Bridal Conscious

By Cheryl Walker

October 3, 2008 5 min read

BRIDAL CONSCIOUS

Here comes the green in simple and fun ideas

Cheryl Walker

Creators News Service

When planning a wedding, forget pink, yellow, blue, peach or any other color. Going green is what's popular.

Many people don't realize it, but their wedding can be an environmentally-conscious affair -- from the invitations to the food, right down to the dress.

Angelica Weihs, owner of Angelica's Events in Los Angeles, started planning green weddings a few years ago.

"One day I had to throw out hundreds of table favors that were little plastic picture frames," Weihs said. "I thought, 'This doesn't work for me anymore.'"

At first, many people weren't interested. It took some time to get people into going for an eco-conscious affair. "I used to have one green wedding to every hundred," she said. "Now I'm getting more."

Today, some brides focus on a few environmentally-conscious ways while others will have a full-blown eco-friendly wedding. "Many think that it's going to be too much work or too boring," Weihs said. However, she has found that many people enjoy the green experience right from the beginning.

Starting with the invitations, use recycled paper or any fiber made from old rags. According to Weihs there are 50 to 60 different fibers that can be used.

"The papers are gorgeous," she said. "There are beautiful colors and the colors are not full of chemicals. There are a lot of websites available to find green invitations."

Botanical PaperWorks offers a replantable paper, Garden Greetings, which are "tree free" and grow flowers after several months of being planted. Not only is this helping the environment, it gives the guest a lasting memento of the wedding.

Weihs recently planned a wedding for a bride who wanted to go green, but the bridegroom wasn't thrilled about it. When it came to picking the menu, the groom thought having organic food would be a mistake.

"He ended up loving the food and the whole wedding changed him," Weihs said. "Organic food is a huge step, but it doesn't mean that the food is going to taste bad. It reduces a lot of pesticides and hormones. You need to look at the bigger picture and the nice impact it has on the environment. A green wedding has an impact on people when they see how good it can be."

When choosing flowers, look for organic shops, which have no pesticides on their flowers. Weihs suggests using a mixture of potted plants and recyclable wooden boxes.

"You still have the beauty with organic flowers," Weihs said. "If you have organic foods on the table, why would you want pesticides on flowers that are on your table?"

Weihs attended an event where many bouquets of flowers were used. When the party was over, she saw the clean-up crew throwing them in the trash.

"I was really upset," she said. "They thought it was no big deal to throw them away. It was their attitude that was so annoying.

"I took them and made centerpieces. At least I used them. It's all about reusing."

In order to make things more eco-friendly for your guests, Weihs now suggests to brides to have an edible treat on the table or something that can be reused or planted -- instead of being tossed.

Any wedding supplies that are rented, such as tables and chairs, are also eco-friendly.

"Even trucks that transport rented items have become environmentally friendly by using bio-diesel fuel," Weihs said. "When looking for a rental company, ask what they are doing to be green. Look at the location of a wedding. What kind of energy system do they have and how do they dispose of their waste?"

When it came to brides choosing a "green" wedding dress, Weihs found a little more reluctance. Immediately a bride's first thought was the dress would look green.

"There are many eco-friendly materials," she said. "I had brides that thought they wouldn't be pretty, but there are a lot of cool looking dresses out there."

The website mycorset.com, home of Rene Geneva's designs, is one of many places who offer eco-friendly fabrics. All their designs listed on the website are produced with sustainable textiles. Organic cottons are sized using steam, their silks are formaldehyde-free and they offer hemp fabrics that are biodegradable.

Weihs has written a book, "Green Weddings and Events," which will be released this year. She will offer tips for going green at all types of events.

"Creativity has no limits, and green weddings are really creative," she said. "It's also fun, but you have to think a little bit. The more you come up with cool ideas, the more special it is."

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