By Kelly L. Moore, PBC™, Ambiance Event Planning, Scranton, Penn.

photos by dolci photography

For wedding coordinators, trying to introduce clients to the concept of a green wedding can be a daunting task. While the eco-chic wedding has gained popularity in recent years, many couples have misconceptions of what a green wedding looks like. They envision a barefoot girl in a white cotton dress with daisies in her hair. These days, though, a green wedding takes on just about any style your clients can imagine. From cotton to silk and from daisies to diamonds, let’s look at some ways to educate today’s couples on greener options.

Wedding day fun = trash by the ton
KX9C9266According to GreenBride.com, “Each one of the 2.5 million weddings this year in the United States will produce an average of 62 tons of carbon dioxide and 400-600 pounds of garbage.” This makes it easy to see why more environmentally conscious choices are needed. Believe it or not, helping your client carefully choose a reception location can make the biggest impact. The right reception facility enhances a wedding’s style and theme while cutting down on unnecessary costs like extra design materials or long-distance deliveries. If your couple wants a rustic wedding celebration, an old barn makes a beautiful backdrop for both the ceremony and the reception. Décor is cheaper as it relies on the natural beauty of the area, and electricity usage is minimized or eliminated if the event takes place outdoors. The choice to have both your ceremony and reception in one location also cuts down on transportation, not only for guests but vendors. Musicians, florists, photographers, and caterers can cut their carbon footprint in half by only driving to one location. One step greater would be to provide group transportation via shuttle or trolley to transport guests from the hotel to the wedding. This would greatly reduce the amount of pollution from your wedding by having one vehicle instead of many. The added benefit from this is having happy and safe guests returned home by a driver.

Reduce – reuse – recycle
As you and your clients choose vendors, discuss your eco-conscious preferences with them. Many vendors can alter materials or preparations to make the event less wasteful. Caterers can create a menu utilizing local foods, which cuts down on transportation and increases the opportunity to use fresh, pesticide- and preservative-free foods.

Florists have many options to reduce packaging and waste. Presentation materials, such as individual plastic corsage bags can be replaced with a reusable tray. Centerpieces with floral foam can be redesigned with glass or metal vases. Runners that are designed to be used once can be eliminated. Couples even can choose local and chemical-free flowers, which are easily composted after the celebrations have finished.

Photography, too, has eco-conscious options. Crystal Collura of Dolci Momenti Photography of Jessup, Penn., suggests eliminating disposable cameras as one way to reduce waste. Single-use cameras, while popular, rarely result in quality shots. “Another fun way to ‘green’ your wedding,” she says, “is by replacing the popular, rented photo booth with a homemade booth. A curtained-off space with props and a second photographer can give you the desired result of a photo booth without the chemicals from the instant processing, the electricity from running the machine, and the gas from transporting it.”

Lead the way with Green Weddings 101
The second consultation is a great time to introduce environmentally conscious options to couples. At that meeting, the clients know you have heard their requests, and you have an opening to share ideas. Let them know that “going green is all about simple substitutions without sacrificing style or budget,” says Kate Harrison of Green Bride Guide based in New Haven, Conn. “There are eco-friendly options for every aspect of a wedding. As a rule of thumb, planners should think about using local, seasonal, and organic vendors and products whenever possible.”

KX9C1319As coordinators, our clients come to us for guidance. We can use our position to educate them and show that green choices don’t have to be unfashionable or outdated. Couples can still have a glamorous and romantic celebration, while saving time and money. Using neighborhood vendors is generally less expensive than out-of-town deliveries. In addition to saving money, it boosts your local economy. You, as the wedding professional, will also strengthen your business ties to the community and increase your business prospects.

Perhaps one of the easiest steps to reducing waste as a wedding planner is dealing with your clients paperlessly. Noelle Lantka of Fete Events in Peckville, Penn., suggests cutting down on paper usage by using online options. “Google Docs is really one of the best green tools for planning. It allows me to communicate with not only clients, but also vendors without printing a single sheet of paper. It’s efficient, accurate, and user- friendly.”

There is truly no downside to taking the time to plan a wedding that benefits you, your couple, and the environment. And once your clients discover that a green wedding may save them money, they’ll likely want to know more. Soon, your clients will be pleased with their “eco-chic” wedding.

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