Saturday, March 21, 2009

It's (actually) easy being green

(with apologies to Kermit T. Frog)

I've been trying to figure out what this blog is really about, I mean beyond wedding planning. There's a whole galaxy of wedding blogs out there, so what separates this one from the rest?

I've come to the conclusion that it's my conviction that our actions make a difference, and we should try to minimize the negative social and environmental impacts of weddings. Image if every bride incorporated a few green aspects into her wedding - we'd change the world!

At the same time, we need not go the sack-cloths-and-burlap route (unless that's what you're really into!). Following your passions and desires - what really animates an event or a life and gives it spark - needn't be relinquished in an effort to go green. But neither should those desires run roughshod over the planet.

Watching "Say Yes to the Dress" the other night (guilty pleasure - but oh, how I love that show!), I couldn't help but be horrified at the $18,000 custom-made dress that the bride didn't like. She ended up choosing a different dress that cost $9000 more. People plan whole wedding for that amount!

In planning our wedding, Mr. Barefoot and I have tried to incorporate our values, and it's been pretty painless, since we both have extensive education and experience in the environmental field. Much of what we're doing with our wedding is what we already do in our daily life.

Let's start with the site:
We love to be outdoors, we met at a party of a local outdoor group, so it was only natural that we'd find an outdoor site for our wedding. This choice is 'green' in a number of ways: in a beautiful outdoor setting, we'll need less in the way of decorations because we can depend on the beauty of the site. We don't need electricity during daylight hours. And often outdoor sites are cheap or free. (We had to pay for a $400 site permit, as the ceremony will be held in a national park).

The reception will be at the Headlands Center for the Arts, an artists’ residence center in a renovated former Army building (re-use!), a short walk from the beach. The proximity of the wedding and reception sites eliminates driving, and carbon dioxide emissions. We anticipate that some of the guests will want or need to drive between locations (a mile or two by road). However, most will join us on a short 15 minute walk down to the beach for the wedding ceremony. After the ceremony, the guests will be able to enjoy the spectacular scenery as they wander back to Headlands Center for the Arts for the reception.

To further reduce driving, we have reserved the Headlands Hostel, next door to the Headlands Center for the Arts, which will house 25 family members and close out-of-town friends for the weekend, Friday through Sunday. Housing close friends and family members on site will create plentiful opportunities for reconnecting and enjoying the Park. Camping weddings are another great way to allow everyone to connect and enjoy the outdoors, while reducing driving. Housing everyone at one or two B&Bs is another way to reduce driving.

While California may be particularly blessed with seasons and locations in which it's lovely to be outside, I suspect this strategy can be adapted to other parts of the country. Without sacrificing anything that was important to us, we were able to eliminating the need for a lot of driving, parking hassles, and most importantly, carbon emissions.


Liz said...

Ugggh. I can't fathom spending that much on a dress.

I love the not-so-typical weddings... they're so much more thought-out and personal, even with finances aside.

Color Me Green said...

yes the prices they pay on those dress shows are ridiculous!

sounds like you have a great setup for your wedding, with everything is within walking distance. it can be hard to find accommodations close to a venue so i'm glad it worked out for you!

Kelley at My Island Wedding said...

Kermit Rocks. (So does your blog!)