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Pushing the envelope with trendsetting ideas

Pushing the envelope with trendsetting ideas
Elsje Designs creates fun & functional gifts, stationery and table decor with a true South African touch


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Monday, June 7, 2010

Steps to a Greener Wedding: Part 3

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Your invitation is the first impression guests will get of your green wedding. Look for:
recycled, handmade, or plantable papers processed chlorine-free and printed with vegetable- or soy-based inks. Elsje Designs are very proud to use a vegetable ink printer.
tree-free paper made out of hemp, banana stalks, bamboo, kenaf, or organic cotton
Elsje Designs have a range of email invitations to choose from – this is interactive and just as beautiful as a paper invitation.
If you do send out paper invitations, ask for a phone RSVP. Try to cut down the amount of paper used.
papers that aren't metallic or plastic-coated, characteristics that make them hard to recycle
opportunities to reduce paper use, like sending a postcard (instead of multi-enveloped notes) for your save-the-date, or using online invitations and a wedding blog to let people know about the bachelor/ette parties, rehearsal dinner, and gift registry
And don't forget to pick up some extra green paper products for your guest book, place cards, and thank-you notes. (You will be writing thank-yous, won't you?)

Confetti Alternatives
throw biodegradable confetti or organic rose petals.
birdseed is a good alternative to throwing rice ONLY if you are having a city wedding, or will be tossing birdseed in a manicured, non wild yard. Standard birdseed mixes contain invasive plants not native to your area, and throwing birdseed in a natural wedding spot, like in a nature preserve or state park, can cause havoc to that ecosystem.
Alternatives to rice and birdseed are throwing native wildflower seeds or petals, ringing handballs, or blowing homemade bubbles from recyclable containers.
Eat, drink, and be merry

Showcase green gustatory pleasures (and spoil your guests) by basing your menu around local, organic, and seasonal foods. Don’t forget the organic wine, beer, and spirits, and the free-trade, shade-grown coffee and tea! Some tips:
Ask the venue's preferred caterers and bakers if they can do your event organically.
Find a local organic restaurant that does off-site catering.
If your wedding won't be complete without a specific type of food, get married when it's in season.
Find a caterer you trust to pick the best seasonal selections (since you may not be able to taste those exact items ahead of time).
Consider vegetarian selections and seek out cruelty-free meats and wild, rather than farmed, fish.
Make sure the venue offers comprehensive recycling facilities, and ideally composting too.
Have your cake decorated with organically grown flowers or other natural materials instead of plastic toppers.
Rent real glassware, dishware, and linens instead of using disposables.
Go for a chic eclectic look by mixing and matching thrift-store plates and dishes (and donating them back when you're done).
Use biodegradable utensils and dishes made out of cornstarch, potatoes, wheat, or sugar cane--if your venue can compost them.
Make arrangements to donate leftover food to a local food bank or homeless shelter.
'Tis better to give...
OK, OK, giving and receiving are both great!

For your favors, give something your guests will really use and enjoy, not disposable plastic souvenirs. Some ideas:
gourmet organic chocolates or another organic or local food item
attractive bags of fresh or dried organic herbs
seeds in a commemorative container
reusable cloth tote bags
a small plant
natural soaps
soy or beeswax candles
a compact fluorescent lightbulb
a downloadable playlist of your favorite songs
a small charitable donation in each guest's name
place cards made of seeded paper that can be planted at home

For your helpful, loyal attendants, you'll want to up the ante a little, perhaps with:
gift baskets of organic skin-care products
recycled jewelry, wallets, handbags, or drinking glasses
selections of organic coffees, teas, and chocolates
recycled paper journals and stationery
great bottles of organic wine

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