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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Saying "I Do" to the Planet

A note from Shirley: Today's column is GREAT and GREEN! It's from my awesome friend Diane Gow McDilda, author of the Everything Green Living Book. She has some amazing tips for having a green wedding. How cool is that?? And if you want more tips, read her blog, too!

Green may not be the new white when it comes to exchanging vows, but there are ways to reduce your eco-footprint as you walk down the aisle.

For those looking to make Your Special Day more planet friendly, start by considering all the different aspects your wedding involves. There are wedding rings and apparel, invitations, gifts, food, lodging, and travel, all of which can be greened up. As you and your soon-to-be-spouse sit down and warmly (not frantically, mind you) discuss the details of your nuptials, keep the environment in mind. And once you've started, you'll likely be surprised with other ideas you come up with. Here are a few to get you started…

The Band. Companies like greenKarat offer a beautiful and sustainable assortment of wedding jewelry. Along with gold and silver, they also carry a Precious Wood band that incorporates petrified (a feeling you might relate to) wood in the design. Another option when choosing your tokens of love is recycling older jewelry. By melting down gold or other precious metals you're avoiding the need to mine them. This option also has the bonus of freeing your inner artist to design your one-of-a-kind-and-highly-personal wedding rings.

And if recycling isn't an option, don't forget the second R (in reduce, reuse, recycle). Consider buying a used wedding ring. My husband and I bought my set (I got no bended-knee proposal, just a suggestion over a burrito that we hook up permanently, aw shucks) from a consignment shop. At that time it was more of an economical, than environmental, decision. Friends were concerned that the ring would bring bad luck since the union it was originally intended for never played out. I took it as being "pre-disastered" (ref: John Irving's The World According to Garp, when the plane crashes into the house, "Honey, the chances of another plane hitting this house are astronomical. See? It's been pre-disastered. We're going to be safe here."). And 17 years later, me and the big guy are still together (knock on sustainable wood).

The Dress. Consider a simple dress with less fabric and hoopla. This could be a real sacrifice if you've always dreamed of a floor-length, crinoline-reinforced, Cinderella gown. But consider a smaller and sleeker alternative. There are also shops like Threadhead Creations and Conscious Clothing that offer sustainable silk and hemp wedding attire. And, "no" you cannot smoke your hemp clothes. The hemp used to make the fabric comes from the root, stalk, and stem of the cannabis plant, not the leaves. So puff away on your suit if you like, but any craving for brownies you get is all in your head. Besides using sustainable fabric, there's always "something old" you can add to your wedding day checklist. Vintage Vixen carries vintage (surprise) gowns, along with other vintage (surprise again) clothes, and I for one fell in love with a 70s halter-style wedding dress. (Seems like a good time to renew our vows, don't you think?)

The Invites. Of course an evite tops the list for paperless invitations, but may not be the most suitable approach for requesting wedding attendance. In lieu of going electronic or using virgin (yes, I said it) paper consider using recycled paper to deliver your message. The Naturally Ever After line of invitations includes 30 percent recycled content and natural inks. And consider cutting down on some of the paper too by eliminating the tissue and other traditional, but possibly, unnecessary inclusions (sorry Emily Post or similar etiquette guru).

These are just a few tips, to get you started. You can also considering locally grown sustainable food for your reception and an eco-friendly honeymoon as other green options. As are biodegradable disposable tableware. And when it comes to gifts consider asking for donations to a favorite organization. The I Do Foundation offers a registry where guests can donate to a cause picked out by the bride and groom. When you're planning don't despair if you can't incorporate all the green ideas you've seen into your wedding. All those hugs you share as part of Your Special Day should include a couple of pats on the back for greening your wedding.



Blogger Myrna said...

What great (and fun) information! It makes me want to get married again just so I can do all these awesome, green things.

April 22, 2008 at 7:03 AM  
Blogger Linda Goodnight said...

This is awesome and so timely, although when people say 'going green', I, being a bit of Irish, think St. Patrick's Day!

Okay, we all know I'm weird, I mean, unique. :-)

April 22, 2008 at 8:49 AM  
Blogger Melissa James said...

Wow, I wish I'd known of this before my daughter's wedding last year! We recycle in more ways than one - my hubby works for a company that specialises in recycling equipment - and I bought a "vintage" dress for my day. But I'm afraid it was all about saving money back then!

Melissa J, who's off to Ireland this weekend...and yup, walking everywhere, even a walking literary pub tour of Dublin!

April 22, 2008 at 9:37 AM  
Blogger Brandy said...

I wore a vintage dress at my wedding as well. This was before being "Green" was a good thing. *G*

April 22, 2008 at 12:18 PM  
Blogger Melissa said...

Thanks so much for the informative post, Diana! I never thought about a green wedding before! Very cool.

April 22, 2008 at 1:35 PM  
Blogger Virginia said...

Oh what wonderful tips. I think any way you can save money on your wedding go for it, after all you will need any extra money you have just getting your life going together.

April 22, 2008 at 3:34 PM  
Anonymous Cathy S. said...

When I was getting married 18 years ago this month, I was discussing the possibilities for wedding dresses. Our engagement was very short so there wasn't much time. We didn't want anything fancy.

A friend offered to loan me her wedding dress, a beautiful tea length white dress with buttons and lace. I was shorter and plumper, but she'd been expecting a baby at hers. So, the dress flowed longer and fit perfectly.

We've lost touch but I think of her fondly. Plus, I have the photos and she has the storage hassles.

I have a tiny regret there's nothing to pass on to my daughter. But, she's probably too independent to wear it and it would be way past vintage. (She's only 8.)

April 22, 2008 at 8:27 PM  
Blogger Melanie Gold said...

Great information. Diane, you'll like this story: for my wedding we eloped after an 11-year courtship and living in sin. It was about as earth-friendly as you can get!

For starters, my prince and I wore clothes from our "wedding/funeral" wardrobes. There were no invitations, no catering leftovers, and no gas-guzzling limousines. My ring belonged to my aunt; and it is a treasured memento of her since she died when I was 15 and certain I'd never, ever marry.

I've never regretted our elopement, though at the time it was more a Plan B than anything.

April 23, 2008 at 8:14 AM  
Blogger Nathalie said...

Green wedding... that is quite nice... as I am sure weddings have a lot of gaspillage in general!

April 29, 2008 at 3:55 PM  
Anonymous Perfect Wedding Shower said...

Going green should be incorporated into everything we do. The planet cannot heal itself. A green wedding is the perfect idea.

May 30, 2008 at 6:36 PM  
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December 8, 2008 at 3:53 AM  

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