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How to Bring Green Weddings to the Masses

| Friday November 6th, 2009 | 12 Comments

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Screen shot 2009-11-05 at 6.21.43 PMOne’s wedding is usually one of the pivotal, most memorable events in one’s life. And yet for an increasing number of people, there’s a nagging sense that things could be done differently. The wedding favors, where did they come from? Who made them? What are they made of? My choice of location, while idyllic, does it necessitate thousands of cumulative extra miles by my guests to get there? What can I do to make my event enjoyable and memorable, while not leaving a huge impact?

But there’s a confusing array of choices out there. One option is to hire a green wedding event specialist. But in this tight economy, many may want to just take care of the details themselves.

So it’s a wise move that Dream Green Weddings launched an online store that serves as a hub for just about everything but the food, photographer, and where to have it.

The site features a number of handmade items, including the most sensible wedding favors I’ve seen, made out of bird seed. This you can be sure is not going to end being a tchotchke gathering dust on the mantle.

Several of the offerings break down the information into rubrics called Description, Eco-Commitment, and Social Responsibility. It’s not often on a wedding related site that you’d read,

“We’ve learned about the devastation of modern cocoa farming and, consequently, the positive impact of Fair Trade and organic production. We’ve learned about the “rules” of recycling and and how to decrease the impact of our packaging on the environment. Most of all, we’ve learned the importance of sharing this knowledge, for we realized that we ourselves knew so little when we first started.”

In an increasingly conscious consumer environment, where even Dunkin’ Donuts serves fair trade coffee, it’s no surprise that a wedding site would now feature fair trade items in its own distinct store within the site, taking what  10,000 Villages has been doing for some time and bringing it to a mainstream, wedding focused market, with a clearly understandable explanation of why it’s a worthwhile choice, for those who don’t already know what fair trade means.

Going further, they give the full background of where and who made each fair trade item. In doing this, gifts have a deeper meaning and context. They’re not anonymous, mass market wedding gift from Macy’s.

With items starting as little as 99 cents, Dream Green Weddings seems to have the aesthetics, values, and value all covered, and could thrive well as a startup in this challenging economy and frequently meaning starved society we find ourselves in.

Readers: What other wedding/event related businesses do you know of that are doing a good job of making events more sustainable and meaningful?

Paul Smith is a sustainable business innovator, the founder of GreenSmith Consulting, and has an MBA in Sustainable Management from Presidio Graduate School in San Francisco. He creates interest in, conversations around, and business for green (and greening) companies, via social media.


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  • http://green-wedding.net Dream Green Weddings

    Paul-thank you for sharing our vision for Dream Green Weddings! It’s important for couples to know that planning a green wedding is not an “all or nothing” deal. They can make a few eco-friendly choices and still make a difference.

    We’re excited to bring earth friendly wedding options to the mainstream. In my opinion, that’s how we will truly make a measurable difference with sustainable event planning.

    • Paul S

      You’re welcome. You strike a good balance of the fancifulness of weddings with the substance of knowing where what you’re getting for them came from, with non finger wagging education on why it matters.

  • http://www.facebook.com/lyn.hicks Lyn Stankavage Hicks

    Good article. It is important to educate people in the green market. It is all so new and anything they do is commended! I have been green for 18 years and consider this new market so exciting. It is about awareness and education. If someone does one small thing or they go full on green, both positively impact the environment. I think the more articles and comments of ways to do it are so helpful. People don’t have to be concerned with giving things up, it is more about thinking a different way. All will come around! Green brides are creative and fun! I have the pleasure of doing many of these weddings because I grow organic flowers. We are all growing together in awareness. Thanks!
    Lyn Hicks
    http://www.harmonyhillgardens.com

    • Paul S

      Well said Lyn. I think there’s value in both eco progress, not just eco perfection.

  • Alex

    Thank you, a really optimistic and inspiring article. I was particularly impressed that you cited the importance of considering the source of favours and travel issues. I think such radical/holistic evaluation of views/behaviour is vital. Replacing conventional unnecessaries with ‘green’ versions misses the point.

    The good news is cutting back on excess, means savings. Doing/making something yourself creates meaning…and it’s fun!

    For a revolutionarily simple take on sustainable floristry have a look here:
    http://www.iwalkdevon.com/index.php/ethical-flowers/

    • Alex

      P.S I love the idea of the birdseed – brilliant!

    • Paul S

      Agreed. Making rather then buying everything is the ultimate in localization of sourcing! And more memorable too, for both those attending and hosting the wedding.

  • http://www.apronstore.com Perry Peck

    Boom! Green Weddings should become the norm. How could any aware couple not want to have one. You are starting your life together so you might as well make a statement that will follow you for the rest of your life together. When you look back at the wedding album you will be HAPPY you did it! If your Wedding is green most likely you will live in a green home and raise healthy organically smart children. So do your part to help save our Mother Earth have a Green Wedding.

  • Angelica Wweihs

    The more awareness the better, thank you for the article! I was the first event planner opening a company for green weddings in 2005 (my ancient website greenweddings.net is still up) and we had quite an amazing ride. After many green and greenish weddings we not only have a good feeling for budgets and what is realistic (organic food sadly is often too expensive) but also have gotten more creative and innovative with each beautiful event. We have done $200,000 to $5,000 events; whatever budget couples have it always comes down to spending money wisely. We found that re-use is one of the most important issues especially for weddings as every waste is harmful, even if is an eco-friendly product. Every new production needs energy and if we waste 200 wedding invitations, escort cards and programs, printed on recycled paper, its still wasted energy as they land in the garbage can. Online invites and websites are fun and if you have a green web provider you’re a near perfect no-waste-bride. So if we buy new stuff, it’s great to think: where will this land afterwards or how can I possibly re-use this?
    Creatively introducing decor we already own, shopping for eclectic designs at Thrift or vintage stores is a great way to save money and the environment. Also buying glass ware and linens and sharing it afterwards with the bridal party is fun, eco-conscious and often cheaper than renting it.
    greenweddingcalifornia.com

  • Paul S

    Great to hear from you Angelica, and thanks for all the food for thought.

  • Drew Warner

    Dream Green Weddings sounds like it is filling a niche that is quite sought after. We’ve seen demand for fair trade wedding gifts and are considering adding a registry function in 2011. Thanks for sharing! Will share our blog:
    http://www.fairtrademarketplace.com/blog

  • Facebook User

    Thank you for shining a light on Green Weddings! For a growing number of brides and grooms, the desire to receive gifts is balanced by the need to act responsibly toward society and the environment – which means limiting unnecessary consumption and choosing items that are produced in a globally conscious way.

    By creating a Fair Trade Gift Registry at http://www.sevenhopesunited.com, couples not only register for beautifully hand-crafted wedding gifts, but they also raise charitable contributions that are invested in community development initiatives throughout Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East. Ten percent of Seven Hopes United’s net profits are donated back into artisan communities to help provide clean water, schools, and health care to thousands of residents who would otherwise be unable to access these basic necessities.