Earth Day is here—the day we are very publicly reminded to do our part in our own corner of the world to help save the planet from environmental disaster. Despite the dire news reports of fire, floods and famine, among other things, we can, and are, making a difference in turning things around. The folks who are keeping a close eye on the sustainability success stories suggest that if individuals and families adopt just one thing to minimize their negative impact on the Earth’s ecology, there really will be a difference we all can notice.
And that leads us to our point. Weddings and grand celebrations are considered big waste generators. From the dream gown that the bride wears once, to the lush flowers in the bouquets and table arrangements, to the multi-course meals that go half-eaten, weddings are filled with wasteful pitfalls. It seems we accept and even promote such wasteful practices because in the life of the wedding couple, it is an exception—just one celebration to really go for it. However, there are countless weddings and other grand celebrations in the course of a season on the East End, and the waste can really pile up.
So why not adopt the “just one thing” philosophy in planning for the big day? Going green for your wedding does not mean you have to DIY everything or go rustic, although you can, if you wish. In fact, there are a variety of ways to include sustainable practices in your event without compromising on product quality or the overall experience, and you may even save some cash. North Fork Weddings and South Fork Weddings maintains a separate list of green vendors who are ready to help plan a sustainable celebration, but here are a few easy to implement suggestions we think you will like. (Hint: adopt as many as you like!)
• Use recycled content paper for your invitations. This seems like a no-brainer when EVERYTHING is recycled, but some paper products may not be made from recycled materials.
• Skip the escort cards and post seating arrangements on a pretty reusable board.
• Source your flowers locally and in season, and consider a 50-Mile Bouquet. If you include in-season flowers that were cultivated within a 50-mile radius of your location, then every anniversary you will encounter the same varieties in gardens around you. What a subtle and romantic reminder your most special day.
• Having a winter wedding? Consider carrying a brooch bouquet. Attach several brooches to a bouquet holder. Include some family heirlooms or other sentimental pieces and you have a true keepsake. However, make plans to use another nosegay for the bouquet toss.
• Rent everything you can—even the bridesmaid dresses. Find gorgeous gowns for the bridesmaids from a place like Little Borrowed Dress. They have gowns in many sizes, colors and styles, so chances are there will be a perfect match for your bridal party to look completely coordinated.
• Serve menu items that are sustainably resourced. Keep ingredients as local as possible to reduce the carbon footprint, and look for fair trade products where available. Chocolate and coffee are popular fair trade products, but there are more choices to consider. Learn more at Fair Trade USA.
• Watch your seafood selections, if you are offering any, to make sure that your caterer is not serving species that have been identified as overfished or harvested in non-sustainable ways. Check with seafoodwatch.org for your region to see which choices are best.
• Don’t forget the hair and makeup. Your stylist and salon have so many cruelty-free and effective product options. Check with Leaping Bunny to find the ones to suggest to your stylist, if they have not already adopted the use of cruelty-free cosmetics.
Find inspiration for a beautiful Earth-Friendly celebration as sites like the Green Bride Guide. Then
When you are ready to find vendors on the East End who are serious about delivering earth-friendly services, check in at the Sustainable Celebrations pages at northforkweddings.com or southforkweddings.com. You will find everything you need from start to finish—planners, bakers, caterers, rental companies, salons and stylists, even photographers, who know how to create the wedding of your dreams and keep it green too.