There is something profoundly sensible about a sustainable wedding celebration. After all, the idea that this unit of two (or in this case, three!) is meant to be self-sustaining, sustain each other, create a balanced environment where each member thrives…well, the symbolism is fairly obvious.
So when my dear friend Hatti, my classmate in my first year of college at The New School for Social Research in NYC (yes, I was always this bloody liberal and lefty, those of you who are familiar with the institution) and the first vegetarian-by-choice I had ever met, and Chris Moratz, inventor and climber and ceramics wonder, decided to get married, a sustainable wedding was in the works. We’re talking no waste, totally local, even the music was self-generated. It was glorious.
They live with Hatti’s daughter, Emma, in Gardiner, NY, near New Paltz, where the climbing is outstanding and the local agriculture is strong.
The view from the churchyard
Chris is German, so while the couple had married in a civil ceremony last year, they didn’t do the church wedding and the celebration until later, something done by many cultures around the world. They spent this past year doing all the house projects that needed doing in order to host the party at home.
The Stone Church up in the mountains in Cragsmoor was the ceremony site (Leandro and I were so very pleased with ourselves – not only did we get there without help from the GPS – Cragsmoor’s zipcode couldn’t be found! What is this? Brigadoon? — but we actually got there on time!)
Emma and Leandro
Yes, they really rode miles and miles home!
The party followed, later in the afternoon, once the happy couple had bicycled their way home (in 90 degree heat, mind you….I suppose it is zero emissions, but sweet Jesus, I couldn’t sustain that!).
The Party set up
The yard was quilted in tables and chairs and the odd tent, with local flowers in jam jars on every one. Folks arrived, many bringing local beers and wines, or food they had made at home. The buffet table was a massive spread of chicken and sausage from Old Ford Farm, vegetable and egg dishes from local farms (Oh My God, the coleslaw from Evolutionary Organics in New Paltz – coleslaw? yes, coleslaw – I had to pile my plate with it a couple of times, I kid you not). I don’t have too many of my own photos, because I was in charge of getting pictures onto Hatti’s camera while they mingled!
Lemon Raspberry Wedding Cake by Jennifer Vehaba
The lemon raspberry wedding cake was made by the caterer, Jennifer Vehaba, with ingredients from Wild Hive Farm, Clinton Corners, and again, Old Ford Farm, and it was just gorgeous all around.
It seems that every other person in their families and among their friends is some sort of a musician, so the jams sprang up all over the yard…
A note on the waste stream…all the plates and glasses were real, there was just one bag of trash at the end (and there were something like 150 people eating and drinking all night!), there was a bin for recyclables and another for food waste that the chickens would dispatch with.
The tea kept well overnight outside in this container!
The one recipe I came away with was for the astonishingly refreshing maple mint tea that Hatti and Chris invented. I must have drunk a gallon of it on my own, so I got the recipe and here it is, first as Hatti told me and then slightly more formalized.
“When I make the maple mint tea; I dry the leaves from the garden and then I make tea with boiling water and let it cool and I put in about a cup of maple syrup per gallon.”
Maple Mint Tea (remember that inspiration for drinking sangría out of jam jars? This was it)
Maple Mint Tea (Hatti Langsford and Chris Moratz)
1 Gallon peppermint/mint tea
1 Cup maple syrup
When the tea has cooled, add maple syrup. Mix well. Serve chilled over ice, and garnish with mint leaves, if you are so inclined.
Hatti and Chris’ tea was still delicious the next day, after spending a very warm day and night outside in a beverage cooler, so it’s safe to say that a smaller household amount will keep in the fridge a day or two. If it lasts that long!