Monday, September 29, 2008

It's not easy being Green...Or is it?

I grew up in California – the East Bay to be exact – where even 25 years ago, we were talking about the need to have a positive effect on our environment. Recycling was a big deal, and we often made the trek to the local recycling center to drop off glass and newspapers. I was somewhat of a maverick as a child, and not only formed both “Save the Rainforest” and “Save the Whales” clubs at my school, but I also refused to eat at Burger King because their cattle purportedly was a major cause of deforestation, and MacDonalds because they used Styrofoam clamshell containers for their Big Macs (even back in the 80’s I was freaking out about the ozone). I’ve chilled out big-time since then. Maybe a little too much, even. But I still think about the impact I have on the world around me and have done what little things I can to ensure our company makes some effort to reduce our carbon footprint and such. So what can YOU do?

Green weddings are catching on. Some of the most gorgeous and innovative weddings I've seen have belonged to brides trying to be earth-friendly. A few go a little far, but if that’s in line with your values, why not? There are a number of small things you can do amidst your wedding planning in order to greenify your event if desired. Let’s highlight a few of those here:

1. Invitations: One of my girlfriends was married in Vermont this past weekend (gorgeous!) and in an effort to reduce the amount of paper they consumed, they used technology to get the word out. Rather than mailing out "Save The Dates," they emailed them. This not only cut down on the amount of paper consumed, but it also eliminated the emissions that otherwise would have been required to deliver said pieces of mail. They also created a nice website that had all the necessary event and lodging information for their guests, again cutting down on the paper that was used. When they did send out formal invites, they were small, simple, and printed on recycled paper. Did you know it’s also possible to have invites printed on tree-free paper?

2. Food: It’s not difficult to find a caterer willing to cook with organic products. Even better, support local farmers by requesting locally grown foods.

3. Attire: If the thought isn’t appalling, consider purchasing your gowns used, or use vintage fabric for your custom dress. I’m all for renting tuxes, too. Its essentially recycled clothing.

4. Favors: I know – that little trio of truffles is always such a yummy treat to walk away with, but have you considered maybe taking the money you would otherwise spend on favors and making a thoughtful donation to a charity instead? Have a nice little placard printed up and placed next to your guestbook explaining what you have done on your guests’ behalf. You’ll be cutting down on emissions, waste, and giving all your loved ones a nice, big warm fuzzy!

5. Flowers: Yes, we are able to procure organic, pesticide free flowers. They are called “green” flowers. Unfortunately we’re not able to get all varieties that way – yet. Roses are the most common green flower I see these days. They typically cost about 20-30% more than your regularly grown varieties, but to someone who cares a great deal, the cost is worth it. Don’t forget to request green varieties upfront. You can also use recycled containers or biodegradable containers for your centerpieces. Using leftover dress material or grandma’s handkerchief as your bouquet wrap also cuts down on waste.

Here at Whimsy, we take a few extra measures to minimize the impact our product is having on the environment. While they are traditional, we do not deliver your corsages and boutonnieres in clear clamshell containers. The corsage is removed and almost always, the box and its leftover contents are thrown away. This seems like pretty unnecessary waste to us. Temple boutonnieres are delivered in cardboard boxes that can be easily recycled, and walking flowers delivered to an event are transported in plastic Tupperware-like boxes and then unpacked and displayed on-site. Likewise, all your centerpieces are transported in the same type of reusable plastic box and are packed with recycled newspaper. Is this the prettiest way to bring stuff in? Probably not. But its definitely the most environmentally conscious. We reuse our boxes until they crack, and then we recycle them. We also recycle all broken glass. We even try to mulch the organic material leftover from each event – material that would otherwise be thrown in the trash.

I promise, we’re not crazy – we’re just trying to do our part. It makes me feel better about the product I provide my brides. I’m always looking for additional suggestions, too. It’s the little things that count, right?

Photos from top to bottom: Kathy used wood she had collected to serve as the structure for her centerpieces. She kept the wood following her wedding to use in her everyday decor! “Green” roses were used to make Jordan's bouquet in July.

1 comment:

Audrey O'Brien said...

AMAZING POST! Liz your eloquently green! i love it! you inspire me!