Greening Your Event

I am knee deep in event planning. No. I’m knee deep in wedding planning. As many of you may know, wedding planning is an entirely different beast. The industry has become such a racket and it’s all about buying (and “needing”) an ever-increasing number of specialized items, from ten-tier bedazzled cakes to personalized everything.
The industry tells us we need all of this stuff in order to have a flawless wedding day. I have become so overwhelmed by it all that I have vowed to cut out most of it. I want as much of a green, homemade wedding as possible. I can’t give away all of the details, but I can share a few ways we’re saving as much and wasting as little as we can.
Bedazzled enough for you?
First, we picked a venue that needs little decoration. The 1909 is nestled in the mountains of Los Angeles’s Topanga State Park. There are some lights in the trees and beautiful reclaimed woodwork all around and as far as my fiancé, Dave, and I are concerned, that’s all we need. We’ll grab some wildflowers for bouquets and leave floral decorations at that. Plus, since the wedding is in warm and sunny California, most of the evening will be spent outside, limiting the need for energy.
The 1909 has succulents and burlap runners we can use for the tables so we don’t need to find centerpieces we’ll never use again; the venue itself reuses this décor nearly every weekend. We’ll also use the venue’s non-disposable linens and dishware to cut down on garbage. If you do need to purchase decorations, look for “living” décor, like succulents, terrariums and stones. Consider killing two birds with one stone and give them to your guests as favors, too. Always use paper or cloth tablecloths and either real or compostable dishes, glasses and utensils. Eliminate plastic everywhere you can.
We will send paper invites, but they’ll be printed on recycled paper. RSVPs will be collected online rather than by response card. We have no plans right now for other paper items at the wedding, but if we eventually see the need, I will save packing materials and boxes from packages I receive over the next few months.

The week before the wedding, I’ll make the favors. It’ll be a simple snack to cut down on cost and avoid handing out customized plastic that would only be left behind. Other good ideas are homemade soaps, cookies or granola!
I can’t say too much about my attire for fear that Dave will read this, but my shoes will be worn many times over, as will most of my dress. I set my budget for all attire and accessories very low, but if you brides-to-be don’t mind wearing an unconventional, used or vintage dress, you still have plenty of options! Check ebay and Once Wed for pre-owned gowns, BHLDN for more economical new digs and Etsy or Martin McCrea for vintage (or vintage-inspired) dresses.
Finally, I have the mention the most important part: the food! Dave and I are currently deciding between two caterers, both of which primarily operate as food trucks. We looked at food trucks to save money, but these caterers are eco-friendly, too! They both use fresh, locally grown produce and have plenty of vegetarian options. Eating locally supports the area’s economy, has more flavor because it’s in season and fresh and maintains local farmland and open space in the community. Plus, don’t forget how much meat production and consumption contributes to greenhouse gas emissions! Providing plenty of vegetarian items is a great way to offset this.
We still have a few months of planning ahead and we’ll continue to look for ways to save green and be green on our big day. Do you have any event greening tips?