Eco-Conscious Invitations

August 26th, 2013
Give some thought to all the paper products you want for your wedding.  Photo by Paul Grigonis, pplusgphoto.com.

Give some thought to all the paper products you want for your wedding. Photo by Paul Grigonis, pplusgphoto.com.

While venue, food, and transportation are going to have the largest environmental impact, the amount of paper involved in invitations makes it a worthwhile way to green your wedding. It’s pretty easy to have eco-friendly wedding invitations.

Here are some easy ways to minimize the impact of your party invitations:

  • Use postcards as your reply cards;
  • Keep the invitations simple;
  • Use recycled paper for your invitations;
  • Ask for replies by e-mail or online.
  • If you feel comfortable with it, you can even send online invitations.

There are also invitation suppliers who specialize in eco-friendly invitations. Look around in your area for designers and printers who use environmentally friendly techniques.  (I know a few in the Chicago area.)

While you’re thinking about invitations, you can also give some thought to the other paper products you might want for your wedding:  place cards, menus, programs, etc.  Using recycled paper and non-toxic inks, or finding ways to use less paper are ways you can green your wedding.

R.S.V.P.

August 19th, 2013
Expect to have to remind people to respond to your invitation.

Expect to have to remind people to respond to your invitation.

The typical modern wedding invitation not only says, “RSVP” or “The favor of a reply is requested,” but it also contains a pre-printed reply card and a postage-paid envelope.  Despite the ease of replying, many of those honored with a wedding invitation never reply.

According to Miss Manners, there ought to be no need to request a reply, much less enclose a card.  Anyone receiving an invitation is supposed to know to reply with a hand-written note in the style of the invitation.

As anyone who has sent out invitations knows, though, the immediate reply is the exception rather than the rule.  The unfortunate fact is that after sending out invitations, it will be necessary to follow up with your guests.  There will be some who don’t reply, either with an acceptance or with regrets.  There are those who don’t reply “because of course I will be there” and there are those who don’t reply “because I can’t make it, anyway.”  Unfortunately, you never know which of those is the case.

Expect to call or e-mail your guests starting about three weeks before your wedding.  You will need to know how many are coming so you can tell your caterer, so be polite, be persistent, and try not to think about what Miss Manners would say.

Bridesmen and Groomsmaids

August 12th, 2013
Here are bridesmen and groomsmaids at a wedding.  Photo by Johnny Knight.

Here are bridesmen and groomsmaids at a wedding. Photo by Johnny Knight.

Tradition dictates bridesmaids to surround the bride and groomsmen or ushers to stand up with the groom.  But plenty of people have good friends of the opposite gender and they ask those friends to stand up with them in their weddings.  And why not?

I’m not one to stomp on tradition for the simple sake of overthrowing it, but I do think it is good to keep an open mind.  And I have seen some lovely incarnations of this kind of changing thinking.

A couple of times I have seen the groom’s sister as the “best man.”  When siblings are close, it only makes sense.  I have also seen close male friends of the bride stand up with her.  So, if you’re wondering who to ask to stand up with you at your wedding, don’t let tradition narrow your options.

Vendors I Know: Orrington Hotel

August 5th, 2013
The Orrington Hotel, courtesy of their website.

The Orrington Hotel, courtesy of their website.

If you’re interested in having your wedding or other occasion at a hotel but you are looking for something a little bit different, you might consider looking at the Orrington Hotel in Evanston.

The Orrington is both a classic, old-fashioned hotel and a recently updated modern event venue.  The building has been in downtown Evanston for decades, but recent renovations have brought it up to date.  There is a ballroom unlike any other hotel ballroom I’ve seen.  While the decor is pretty standard, there is a huge, sweeping staircase that leads down into the space.  It has many dramatic possibilities, including use as the aisle or backdrop for a wedding.

The hotel also has all the standard hotel amenities you would expect:  catering, meeting rooms, guest rooms, etc.  The staff seems friendly and accommodating.  It is also in a great location with any number of restaurants, parks, and shops nearby, if your guests are staying for a long weekend.

If you’re looking for a party venue, take a look at this undiscovered gem.