Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Green Wedding??

Hmm - a green wedding sounds like an oxymoron, given that all the flights of fancy and sentimentalism might lead conscious consumption to take a back-of-the-bus-seat. I've tried to think of how to make my wedding more green, but I'm drawing a blank or a void, rather.

For instance, I'm getting married in a small town in Oklahoma. There are two florists there - which for a smallish town is pretty good. Neither offer green options on flowers. I thought about going out in the fresh early morning spring dew and harvesting a wildflower bouquet but that would probably net me a handful of Indian paintbrush, some clover, maybe some violets and a bunch of mosquito bites the day of. The other problem with this, besides the iffy nature of a resulting bouquet, is that my mother would have an attaques de nervios (i.e. a good old-fashioned cow), and I understand - I love a pretty bouquet, too. Yet I'm kind of surprised at how tradition and sentimentalism prevent solid, environmentally healthy decision-making, on my part, and nowhere is this more apparent than in the planning of something as culture-bound as a wedding.

Another problem is that the wedding is out of town for most people. We're having it in my parents' backyard, which is 1/2 acre of beautiful flowers and shrubs. Beautiful and low-key - perfect for this impromptu wedding. However, it's also 200-ish miles away from most of my friends and 90-ish miles away from most of our family. On the other hand, I think only one person is actually flying in, so that's good, given that almost everyone else has a hefty drive in front of them.

But we are trying some things to keep it even remotely green, and I guess that's primarily by keeping it small. We're mainly inviting family and a very few close, close friends. I'm wearing a sundress that was cheap, cheap and he's wearing his stand-by suit. We used one sheet of paper and a partially recycled envelope for invitations, rather than the card stock, inserts, and double envelope typically used. We didn't register, although we did note where people could purchase gift cards/certificates, if they chose to (such as Seeds of Change, Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, Lowe's, and Target). We also included an option to make a donation to the World Wildlife Fund, The National Resource Defense Council, or the The Sierra Club. Any gift cards will go toward things that we need, not want, such as garden tools, a pressure canner, blankets, etc. We might get more dishes, but we haven't bought dishes in 9 years, so that's saying something, isn't it? We might be pulling off a green party favor if I can find what I'm looking for in the next two weeks. We'll see!

Some things I would change if I'd had more time (and money, unfortunately):

  • Considered a different floral option (expensive to get real, green flowers unless I grew some of my own, which would've taken a lot more planning but would've been WAY cooler).
  • Found a way to have enough silverware, dishware, and cloth napkins (mix and match a couple of sets belonging to my mother and other people in the area).
  • Purchased completely recycled paper/envelopes for invitations and thank you cards (this would've been easy! Damn).
  • Bought available food from local sources (easy but expensive).
Originally we'd planned to elope. There was going to be carbon-emissions galore as we flew to Greece, but it would've been just the two of us. Unforeseen circumstances prevented our anti-planning strategy and led us to the impromptu wedding planning I've been describing. I wonder if the energy used is balancing out this way, given the nastiness of long distance air travel? I don't know.

I'm kind of surprised at myself that I haven't done more. I guess I fell into the "let's do it small, no-fuss, and easy" mindset that led me to make some dumb decisions (ex: I didn't want cloth napkins b/c that would be too formal. What was I thinking??)

I guess in some ways I've fallen prey to the consumerist mindset that dominates our culture. I've tried to balance what I believe (and want) with what tradition (i.e. family) would like. But I've also been less aware than maybe I think I am sometimes. Hmm. Food for thought. I'll say one thing, though: ethically I feel much more comfortable with what we're doing than with some of the ridiculous throw-downs people feel compelled to host. I read that the average wedding costs $28K. HOW IS THAT EVEN POSSIBLE?!?! There must be some insane outliers that pull up the average, but still! I can take heart in knowing that my wedding will cost considerably (much, much, much!) less than the "average."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

From what I've read, you meet most of the suggestions of the only "Green Wedding" article I've read! Now, don't take my ideas wrong if you have already chosen otherwise.... I wasn't clear if you had already taken care of all this stuff.

If you are still interested, there are always CHEAP dishes available at garage sales and thrift stores. This is garage saling season!

You could try ordering organic flowers? I ordered mine wholesale and everything was about $150 - of course, then my Mom and I made the bouquet and boutennieres the night before the big day. But it wasn't as hard as it sounds.

How could your family expect anything different than GREEN from you? They do know you dont' they? :) :)

PS Let me know if you need any help!