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How Can We Make Our Wedding Bells Ring Green?

The Times

Dear EarthTalk: I am getting married this summer and was wondering if you have any tips on how to make the festivities greener? - Tara McCarthy, Los Angeles

You know environmental consciousness has really taken hold when couples start to worry about whether their weddings will be green enough. But more and more people who care deeply about the planet view getting married as a chance to show off their values - so green nuptials make all the sense in the world.

To help remove the guesswork, many couples turn to wedding planners well versed in environmental issues. According to Idaho-based Angel Wedding Planners, every element of the wedding planning process can provide an opportunity to make choices that minimize waste and environmental impact. One of the easiest places to do right by the environment is in choosing invitations. Angel suggests going with tree-free or recycled paper, and also points out that a one piece folded design can save paper and envelopes.

In regard to feeding your hungry and thirsty guests, Angel recommends sourcing food and drink from local organic producers, if possible. Some caterers specialize in preparing and serving such items. Organic flowers (from local vendors or online via Organic Bouquet) are another way to make a green statement.

Another way to help ensure that your wedding is as green as can be is by avoiding disposable products wherever possible. Caterers should use real dishes, linens, cutlery and glassware, or rent them if necessary. Other areas where "green" decisions can make a difference include: wedding attire (consider a dress rental or buying a used one and then re-selling it); transportation (carpooling works for weddings, too, at least from the wedding to the reception); photography (those disposable cameras at every table are fun but they can be very wasteful); and wedding registries (there are numerous to be found through a Google search, or support a local green store).

Speaking of the Internet, many Web sites have sprung up in recent years to make the process of planning a green wedding easier. Valerie Edmunds, founder of Green Elegance Weddings, hopes her company can make an important environmental contribution by directing some of the $25,000 people typically spend on a wedding toward greener products and services. Her advertising-supported Web site provides page after page of free useful information about eco-friendly wedding apparel, invitations, gifts, flowers, food and beverages, even the honeymoon. The site's resource directory contains links to a wealth of online information and to businesses and organizations that provide related Earth-friendly products and services.

Those looking for even more virtual handholding might want to visit the Web site,, which provides dozens of free online tools (including an "RSVP Manager," Save-the-Date E-cards, a Gift Registry and an Event Manager) to help couples create the "ultimate green wedding from start to finish." The site also posts hundreds of articles from leading bridal magazines so brides can save paper by not having to go out and purchase any of the 135 or so foot-thick bridal magazines clogging the newsstands.

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Sustainable Flowers Make The Perfect Gift For All Occasions

Organic Bouquet is the largest online provider of eco-friendly and organic floral gifts. All of our flowers are grown in a manner that is not only environmentally friendly but also provides outstanding resources for farm workers and artisans. Organic Bouquet partners with select flower farms in California, Ecuador and Colombia. All of our flower farms follow stringent growing practices which are monitored by multiple certification agencies and associations. When you purchase flowers from Organic Bouquet, you are helping to improve the life of a flower farm worker, their family and the local floral community.

Our eco-friendly flower arrangements include roses, calla lilies, tulips, gerbera daisies, hyacinths, sunflowers, alstromeria lilies and blue iris. In addition to a complete line of flower arrangements, we offer gift baskets, fruit baskets, nut baskets, gourmet chocolates, gourmet cookies, plants and  wreaths. All of these products are certified eco-friendly and/or provide for environmental benefits through our participation in Carbon Offset programs.

Whatever the occasion, our flowers make the perfect gift- birthday celebration flowers, anniversary flowers, holiday flowers, or floral arrangements simply to say thank you. Sending flowers from Organic Bouquet says that you care not only about the person receiving the flowers, but also about the environment. All of our gift items are shipped nationwide to all 50 states. So whether you need to send flowers to Florida, New York, California, or Colorado, we can guarantee overnight delivery to ensure they arrive fresh and ready to put a smile on someone’s face.

Whether you are purchasing online, or through one of our customer service specialists, you can be assured you are ordering the freshest quality of flowers and environmentally friendly gifts.