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Weddings and Events Go Green

By: Jean Patteson
The Morning Call

Thinking about introducing eco-savvy "green" elements to your wedding, corporate banquet or family barbecue? Here are some tips from events planners.

INVITATIONS
Use recycled or tree-free paper and soy-based inks. Choose small cards, use a reply postcard instead of a card and envelope. Create a Web site with directions, hotel suggestions, etc. For paper with seeds embedded, visit plantablepaper.com.

FLOWERS
Use flowers or potted plants from local and/or organic farms or order at organicbouquet.com. Check for a VeriFlora sustainability tag. Donate flowers to a nursing home after the event.

FOOD
Locally grown organic foods are fresher, pesticide-free and less fuel is burned transporting them. To avoid waste, don't over cater. Send leftovers to a composting program. Decorate your wedding with organic, edible flowers.

DRINKS
Use bottled water in biodegradable bottles -- biotaspringwater.com. Serve organic wines.

VENUE
Outdoor venues use less power for air conditioning and lighting. Hold the wedding ceremony and reception in the same place or nearby to reduce travel. Encourage guests to carpool or provide a bus or pedicabs. Use an emissions calculator -- portovert.com -- to determine travel-related pollution; offset these with a donation to a clean-energy group. Find a venue that recycles glass, cans and paper.

GIFTS
Register with an eco-conscious retailer. Give bridesmaids and groomsmen useful items such as cosmetics, wine or fair-trade coffee. For ideas, visit tenthousandvillages.com.

FAVORS
Choose seeds, seedlings or potted herbs. Or instead make a donation to an environmentally friendly organization on behalf of guests. For ideas, visit plantamemory.com, treeinabox.com, epersonalized-gifts.com, greenworldproject.net, arborday.org

DRESS
Find a dress or tuxedo from a vintage or resale store. Buy a simple dress of organic silk, cotton or hemp you can use again. For examples, visit ecoganik.com, coolnotcruel.com or stewartbrown.com. Learn how to donate wedding dresses to charity at idofoundation.org.

TABLEWARE
Use biodegradable plates and cutlery made from sugar-cane fiber, cornstarch and limestone, available from simplybiodegradable.com and clearcreekcomp.com. Or rent real glasses, dishes, cutlery and cloth napkins to avoid disposable paper or plastic goods.



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