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Five tips for an eco-friendly wedding

  |   By Alison McGill

It’s never been more hip to be green. Al Gore single-handedly brought back fervent environmentalism with his Oscar-winning documentary An Inconvenient Truth (if you haven’t seen it, watch it, it will have you thinking for days). In the weeks leading up to Earth Day (April 22nd), it seems everything I read is about saving the planet. Vanity Fair’s second annual Green Issue just landed on my desk; Gore recently announced “Live Earth,” a global mega concert set for July 7th, with everyone from Madonna to James Blunt and Snoop Dogg set to appear; and I’ve been getting tons of emails, press releases and books at the office about weddings going green.

Think it’s hard to make your affair an eco-friendly one? It’s actually easier than you may think. I just finished reading a fabulous new book, Eco-Chic Weddings by Emily Elizabeth Anderson (Hatherleigh Press, $16), that’s chock-full of useful and easy ideas for a green celebration. She covers all aspects of wedding planning in the book’s 12 chapters and offers suggestions on how to incorporate the three Rs (reduce, reuse, recycle) into everything from your wedding rings, to your invitations, flowers, favours and honeymoon. Here are five of my favourite eco-chic ideas, taken straight from Anderson’s pages:

  1. Wear your mother’s wedding dress. A lovely, age-old tradition, which seems to have even greater meaning in our eco-chic era. If your Mom’s dress isn’t an option, hunt around in your family—maybe your grandmother, aunt, sister or cousin has a gown you could reuse. Find a great seamstress and have the gown tweaked and retooled to suit your style.
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Five tips for an eco-friendly wedding

  1. Send a digital invitation. This has been a total no-no in wedding etiquette circles in the past, but in the new age of green, it’s suddenly de rigueur. The key to making an e-vite work is having one designed for your wedding, just as you would have a paper invitation done. Don’t set up shop on an e-vite party site and send it from there—totally not cool. Have your digital designer also design a thank-you card as part of your e-vite package—this will make the task so much easier! No postage required, just type in a personal message and press send.
  1. Buy organic flowers. According to Anderson, you can definitely lessen your environmental impact by using organically grown local flowers that are in season. “They won’t need much transportation to get to you, so you will reduce fuel costs,” Anderson writes. And, if you don’t know tulip season (winter and spring) from hydrangea season (summer and fall), Anderson outlines when to buy what in a super-comprehensive flower guide.
  1. Give the gift of food. According to Anderson, the truth about wedding favours is, though they are expected, “more often than not, guests simply toss the gifts they receive right into the trash.” Her suggestion for a prezzie everyone is guaranteed to enjoy: food. Who doesn’t love homemade biscotti, cookies or candy? We just did a favours shoot for the next issue of Weddingbells and sweet treats were our top pick. Make things yourself, or find a great company out there who can do it for you. One of my personal favourites: Churchill’s Fine Gourmet Gifts (churchillsgourmetgifts.com). They make pecan bars and shortbread that are simply to die for, and they will ship across Canada!
  1. Take an eco-chic honeymoon. In one of the book’s final chapters, Anderson gives her suggestions for “Ten Amazing Eco-Chic Honeymoons.” Exploring the coral reefs in Belize; going on an African safari; or staying in a luxury villa in the Maldives are just a few of her brilliant suggestions.

This article was originally published on May 09, 2007
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