My favourite wedding vendors.

Keeping in line with our ‘shop local as much as possible’ mentality, making decisions around who to hire for our wedding needs has been a mix of total “duh” moments, combined with, “is there actually someone who MAKES that?”

If we’re going to host this thing, it might as well benefit as many people as possible. We sought out a few vendors, local companies, and individuals to provide their services in effort to help us support local and minimize waste.

Here are some of my absolute favourite vendors that I’m so stoked to work with!

{Event decor}: Make Merry Events. Based in Halifax, Make Merry is a start-up run by a couple of darling ladies with a love for all things vintage, indie, and wedding. We booked an appointment, showed up at their home, and perused rooms bursting at their seams with any and all wedding decor you can imagine. The best part? You RENT the items you want! No waste, no hassle. Simply show up, pick the items you love, and arrange to have them rented.

We nabbed some really great items from their collection (some of which are hand-made!), including:

Stunning mercury votives available at Make Merry: http://www.makemerry.ca/#!mercury-glass-votives/c23ed
Stunning mercury votives available at Make Merry: http://www.makemerry.ca/#!mercury-glass-votives/c23ed

 {Food}: The Wooden Monkey. Known for their use of locally grown/sourced and organic food, planning a special dinner with the Monkey has been an absolute dream. They’re easy going, accommodating, and have special menus that make feeding a large group reasonably affordable.

The bar side of the Monkey, right on the Dartmouth waterfront.
The bar side of the Monkey, right on the Dartmouth waterfront.

{Table Flowers}: Off Beet Farm. A small farm in the lovely Cow Bay area of Nova Scotia, Sarah from Off Beet is a lovely gal. She is passionate about gardening, and is successfully building up the farm’s flower offerings and expertise. She is so talented, and we are stoked that she is growing and harvesting our flowers. They will be so special and so beautiful!

Love this arrangement by Off Beet: http://offbeetfarm.com/whatwegrow/
Love this arrangement by Off Beet: http://offbeetfarm.com/whatwegrow/

{Guest book}: Mule Mother Books. This was definitely one of the “someone actually DOES that?!” moments. But after being woefully disappointed by all mainstream guest book options (hello satin, rhinestone, and lace catastrophes!), I finally stumbled upon the lovely and talented Ellen Murphy of Mule Mother Books. She HAND MAKES books (binding and all!). She is making our polaroid photo guest book and I couldn’t be more excited for the end result!

I love the simplicity of this handmade, linen book: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.334084133291558.83291.291864014180237&type=3
I love the simplicity of this handmade, linen book.

{Hair & Makeup}: Interlude Spa. I’m a sucker for this place, with it’s old Victorian building and excellent aesthetic services. This is my ultimate ‘treat yo-self’ destination, and I’m excited they’ll be pampering me on the big day with hair, make-up, and nail care!

Photo c/o Yelp.
Photo c/o Yelp.

{Wedding Rings}: W. Smith & Co. A small, independent jewellery store in Saint John, NB (close to my hometown!), W. Smith made the engagement ring buying process so smooth and so simple that we’ve decided to return to them to have our wedding bands made. They are incredibly knowledgable, helpful, and just great people to chat with! They did a beautiful job with my engagement ring. We picked a setting and style that we both loved, and the jeweller recreated the look with a loose diamond that fit our budget.

I still look at this puppy constantly. LOVE.
I still look at this puppy constantly. LOVE.

We’ve had great experiences with all of these local businesses and individuals so far, and the uniqueness of each has helped us come up with a day that truly feels like ‘us!’

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So fresh, so clean.

After several years of searching, testing, and fine-tuning, I’m *almost* at the point where all of the products I use on my body are “natural” – or, at least – free of harmful chemicals.

You can drive yourself nuts thinking about all of the potentially ‘harmful’ things we’re exposed to all day long. But when it comes to things I have some control over (mainly, food, and personal hygiene), I try to be mindful of what I’m putting in and on my body as much as possible.

During this process I’ve come to realize that what’s in many of our everyday staple products is downright scary when you start paying attention to it!

Here’s a little rundown of the products I’ve come to love that do the trick just as well (if not better!) than their drugstore counterparts:

Face.

  1. Natural Foaming Face Wash – Leaves skin feeling fresh, squeaky clean, and doubles as a makeup remover.
  2. Coconut oil – By far the *best* makeup remover I have ever tried! It’s ideal for eye liner and stubborn mascara. Lather some on your eyes and eyelashes, wipe, and it’s gone!
  3. Ultra Moisturizing Organic Face Cream – I get the dry skin version, which is especially great for the dry, winter months.
  4. Nourishing Facial Oil – This is a great nighttime serum – again – especially during wintertime. I apply it before bed so it is well absorbed by the time I put my makeup on in the morning.
  5. Nova Scotia Fishermen Lip Balm – This is a perfect product for a basic lip balm. It’s hydrating and doesn’t contain additives that keep you needing more (bye bye Blistex addiction!).

Makeup.

  1. PurePressed Base Mineral Foundation – This is one of 2 Jane Iredale products I use, and while they’re not as ‘clean’ as other products I use, they are free from talc and parabens (preservatives common in beauty products) and include titanium dioxide + zinc oxide for a more natural sunblock (SPF 20). JI’s products also have a seal of approval from The Skin Cancer Foundation, which seems like a plus!

  2. My Steppes Compact – The other JI product I use, containing blush and bronzer.
  3. Black Tea Long Last Liquid Eye Liner* – A perfect jet black eyeliner dyed from black tea!
  4. Fruit Pigmented Mascara* – Solid jet black mascara coloured by fruit & tea.
  5. Fruit Pigmented Lip Gloss* – A beautifully fruit-tinted lip gloss perfect for everyday use.

*The lack of preservatives in these products does mean that once they’re opened, they don’t last as long as the products I used to use. I’ve had mine on the go for nearly 8 months and they’re still A-OK.

Skin.

  1. Nova Scotia Fishermen Lotion – This is the perfect everyday moisturizer. Great for dry skin, and isn’t oily, chunky, or straight-up weird like some of the other natural varieties I’ve tried.
  2. 4-in-1 Fragrance Free Moisture Shave – Pretty self explanatory. Solid product for legs & underarms!
  3. Natural soaps – We’ve long ditched all liquid soaps and body washes in our house. For hand and body soap we buy all-natural products from our local farmer’s market. Some favourites include Slice Soapworks, Laughing Pear, and The Soap Works has some natural varieties (we pick these up at Bulk Barn).
  4. Bend Skincare Anti-Aging – A fish oil supplement offering plenty of skin care perks, including fully body UV protection, vitamin D, free-radical protection, and MOISTURE (a big one for me & my dry skin!).
  5. Deodorant – This is an ongoing challenge for me! I’ve tried everything from Toms (OK – but not having an antiperspirant is tough), to Green Beaver (didn’t mask the scent!), to Joyous Health’s, to my own homemade concoctions (both mine and the JH varieties irritated my skin to no end – perhaps the essential oils?). Currently I alternate between a stick of Toms and a stick of Dove, depending on the sort of day I have planned (i.e. very active, or not).

The thing that bothers me the most about the current beauty industry is that finding these products was no simple task. And yet walk into any drug store, grocery store, or department store, and your options for chemical-laden products are truly endless.

I’ve done a lot of research, read a lot of blogs, tested and tried many different products to find what works for me. And it’s not an inexpensive feat! All in all, I’m happy that over time, I’ve developed some habits that include relatively healthy products, many of which are made locally (if not in Nova Scotia than at least in Canada!).

What natural products do you love?