Monday, February 20, 2012

Light Green Summer Wedding (No... Not Mine!)

For months now, I've been meaning to write a post about a wedding I attended this summer that was a light greenie's dream. So why now? Well, I figure that summer is the time to attend weddings, but winter is the time when people plan weddings. Plus, I'm sure a few engagements happened last Valentine's week, and lots of brides are thinking about their visions for this important ceremony. Weddings are a big deal, but they don't have to destroy the planet or your bank account.

Half a lifetime ago (almost literally) I had the good fortune to be adopted as a family member into my best friend's family. There's nothing better than having a spare family around. I'm that maudlin person who thinks about the children who have no families, and can't believe her luck to be granted an extra one!

So when the little sister got married this summer, I was psyched. Not only was it a great celebration, but there was a (green) simplicity and a sense of fun that made it a glorious day all around. My blog friend, Sara of 2000dollarwedding,   is all about weddings that stress community, commitment, and connection, and I feel  like this was a day that focused on all of those things.

So what made this wedding a green-friendly experience that linked friends and family? And how might you create the same kind of experience?

The Setting
The wedding was held on a working farm that belonged to friends of the couple. Many of the flowers and veggies came from the farm. While the bridal party was being photographed, the kiddos were communing with the cows and turkeys. The ceremony itself was held in a clearing in the woods. The tables were laid out on the lawn. It was all beautiful because nature is beautiful. Lots of expensive and ungreen additions weren't necessary.

OK, you might be thinking. That's great, but I don't know anyone with a farm.

Some of the most fun, most connected weddings I've been to have been in backyards. Dancing in the garage often beats a ballroom.

Take-away: When planning a wedding (or other events, for those of us who are not bridally-inclined) think about non-traditional spaces that you might have access to - backyards, garages, farms, businesses, etc.

The Guest List
I know that many folks don't want the kiddos at their special day - kids cry and are noisy, they spill stuff, they have needs and schedules and require a truckload stuff like toys and diapers and bottles and blankies. Nevertheless, personally, I love it when life's passages include little ones. It just seems appropriate. I mean - moments like the ones below are absolutely precious and emphasize the connection between generations.

The picture at left is one of my favorites from the day. This is me and my friend John during the ceremony - we were on kid duty and just hung out in the back chatting. I didn't mind hanging out with my little buddy during the vows. It kept the chill, casual vibe going.

Take-away: When entertaining (especially for important and memorable life events) include the guests that YOU want close to you, rather than feeling obligated to include everyone you've ever met or to exclude people (like youngsters) just because your mom doesn't want crying babies around. Yes, this can cause some drama, but there's enough written about how to navigate the sensitive subject of the guest list that you should be able to prepare yourself. And, you can just blame Mama Earth as necessary ("Mom, I'm sorry, I can't invite your yoga classmates. It will make our carbon footprint way too large!")


Mostly, the outdoors were the decorations. There were some simple wildflower bouquets here and there, and the centerpieces were natural wood rounds and mason jars. 

Take-away: Nature is the best decoration. And the cheapest.
This is the bride, my friend Caitlin. Isn't she gorgeous? 

Everyone in the "bridal party" found their own dresses at regular stores (gasp!). I know that many ladies have a Cinderella fantasy that's been sold to us by a whole industry that wants us to spend a lot of money and use a lot of resources so they can profit. I mean, tulle is often made from petroleum products. I don't think anyone who wants a fancy gown should be judged, but there are lots of options these days for eco-friendly gals to wear non-traditional duds or to recycle or repurpose a dress someone else wore. If you want your own new gown, you might think of ways to offset the environmental toll. Planting a tree with your sweetie would be one special way.

Take-away: Cinderella's just a story.  A girl or guy should be able to wear whatever they want!

What have been the best green touches at weddings or parties you've attended?

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