Re-run: Is Eco-Friendly Expensive?

March 30th, 2015
A tent wedding can be a green option.

A tent wedding can be a green option.

In case you’re planning an eco-friendly event in the near future, these words still apply:

One concern I hear about making events eco-friendly is that it is going to be too expensive to be eco-conscious.  While it is true that some sustainable choices are more expensive than their conventional alternatives, others are less expensive.  There are always trade-offs, and, in the end, it is up to you to make the choices.

Organic food and flowers are almost certainly more expensive than conventionally grown or raised food and flowers.  Organic growing is more labor-intensive, and so the price goes up.  Also, retailers raise the price of organics when they can because it is a niche market.  But much of the increased cost is due to the high quality of the product.  On the other hand, local food and flowers in season may be less expensive than their counterparts from distant locations because they may be abundant and cheaper to transport.  You can get local, organic; local, non-organic; or non-local, organic products.  Each of these is more environmentally friendly than non-local and non-organic products, so you can figure out what best meets your budget and your expectations.

When you’re thinking about decor, you can save money and go green by reducing the quantity of decor items at your celebration and by reducing the potential waste. For example, edible or grow-able favors with minimal (or reusable) packaging might save you money over an elaborate knick-knack that may end up in the landfill.  Finding a location that doesn’t require much decoration can save you a lot of money (and time) on decor.

A little creative thinking can both save you money and increase your green quotient.  And you don’t have to have a perfectly green event.  There are always trade-offs and purity shouldn’t be the goal.  But if there’s something you can do that suits your style and your budget, you can make your event just a little more green.

What Does the Ring-Bearer Carry?

March 23rd, 2015
Keep those precious rings safe!

Keep those precious rings safe!

The three-year-old nephew or seven-year-old cousin is going to be the ring bearer.  He will be almost painfully cute in his suit, bow tie, and boutonniere.  He’ll carry a lacy, satin pillow.  But what will be on that pillow?

Many people assume that the actual, real wedding rings are on that ring-bearer’s pillow, tied to it with the satin ribbons provided for the purpose.  My unwavering advice is never, ever to let a young child carry the real wedding rings.  It’s a lovely tradition to have a small child ceremonially bring the rings to the couple.  In reality, it is a much better idea to have the rings safely in the pocket of a responsible adult, such as the best man or the officiant.

If you are concerned about appearances, you can put a couple of cheap rings on the pillow instead, but in my experience no one is paying attention to details like that.  They are much more interested in seeing the radiant bride(s) or the happy groom(s).

Listen to this Fun Podcast

March 19th, 2015

The talented and generous Neil Dixon Smith, a fellow member of the Green Wedding Alliance, interviewed me for his podcast series.  Take a listen!

Wedding Cautionary Tale

March 16th, 2015
Do you have a bad weather plan?  Photo by Allison Williams Photography.

Do you have a bad weather plan? Photo by Allison Williams Photography.

This is a story I heard from a friend who lives nowhere near Chicago.  It’s about a wedding that took place on a November day in a northern climate, and it is one more reason to consider hiring a professional planner or coordinator if you are planning your wedding.

As my friend tells the story, the bride and groom chartered a bus to bring all their guests to their home in a rural area for the wedding.  While the wedding party prepared in the house, the guests were left outdoors in the scenic and windy location where the ceremony was to take place.  After the guests sat freezing in their dress clothes for about an hour, the ceremony finally took place.

Then there was a cocktail hour, also outdoors.  Finally, the guests were permitted into the heated tent for dinner.  By this time, everyone was cold and grumpy.  And many of those who would have liked to leave early couldn’t go because the bus wasn’t scheduled to return until after dinner.

If this couple had hired me as their planner, I would have recommended strongly that they have a plan for bad weather.  This was November, after all.  They could have had the ceremony in the tent, cocktail hour in the house, and dinner in the tent.  Or they could have rented a second heated tent, one for ceremony and one for cocktails and reception.  Whatever their choice, their guests’ comfort should have been higher on their priority list.