Green Wedding

This is a summary of an article written by Pat Gibbons and Dina Balatti of Bella Celebrations, which was first written for By Recommendation Only and has since been referenced in numerous wedding planning publications as a thorough resource for couples wishing to have an environmentally sound wedding.

While there are many aspects to planning an organic wedding, there is one common theme: Reduce - Re-use - Recycle.

Bakers View
Traditional wedding cakes are often made with white flour, refined sugars, and dairy products, but many bakers will work with you to incorporate local and organic ingredients. A wedding cake can be made with all organic products or just an inclusion of organic berries.

Caterers View
When selecting a caterer, try to find one who either features organic ingredients, or one who can provide a certain number of organic menu items for you. In Northern California there is an abundance of wonderful locally grown produce, dairy products, and other items available year round. Choosing food that is grown or raised locally, using sustainable growing practices, helps to support small and mid-size businesses in our economy.

Flowers View
Flowers are such an important part of the day, and there are several ways of bringing the organic or "green" theme to decorating. Many clients want to bring organic elements into the designs, incorporating flowers, fruits, and even vegetables. Certain flowers don't need pesticides to grow, such as lavender, herbs, grasses, and berries, which add interesting texture to the floral arrangements.

Local growers are great sources for these plant materials. Purchasing from them supports our local agricultural ventures.

Some Helpful Tips View
  • Some churches have multiple services during the day, and brides can coordinate colors, or pick a neutral color, and share the flowers for the ceremonies.
  • Flower arrangements can be designed to be brought to the reception site and used on the buffet tables or to decorate an appropriate place. Pat has also designed centerpieces for guest tables that can be used both as decoration and given to guests for favors at the end of the evening.
  • After the reception the flowers can be donated to hospitals, hospices, and nursing homes.

Gowns View
Of course budget plays a large role in the selection of a wedding gown, but many alternatives exist for all budget levels:
  • Support local designers who will work with you to make suggestions on what natural materials one can use. Silk is a popular choice and eco-sustainable fabrics are now being offered.
  • Wedding gowns and bridesmaids dresses can be purchased or sold on eBay.
  • A keepsake of the wedding gown can be made by using the fabric for a quilt, wall hanging or even a christening outfit.
  • Consider wearing or redesigning your mother's or grandmother's dress - I have seen one dress pass through four generations!

Photography View
The use of digital cameras for at least some of the photography eliminates the need for film and reduces the use of chemicals for film development. In the years since the introduction of digital cameras for wedding photography, most photographers in the Bay Area have included the digital option. Some photographers use both digital and film. Make your preference known when interviewing wedding photographers.

Venues View
In selecting any location, there are some eco-friendly and community-minded tips to keep in mind:
  • Historic buildings and parks - many times these are owned and maintained by non-profit organizations.
  • Museums, art galleries or other facilities belonging to non-profit organizations.
  • A botanical garden or public park is a lovely choice for an outdoor wedding.
  • Eco-friendly resorts are also becoming increasingly popular.

Wedding Consultants View
With their vast knowledge and wide array of resources, professional wedding consultants can be of great help in planning a green wedding. Most consultants who provide helpful support for planning an earth-friendly wedding also can assist with traditional wedding matters.

Wedding Rings and Jewelry View
There is a wide array of jewelry from small local designers who use traditional ways of crafting gold bands, and jewelers who make sure that diamonds are fair-traded.

Vintage jewelry also can be used, with stones re-set into beautiful tiaras, earrings, and other custom pieces.