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The Bride Wore Birkenstocks – NOT!

 By Sara Abrams

 

Green this, green that, everything and everyone is trying to be green. Green is in, green is hip, green is going to saving our planet and humankind. Unfortunately, dream weddings are nothing if not about a little bit of excess and self-indulgence. The question is - can you have your fantasy day and still be socially conscious? Or in other words, can you have your whole grain carrot cake and eat it too?

 

Of course you can! Today’s green movement is really about taking small steps in the right direction, and not necessarily making any drastic changes to your life style. The definition of a green wedding from Wikipedia is: “A green wedding or an eco-friendly wedding is any wedding where the couple tries to decrease the impact of their event on the planet. Couples plan their weddings by integrating eco-friendly alternatives, such as eco-friendly invitations, flowers, dress, photography and more.”

 

At TheGreenBrideGuide.com, in their FAQ area, they respond to the question -What are the benefits of having a green wedding? They state that three of the benefits are environmental, social and economic. There are an average of 2.5 million weddings a year in the United States, with one wedding alone producing 400 to 600 pounds of trash. By preparing an eco-friendly event you make choices involving recycling and reusable materials. Socially you make a difference when asking vendors about green choices so that if they are not currently offering those choices, they will begin to see that there is a demand. Your guests will also gain an awareness of the new “eco-chic” choices being made and it may impact their future decisions. Economically you can actually save money by making simple substitutions and eco-conscious decisions.

 

Andria Durham, of Columbia, South Carolina, is preparing for her October 2010 wedding and wanted elements of environmental consciousness in her wedding, but did not opt for a total green wash.  She explained that she and her fiancé Graham are people who are environmentally and socially aware and wanted to put aspects of that in their wedding.  For example, for the room’s décor, Andria opted for renting 30 palm trees instead of cut flowers since the amount of flowers that would be needed to decorate felt wasteful. She will still incorporate flowers but a lesser amount and they will be organically grown and from a local vendor.

 

Here are some of the other green items that Andria will be incorporating into her special day:

 

1. Engagement Ring – The diamond for the ring came from a “conflict free” environment.

 

2. Invitations  - The invitations were made from recycled paper, embedded with wild flowers, made with carbon neutral energy. The invitation can be planted so that the wild flowers grow (www.foreverfiances.com)! Also, RSVP’s will be via email or their wedding site to save on extra paper and extra stamps.

 

3. Wedding dress – less elaborate than others may choose, but the thought was it could be worn more times than just the wedding. Andria is planning to wear it to one formal dinner on their honeymoon in Hawaii, and down the road to any other formal invitations they may receive.

 

4. Dinner – The caterer suggested using plates made of bamboo husks. Bamboo is an easily renewable resource and the plates can be re-used or put in a compost to biodegrade in about 4 months.

 

5. Recycling - All water, wine and soda bottles will be recycled.

 

6. Local Vendors - Andria is trying to use all local vendors for flowers, catering, cake and photography. The venue for the ceremony and dinner is a local art gallery that features local artists. (Keeping the ceremony and dinner in one spot also cuts down on the travel aspect.)

 

7. Photography – One of the reasons that Andria chose Michael Koska Photography, www.michaelkoska.com, was because they do not insist on producing a wedding album. She can purchase the photos in their digital format and then decide how she wants to display them.

 

8. The Cake – will be from a small, local bakery, and no it’s not carrot cake. Andria had to have Chocolate Nirvana and was not willing to compromise!

 

9. Instead of wedding favors, guests will receive bamboo sticks with a message stating that a loan was made in their name to www.kiva.org, a non-profit company that makes micro-loans to people throughout the world, mainly from impoverished circumstances, who are looking to start a business.

 

In conclusion, if you choose to wear Birkenstocks with your wedding outfit in homage to the eco-hippies of yesteryear, that’s absolutely fine, or if you choose to wear a pair of chic designer wedding shoes, that’s fine too! It’s your big day, have a blast!





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