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Wednesday, May 14, 2008 09:36 pm

A green wedding

When you tie the knot, do it gently

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Just about every aspect of a wedding is an opportunity to minimize waste and environmental impact.
PHOTO COURTESY OF GETTY IMAGES

What are some tips for making the festivities greener for those getting married this summer?
You know environmental consciousness has really taken hold when couples start to worry about whether their weddings will be green enough — but more and more people who care deeply about the planet view getting married as a chance to show off their values, so green nuptials make all the sense in the world. To help remove the guesswork, many couples turn to wedding planners who are well versed in environmental issues. According to Idaho-based Angel Wedding Planners, every element of the wedding-planning process can provide an opportunity to make choices that minimize waste and environmental impact. One of the easiest places to do right by the environment is in choosing invitations. Angel suggests going with tree-free or recycled paper and also points out that a one-piece folded design can save paper and envelopes. In regard to feeding your hungry and thirsty guests, Angel recommends sourcing food and drink from local organic producers, if possible. Some caterers specialize in preparing and serving such items. Organic flowers (from local vendors or online by way of Organic Bouquet) are another way to make a green statement. Another way to help ensure that your wedding is as green as can be is by avoiding disposable products wherever possible. Caterers should use real dishes, linens, cutlery, and glassware, renting them if necessary. Other areas where “green” decisions can make a difference include wedding attire (consider a dress rental or buying a used one and then reselling it), transportation (carpooling works for weddings, too, at least from the wedding to the reception), photography (those disposable cameras at every table are fun but they can be very wasteful), and wedding registries (many can be found through a Google search, or support a local green store). Speaking of the Internet, many Web sites have sprung up in recent years to make the process of planning a green wedding easier. Valerie Edmunds, founder of Green Elegance Weddings, hopes that her company can make an important environmental contribution by directing some of the $25,000 people typically spend on a wedding toward greener products and services. Her advertising-supported Web site provides page after page of free useful information about eco-friendly wedding apparel, invitations, gifts, flowers, food and beverages, and even the honeymoon. The site’s resource directory contains links to a wealth of online information and to businesses and organizations that provide related earth-friendly products and services. Those looking for even more virtual handholding might want to go to OurWeddingDay.com, which provides dozens of free online tools (including an RSVP manager, save-the-date e-cards, a gift registry, and an event manager) to help couples create the “ultimate green wedding from start to finish.” The site also posts hundreds of articles from leading bridal magazines so brides can save paper by not having to go out and purchase any of the 135-or-so foot-thick bridal magazines clogging the newsstands.
For more information: Angel Wedding Planners, www.angelweddingplanners.com; Organic Bouquet, www.organicbouquet.com; Green Elegance Weddings, www.greeneleganceweddings.com; OurWeddingDay.com, www.ourweddingday.com.

Send questions to Earth Talk, care of E/The Environmental Magazine, P.O. Box 5098, Westport, CT 06881 or e-mail earthtalk@emagazine.com.
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