Saturday, January 19, 2008

Green and Grand

If you're planning a big, scratch that...if you're planning a HUGE wedding, how would you keep it environmentally friendly? If I was to ask you, you might reply, "Well Jennifer, just how 'huge' do you mean?" I would answer, "ooohh...I don't know, maybe 500 people. Oh, and it's not just a one day event, this is a wedding which is to span over multiple days."
Actually, I was recently asked this very same question by a lovely reader who is preparing for her upcoming Indian wedding. Indian weddings often exude opulence and romance and are rich in cultural traditions in which the whole family partakes. Since I have never been to an Indian wedding, I did some research to see what was involved in the planning of an Indian wedding, but what I learned suprised me: Besides a difference in traditions, it's similar to that of an American wedding; first you're engaged, then you pick a date, decide on your guest list, find vendors... yada yada yada. So as I thought about how I can help my dear reader, I realized that the approach is the same of any wedding, it just has to be applied to a grander scale.

Below is a detailed list of suggestions accompanied by an inspiration board (pictured above) created for the bride using her color choices of maroon, lime green, and hints of gold.

As with most eco-weddings, it's all about compromise. If there's absolutely no way to cut down the guest list, start thinking about their indirect effect on the environment.

  • How will they travel there?
    • If possible, choose a venue in a city where the majority of your guests reside and consider purchasing carbon offsets for out of town guests.
  • How will they r.s.v.p.?
    • Rather than sending out 300-450 r.s.v.p. cards, reduce paper use by using a phone service or an electronic r.s.v.p. system. (Much easier for you too!)
  • How will you accommodate them?
    • Accommodate them with welcome packages made of recycled paper bags (pictured top middle) and refreshing organic beverages (pictured Top Left), which will be much appreciated from hungry guests traveling long distances. Set up room blocks in hotels that support environmental programs, such as recycling, and consider having your wedding in the same hotel. Since this wedding is taking place in Atlanta, a good choice may be the Emory Hotel and Conference Center, a member of, or choose a unique venue within walking distance to many hotels, such as the Fox Theatre , the Biltmore Ballrooms (pictured top right), or the Georgia Aquarium. These unique venues will also allow you to cut back on decorations as they are practically built into the venues themselves.
How about the Menu? Unfortunately, it was hard to find a large Atlanta venue that lets you choose your own caterer. Except for maybe the Fox. But you've got a lot of mouths to feed! What do you do?

  • Ask your venue to work with you.
    • With a guest list of potentially 500 people, you're about to give them a whole lotta moolah! They most likely want your business. Ask them to meet you in the middle. Talk to them about incorporating organic ingredients and/or locally grown foods into your own menu choices. Talk to the chefs. Who knows? They might be excited to prepare something a little different.
  • Choose a local and/or organic baker for your cake.
    • If you have the option to choose your own cake vendor, find one locally so they don't have to travel far to get to your venue. And if possible, choose an organic bakery or inquire about organic ingredients.
What about decor? What do you choose and what happens to it after the wedding?

  • To use floral or not to use floral?
    • Floral is always a beautiful wedding choice, but so is fruit, potted plants, herbs, found vintage vases, books, or anything that can be re-used or recycled. With such a large guest list and possibly a wedding lasting long into the night, I recommend using some fruit which guests can munch on as a midnight snack, can double as favors, (bottom left picture - pairs as placecards) and will keep for a while once taken home or back to their hotel rooms. Support the local economy by purchasing organic fruits to use as centerpieces (bottom right picture-limes and ferms in bowl) If you do use flowers, donate leftover arrangments to hospitals.
Is it possible to find fabulous fashion and be environmentally friendly?

  • With bridal attire...
    • To be honest, I had a hard time finding Indian bridal attire which was explicitly eco friendly. Many brides wear beautiful, ornate outfits called "Lehnga's", a two piece ensemble (see middle right picture). If you have a mother or grandmother that still has one, consider having one specially made with pieces of fabric from their lehngas. Or consider having one custom made.
  • Choosing accessories...
    • You can still have many beautiful accessories and be eco friendly. One of the main principles of environmentalism is "re-use" and by purchasing vintage or pre-owned, you're able to do just that. Check out ebay (bottom middle picture-antique earrings) or local antique and consignment stores. Or seek out jewelers who give back to the environment and maintain smart social ethics, such as GreenKarat, Ingle and Rhode, and Kirsten Muenster Jewelry.
I hope this is helpful to my reader who asked for this advice, as well as for anyone else planning a wedding.

Photo Credits: Top Left Mode Organic, Top Middle Nashville Wraps, Top Right Denis Reggie Photographers, Middle Left Theknot, Middle Right Redd Bridal, Bottom Left TheKnot, Bottom Middle Ebay seller etreasure4u, Bottom Right


Unknown said...

Recession and inflation are two factors that have taken the whole world by storm. The slump in the economies has led to a major downfall in the travel and tourism sector also. Cost cutting and rightsizing, as they call it have hit most of the countries of the world. Under such circumstances it is only natural that the travel industry has seen a steep fall in the graph. Tourism has also declined in the countries like India that is one of the favorite destinations for the leisure traveler. Thankfully, since the country is now a growing lucrative market with a bulk of foreign investment, the number of business travelers has not witnessed a cut down. The business hotels situated in the major cities of India also have the facilities and ambience of luxury hotels, as these hotels most of the time cater to the overseas business travelers. The business hotels in Hyderabad and the hotels in Hyderabad along with the four metros can be counted in this group. Earlier amongst the metros, Delhi and Mumbai enjoyed the highest number of business travelers. However, times have changed now and Chennai and Kolkata are also fast becoming business hubs. The rising number of business hotels in Chennai and Kolkata is testimonial of this fact.

Bridal Wear said...

Nice article!! :)

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