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Go Green For Your Wedding

April 18th, 2012 by Jeannine

Go Green For Your Wedding

In honour of Earth Day coming up in just a few days (April 22nd, in case you were wondering), I’d like to talk about a few ways you can reduce your wedding’s carbon footprint.

  • Re-use – buy used items from past brides, rent from decor companies, buy a bridesmaid dress she can wear again, borrow a friend’s wedding items, etc.
  • Buy local – source items locally including food, flowers, or get a dress custom made by a local designer who uses local materials
  • Carpool – encourage your guests to carpool to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions
  • Use 1 venue for your ceremony & reception – reduce travelling and increase convenience for you and your guests
  • Choose a venue that’s accessible by transit – give your guests the option of taking the bus or skytrain to your event… they won’t need a Designated Driver either!
  • Use online Save the Dates – save some trees as well as the date! I suggest Paperless Post.
  • Use recycled paper for your stationery
  • Provide recycling/composting bins at your event – see if your venue can accommodate this and instruct the staff to use them accordingly.
  • Give away consumable or eco-friendly wedding favours – like seed paper, seedlings, or organic food items
  • Limit your number of out of town guests – reduce air travel
  • Purchase carbon off-sets – check out this link for more information on carbon off-sets and the vendors who provide them
  • Hire a vendor that can multitask – if your vendor plans, coordinates, arranges flowers and provides decor (and there are a many here in Vancouver), that will mean less deliveries to your event
  • Consider an intimate wedding – less people means less of everything, but more of catching up and hanging out with everyone
  • Save the leftovers – if you have a buffet, don’t waste the food, see if your venue will let you pack it up for yourselves or donate it
  • Make a donation in lieu of wedding favours – organizations like Greenpeace Canada, the David Suzuki Foundation, and others will surely appreciate the gesture. If you wish to donate to other charities, visit Canada Helps.

Hiring vendors who understand the importance of your cause will also make a big difference. I’ve done some research and have come up with a few suggestions for you (and some of them are even Vancity Vendors!)

Dress – Pure Magnolia

Who are they? Pure Magnolia is committed to using sustainable fabrics to create couture gowns and bridesmaids dresses. We work one-on-one with brides to create the perfect dress for their style, body and wedding.

How are they eco-friendly? Pure Magnolia works with the bride in her own budget to find a dress that is right for her. That might be renting a gown ($300-$900), making something completely new ($300-$2500), or upcycling an old dress($300-$1500).

Their advice for eco-friendly couples: Our advice to brides who want to go green is make sure to be creative with your dress. There are so many eco options out there, like renting, buying samples, buying 2nd hand, upcycling an old dress (we have even made 1980′s dresses look awesome!) or getting a new gown made with eco friendly materials (Organic cotton, vintage lace, Hemp, eco friendly silks). You don’t have to settle for an online, or David’s bridal dress just because you have a tight budget.

Catering – Out to Lunch Catering

Who are they? Out to Lunch Catering has been one of the premier caterers in the lower mainland for over 25 years. Although we are a high-end caterer we are known for our beautiful food and amazing service, all at a reasonable price. We cater to many corporate clients and love the challenges of creating personalized menus and memorable events.

How are they eco-friendly? Though our partnerships with The Green Table Network and Evergreen OTL has been the sustainability leader in the catering field and our efforts in conservation, recycling and community involvement has been the catalyst for many other caterers. (please see our website for more info).

Their advice for eco-friendly couples: My advice for couples interested in green weddings is to ask for facility tours of their caterer and venue of choice. Ask them what makes them a green business. Feel free to make demands.

Wedding Planning & Decor – Green Chair Events

Who are they?  Green Chair Events provides everything needed to create beautiful eco-friendly atmospheres for weddings. As an environmentally-conscious event planning company, we offer full wedding planning for all budgets, day of coordination, and decor rentals, as well as waste management solutions such as compost and recycling bin rentals. We analyze each aspect of your event to minimize waste and promote low impact alternatives. Green Chair Events is also a Vancity Vendor, click here to read more about them.

How are they eco-friendly? By being creative with our resources, we bring new life and modern aesthetic to the wedding industry. We lead the way in innovation when it comes to reducing, reusing and recycling. We plan to create affordable, sustainable, and beautiful events available to everyone… so you can feel good about your big day, long after the event has finished.

Their advice for eco-friendly couples: To have a green wedding, stay local, give back to the community, and rent or buy decor and clothing. Have a plan for waste reduction, looking at all the materials that comes through your event, then minimize the unnecessary items. Don’t forget to adequately calculate the amount of food that you will need to avoid waste and cut costs so you can indulge in other wedding luxuries. At the end of your event, make sure you have a plan to divert all the leftovers in an environmental and socially responsible way. Green weddings are not a trend anymore but here to stay, slowly moving towards being the norm. Eco-chic is in!

Flowers – Amoda Flowers

Who are they? At Amoda Flowers, we combine STYLE with SUSTAINABILITY and VALUE. Our design approach is eclectic and modern. Amoda Flowers sells flowers at bulk pricing for DIY brides. We offer DIY workshops at the Beaumont Studios.

How are they eco-friendly? We use organic, local, fair trade and veriflora™ certified flowers. Our pricing is competitive with other florists. Creating arrangements that reflect your personal aesthetic is what we do best.

Their advice for eco-friendly couples: Use the hem trimmings from the dresses to wrap the flowers for the brides bouquets and the bridesmaids. DIY your flowers – Amoda provides flowers at bulk pricing & classes. Have a wedding day coordinator, even if you have a DIY wedding! You will be too busy to do all the last minute details your self. Try to have all your tasks done 3 days before your wedding. Anything that needs to be done after that; delegate as much as possible so you can enjoy your day.

Photography – Tamea Burd Photography

Who are they? Tamea Burd is a local photographer who specializes in weddings, family portraits, as well as headshots and corporate photography. Tamea is also one of my Vancity Vendors, click here to read all about her.

How are they eco-friendly? Tamea Burd Photography is proud to be an eco-friendly wedding photographer. Both personally and professionally, I do my best to buy locally, buy organic and to use recycled and environmentally aware products as much as possible. Many wedding photographers offer printed photo albums as part of their wedding packages. But a lot of harmful, toxic chemicals go into the making of photograph paper and printing ink. Which is why my photography clients receive their images exclusively in digital format. That way, it’s up to you to choose and print only the images you really want. Easier on the earth and easier on your budget!

Their advice for eco-friendly couples: For your wedding favours, don’t use plastic or non-recyclable materials. Instead, try something more sustainable! How about mini plant pots with a packet of your favourite flower seeds or bulbs? Or a jar of local honey with a home-made wedding label? Or nicely wrapped tree seedlings? Any of these are a lovely, personal way to show your guests (and the earth) that you care.

Photography – Simply Rose Photography

Who are they? It all began with her own wedding day, some 7 years ago. After a short period of planning, being inspired by the process and seeing it all come together in the photographs afterwards, Rose Dykstra began to think a bit more seriously about photography. Having had a keen interest in design and photography since high school, she began to pick up the camera again and capture people in the moments of their lives. It’s been 3 years of photographing weddings in BC and beyond ~ mostly with down-to-earth couples whose focus on family, friends and care about the environment have made for some wonderfully welcoming weddings to be at.

How are they eco-friendly? Simply Rose Photography has based her business on green practices from simple things such as recycling all office paper waste to making careful choices in what albums and products to offer. It’s an every day conscious decision to be mindful of what goes in and what comes out of the business.

Their advice for eco-friendly couples: Shop local! There are gown designers, florists who use locally grown or fair trade flowers, décor rentals that use vintage pieces for some added flair, caterers that serve up meals with in-season and locally produced vegetables, fruits and meats ~ there are so many excellent green wedding providers in the Lower Mainland area and more businesses are choosing to change the way they do things to be environmentally sustainable.

Photobooth – Facebox Media Photo Booth

Who are they? FaceBox Media Photo Booth is Vancouver’s #1 eco-friendly photo booth rental service.  We specialize in capturing special moments of you and your guests at wedding receptions, bridal showers, birthdays, corporate events, or just about any other type of celebration you can think of!  With our professionally designed custom photo templates, well-mannered on-site attendants to playful props and speech bubbles, we aim to exceed your expectations every time. Facebox Media Photo Booth has a special discount for Vancity Bride readers.

How are they eco-friendly? As a business that operates with a holistic commitment to environmental sustainability, we have identified ways to reduce our carbon footprint – from offsetting our carbon emissions, using sustainably produced fabric backdrops, powering our booth with wind energy, to planting a tree for every hour booked.  By choosing FaceBox Media Photo Booth, you and your guests are ensured a great time while also minimizing your wedding’s environmental impact!

Their advice for eco-friendly couples: At FaceBox Media, we know it may not be possible to be 100% green.  We know, we’ve tried (they just don’t make eco-friendly, professional-grade photo printers!). Our philosophy – which you can adopt for your wedding – is make a commitment to ourselves to be as responsible to the environment as possible, one step at a time. Good luck.

Invitations – Something Green

Who are they? Something Green provides unique and eco-friendly wedding cards.  If you’re looking for something out-of-ordinary, then you’ve come to the right place! Along with a selection of more traditional cards, we also have a variety of unique and quirky cards for the couple that are looking for something different.  Choose from a selection of ready made designs or have a custom design created just for you.

How are they eco-friendly? All wedding cards are made from 100% recycled paper, using 50% post-consumer waste, and the inks are organic and biodegradable. Something Green also has green business practices by using recycled products and recycling & composting whenever possible as well as using a green courier when shipping locally.

Their advice for eco-friendly couples: If you’re trying to have a green wedding, it doesn’t have to be hard.  Doing something as simple as using local vendors who use locally sourced products and services can have a big impact in minimizing your carbon footprint.

Invitations – Ben & Company

Who are they? Hosting a beautiful wedding is easy with Ben & Company‘s fresh and unique designs. Based in Vancouver, BC, Ben & Company’s styles have the charm, modern elegance, and delicate details you love across a wide range of wedding products that includes invitations, menus, insert cards, websites, and more.

How are they eco-friendly? All of Ben & Company’s products are designed and manufactured by artists and businesses in the lower mainland. As well, each of Ben & Company’s printed products are made with 100% recycled paper and environmentally friendly inks.

Their advice for eco-friendly couples: I think a great piece of advice for couples looking to be eco-friendly during their wedding is to not be afraid to ask questions. Designers, photographers, caterers, etc should all be happy to tell you about how they’re being green…if they don’t want to chat about how they’re green, they’re probably not!

Wedding Cake & Cupcakes – Sweet Naturally

Who are they? At Sweet Naturally, we offer a variety of healthy and organic baked goods to satisfy your sweet tooth. From a piece of scrumptious cookie in the farmerʼs market to a heartwarming wedding dessert table, there must be an item that will grab your heart and have you coming back for more.

How are they eco-friendly? We source our ingredients from local farmers, mills and businesses and our ingredients are, whenever possible, organic, natural and sustainably produced. All of our baked goods are made from ingredients that you can understand without any chemical compound, preservative and artificial flavoring. We also baked with 100% compostable baking papers and package our goods with environmentally friendly materials to make sure our sweet creations create the least amount of carbon footprint on our environment.

Their advice for eco-friendly couples: We recommend the wedding couple to support each other during the wedding planning process. It can be stressful at times however at the end of the day, it is all about celebrating love. Step back and take a deep breath so you can explore different options and perspectives.

Wedding Favors – Seeds of Plenty

Who are they? At Seeds of Plenty our focus is on whole foods that have been prepared for maximum nutrition.  We combine organic, unrefined ingredients with a sprouting method that unleashes the goodness in your grain. What better way to thank your guests than with the gift of nourishment, love and a touch of sweetness? We can pack our happy little cookies into bags of 4 or 6 for each one of your guests, adding a thoughtful finished touch to your special day. Ethical gift baskets are also available

How are they eco-friendly? We support local farmers, use local organic fair trade ingredients, compost, print and advertise on recycled paper, and our eco-friendly baskets are made from Water Hyacinth.

Their advice for eco-friendly couples: “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”  ~Leonardo DaVinci

Wedding Favors – Kimberley’s Kitchen

Who are they? Kimberley Mulla is the owner of Kimberley’s Kitchen, maker of handmade gourmet marshmallows, classic confections and baked goods, fresh to order in Smithers, BC. Kimberley’s Kitchen is also a Vancity Vendor, click here to read more about her.

How are they eco-friendly? Kimberley’s Kitchen can custom make 100% organic marshmallows, candies and baked goods, as well as vegetarian and vegan options. They also use only eco-packaging: compostable plastics, boxes and bags made from recycled materials, cotton twine and paper twist ties made in North America, and everything is reusable and/or recyclable. They can also customize to a bride’s request such as upcycled items, glass jars, or provide bulk treats for them to package or serve as they wish.

Their advice for eco-friendly couples: Choose a favor that your guests will truly enjoy. Something useful, memorable, or edible is always nice. This ensures it doesn’t just end up in the garbage.  Also consider a DIY option that reflects you- this is where you can have a little fun- package your favorite chocolate, cookies, candies, or tea with a note. It doesn’t need to be elaborate or expensive to express your gratitude. For my wedding I packaged homemade rosemary shortbread with tags I made myself. A trend that I love  is giving edible favors after the ceremony- my guests loved having a little snack on their way to the reception!

DJ – Anything Audio

Who are they? Anything Audio is an entertainment company that focuses on DJ’ing and Live Bands based in Surrey. The company was started 16 years ago and has been an integral part of over 2000 weddings since our inception. Being a small business we are always looking for ways to streamline and economize the business in ways that save time, save power, and add to our clients value.

How are they eco-friendly? Since our inception 16 years ago we have continually improved so that we can offer the best entertainers with the smallest footprint. We have a completely paperless booking and planning system; from the digital contract to our unique online wedding music planning system. Our lights, sound systems, and equipment are the newest most power efficient professional gear available. The DJs and bands we represent are all consummate professionals with years of entertainment experience. BCDJ.ca is the local entertainment company that is leading the industry in quality and environmental sustainability.

DJ – Airwaves Music

Who are they? Airwaves Music is a one stop, full service music company offering pre-auditioned, experienced DJs, musicians and bands for performances at weddings. Our price is 20% lower than companies with similar experience and all of their team members have extensive professional backgrounds as wedding entertainers. With customer service as their top priority, Airwaves only represents the most professional, passionate performers. At Airwaves, we love what we do and we are here for the long run.

How are they eco-friendly? We are eco-friendly in everything we do, opting not to drive when possible and keeping printing and waste to a minimum. We also use low watt light bulbs and implement any environmentally friendly office procedures and protocols as possible. As for music, we recommend using LED lights, rather than old dated lights will conserve a ton of energy. As well, using a self-powered sound system that is less than 5 years old is another great eco-friendly choice for a wedding DJ. Using live musicians without additional amplification for the ceremony is another great way to be eco-friendly. This is something we are passionate about.

Their advice for eco-friendly couples: If you want green music at your wedding, it starts in the planning stages. Work with a company willing to send contracts, forms etc electronically as that will immediately save on paper. From there, live music at the ceremony without amplification is a great way to save on power. If you keep the wedding under 70 guests, you shouldn’t need a PA system or a lot of power to run microphone’s etc either. At the reception, have a DJ with LED lights and a lower wattage sound system that is “self-powered”. That way, you don’t have hundreds of watts of amps sucking power all night. As well, you won’t have hot lamps that burn out quickly and eat up electricity if you choose the LED option. LED lights run cool and use far less power than the old style of DJ lighting which many companies are still unfortunately using. From there, you can rest assured you have planned an environmentally friendly party! You can even turn the heat down in the venue and save power if you dance hard enough!

Wedding Show – Grassroots Wedding Fair

Who are they? The Grassroots Wedding Fair is a eco-friendly wedding fair that showcases green businesses and artisans.  Our vendors have done their homework and have a commitment to operating in a sustainable manner.  What does this mean to discerning couples who wish to have a lower impact wedding?  It means that in simply choosing to work with one of our vendors, their wedding will be eco-friendly. Our event is also run with sustainability in mind.  We are proof that events themselves can be sustainably managed.

How are they eco-friendly? The Grassroots Wedding Fair was first held at Heritage Hall, which is not a sustainable location. We attempted to give the Hall a few ideas while we were there to help in this matter, but to no avail … as of yet.  This is why we have moved locations and will find more sustainable locations in the future. To help offset the energy usage at Heritage Hall, Bullfrog Power sponsored our events and donated green energy back to the grid for the time and wattage that we used. This energy came from locally produced wind power. We had full recycling stations set up which included composting stations for all food and plant waste.  All garbage was sorted through and properly disposed of. Besides the LED lighting purchased for our initial event ( which is re-used now at every event) all decor is made from upcycled/recycled materials.  The decor is handmade and on display to give ideas also to couples.  Our table numbers are saved wood scraps from Christmas tree sales, felted leaves from upcycled sweaters, table linens handmade from natural fabrics, etc… All paper produced associated with our event is 100% recycled which is not the most inexpensive, but we are keeping to our ‘sustainable’ mantra.  This includes posters, postcards, tickets and a limited print run of small brochures with ideas and lists of our vendors. All of our events are catered from small local businesses to enable our vendors to eat, without paper plates, organic, and coffee/water on hand for vendors who are asked to bring cups themselves. Our main website is also run on green energy.

We do not provide bags to all of our guests, but have paper shopping bags on hand, 100% recycled content, if guests need them.  All guests leave with a gift that is consumable which included seed packets, macaroons as “wedding favours”. All of vendors are instructed to come with the ‘less is more’ mantra, but as they all operate sustainably, this is teaching to the converted, but it is a gentle reminder none the less.  The first year we had bicycle valets, this location this year has a bike lock-up included and future locations will also have bike valet parking.

Their advice for eco-friendly couples: A green wedding is not a difficult decision.  It can be a very simple process which is governed by choice, for every element of a wedding can be eco-friendly. Here are a few quick ideas for hosting a green wedding: (1) When booking your caterer, again ask for seasonal and locally produced foods, oceanwise approved seafood,  when planning your menu. (2) For floral arrangements choose fair trade flowers, seasonal flowers or flowers produced locally through social initiative programs. (3) For wedding invitations and/or ‘save the date’ cards use recycled paper or hire a company that does.  There are not that many out there who do, but I know a few.  You can also ask an invitation company to use recycled papers.  Take the initiative and ask for change.

The Grassroots Wedding Fair is happening on April 21, 2012 at The Hive.
For all details, click here.

All photos were provided by each respective vendor featured.

Feature photo courtesy Green Chair Events
Photos courtesy Snap Weddings, Tamea Burd Photography, Simply Rose PhotographyFacebox Media Photo Booth, Dickson’s Images, Magna Vita Photography, and Sweet Earth Photographics.
Mouse over each photo to identify the photographer.

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  • April 18th, 2012 at 12:12 pm
    Rose Dykstra says:

    Wow, Jeannine! Super post! You’ve covered a ton of great vendors here and thank you so much for including me in this!

  • December 30th, 2012 at 5:05 am
    wedding videographer melbourne says:

    A family member referred me to this resource. Thnx for the information.

  • February 18th, 2015 at 5:32 pm
    Jacqueline Parker says:

    Great options for The Eco-Bride. I provide toxin-free, sustainable makeup services for weddings. I would love to see more a beauty section for this article, or other articles in the future!

  • December 7th, 2016 at 1:24 am
    Mukesh Kumar says:

    Very interesting post. Actually I love eco marriage a lot. To make your wedding event green at party time use attractive biodegradable and compostable disposable plates. That is good for human health and environment health also. Thank you.


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