It’s A Nice Day For A Green Wedding: Advice for the Socially Conscious Bride
Setting the Stage
You don’t have to be a hardcore Greenie to appreciate the allure of a wedding in the midst of rolling meadows, botanical gardens or forested hillsides. You can double your venue’s green quotient by selecting a site managed by a non-profit organization that protects the land, such as the Santa Monica Nature Conservancy’s Upper Las Virgenes Canyon Open Space Preserve. Then there are the culturally enriching venues—historical societies, art galleries and museums—that are among the most interesting around. Wine and dine surrounded by exotic treasures from the Orient paintings at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco, or sip champagne while taking in the 19th century artifacts at the Los Altos History Museum, and you’re supporting community arts and education efforts.
Event locations are improving their ecological impact in other ways, too. One pioneering “earth first” venue is Oceano Hotel and Spa in Half Moon Bay, a Green Suites Certified Green Hotel which uses natural light and passive solar heating for their public spaces and an innovative environmentally sensitive cleaning technology. GreenHotels.com is another association that promotes water and energy conservation in the hospitality industry, and they even certify bed and breakfasts like Historic Sand Rock Farm. Their website lists questions to ask your prospective wedding sites to “evaluate their greenness”:http://www.greenhotels.com/question.htm. This sort of dialogue is key to encouraging businesses to make enviro-friendly choices.
Wherever you wed, opt for a florist that uses locally grown flowers. (Imported flowers often come from pesticide-laden farms, endangering the workers and the land.) An alternative is to order from organicbouquet.com, the San Francisco-based company that sponsors eco-friendly growers in other parts of the world. (And did you know that organic flowers are longer-lasting?) When designing your arrangements, best to pick out flowers that are in season at the time of your event. For centerpieces, consider potted blooms or plants instead of cut flowers, or create an intriguing arrangement with candles, mirrors or crafts. Remember, less is more, especially in outdoor locations where the native flora and fauna provide natural adornment.
Eat, Drink and Be Healthy
It is always wise to put a vegetarian entree on your event menu, and if you want to do without meat altogether, well, your guests will hardly miss it. Acclaimed Chef Lynn Sheehan of Historic Sand Rock Farm points out that, “The culinary favorites of many ancient cultures are vegetarian dishes, so there is no need to serve faux-meat in order to satisfy your guests’ taste buds: simply choose from among the rich variety of global cuisine!”
Other factors to consider are humane animal treatment, chemical additives and fishing practices. Back to Earth Organic Catering uses locally grown produce, free-range organic meats and sustainable seafood. They’re a perfect example of a clever caterer that prepares savory dishes with earth-friendly ingredients.
Is it possible to host a restaurant rehearsal dinner or reception that’s healthy and gourmet? Greens in San Francisco is known for their creative vegetarian cuisine that uses the finest seasonal organic produce. One of the Santa Cruz area’s most popular eateries, the creekside Michael’s on Main, is a Green Restaurant that features produce sourced from local farms; they also participates in the sustainable Fish Wise program. By patronizing such forward-thinking vendors, you are encouraging others to jump on the green bandwagon.
The best way to bring out the fresh flavors of your cuisine is to quaff fine wine, preferably organic and pesticide-free. Wines without added sulfites are not only healthier, but reportedly cause fewer hangovers! Popular organic California vintners include Bonterra and Frey, and more are popping up all the time. Many vineyards are improving their green grades by incorporating sustainable agriculture. With a little sleuthing, you can even find organic champagne or sparkling wine.