I am getting married this summer and was wondering if you have any tips on how to make the festivities greener? – Tara McCarthy, Los Angeles, CA
You know environmental consciousness has really taken hold when couples start to worry about whether their weddings will be green enough. But more and more people who care deeply about the planet view getting married as a chance to show off their values; so green nuptials make all the sense in the world.
To help remove the guesswork, many couples turn to wedding planners well versed in environmental issues. According to Idaho-based Angel Wedding Planners, every element of the wedding planning process can provide an opportunity to make choices that minimize waste and environmental impact. One of the easiest places to do right by the environment is in choosing invitations. Angel suggests going with tree-free or recycled paper, and also points out that a one-piece, folded design can save paper and envelopes.
In regard to feeding your hungry and thirsty guests, Angel recommends sourcing food and drink from local organic producers, if possible. Some caterers specialize in preparing and serving such items. Organic flowers (from local vendors or online via Organic Bouquet) are another way to make a green statement.
Another way to help ensure that your wedding is as green as can be is by avoiding disposable products wherever possible. Caterers should use real dishes, linens, cutlery and glassware, or rent them if necessary. Other areas where "green" decisions can make a difference include: wedding attire (consider a dress rental or buying a used one and then re-selling it); transportation (carpooling works for weddings, too, at least from the wedding to the reception); photography (those disposable cameras at every table are fun but they can be very wasteful); and wedding registries (there are numerous to be found through a Google search, or support a local green store).
Speaking of the Internet, many websites have sprung up in recent years to make the process of planning a green wedding easier. Valerie Edmunds, founder of Green Elegance Weddings, hopes her company can make an important environmental contribution by directing some of the $25,000 people typically spend on a wedding toward greener products and services. Her advertising-supported website provides page after page of free useful information about eco-friendly wedding apparel, invitations, gifts, flowers, food and beverages, even the honeymoon. The site’s Resource Directory contains links to a wealth of online information and to businesses and organizations that provide related earth-friendly products and services.
Those looking for even more virtual handholding might want to visit the website, OurWeddingDay.com, which provides dozens of free online tools (including an "RSVP Manager," Save-the-Date E-cards, a Gift Registry and an Event Manager) to help couples create the "ultimate green wedding from start to finish." The site also posts hundreds of articles from leading bridal magazines so brides can save paper by not having to go out and purchase any of the 135 or so foot-thick bridal magazines clogging the newsstands.
CONTACTS: Angel Wedding Planners, www.angelweddingplanners.com; Organic Bouquet, www.organicbouquet.com; Green Elegance Weddings, www.greeneleganceweddings.com; OurWeddingDay.com, www.ourweddingday.com.