Wednesday, March 28, 2007

A Green Wedding -- Not Just for Hippies

Some people consider me an eco-hippie, but I don't think I am. I try to be aware of waste and recycling. I try to turn off the lights and reduce hot water usage. I'm increasingly becoming aware of environmental footprints, food miles, and other stuff that may be a little bit beyond what an "average" consumer might be doing.

One thing that has always made me cringe at Christmas time and birthday parties is the paper waste. Gift-wrapping. Disposable plates and utensils. I just see it adding to the Johnston Landfill (the tallest peak in the state of Rhode Island). When it comes to waste, weddings tend to be the Super Bowl of garbage. Think about the invitations, to weddings and showers, the thank you cards, the response cards. All the gift wrap.

And you can only limit the paper so much. There are invitations made from recycled paper. You can save the gift wrap for other projects. But there will be some garbage left-over.

So, what can you do? You can help the environment in other ways. You can't eliminate all the trash, but you can eliminate some fossil fuel usage, and that will help. Choose flowers and food that is seasonal and grown locally. By doing so, you reduce the use of planes and trucks, which reduces fuel usage and emissions. You also get beautiful, fresh produce! And you support local farmers.

We did not set out to have a green wedding, but it's turning out that way. Our venue does not allow any styrofoam for serving or packaging food, and they don't allow glitter, rice, confetti, or anything else to be thrown (the no-glitter policy is very strict; it can't be on the flowers or any element of the party at all). They also encourage glass over plastic and paper. Our caterer uses locally-grown food. I feel bad that our dried flowers are being trucked in from New York, but they're from an organic farm and the centerpieces will live on as decorative pieces for many years. We're not using response cards and encouraging people to email us with their RSVPs. My dress is a natural, undyed fiber. To reduce drunk drivers we're using a shuttle service, which will reduce the number of cars on the road in general. My bouquet and all the food for our wedding weekend party will be from the local farmers' market. Nothing major. Nothing extreme. So we're having the wedding in Berkeley. This is stuff that any person can think about, anywhere, without much effort. Once I started doing some reading on the subject, I realized that our wedding is going green and I hadn't even tried that hard.

From the New York Times, How Green Was My Wedding, to specialty magazines like Portovert and uber-eco blogs like, you can find ways to make your wedding as green as you want it to be. And your wedding can be chic and trendy, not necessarily a soy-hemp-fest.

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