Oh, Mother

Planning a sustainable, green wedding

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A wedding is a celebratory kickoff to a lifetime together. It’s about a sustainable union, so why not make the whole experience a celebration of sustainability? It’s not as difficult as it used to be, largely due to an ever-expanding list of companies and purveyors striving to meet the demand for eco-conscious events. The wedding will be even more meaningful when you can rest assured it’s also environmentally friendly, cruelty-free and socially conscious. The best part? Having a clean conscience doesn’t need to bankrupt the newlyweds. Today, sustainable nuptials are easier than ever to pull off with reasonable expense. Use our guide to steer your celebration in the right direction, and layer it according to your needs and budget.

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Photos:  Joanne Hudson Basics

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Photos: Core Bamboo

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Photo: Tree Beginnings

    

PAPER TRAIL
For paperless purity, you can always send out your wedding invitations online. But let’s be honest, most of us want to send something tangible. After all, this is your big day. At www.foreverfiances.com, you can order plantable invites made from recycled paper. Invitations arrive imbedded with seeds. When guests are ready, they can just pop it in the dirt, water it, and voila, each guest receives a botanical memento of your big day.

EAT
This is probably the most obvious and certainly the most enjoyable aspect of sustainability. Generally speaking, food grown in a sustainable fashion has more appealing taste than conventional cuisine. Weave a few of your favorite local farmers into the planning and work around what’s in season. A berry buffet for spring or a spread of roasted or grilled garden-picked vegetables accompanied by a sustainable raised protein (chicken, beef of fish) makes a simple but delightful menu. Look to www.localharvest.org for a thorough listing of farmers in your area.

Also consider consulting with a local farmer for wedding florals. Many flowers are often imported from developing countries with poor labor conditions and heavy pesticide use. With enough advance notice, many farmers will allot garden space and grow the flowers of your choosing (provided they are amenable to your local climate). Check around for florists who can provide organic, locally grown seasonal florals. Of course, if you have piles of free time, you can also grow your own or use silk florals (see our DIY feature, “Plastic Fantastic” in our Summer 2010 issue).

POWER UP
You can purchase wind and solar credits to offset the carbon use for your event through companies such as Bullfrog Power or www.carbonfund.org.

OUT WITH THE NEW, IN WITH THE OLD
Mining for gold and diamonds comes with its own environmental and human rights issues. Consider a vintage shop for everything from your wedding attire to wedding rings. A dress or suit with history and antique jewelry add a unique festive twist to the affair. Look to family heirlooms as well; you never know what may be lurking in Grandma Millie’s attic. Encore Bridal sells used wedding couture and other attire for the entire wedding party.

For your décor and dishware, use bamboo containers for centerpieces and compostable potato-based cutlery. Joanne Hudson Basics sells elegant bamboo- and sugarcane-based products and offers several lines of earth-friendly, biodegradable tableware and utensils. Afterward, you can put everything back into the earth with a clean conscience. Another green company we love for a DIY reception and gifts (for the couple and for tokens of appreciation) is Core Bamboo, which sells a full line of well-made, FDA-approved both natural and colorful bowls, serving pieces, kitchen tools, chopping blocks, bread boards and cutting boards made from 100 percent organic bamboo. Craft a centerpiece that guests can take home such as: giant baskets stuffed with fruits, spreads of tomatoes and peppers in an array of colors, or recycled glass jars of jam tied with ribbon stacked in pyramids and labeled with each guest’s name. Tree Beginnings sells eco-friendly wedding favors online. The possibilities are endless.

PLAY
Accommodations in environmentally friendly resorts or a complete eco-tourist experience are now widely available opportunities. Look to sites such as the International Ecotourism Society, (www.ecotourism.org), or The Greener Lodging Directory, www.greenerlodging.com, for ideas. Equally Wed also highlights an eco-friendly spot in Aruba in our Summer issue.

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