Harmony Walton, founder of Southern California's renowned *Bridal Bar Boutique, shares some creative tips on how to host a cost-effective and environmentally-friendly event:
1. Location, location, location!
If it’s a wedding you’re planning, select one venue instead of two (cutting fuel omissions by guests cars traveling to multiple destinations). Select a location that exists in nature and pay homage to your environment, giving back to local conservatory organizations by booking their venues. If partying in a hotel, do your homework. Many properties, including some Fairmont and St. Regis Resorts practice sustainable business. What this means is that in their daily activities they are recycling, using renewable energy sources, practicing water conservation, or anything else that conserves instead of depletes our natural resources. Patronize those properties that exist naturally without harm to the environment, or at the very least those venues that do their part to protect the environment, and you’ve done yours!
2. Play in the day!
By hosting a daytime event you pretty much remove the need for event lighting. Save on energy and on your bill at the end of the event. This could be a backyard barbeque or a daytime wedding reception and luncheon. The décor and theme options are endless, so have fun with it and enjoy the day.
3. Get creative in your décor.
Use items you have in your home, buy from flea markets, or local artisans. Think outside the flower box and bring in natural fibers and less on the abundant blossoms. If the event is indoors, bring in vintage or re-used items like a variety of vessels or vases collected from your home and those of friends and families. The containers can be given as gifts at the end of the evening or taken home again to continue enjoying year round. This also saves on cost because you are supplying your florist with the containers and nothing additional is being purchased. When planning your décor, use the environment that the event is held in. If at an outdoor setting, utilize the trees and backdrop that already exist. Pull in natural elements from that environment and dress the tables with little accents (like leaves fallen from the trees around you). Any perishable décor such as florals can be donated to local charities or elderly community centers to bring smiles to people once your event wraps. The object is to create as little waste as possible. So re-use where you can and always re-gift leftover florals and foods to those less fortunate.
4. Favors are a very easy way to go green.
Give a tree sapling as a guest favor, a plantable seed paper, a donation to an environmental organization in lieu of gifts. Seek out a gift from a local artisan and support the local commerce. Anything that gives back to the environment or the local community will make a great guest gift.
5. Paper goods.
If it’s an informal affair, forgo paper goods altogether and invite guests via email or the internet a personal phone call is also great if the event is small in number. If the event is more formal, ask for 100% recycled cotton rag paper or better yet, 100% recycled fiber & tree-free stock (often has colorful flecks in the stock and makes for an earthy vibe). Ask if your printer uses soy-based inks on these papers. And what you don’t have to include on the invitation – don’t! Maps, accommodation information, anything non-essential can be included on an event website. Less is more when it comes to paper! Still want something elaborate? Use old fabrics from your closet or home and print on those fabrics with a process like letterpress and don’t waste a single tree in your design. Each invitation does not have to be identical. The mixing of fabrics with the same design can make for unique décor at the event as well. Each person uses a different vintage napkin; the chairs used are miss-matched from your yard or garage sales. Just keep in mind that at the end of the event you want as little to end up in the trash as possible, whether that be the invitation components, the centerpieces, or the food.
Whether you want your event to feel naturally-inspired or not there are many shades of green and everyone is able to do their part whether they choose to involve their guests or not.
*The Bridal Bar is a Los Angeles-based boutique that supplies a complimentary peek at the best of the best in the wedding industry. Brides can lounge on the couch and sip champagne while viewing work and sampling products from an extensive collection of pre-screened and cordially invited vendors. What could be better?! To learn more about the Bridal Bar - including an impressive client list that includes celebrities such as Tom Cruise & Katie Holmes, Will & Jada Smith, Ray Ramono, Oprah, and more – visit their website at www.bridalbar.com.