7 Steps to an Eco Wedding

Note: A year ago Stacie Shepp had the honor of being an "eco bride." It was important for her and her fiance to plan a wedding that had little environmental impact. She and her husband run several Green businesses; she drives a Prius, shops locally and buys organic food. Here are her suggestions for you to consider when planning your "eco wedding."

Your wedding day is a very special occasion. It is an opportunity to gather all of your closest friends and family in one place for a celebration of your love. You've probably seen the terms "eco" and "green" wedding popping up all over these days and are considering integrating these concepts into your own wedding. But what exactly does this mean? An "eco" or "green" wedding is one that takes into consideration the environmental and social impacts of the occasion. This includes everything from invites, to catering and even the honeymoon and travel.

Green Your Setting!
Choose a location where the majority of your guests won't have to travel too far. They will appreciate this with the rising price of gas and airline tickets. Also make sure that the location you choose has recycling and compost systems in place. If they don't, then maybe you can suggest they start one for your wedding.
Many brides and grooms are going paperless. Create a simple website and an online invitation. Still feel the need for a paper invite? Then choose paper that is labeled post-consumer.
Go Organic!
Choose a caterer that uses in season, local and organic ingredients. For example, if your wedding is in the summer time there are lots of great fruits and veggies available. Check to see if your caterer has a relationship with a local farmer or farmers market. And make sure if you're serving meat or fish that it was raised humanely and fed organically.
Planet Protecting Fabric
These days "eco" doesn't have to be frumpy. There are lots of amazing designers using eco-fabrics for both men and women. Another hip thing to do is to go "vintage." You can be "eco" and still have the dress you always dreamed of!
Eco Friendly Bouquets
What's a wedding without flowers? Choose a local florist who can provide you with organic and in season flowers. For example at our wedding the bridal bouquet consisted of in season local flowers including deep purple lisianthus, sweet smelling tuberose, white dendrobium orchid, and orange safflower with accents of purple-blue misty and queen anne's lace. We steered away from roses which are usually imported and require heavy pesticide use,
Earthly Gifts
Think about whether or not you really need a gift registry and if you do, how about a green gift registry. Or better yet, have your guests make you something special instead of purchased gifts or make the gift giving optional.
Recycled Jewelry
When choosing your wedding rings look for companies that make their jewelry from "Conflict Free" and "Recycled" materials. Conflict Free means that the diamonds we mined under environmentally and socially responsible conditions. We highly reccommend greenkarat.com and brilliantearth.com. Be "eco" and stylish!

After Stacie's wedding she created a resource guide www.ecowedding.org to help others in their planning. Search the directory for companies that can cater to your eco wedding needs.

• Click fncimag.com for more eco friendly tips!