Sunday, November 22, 2009

How green was our wedding?

I'm still having a hard time digesting our glorious Beach Day into bite-size pieces suitable for blog-serving. It was epic. It was metaphysically earth-shaking. It was one of the most beautiful days ever. How do I take that and turn it into blog recaps? I don't yet know.

I do want to share what we did, and what we learned in this space, eventually. When we first started planning the wedding, I was lost at sea, awash in an overwhelming number of opinions, options, and "musts." The sane voices out there were such a welcome respite from all the gauzy images and lists of must dos (on which I was eternally behind!). I want to add our experience to the catalog of sanity.

It was important to us to have a wedding in line with our daily values, as environmental professionals. I've found tips for sane and green weddings all over the web. Before the wedding, I started to compare our plans with this list of eco-chic wedding tips from San Francisco Style Unveiled. Herewith, some more of the results:

26. Order your programs to be printed on 100% recycled post
consumer waste paper that has been processed without chlorine.
hmmm... Mr. Barefoot got them printed at the local print shop. Not sure what kind of paper was used. I'd have to say, though, forgoing programs entirely would probably be a more eco-friendly alternative. As I wrote here, unless the ceremony is in a religious tradition that many guests are unfamiliar with, it's not like there's so much going on that people can't keep track of it.

27. Rather than hosting a full bar, have a personalized cocktail made of organic ingredients – including organic vodka.
Fail. Beer, wine and gin were from BevMo. Sometimes, convenience rules.

29. Use food that is in-season for the reception.
Check. Katie Powers Catering focuses on local, organic, seasonal food that is shockingly delicious! People are still talking about the food!

30. Keep the wedding small. The more guests you invite, the bigger the carbon footprint left from the wedding.
Define 'small.' It all depends on your point of view. For folks with huge, gregarious families, a 100-person wedding might seem small. From my point of view, it was by far the biggest party I'd ever thrown.

31. Donate the flowers from your wedding to a hospital.
Or how 'bout you guests? All the flowers and vases went home with guests. Check.

32. Give each guest an 11-watt compact fluorescent bulb as a favor. Each replaced 50-watt incandescent bulb with the wedding favor will save 685 pounds of carbon dioxide.
Neat idea. Maybe next time...

33. Give a recycled handmade paper bookmark with wildflower seeds as a favor. This can be planted once they are finished using it.
Check. Something like that... we gave these birdseed hearts - the guests can share the love with our feathered friends. I'm not convinced that favors are absolutely necessary, but these were so cute, and in keeping with Mr. Barefoot's love of birds, that they felt right.

34. Purchase wedding shoes that you will wear again.
Oh, yeah, baby. Can't wait to wear the Jimmy's to holiday parties!!! That's why I bought 'em. Check.

35. Use a caterer who composts the leftover food.
hmmm.... honestly, I have no idea what they did with the leftover food. I would have been really stoked to bring home a doggie bag or two - it was that good!

36. Use locally grown flowers for your arrangements.
Check. Hooray for Local Flora! I have to show you her gorgeous arrangements.

37. Throw rose petals after the ceremony, rather than releasing butterflies.
Or nothing. Our national park beach location precluded throwing or releasing anything, which was just fine with me. Who wants to pick birdseed out of your hair on your wedding night? Check.

38. Give antique wedding bands to each other.
See #47.

39. Have your invitations made on bamboo paper.
How 'bout cotton paper, with some post-consumer content?

40. If you want to have a camera at each table for guests to use, rent the digital ones rather than single use.
Check. How many dozens of digital cameras were flashing that day??? We did get some single use cameras at the dollar store for the kids to play with. Quite a lot of fun for them. I wonder how many pictures of knees we have.

41. Travel by train, rather than by plane.
Does taking BART to try on my wedding dress count?

42. Purchase your dress or tuxedo from a vintage boutique.
Fail. New stuff all the way. Mr. Barefoot got a swanky handmade suit; my dress was from a bridal boutique. His suit is clearly re-wearable, which is how I convinced him to get a new one for the wedding (he was fine with wearing one of his two current suits). My dress, not so much. The question now is what to do with it? Initially, I had thought I'd donate it to Brides Against Breast Cancer, or possibly sell it, but I'm feeling more sentimental post-wedding. And I really want to wear it again < blushes >. Suggestions?

43. Take an eco-considerate honeymoon. Travel close to home or consider eco-tourism for your honeymoon destination.
Does hiking and whale-watching count? Patagonia, here we come!!!

44. Consider having a meat-free menu at your reception.
Check. I think everyone survived. I didn't hear any complaints. See #29.

45. Have an outdoor ceremony and reception.
Check, on the ceremony. The reception was indoors.

46. Hire vendors who are committed to being “green” and providing sustainable wedding practices.
Check. The best!

47. Purchase a conflict-free gem for your engagement ring.
Check. Love Brilliant Earth!

48. Live green after the wedding.
Working on it. The next initiative: cutting down on the use of paper towels and plastic containers.

49. Give organic chocolate as a favor.
Yum. Great idea. See #33.

50. Use all local wedding vendors.


Born to be Mrs. Beever said...

I absolutely love the idea of donating your flowers to a hospital after the event...I was just this very weekend trying to figure out what they were going to do with our flowers at the end of the night. I appreciate your honesty with your successes and fails :)

Julia (Color Me Green) said...

oh i'm excited about your trip to patagonia! i wish i'd had time to go there when i went to argentina last winter.

Conference venues said...

I think you love to be an eco friendly man & wanna go further on the same flute? Its sounds good to be eco friendly person. As I love hilly areas.. Its my favorite place to spare all my holidays over here. Of course I also like beaches too but not more than hill stations. many people love to have their honeymoon at a beautiful beach destination. But I am little choosy for this..

Julia said...

On your #42 - one thing you could look into is to hem your dress into a shorter length dress or otherwise modify it to make it a more wearable dress. I fully intend to turn my full-length, strapless alencon lace dress into a cute, knee-length version after the day. I'll even wear it on our one year anniversary! =) Just a thought...