Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of June 23, 2008
The bride and groom wore Green
Growing number of couples want a wedding that will respect Mother Earth
By LASHA MORNINGSTAR
"There is a lot of very simple stuff that can fall into every wedding we plan."
And with awareness of blood diamonds - diamonds sold to fund war - "Couples are looking at the Canadian diamond because they can get a little more truth and research exactly how those diamonds were mined than those from some of the more distant continents," says Saramaga.
She even has one couple looking at wooden-based wedding bands simply because there isn't as much production and emissions put into wood bands versus a metal band.
Now about the invitations to this sacred event . . .
"We have a lot of couples that do their RSVPs through email and phone service instead of mailing back individual cards," says Saramaga.
Companies are also designing invitations themselves made out of cotton or other natural fibres with some even going as far as using vegetable-based ink making them biodegradable.
The ecologically aware to-be-marrieds also try to limit the use of stationery, making one menu per table instead of one for each guest or even having the table numbers include the program and menu so they are all in one piece.
Menus mean food and deciding what is served is a major decision for most couples.
"A lot of venues and caterers are getting on board with the 100-mile menus (food is selected within a 100-mile radius of the event) simply because not only is it environmentally conscious, it is usually very cost-effective, more high quality item versus shipping in produce that they might not have control of the quality," says Saramaga.
"There are hotels and caterers now who are able to go to these farms and production companies to see first-hand what the animals are fed, how the vegetables are grown, can see first hand that is the quality of produce that they want to represent."
Transport charges disappear, the food is in season, flavourful and "represents where we are," she explains. "In the Prairies, we have access to many incredible food items, why wouldn't we want to showcase that to all the guests who may be traveling here to the wedding?"
Flowers get a critical eye, with the eco-choice going to locally grown, pesticide-free blooms, preferably potted. Potted flowers can line the aisle, used again at the reception and then go home with the guests that night.
Some even choose a flower-free-wedding.
"We are going to see it is not going to become just a trend or a fad."
"I have couples who are hand-designing - themselves - crystal bouquets, boutonniŠres and corsages out of synthetic gems," says Saramaga.
Others choose amazingly realistic clay flowers to use in centrepieces.
"So they bring some of that nature inside without harming nature," explains Saramaga.
Couples can solve the favours and gifts to guests dilemma with a donation to a cause.
"I really encourage my couples to pick a cause that is important to them that affects their lives, their goals in life," explains Saramaga.
Some give to groups such as the cancer society, build schools in Africa, donate to local animal groups.
In lieu of gifts to them, the engaged partners often ask guests for donations to their honeymoon or an eco-tourist trip.
"Again, they are not collecting an over-abundance of items to be transported if guests come from afar or shipped," says Saramaga. "And it is something they can use after their wedding day and have many fond memories."
Energy use is also targeted.
Use outdoor venues as much as possible to take advantage of the natural light as well as natural d‚cor.
"You can't do much that can compete with nature," says Saramaga. She also makes sure the guests' transportation "is respectful."
If possible, the ceremony and reception are held in the same place or just around the corner, so people can come and park and stay for the entire day not have to be driving from one end of the city to the other.
"If we are apart, we bring in shuttle services for guests. We can fit 65 to 100 people on a bus."
She makes the green point, saying a shuttle versus two people at a time taking individual cars involving a wedding of 100 to 300 people means "a big number of cars that are taken off the road for that day."
This busy wedding planner sees a green future for her business.
"In the coming years we are going to see it is not going to become just a trend or a fad, it will become a growing way of planning weddings.
"We are all becoming more and more educated on how unrenewable some aspects of our environment are and if we don't take care of it, we won't have it to enjoy."
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