Friday, April 10, 2009

Greening your Wedding - The Easy Way

Unfortunately, 50 years ago, we wouldn’t be talking about this topic. If we were, perhaps this world wouldn’t be in the position it is today. As a citizen on this planet, it’s our obligation to do our part to make this world a better place, not only for our children- and our children’s children, but for 20 generations of children down the line. Each small change will make an impact, whether it’s making an effort to turn out a light, putting the weeks paper into a blue container and committing to put it on the curb every week, reducing the amount of waste in a landfill by using cloth on your baby, or by sending out invitations made from recycled paper.

I have seen many couples make efforts to reduce and reuse when it comes to their special day. It has become ‘chic’ to “green” aspects of the wedding. There are many vendors locally and nationally that will help you do this. The most common trend I see is purchasing invitations made from recycled products, and printed with environmentally friendly inks. Many national companies offer this including Carlson Craft ( and Birchcraft Studios ( Locally, Washington DC has boutique stationary shops, such as Haute Papier ( specializing in customized stationary design, offers paper products made from recycled products.

Couples are tending to reduce the amount of paper used by excluding programs and menu cards from the festivities. They are also opting for scrolls/charts instead of using place cards. I advise my clients to forgo expensive and wasteful favors that often get left behind and end up in the garbage, in exchange for donations to charities that are important to them. In the weddings that I have done, I have seen couples donate to Breast Cancer Foundations and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, just to name a few. Some of my couples opt to cut out the favors all together. After treating their guests to the most fantastic day, the favors are not at all missed.

Washington DC has seen a number of wedding vendors go “green” in recent years. Jennifer Hughes (, a top photographer in the Washington DC and Baltimore Metropolitan areas offers a “green” wedding package. In the package, she offers a photo album made by Couture Books, which is press printed on 100% post consumer recycled, acid free, archival paper. The entire process is powered by green-certified wind power and carbon offsets. Trees are planted with a portion of the proceeds from each book. She also offers Cypress albums, which are completely eco-friendly, with no harm done to trees in the process. She is also looking into purchasing carbon credits to offset her use of electricity and transportation to all of her weddings. ( has also taken steps to become eco-friendly. is the nation's first 100% carbon neutral wedding entertainment company. They have achieved this by purchasing carbon offsets for all of their electricity use (both in the office and at events) and all the travel to and from meetings and events. At the wedding, the DJ’s use state of the art digitized systems, which eliminate the need for wasteful CD’s. They have severely reduced their paper use, relying on electronic contracts, planning documents and eFaxes. All the paper that they do use is 100% recycled and their marketing materials are 100% recycled and have environmentally friendly, soy based inks.

Décor is always a fun aspect of the wedding planning process. There are many ways to “green” your décor, says Emily Elizabeth Anderson – Author of Eco Chic Weddings. Some of these ideas include, using paper, fabric and ribbon for color. You can green your décor by utilizing branches in creative and dramatic ways, lighting candles, or using lamps for mood lighting. Utilizing organically grown local florals offers a floral solution. You can also feature edible arrangements for a different touch. Simplicity is key if you want to go green. Try floating a few blooms in shallow vessels or using smaller vases with one bloom for centerpieces. Herbs also are impressive in bulk, or might serve as a great favor, that guests could plant in their gardens.

One common method of saving is utilizing an arrangement more than once; i.e, use ceremony arrangements at the reception. Instead of throwing your flowers away, let others enjoy the blooms, by donating to local hospitals, hospices, homeless shelters, and the like.

So whether you are looking for a sustainable reception site, organic cuisine, recycled paper products, ideas on ways to reduce and reuse, or eco-friendly vendors, there are many options to make your ‘green” affair a raving success!

No comments: