Sample Sale: $1 samples + 2 trees planted for every sample purchased

Our annual sample sale has arrived! Now through September 24, all of our letterpress invitation samples are on sale for just $1 each. Browse our collection of 300+ invitation designs – we’ve got styles for every type of occasion (including traditional, modern, vintage, destination, rustic, retro, minimal, and more!). All of our invitations are completely customizable and can be letterpress printed or foil stamped for your next special occasion. The best part? We’ll plant 2 trees with American Forests for every sample purchased during the sale!

Bella Figura will plant 2 trees with American Forests for every sample purchased during their 2012 sample sale

To purchase your samples, simply view your favorite designs, then click the “order a sample” button on the right side of the page. After you’ve selected all of the samples you’d like to purchase, visit the cart in the upper right side of your screen and “proceed to checkout”. If you’d like to see even more trees planted during our sale, select the “plant a tree” option during checkout and we’ll match you!

**The fine print: supplies may be limited. Samples ship in standard packaging without keepsake boxes. Samples purchased during sale period are not eligible for a sample refund when stationery order is placed (but your donation is going to a really great cause!). Please allow 2 business days for turn-around. Sale ends at 11:59pm on Monday, September 24.

by Erica Henriksen on September 17th, 2012. Category: Green Wedding Ideas,Promotions + Giveaways | (2) comments

Tips for finding green wedding rings

Looking for an eco-friendly approach to wedding rings?  Just by it’s nature, the work that goes into mining the raw materials used in wedding rings is pretty harsh on the earth. But that’s not to say there aren’t some really great options available – it just takes a little…digging.

Generally speaking, post-consumer recycled gold is always going to have less of an environmental footprint than freshly mined gold.  The problem is, loads of companies claim their wares are recycled or post-consumer or what have you, but this can be a tricky thing to verify. Still, selecting post-consumer recycled gold is generally a great way to go and there are tons of companies offering this sort of option right now — Green Karat and Brilliant Earth are two companies that do this — and both have Green America’s Green Business certification.

Designer Lindsy Aragona's antique engagement ring has a lot of sentimental value: it  features her grandmother's setting and his grandmother's diamond.

One idea we love? Go vintage. Bella Figura designer Lindsy Aragona’s engagement ring has a cool story behind it: the ring features her grandmother’s setting, and the diamond from her husband’s grandmother’s engagement ring. Consider going this route and use an heirloom piece that was passed down through your family – the added sentimental value will make the ring even more special.

Don’t have an heirloom piece in the family that can be used for your engagement ring or wedding bands? Maybe you have a stash of old broken jewelry you never wear or a hideous (but heartfelt) piece of jewelry your grandmother gave you?  Well rather than just letting it sit there, why not melt it down into something beautiful and meaningful that you’ll actually wear?  It’ll still be the same gold after all, so it’s still got the love.  Lots of jewelry companies offer this service now, and a good local jeweler certainly should be able to do this for you (which in turn supports the local economy and requires no shipping).  By taking all the mining, transportation and refining out of the equation you’re left with a ring that’s many times more eco-blingy, and besides, wouldn’t it feel good to know exactly where the metal in your ring came from?

Designer Lindsy Aragona's antique engagement ring has a lot of sentimental value: it  features her grandmother's setting and his grandmother's diamond.

Diamonds are a girls best friend and all that jazz, but we’ve all seen Blood Diamond. Maybe not so friendly after all. Diamond mining just isn’t an inherently sustainable thing for a vast array of environmental and socioeconomic reasons.  But it is definitely possible to source stones that are conflict free, you just need to do a little research first. You could also go the synthetic route and purchase lab-created diamonds — they’re conflict-free and don’t require mining, so you won’t be disrupting the planet for these gems. Brilliant Earth offers this as an option as well.

Do you do a lot of hiking? If you come across a cool stone in your travels, have it set into a ring.  Way cooler than diamonds if you ask me.  And there’s a story to tell.

Another really awesome option – take a jewelry making workshop and make your own!  If you live in a big city (or even if you don’t) chances are you’ll be able to find classes in jewelry making pretty easily.  If you take the class together, you and your other half will learn lots about the craft and by the end of it, you’ll have made your very own wedding rings!

by Chris Gannon on July 19th, 2012. Category: Green Wedding Ideas | No comments

Green Wedding Planning – Eco-friendly bouquets + florists

Flowers are one of the sweet details that make weddings unique. Why not make an intentional effort to go green with the green?! When you think about it, this element should be an automatic eco option, but many florists use harmful pesticides since the USDA does not regulate pesticides on cut flowers. Yikes! Who wants to walk down the aisle with a bunch of chemicals below their faces and surrounding their loved ones? Not our eco brides!

It’s important when choosing a florist to make sure that they are using safe and healthy practices in their shop and with their flowers. We asked two of the wedding industry’s finest eco florists for some guidance, here’s what Faxon of Faxon Green, and Hannah of Gardenia Organic had to say.

A beautiful bridal bouquet from Faxon Green, an eco florist

Why is Faxon Green intentionally an “eco florist”?

Faxon: I grew up in the country abutting a pond and woods. I was given my grandmother’s garden when I was 7.  Jelly jars were my first vases filled with ferns, flowers, jack in the pulpit [now an endangered species].  I was encouraged to have fresh flowers and foliage on the breakfast table whenever I wished.  I’ve had a garden where ever I’ve lived [city, suburb, country] ever since.

So, when I opened my studio 7 years ago, I returned to the spirit of my childhood bouquets.  Being a naive artist with some background in sculpture and painting, the art and science of floral design came together in a more conscious way.  I’ve always used nature’s elements in my work.  No floral foam, plastic, chemicals, etc.  We compost, recycle all packing materials by packing with them for delivery.  Tablescapes are made in long flower boxes. We also recycle flowers after weddings and events by picking up all vases and etc., bunching the flowers that are still fresh, and delivering them to local women’s shelters, hospitals and clinics.

Aesthetically, I’m more delighted by what the flowers, vines, and etc. “do” overnight after being placed in a vase.  Always there is surprise, and the flowers find their natural place in the vase. The implication of this is that I do not impose a pre-design by putting flowers into foam.  I “follow” the natural flow of the foliage and flowers.

Why is Gardenia Organic intentionally an “eco florist”?

Hannah: Because the industry’s impact on the environment is substantial and rarely considered. I think it’s hard for people to imagine that something grown in nature can be environmentally unfriendly. Aside from the chemicals used in mass produced flowers, the carbon emissions from flowers flown thousands of air miles and the working conditions for farmers in poorer countries – the waste in the industry from packaging and events is unbelievable! Do you ever think what happens to all the vases, cellophane, plastic forms and florist foam after a wedding? Most of it is thrown in the trash and it’s not biodegradable.

A bouquet from Gardenia Organic

Do you have any suggestions for brides planning their floral arrangements?

Hannah: Use seasonal flowers that are grown as locally as possible – this is better for the environment, supports our local economies and means that you’ll be enjoying healthier, fresher beautiful flowers. Ask your florist what they’ll do with the flowers at the end of your day – gift them to special guests or donate them to local care homes and hospices.

Faxon: Be sure you ‘groove’ on, and with, your designer. Feel comfortable engaging with your designer. Ask for references from brides or venues where they’ve worked. Go to a flower market high-end florist to see many possibilities for your wedding flowers. Be sure to see sample centerpiece designs and your bridal bouquet. Be sure you love them!  Otherwise, give the feedback that lets the designer create other ones. Ask about local flower farms with non-pesticide soils. Select flowers, such as tulips, roses, exotics, etc. from growers in the USA.  This ensures freshness and greatly reduces the carbon footprint. Perhaps this is the 3rd most important:  ask about the designer’s eco-practices.

White + green bouquet from Gardenia Organic

What eco practices make your shop special?

Faxon: A uniquely artistic eye coupled with sustainable materials and practices. There is no floral foam, plastic or chemicals. All unused living material is composted. The cardboard boxes and cartons from new vases are used to pack bouquets for delivery. The studio is cooled naturally with open windows and low level air conditioners when needed. All tools are cleaned with witch hazel and water. After a wedding or event, clients often give flower arrangements to their guests. When this does not occur, flowers that are still fresh are bunched and delivered the next day to local women’s shelters and hospitals. Vases are recycled for future use. It is our intention when working with clients that precious little is wasted. This is the natural way; the sustainable practice of no waste and no non-biodegradable.

Hannah: Pretty much everything we do. Our entire supply chain is focused on fair trade and environmental sustainability; it’s not just our flowers. We use recycled tissue paper, a biodegradable cellophane alternative, recycled glass vases, plant based cleaning products and we buy all of our flowers fresh everyday to order. This ensures the freshest most gorgeous flowers for our clients and reduces waste.

Hanna and Faxon, thank you so much for sharing your expert advice with us today!

Images from Faxon Green and Gardenia Organic

by Christie Jones on May 3rd, 2012. Category: Green Wedding Ideas | No comments

7 Ways to Make Your Invitations Eco-Friendly

Let’s face it, the wedding industry produces a lot of one-hit wonders. It is extremely important to us here at Bella Figura to encourage sustainability as we practice eco-friendly letterpress printing (and living!). That’s why we use tree-free papers, low VOC inks, and FSC certified papers (and we also support these amazing environmental causes). If you are wondering how to make your letterpress or foil stamped invitations even more eco-friendly we have some tried and true tricks of the trade to reduce waste without compromising on style!

1. Use a postcard!
Think about using reply postcards or even Save the Date postcards! This cuts down on the amount of paper (envelopes) and also keeps the costs lower!

Letterpress reply postcards from Bella Figura are an eco-friendly and economical choice as they are more cost efficient and create less paper waste than a traditional reply card with envelope.

2. Condense Information.
There are a lot of activities and information that go into a wedding celebration! From accommodations, directions, rehearsal dinners and reply cards, you can choose to create a wedding website that hosts all the important details! You can include the url on your invitations, or create 1 separate card (think website cards!) explaining that the website is the place for all the wedding details. If you’re determined to get it all on paper, choose 1 insert card as opposed to several and print on both sides if you have lots of details to include.

This letterpress wedding invitation from Bella Figura features the Hendrix 2 design and has reply information printed on the bottomo of the invitation to cut down on paper waste.

Website cards are a great way to cut down on paper waste while still providing vital information to guests

3. Don’t double up.
Skip the formalities and just use 1 outer envelope vs. an inner envelope and an outer envelope combination. The inner envelope is meant to specify exactly who’s invited. It is completely acceptable to choose just 1 envelope (which is more eco-friendly). If you’re concerned about extra guests, you can always designate the number of guests on the reply card or reply postcard by adding an extra line that states “We have reserved __ seats in your honor”, then fill in the number accordingly.

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by Christie Jones on January 11th, 2012. Category: Green Wedding Ideas,Wedding Tips and Advice | No comments

Bella Figura loves Grindstone Farm!

We know, we know, this is supposed to be a blog about letterpress, but we thought you’d like these beautiful photos from one of our favorite places, Grindstone Farm. Not only does Grindstone provide delicious, nutritious, organic fruits and veggies to the Bella Figura staff through our CSA partnership, they are also a prime example of why farms make great wedding locations!

Of course, planning a wedding on a working farm can be tricky. You need to plan ahead so you are not stuck without power or lights (or bathrooms!), you’ll need to make sure grandma and grandpa do not have to walk a mile in dress shoes, and if you want the ultimate local experience of using food and flowers grown onsite, you’ll need to get the details to the farmer a year in advance.

When the details come together, it’ll be worth the trouble. Your guests will be able to share in an incredible one-of-a-kind experience, creating memories that will last a lifetime.

Interested in finding a farm like this near you for your wedding or big event? Or do you want to use locally grown produce or flowers for your special event?  Check out localharvest.org to find CSAs, U Pick Farms, Farmers Markets, Grocery Co-ops in your area!

Want to see more photos from our trip to Grindstone Farm & our CSA pick-up spot here at Bella Figura? Check out this slideshow!

by Jenna Tulman on October 28th, 2011. Category: About Us,Green Wedding Ideas,News + Updates | No comments

Earthworks- the act of giving feels so good!

Over the years, Bella Figura has formed partnerships with important environmental organizations. One such organization is Earthworks, whose campaigns focus on the far reaching ecological and humanitarian concerns caused by all types of mining. Projects such as their “No Dirty Gold Campaign” are very important to exposing the truths behind this important wedding focused industry. Read about the search for the perfect conflict-free engagement ring!

One way we like to support our sustainable partners is to help them create beautiful communication pieces to use with their donors and other partners. For Earthworks, we created these simple, elegant Thank You Notes, and “From the Desk Of” note pads. Letterpress printed on our luxurious 1-ply white 100% reclaimed cotton paper in vine ink, the cards shine with the Earthworks logo. We love giving back, especially when the focus is something we hold dear to our hearts.

Hopefully these pieces will help further the cause!

probono letterpres printing

by Christie Jones on October 19th, 2011. Category: Green Wedding Ideas,Inspiration | No comments

Earthworks and the Dirt on Dirty Gold

Just as our printers enjoy telling stories of how they came to love letterpress, every bride knows the importance of a good engagement story… you want to tell the whole world how he presented that little box with the sparkly ring.

And let’s be serious — we love gold. It’s shiny, it’s pretty, and when placed on the left ring finger, a gold ring symbolizes never-ending love and commitment to our one-and-only.

When I started ring shopping with my fiance, I was torn. I knew I wanted a ring, but I was concerned about the environmental and social impacts of this particular “symbol of love”. From the beginning, I was adamant that I wanted a conflict-free diamond, but it wasn’t until I started digging into the facts that I began to understand the effects of gold mining on communities, mining workers, and our environment.

conflict free engagement rings

You may have noticed that proceeds from our Labor Day Sample Sale (a huge success by the way… thanks!!!!) went to support Earthwork’s No Dirty Gold Campaign. Earthworks is a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting communities and the environment from the impacts of irresponsible mining (Earthworks is also one of the eco causes we support as a member of 1% for the Planet!). I wanted to share with you some of what I have learned from Earthworks, and give you resources that will allow you to make informed purchases in the future.

Did you know that:

- One ring (if using traditional mining practices) produces an average of 20 TONS of waste!?!
- Gold mining is one of the world’s dirtiest industries. It wreaks havoc on local economies, causes illnesses, destroys streams, contaminates soil, and contributes to human rights abuses.
- Mined waste includes all sorts of toxins such as cadmium, mercury, arsenic, and lead. These metals enter local watersheds, contaminating drinking water for local residents.

Yeah. That’s pretty heavy stuff. Still, there are things you can do to help!

- Recycle old jewelry. You can have old rings melted down to make new ones. Support jewelers that offer products made with recycled gold.
- Buy vintage or antique jewelry.
- Love your ring. Take care of it and eventually pass it on to a child or friend.

To learn about more ways you can have an impact, or to learn more about the “No Dirty Gold Pledge”, visit the No Dirty Gold Campaign website today.

by Jenna Tulman on September 16th, 2011. Category: Green Wedding Ideas,Inspiration,News + Updates | No comments

The Sample Sale is Back! $1 Letterpress Invitation Samples — Help Save the Planet!!

It’s that time of year again — our sample sale is back! Now through September 8, all of our letterpress invitation samples will be on sale for just $1! All proceeds from the sale will benefit Earthworks and will help aid their efforts to end dirty gold mining practices around the world. Sign the pledge today and make sure you know where your gold is coming from! The inventory for a few of our designs is limited, so you may receive samples in colors that are different from what’s shown on our website (but don’t worry — they’ll still be pretty!!).  Samples may be ordered on our website – just click on your favorite designs, then select “order a sample” and proceed to checkout after you’ve selected all of the designs you’d like to see! The sale ends at 11:59pm on Thursday, September 8, so don’t wait — buy your samples today & help the environment in the process — it’s a win-win!

**The fine print: availability for select designs may be limited. If our inventory runs out for a sample that you’ve ordered, we’ll contact you to determine a suitable replacement option or to arrange a refund if necessary. We appreciate your understanding on this!**

by Erica Henriksen on September 1st, 2011. Category: Green Wedding Ideas,News + Updates,Promotions + Giveaways | No comments

Share Our Free (Eco!) Message on Your Letterpress Invitations!

Want to share with your guests that your letterpress invitations are eco? We offer a (free!) eco message letterpressed tastefully on the back of your invitation (in one of the invitation’s ink colors). We keep the impression very light so the letterpress will not show through the front. Our eco specs say, “letterpressed with wind power | tree free paper (100% reclaimed cotton)vegetable-oil based ink | old cast iron presses | love.” We think it is a subtle way to spread our message with the ones you love!

Want to read more about Bella Figura being a green letterpress print shop?

by Christie Jones on June 22nd, 2011. Category: Green Wedding Ideas | No comments

Spread a Little Love with World-Minded Letterpress Favor Cards

Over the past couple of years, we’ve found ourselves completely blown away by the thoughtfulness and generous spirits of the couples we’re honored to call Bella Figura brides and grooms.  We think it’s so cool when a couple opts to forgo the traditional guest favors and instead makes a donation to a worthy nonprofit. To encourage this large-hearted trend, in early 2011 we started offering free letterpress favor cards to those couples making a donation to nonprofit organization doing good for the world. Here are just a handful of the many favor cards we’ve printed for couples worldwide this year…

Our Deveril design; donation benefiting The Humane Society of the United States.

Our Tara design; donation benefiting Clean Ocean Action.

Our Nautilus design; donation benefiting the Reproductive and Child Health Alliance in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

Our Florian Script design; donation benefiting CHU St-Justine. From the couple, “The CHU St-Justine is a well renowned children’s hospital in Montreal and our donation will be given toward funding R&D activities. We both believe that children should be allowed to enjoy their young lives and play outside with their friends rather to be stuck in a hospital room. We hope that our donation will help the team of doctors find a cure to many of today’s illnesses that primarily attack young children.”

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by Cynthia Converse on May 25th, 2011. Category: Green Wedding Ideas,Promotions + Giveaways | No comments