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Green/Eco-Friendly Weddings

By Melissa Barrad

The trend for environmentally friendly weddings is definitely on the rise and will continue to become even more popular in the next few years. But, what does that really mean to the wedding industry? After planning weddings and events for almost a decade, I can say without hesitation that the wedding industry adapts very quickly to changes and trends. Because of this, brides, grooms and those who are planning events can drive the biggest change to leave a smaller carbon footprint on the world after your event is over.

I do admit that it is extremely hard to have an entirely “green” wedding. However, I definitely adhere to the adage “Ask and you shall receive!” Here are five great, simple ways to plan your wedding with Mother Earth in mind:green wedding Melissa

1. Recycle!

We find that there is a considerable amount of waste after an event. One of the easiest things to do is ask your caterer to recycle! Even a simple collection of plastic, aluminum and glass from drinks at your wedding can make a world of difference. If your caterer or bartending service isn’t open to handling this at the end of the night, assign a friend to collect the items and take them to a local recycling company. Who knows — you may garner enough money for a nice bottle of wine to enjoy when you are looking through wedding photos.

2. Borrow, borrow, borrow.

At a wedding, there are so many items such as your veil, toasting flutes, cake knives and decorative rental items that are of one time use. An easy way to honor your family and begin family heirlooms is by using Grandma’s toasting flutes, for example, rather than purchasing your own. Also, I’ve had many clients opt to purchase instead of rent items like linens even though the cost savings can be very slight. In fact, one time I held onto 150 fuchsia napkins that a bride purchased for her wedding. She asked me to hold them for her at the end of the evening, so  I put the napkins in I Do…Weddings’ storage, where they stayed for almost a year. She ultimately decided she did not want them, and I ended up donating them.

3. Bundle it up!

This isn’t just for cell phone plans and cable anymore. Many service providers offer more than one service. I find that my clients tend to hire multiple rental companies to obtain the best deal on rental items . . . chairs from one company, linens from another, etc. In actuality, they are spending more. Not only are they paying more for multiple deliveries but they are putting more trucks on the road and using more resources for the end result. For instance, I Do…Weddings! offers florals, design and coordination. We, along with other service providers in town, offer discounts to clients that opt for more than one service. Fewer checks to write, fewer envelopes to mail, and even less driving necessary to meet multiple people.

4. Go local.

This doesn’t apply just to food and drink anymore. Consider hiring service providers that are based near your wedding venue. Not only will you spend less for delivery but you’ll also use fewer resources. Use florals and food that are in season, and ask your florist, caterer and baker where they buy from. We always do everything we can to source items locally for our clients.

5. Offset your carbon footprint.eco-friendly-weddings-trends-for-2011-L-nwgQRb

We love the carbon footprint calculator at www.terrapass.com. You can take into account the number of guests, where they travel from, their accommodations and even day-of-event travel to see what kind of impact your event will make. You can find the calculator here:

http://www.terrapass.com/wedding-carbon-footprint-calculator/

In lieu of a favor, you can purchase carbon offsets. By placing a framed explanation of the donation either on your cake table or place cardtable, you can further reduce your use of paper.

Every little bit helps! My team and I seek out other event professionals such as ourselves who hold similar beliefs about easy steps we can taketo make weddings a little more green.

Melissa Barrad is a wedding planner, founder of  I Do…Weddings and a mom of one who lives in San Diego, CA.

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