The week between Earth Day and Arbor Day is a perfect time to reflect on how we can be more environmentally conscious in our everyday lives. And since a large part of my everyday life revolves around planning events, I thought I’d share some earth friendly ideas which can be incorporated into any celebration.
Invitations – Check out Smock Paper http://smockpaper.com/ for stylish letterpress designs sustainably printed on bamboo. Their paper looks and feels like luxurious, thick, high quality paper but it’s sustainable (example below).
Why bamboo? It’s the fastest growing plant on the planet, requires no pesticides and very little water to grow. If you’re in NYC, call Rachel at Michael Zach design group http://www.michaelzacdesigngroup.com/ to see the line for yourself. She carries Smock as well as other sustainable products and has a knack for making just the right suggestions to customize printed materials.
Jewelry – I’m sure you’ve heard about Conflict Free Diamonds by now. If you’re looking for a reliable wedding ring resource, try www.brilliantearth.com out of Canada. They’ve got a large assortment and they’ll custom design anything you can imagine. For your wedding ensemble, try http://www.tejanibridaljewelry.com/ . Costume jewelry never looked so good! And Urvi, the owner, is a stickler for customer service. They’ve got a New York showroom too.
Food – speak with your caterer about organic options. Great Performances, for instance, has a 100-mile menu for which all principal ingredients are sourced from within a 100-mile radius of New York City. They also bought and manage their certified organic Katchkie Farms which supplies fresh produce for their special events. 5 % of their annual harvest is donated to anti-hunger organizations like City Harvest and they have incorporated many sustainable practices into their day-to-day operations. But best of all – their food and service are phenomenal. Visit their website to learn more. http://www.greatperformances.com/
Serve fair trade coffee or tea.
Wine – When selecting wine, consider going with a local vineyard to reduce the fossil fuels used during transportation. Hudson Valley and Long Island have a few yummy options. Shinn Estate http://www.shinnestatevineyards.com/ is a leader in sustainable wine production on Long Island. Talk to your caterer or local wine store about other options.
Decor – Creativity takes on a whole new meaning when you’re thinking about sustainability. For flowers, stay with in-season varieties and use locally grown options. Speak to your florist about organic, pesticide free options. Instead of traditional cut flowers, consider using herbs, succulents, orchids or perennials in containers which can double as take home favors for your guests. Below, for a wedding we planned at Bryant Park Grill, river rocks worked beautifully as place cards on a carpet of moss.
Centerpieces were a combination of succulents, ferns and lotus pods on brown bengaline linens. Flowers by Matthew Robbins, Artfool.
Below, an Indian wedding at Gotham Hall with two tier lazy susan and potted orchids as centerpieces.
Edible centerpieces are wonderful. Below, at the Mayflower Inn and Spa in Connecticut, a Tuscan feast is displayed as guests arrive at the table. The main course was also served family style so food was the focus all evening. We used flowers (Lewis Miller, LMD Floral) on the table too…
Other Accents – Paper and fabric flowers are a unique and fun approach (and very much in fashion at the moment). I love http://emersonmade.com/ as accents and alternatives to traditional flowers….
Candles – Soy based or bees wax candles with cotton or hemp wicks are a good alternative to traditional candles. They give off less soot and burn slower. Unfortunately, they’re also more expensive. Be sure to stay away from scented candles at the dinner table. They can change the taste of food.
And of course, for those of you who are open to alternatives in non-floral decor, lampshade centerpieces are a fun alternative https://inanyeventblog.wordpress.com/2009/04/30/lampshade-centerpiece/.
Favors – I can think of nothing greener than planting a tree in honor of a guest. For $1, ArborDay.org plants a tree in a national forest in need.
Good luck. Think Green. As Dr. Seuss so eloquently put it in his book, The Lorax, “UNLESS someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not”.