitchen Story in San Francisco, CA read more at www.goingzerowaste.com

They gave our table to some hot shot wine mogul. He apparently felt very bad about Kitchen Story's mistake and supplied our table with very, very nice wine from his winery in New Zealand. 

The food was still FABULOUS! I will definitely be back because their brunch is simply bomb.  

A zero waste, brunch wedding reception at Kitchen Story in San Francisco, CA read more at www.goingzerowaste.com

Everyone could not stop raving about their meal. 

There were a couple of plastic straws served in some drinks and some people ordered lunch. Some of the lunch entrees had paper in the baskets, but this is SF so they'll be composted! 

Dad gave a toast, Mom gave a toast, and my Mother-In-Law gave a toast. It was really wonderful!

After brunch wrapped up, we all lyfted back to the hotel for a little R&R before cake and champagne!  Our photographer left at this point and I don't have many pictures. 

Danielle, Justin, and me all decided to go get coffee. We went back to the hotel room, grabbed our reusable to-go mugs and walked down to Blue Bottle Coffee. 

Walking through SF in a white dress and with a flower crown garnered me a lot of attention. People were congratulating us left and right. We also got our coffee on the house! 

We've been joking that we should wear these outfits more often! JK, jk, jk. 

cake:

I don't have a very good picture of the cake, but it also came from Whole Foods. My mom was such a champ. 

She brought my cake carrier all the way to whole foods to get the cake to-go so we could avoid a single use cake holder. 

Thanks, mom! 

A zero waste wedding with cake and flowers from whole foods read more at www.goingzerowaste.com

after party:

After we ate our fill of cake, we relaxed and sipped on champagne until our reservations were ready at Bourbon and Branch. 

The family was all very intrigued. This time we went to the main room. They had the upstairs ready for all of us and it was so awesome! They were so accommodating. 

As a bonus, their cocktail napkins were ALL cloth!! It made me want to buy some cloth cocktail napkins. We all spent the evening chatting and drinking lots of yummy drinks before turning in and saying our goodbyes. 

A zero waste wedding at San Francisco City Hall from www.goingzerowaste.com

Then Justin and I headed up to our suite like..... nailed it. 

All the trash produced from the wedding was a plastic holder for the safety pins and a couple of plastic straws. How do you think we did for our ZW wedding? 

15 Ways to be Zero Waste Even if you Don’t Have a Bulk Store

One of the main things I hear from readers is, "I can't be zero waste because I don't have a bulk store (or I have severely limited bulk options) near me." 

15 Ways to be Zero Waste Even if you Don’t Have a Bulk Store from www.goingzerowaste.com

Depending on where you live, it can be really frustrating having to buy your groceries in plastic and/or packaging when you're trying to avoid it. Do not despair!

Zero waste is not all or nothing. It does not hinge on perfection. It hinges on everyone giving it their best! Do what you can, where you can, in your circumstances. Everyone can join this zero waste party! 

related: Can you be Zero Waste Without Bulk Options? 

My upcoming project is al about being zero waste at regular grocery stores. I am working with four other awesome bloggers in different regions of the US to highlight regional store chains.

here’s the lineup:

I am so excited about this challenge and cannot wait to share it with you. We’re going to be doing a different grocery store each month. Sign up for my email list to be notified when the first round of stores goes live!

While you’re waiting for that mega resource, here are 15 zero waste things you can do!

get started: 

1. reusable water bottle:

Don’t leave the house without a full reusable water bottle. If you don’t like the way your tap water tastes, check out this awesome plastic free way of filtering it.

2. reusable bag:

Ditch those plastic and paper bags for a reusable one! Plastic is bad news, we already know that. But, paper bags are still very resource intensive.

It takes 3.8 liters of water to produce one paper bag! The best solution is to bring your own. While you’re at it, why not throw in some reusable produce bags too!

3. to-go cup:

Do you occasionally indulge in a coffee out? Why not bring your own to-go mug? If you’re sitting in, ask for a mug. Even Starbucks has real coffee cups for those dining in.

4. cloth napkins:

Keep it simple or go big and bold with a fun pattern. I love my cloth napkins. I have a multitude of colors because I like to keep it fun and coordinate for certain events and holidays. Zero waste doesn’t have to be boring! 

5. dishes:

Keep it real! Whether it be dinner, lunch, or breakfast make a habit of using real plates and cutlery. 

6. don’t waste food:

This is huge! Americans throw out 40% of the food they buy. Make sure you’re storing it properly and you have a plan when going into the store. Meal planning does not have to be complicated. Get my tips for making a five-minute meal plan to avoid food waste!

7. compost:

Composting is so important! Organics cannot break down in a landfill. They release methane which is 20x more powerful than your average green house gas.

If you live in an apartment without access to a backyard, see if there’s a local garden club or community garden that would be willing to take your food scraps.

Find out more about backyard composting here.

8. rethink your commute:

Guess who grew up where the closest store was a gas station 4 miles away? *this girl*

Vehicles are a part of our lives and most of our morning commutes. I consider myself to be moderate in pretty much every aspect of life. (Except for musical theatre. The only way to be is extreme.)

I don’t believe vehicles are inherently bad. They serve a very important purpose especially for those of us who live spread out. I.e 90% of the South.

For many, giving up the car is not possible. Instead, rethink things a little. Can you carpool? Can you grab any public transit? Can you consolidate all of your across town errands into one trip? Can you make trips less frequently?

9. ditch takeout packaging: 

Did you think I was going to say, ditch takeout!? Never. Never, ever, ever. I love takeout. I get takeout all the time without the nasty packaging.

Once you ditch the packaging, you’ll hate going back to stinky, messy, disposable takeout boxes all over the house and in the bin. They take up so much space. 

If you want to get takeout zero waste style, check out this post

10. eat more whole foods:

Even if you don’t have a bulk section, ditching processed foods is an excellent way of reducing packaging waste.

Opt for more fresh fruits and vegetables. Reduce your meat intake, keep the meals filling by adding in legumes. Stock up on dry goods in that still come in paper and cardboard.

Or act like the bulk stores and buy big bags of rice and beans. Get my 15 tips for saving money on real food here. And, get tips for grocery shopping when you don’t have a bulk store here.

11. shake up your bathroom:

I just wrote a great post on this all about 15 swaps for a zero waste bathroom. Try your hand at a DIY or keep it simple by sending your bathroom product packaging back to TerraCycle.

12. look local:

I live in a pretty small town. Yes, I’m in the bay area so I do have access to all things package free like Rainbow Grocery, Berkeley Bowl, Green 11 etc.

But, these are all day trips. I can't just pop by. However, my downtown has some unique shops. Like a random bulk tea store and a tortilleria. One little café makes kombucha and keeps it on tap. You can fill up your own wine bottle!

Little shops like these exist in almost every little town. Your town probably has something cool, and it most likely doesn’t have a web presence... or they have a very poor web presence.

The best way to discover these places is by foot in my experience. Get out there and explore your town! You never know what neat treasure you might stumble upon.

13. go second hand:

Always check the local second hand market first. Do you have a thrift store you can pop by?

Maybe you find their offerings to be lackluster. Thankfully there are a slew of online second-hand markets. Craigslist, eBay, Thread Up, Poshmark, etc. These sites typically require shipping. Get my zero waste shipping tips in this post.

14. shake up your kitchen:

Just because you can’t buy ALL your food without a package doesn’t mean you can swap out single-use items in this room.

If you only use it once and toss it, even if it’s recyclable, look for an alternative.

Remember, zero waste is more about the use of resources and less about the landfill. Any item, even a recyclable one takes a lot of resources to produce.

It’s always better to find something to reuse. I’ll be coming out with a guide for kitchen swaps soon! But, if you have any specific questions, I’ll answer it in the comment section and check out my kitchen tab

15. raise awareness:

We live in a consumer society and often forget that the consumer has the power.

If you don’t like that everything is packaged in plastic, request a change. I can promise you, you’re not alone. But, someone has to get the ball rolling. Maybe you’re that person?

The internet has provided us with a great tool to interact with those around us that share like-minded values. If you feel you’re under represented, make your voice heard. Start a facebook page. Hell, start a blog! (Let me know if you’d be interested in knowing more about blogging and I can write a post on that as well.) Go to city council meetings. Talk to your local government. Just start talking about the problems and the solutions.

We can all work together as a team to bring some serious change. :)


My Top 5 Zero Waste Shower Essentials

This post was sponsored by Plaine Products. I received these items to try for free. All thoughts and opinions are my own. This post may also contain affiliate linking. Please see my full disclosure for more information.

My top five zero waste shower essentials from www.goingzerowaste.com

Going zero waste has definitely altered my shower routine from the products I use to how frequently I actually shower.

Americans shower WAY too much. Most Americans shower 1-2 times a day, but I know people who shower 3. It’s all just a little excessive. It wastes water but most importantly it’s flat out bad for your skin.

The body keeps itself moisturized with a layer of dead skin held together by lipids (fatty compounds). It protects the healthy layers underneath, and the more you shower the more you scrub that layer away.  

My top five zero waste shower essentials from www.goingzerowaste.com

Your body can’t keep up. In fact, it can lead to an overproduction of oil. (Further reading) It makes sense right? The more you strip your body of its natural oils, the more it will over produce to compensate.

Many commercial shampoos and soaps work similarly. They make you dependent on their products because they strip all of your natural oils away. This causes your body to overproduce, requiring you to buy more and more of their products.

I stopped using conventional shampoos when I started going zero waste two years ago. I have tried many different hair care methods. I think hair is one of the most challenging aspects of zero waste living since everyone’s body chemistry is so different.

My top five zero waste shower essentials from www.goingzerowaste.com

Hair care is one of the biggest laments I hear from readers, and it has inspired me to try and find the best zero waste hair solutions for everyone. Plaine Products has been kind enough to send me liquid shampoo, conditioner, and body wash to review.

If you're one of the readers who have complained about not liking shampoo bars, this is the product for you. They have landed the #1 spot on my zero waste shower essential list. 

my top 5 zero waste shower essentials:

1. plaine products:

This is one of the most well thought out product designs I've ever seen. I don't know about you, but I’m nervous about keeping glass in my shower. These products are packaged in aluminum. 

Aluminum is a self-sustaining metal. It's 100% recyclable just like glass, but it has a better carbon footprint for shipping because it's lighter than glass. Plus, it won’t shatter if it's dropped whether that be in shipping or in the shower.

They offer a refill service. When you run out of your products and order a refill you just switch the pump over to the new bottle and send the old bottles back. They'll sanitize the bottles, refill them, and send the to their new home.

If you’ve lamented over the shampoo bar – you need to check out their liquid shampoo and conditioner.

Plaine products have the ease of commercial products without the guilt and yucky additives - no SLS, vegan, and biodegradable. I used to use Aussie and this competes. My hair is light, healthy, and has lots of volume. You can check out their list of ingredients here

My top five zero waste shower essentials from www.goingzerowaste.com

I honestly cannot rave about them enough. I trusted them 100% with my hair for the wedding. Probably the most photographed day I will ever experience. With all natural soaps, I find them to be a little bit thinner so I have to use a little more product than I normally would. But, I'm washing my hair way less (on average every 3-4 days), so I'm still saving SO much product in the long run.

2. scrub brush:

In my old shower, I used to have one of those plastic netted loofahs. I always thought they worked well, but they have a pretty fast expiration date.

Loofahs of any sort can trap dead skin cells which can be a breeding ground for bacteria. It's recommended to throw out your loofah every 2-3 months. I can honestly say, I never did that. In fact, I'm a little shocked that it's recommended to replace them that often. 

Once my loofah came to the end of its life, I didn't replace it. I read somewhere that between the hot water, the soap, and an agitator, like a loofah, you can over exfoliate. Back to breaking down that layer of dead skin cells too much. 

My top five zero waste shower essentials from www.goingzerowaste.com

I tried going without and using just my hands to lather, but it wasn't working out very well for me. The water here is hard and it's messed with my skin texture. I started breaking out on my back which I've never done before. 

I decided to get a bamboo scrub brush to see if the extra exfoliation would do the trick and it has! 

I honestly cannot imagine my shower without a good scrub brush. 

related: Benefits of Aromatic Showers with Eucalyptus

3. safety razor: 

Safety razors might seem like one of the scariest zero waste swaps. It can be intimidating holding something that could easily slice your skin. I don't consider myself to be overly clumsy, but I have never cut myself while shaving. 

Full disclosure, I have dropped the razor and taken some skin off. But, I have never cut myself shaving! It really is almost the exact same as using a disposable razor. 

I have a full post on how to use a safety razor here. What that post doesn't cover is how to recycle the blades. 

My top five zero waste shower essentials from www.goingzerowaste.com

You CANNOT put razor blades in the regular recycling bin. You have to take the blades to a special recycling facility where a machine sorts metal and it's not done by human hands. 

If you're in Northern California, I got to the Concord Recycling Center. You'll want to get a steel can that has broth only. Cut a slot in the top of the can and pour the soup out. Rinse with water and tap dry. 

Obviously, there's no way of completely guaranteeing it to be dry, but that's alright. Drop you used blades into the slot. Once it's full put a piece of tape over the slot and take it to your nearest metal recycling facility. 

4. water pik:

I just wrote a whole post about my oral hygiene routine here. I love this water pik because I can use it in the shower! This is so convenient. I don't have to worry about getting water everywhere, which I most definitely do when I'm using it by the sink. 

My top five zero waste shower essentials from www.goingzerowaste.com

I am lazy - a lazy, lazy woman. Water piking in the shower is probably the only way I would do it. 

5. a bucket: 

This is a great way to catch excess water in your shower! You can use it to water your plants or flush your toilet.

Another great thing about the rockin' ingredient list on Plaine Products is that it's biodegradable.

My top five zero waste shower essentials from www.goingzerowaste.com

It's completely safe to use the gray water to water your plants and take it outside. Filling up a bucket is also a good visual tool. 

If you're someone who tends to spend too long in the shower, gauging the fullness of the bucket is a wonderful indicator that the clock is ticking. Just be careful not to trip on the bucket if it's under your feet. I wouldn't know anything about that... 


I truly couldn't imagine a shower with these five items. Everything is streamlined, simple, and effective. 

If baths are more your thing make sure to check out my recipe for bath salts. What are some of the items you couldn't imagine showering without?