Calling all green brides.
The anticipation of your big day — everyone's going to be there, you've thought about it for so long, and you've put a lot of energy into making it.
Now add going green onto that. How can you host everyone, make it beautiful, memorable, even perfect, and still tread lightly?
For starters, think about your wedding as one of life's many beautiful gatherings. Special events give life its spark, celebrating community, family, a loved one's final resting, birth, union and achievement. It's more than OK to do — it's important. Our ability to gather and celebrate is one of the very best human expressions, helping to define our uniqueness among all living creatures.
But it is, of course, possible to go overboard.
According to the Brides.com American Wedding Study 2009, the average cost of a wedding is about $28,000. That seems high in this economy, but it's obviously easy to get carried away.
It's also easy to lose track of what's local and simple. In addition, time, money, task and group consensus may convolute choices. Finally, expectations that define American life and fashion can exacerbate the resource consumption of the final outcome.
Conversely, it's also easy to get carried away with greening your wedding. Are you importing organic cotton linens for the tables when using what's locally available actually requires less transportation and manufacturing? While organic cotton appears green, it may actually increase your day's carbon footprint.
Having a green wedding really comes down to being cognizant of resource consumption — this is the defining factor that makes one wedding more green than another.
The bridal sites all seem to agree that 2009's premier trend was "go green." For those brides-to-be that are just getting started, here are a few Green Quick Fixes for that treasured nuptial centerpiece — your wedding dress. I'll have more for you soon.
The average dress is $1,075, according to the Brides.com study, which surprised me after seeing price tags at chain stores like David's Bridal, Filene's Basement's Running of the Brides and even some of the more "reasonably priced" dress boutiques in Massachusetts. To go green with your dress:
Ask someone you know who wore a beautiful gown — a cousin, your mom, maybe even a friend, and ask to borrow it. Offer to buy it if you want to alter it.
Online, there's Ebay.com, EncoreBridal.com and TheDressMarket.net for used, lightly worn and unworn couture dresses. Etsy.com crafters offer vintage re-creations.
If trying it on is essential, then check out several stores in Massachusetts that offer bridal consignment, including Over the Rainbow in Wenham and Viva Amore in Watertown, which also carries eco-friendly designers.
If you have your heart set on something new and desire eco-friendly fabrics like hemp silk or organic cotton, there are numerous chic designers online. Companies in Georgia, Tennessee and other bread-basket states offer green designs and cater personally to brides and their dream-dress visions. Also, the quite reasonable prices for some of these custom-made gowns will surprise you, and they are so beautiful, your guests won't know it's "shhh! hemp" until you announce it!
Andrea Fox, a Beverly resident, has been writing about environmental sustainability and eco-topics for nine years. She is a member of the Society of Environmental Journalists and a watershed protection advocate in Salem Sound Watershed. Visit her Web site at www.msgreenquickfixes.com.