By: Kristen Castillo
What it takes to Have an Environmentally Conscious Wedding.
Remember Kermit the Frog’s motto: “It’s not easy being green”? Well, maybe Kermit had it all wrong. Being green and living an environmentally conscious life has never been easier. These days, it’s second nature to save resources like water and energy, to eat organic food and recycle most of what we used to consider trash. Your wedding is no different. You can use your big day to show your commitment to a sustainable future.
Take a cue from “Days of Our Lives.” The soap opera recently featured a green wedding when characters Sami and Lucas tied the knot. Their wedding had biodegradable favors, pesticide-free flowers and healthy food prepared by an organic chef. Amy Child Marella, the owner of Hidden Garden Floral Designs started in Los Angeles, designed the flowers for the soap opera’s green wedding.
“I think after watching ‘Days of Our Lives,’ brides will realize that they don’t have to jeopardize the beautiful flowers or overall look of their wedding if they choose to go green,” she says. “Our goal for this show was to show brides that you can still have a gorgeous wedding when going green. You don’t have to give up something beautiful just because you are being environmentally friendly.”
Child Marella says the biggest misconception about a green wedding is that the event can’t be elegant.
“Going green is about the impact your wedding has on the environment and they can still be very elegant, formal affairs. You can still have amazing food, flowers, invitations, etc.; however, the bride just needs to make a more conscience decision on what items are better for the environment.”
Lindsay Joy Tomyn (now Coulter) married Steven Patrick Ninian Coulter on October 14, 2006, in a green wedding in British Columbia.
The couple decided to go green for their wedding because they “wanted something simple and it seemed so clear that we’d incorporate our everyday ethic of ‘reduce, reuse and recycle’ into [their] big day.”
“The traditional going over the top, no holds barred, splurge, and go in debt philosophy didn’t appeal to us. It didn’t make sense to create so much unnecessary waste,” said Coulter.
She says the biggest challenge to a green wedding is that many guests don’t get the concept. “I think we’re all familiar with the heightened awareness for individuals to go green, and it’s all around us in media, retail, grocery store, politics, etc.,” said Coulter. “I didn’t realize I was that cutting edge, but now there are books out about organic weddings and going eco-chic. It’s great.”
Some of Coulter’s green wedding tips include working with local vendors to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from travel; using non-disposable utensils; serve organic foods, local wines and ethical coffee; keep your paper use to a minimum by sending email save-the-date notices and invitations.; light your party with pure beeswax candles, which are all natural; suggest your out-of-town guests rent a hybrid car if they need to travel for your wedding.
Coulter’s green wedding advice? “Don’t try to do it all. Figure out what’s most important to you and do what you can. If you’re a sucker for flowers, then get organic, seasonal and or locally grown flowers. Figure out where your impact might be the biggest and attempt to neutralize it!”
TIME AND PLACE
A daytime wedding is always pretty, but it’s also environmentally friendly. As you and your guests enjoy the natural light, you’ll be saving a precious resource—energy.
Getting hitched in the great outdoors is a great way to tell your family and friends how much you love and respect the environment. The natural backdrops like sunsets, ocean views and grassy fields are picturesque. San Diego is home to many beautiful parks, beaches, resorts, and other outdoor locales. Take advantage of the natural scenery on your big day.
Even your gown can be green. Well, not literally green. You can get a white wedding gown made from environmentally friendly fabrics like hemp. No, your dress won’t look like a poncho. Many designers have fashioned impressive gowns from the durable fabric. Check out www.getconscious.com, www.threadheadcreations.com and www.mycorset.com/bridal.htm.
Most wedding gowns are worn for one day. It’s a waste when you really think of it. So, maybe it’s time to remember one of the three R’s: reduce, reuse, recycle. Consider a vintage gown—it’s a fabulous way to reuse high fashion.
The major idea behind a green wedding is using natural resources wisely and being environmentally conscious for your special celebration. You’re inspired to save the planet and so you want to find vendors who share your passion for a greener and cleaner world.
Ask your vendors how they’re doing their part. Photographers may recycle their film canisters or give you digital proofs instead of printing proofs and wasting paper. A coordinator can help you make arrangements to have your leftover food and flowers donated to a shelter. How cool is it that your leftovers can have a second life for someone in need?
Use recycled paper products for all of your wedding stationery needs. From save the-date-cards to invitations to menu cards to programs, make sure the paper products are all made from recycled content.
San Diego based Green Field Paper Company Log sells “seed embedded paper” invitations that are plantable. Just wet the paper and watch wildflowers grow. Sending and receiving mail has never been so fun!
Go organic when it comes to planning your wedding menu. The tasty dishes will wow your guests, even the ones who don’t think they like organic foods.
When it comes to dessert, your menu choices can still be organic. In Ocean Beach, Stephanie’s Bakery has lots of sweets that are good for you too, including dairy-free and vegan items.
Child Marella tells brides to consult with their florists for eco-friendly floral options like cymbidiums, roses and hydrangea.
“Locally grown flowers are better for the environment because they are not transported long distances, which cuts down on pollution and they contain fewer pesticides, which would be required for transporting and importing,” said Child Marella.
“Another small, yet beautiful, idea is to use potted, flowering plants in the ceremony that can be transported to the reception and ultimately planted following the wedding.”
Why not go green with your favors too? Give your guests items that promote Mother Nature, like flowers, plants, tree saplings, and seeds so they can grow their own organic gardens and create a more sustainable environment.
Recycled gifts are a great option too. Check out www.greenglass.org to order tumblers and goblets made from recycled bottles. These beautiful glass creations prove recycling works.
Donate to an environmental charity such as Greenpeace, the Sierra Club, or local environmental non-profits like I Love a Clean San Diego. Announce your donations on recycled paper.
Organic food products make great gifts too. From jam to candy, there are lots of yummy organic eats to give your guests. Be sure to include a note to your guests letting them know about your green gestures.
Soy candles are a great alternative to traditional candles since soy ones burn cooler and typically last longer.
When it comes to arriving in style, forget a gas guzzling car. Drive to your wedding ceremony in a hybrid. Hey, that’s how Hollywood stars like Leonardo di Caprio, Cameron Diaz and Harrison Ford travel to the Academy Awards. Check out www.evrental.com.
Instead of registering for gifts, why not encourage your guests to donate to an environmental charity in your honor? Chances are, you and your guy don’t need a new toaster, but many environmental groups could use your support for their green cause. The World Wildlife Fund Weddings and Celebrations is all about conservation and protecting the environment.
If you still want to register for more traditional gifts, check out eco-friendly registries like www.ecochoices.com, which help you find green items from bedding and décor to clothing and candles.
DO YOUR PART
Before the big day, invite your wedding party to do a good deed for the planet. Pitch in at a local cleanup to clear away litter that pollutes our waterways. Sign up as a group to plant trees in your neighborhood. Your hard work can have a profound impact on the community.
SHOWERED IN LOVE
Forget having your guests toss rice as you and groom leave the ceremony or reception. A more environmentally conscious idea is to buy something called “ecofetti,” a biodegradable and water-soluble type of confetti, sold by companies like EcoParti. Ecofetti is available is lots of fun colors like hot pink and aqua. Now you can be showered in style and protect the earth too.
On your honeymoon you can be environmentally-aware too. For eco-travel honeymoon options check out www.Responsibletravel.com and www.ecotourism.org.
Stay at a green hotel or bed and breakfast. At a green hotel, the management makes an effort to save energy and water, as well as reduce solid wastes, all while saving money too. Check out www.greenhotels.com for more information.
From flowers to favors, brides and grooms are embracing a love of nature and an awareness of social responsibility.
“Although the small items that a bride can include in her wedding to make it green may seem minor, in the overall scheme of global warming it is also the small things that add up to the larger lasting effect,” said Child Marella.
Use your big day to make a statement that you and your groom care about the earth. Your love will last a lifetime, but our planet needs to last even longer. Do your part to protect this place we all call home.