Destination I Do
Thursday, April 22, 2010

Get "Green" with Envy - 10 Tips to Make Your Wedding Eco-Friendly

Words by Jennifer Stein
Words by Autumn Millhouse
Image by Damion Hamilton

In honor of Earth Day, I’m sharing a recent article that was originally published in Napa Valley Life Magazine’s April/May 2010 Issue.

Did you know that wedding contribute to pollution? For example one rose has an estimated 127 different pesticides sprayed on it, polluting waterways and causing harmful working conditions during its harvest. Or that 75% of Brides never wear their wedding dress again; much less even remove it from the closet again. What a waste!

Offset your carbon footprint by being eco-conscious in your wedding planning efforts. There are many ways to accomplish this in order to lessen the effects on the environment and do your part to make this world a little better. Below are ten thought-provoking ideas to consider for your (hopefully green) wedding.

1. Go paperless. Use the internet to send your Save the Date & Wedding Invitations. Better yet create a free website on The Knot and send the link to your friends & family to keep them updated on the wedding details.

2. Carpool – Arrange group transportation options for your guests not only your bridal party. Designate a driver for groups of friends or rent a van and hire a driver for larger groups. Even consider utilizing an electric car.

3. Pour organic certified wine, sparkling wine or champagne. Ask if the winery belongs to the Napa Green Land Program.

4. Work with caterers who utilize local and agricultural sustainable food products in their menu. Consider eliminating meat from the menu unless you use grass-feed organic local meat like from Napa Valley’s Long Meadow Ranch.

5. Use cloth napkins and glass & plate dishware to eliminate unnecessary waste. If you need to use any paper products use Post-Consumer Waste products that are tree-free.

6. Inquire about the sustainable and eco-friendly approach that your reception site operates under. Are they energy efficient, do they recycle? Are they a certified green building?

7. Donate any leftover food or beverages to a local shelter or organization in need. Better yet, sponsor a family in need to receive any remanding unused food.

8. Check with all your vendors about their green-friendly practices they employ. Organic pesticide-free flowers?

9. Purchase clothing for the wedding that has been produced locally or in your country. Is your makeup cruelty-free?

10. Make sure that all your wedding and reception décor can be reused or donated to charity.

Green Wedding Experts Weigh In…. “Many people forget that being green is not just about the reduction of waste, but also about social justice. Couples can use their wedding as a mechanism for social change instead of buying wedding favors.”Katie Martin, CEO & Editor-in-Chief, Elegance & Simplicity, Inc.

“Green Weddings are important because of the multiple benefits they produce for us all. Environmentally, they reduce waste generation through recycling and reuse, and prevent pollution through carbon offsets and carpooling to venues; socially, they support green businesses in our community furthering the green economy and a healthy planet; and economically, they can save you money if you purchase local, seasonal, and reused– like one of my brides bought her wedding gown off of Craigslist.”Corina Ann Beczner, Owner & Green Wedding Consultant, Vibrant Events

“Many people ask how a photographer can go green. Our garden studio, which has been designed for photography is pesticide free. When families come to have their photography session they can rest assured knowing that their children are safe from pesticides. The same goes for our studio and office. We closed down our own wet lab. We no longer keep chemicals in the house. Digital photography has enabled us to reduce our shipping and transportation costs by close to 70%. We ask our lab to bundle orders rather than ship back jobs”.Lowell Downey, Green Wedding Photographer & Video Production Owner

For more on Autumn Millhouse and her book Romantic Napa Valley, An Insider’s Guide for Couples, click here.

About Autumn
Autumn Millhouse is an award-winning travel writer who specializes in wine, food and romantic getaways. She is also an international trekker who has wined and dined across the globe from Barcelona to Beijing . A self-proclaimed “hopeless-romantic” and author of
Romantic Napa Valley: An Insider’s Guide for Couples, Autumn also has a bi-monthly column called “Love Vines” published in Napa Valley Life Magazine. She resides in Napa Valley where she cultivates her wine and food relationships with top chefs, winemakers and a slew of other foodies. Besides, sniffing, swirling and sipping wine daily, Autumn is currently working on her next travel book Romantic Sonoma Valley: An Insider’s Guide for Couples. To visit Autumn on facebook, click here.

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