It’s a nice day for a green wedding

“More couples are searching for ways to integrate environmental awareness into this most meaningful celebration,” says Josh Dorfman, the New York City-based host of the Lazy Environmentalist Web-radio program and online eco-resource guide. He’s talking about the trend toward eco, or green, weddings.

If at first it seemed that going green was just a trend (akin to Feng shui-ing your living room and taking up yogalates), this earth-friendly fad has now gained the momentum of a full-on movement. And with environmentally aware celebrities (Leonardo DiCaprio, Al Gore) pushing the issues, organic foods stocking supermarket shelves, green-building contractors in the Yellow Pages and natural-fiber clothing fabricated by not just “granola” companies, but by high-end designers as well, “eco” is becoming less of a buzz word and more of a way of life.

And as the green revolution moves from flavor-of-the-week into the collective consciousness, every major industry, from tour operators and transportation providers to caterers and retailers, is jumping on board.

So what, exactly, does that mean for the bride and groom mapping out a wedding? Now, more than ever, it’s easy to take the traditional white wedding in a much greener direction. And that’s where the Xpress Green Wedding Guide comes in.

“Probably the easiest and perhaps most important step to take is to work with a caterer who will source food locally,” Dorfman offers. He suggests the Web site www.sustainabletable.org. Next tip: “If guests would only eat with their hands and do keg stands at the party we could really reduce wedding waste. This is why college fraternities are the leading eco lights of universities throughout the country.” The Lazy Environmentalist jests, or course, but turning to biodegradable plates, cups and utensils at the reception (try www.branchhome.com for stylish bamboo sets) is one easy way to reduce waste.

Ease is key here, since every aspect of planning a wedding can be overwhelming. There are countless minute details, endless feats of coordination, rings, flowers, dresses, seating charts … and now you have to do something for the environment, too? Relax. Take a deep breath. More and more, gurus of “less is more” are moving into the eco-movement forefront, advising us to take small steps toward a healthier planet. Dorfman is just one purveyor of this mindset, and even TV broadcaster ABC is on the bandwagon with their One Simple Thing program, offering green changes anyone can make.

Other tips from Dorfman include:

• Going organic with the flowers: “Lots of shops carry organically grown flowers. [It’s] a great way to reduce pesticides and insecticides—basically poisons—from the environment.”

• Brides should consider what they ask their bridesmaids to wear. “Perhaps she can give them a color and let them pick their own dresses, something that then might stand a chance of being worn more than once.”

• Offsetting travel miles with carbon credits. “There are some reputable companies doing it. I like Native Energy [www.nativeenergy.com].”

• When it comes to the wedding toast, “lots of great organic vodkas are on the market (www.squareonevodka.com, www.orangev.com). In your neck of the woods, Pisgah Brewing is pretty tasty. Organic mixers come from Mod Mix [www.modmixbeverages.com].”

This guide follows Dorfman’s lead with suggestions, local resources and unique ideas to add eco-savvy to any wedding. Start with compact-fluorescent light bulbs as party favors, locally grown botanical arrangements and encouraging guests to carpool to your reception. Then, if you’re ready, think bigger with an eco-honeymoon, bamboo-fiber wedding gown or a registry that gives back to the planet. The most important thing is to take that first step.

Since you’re gearing up to take those life-changing steps down the aisle, anyway, why not make them count toward a greener future for everyone? Talk about happily ever after.

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About Alli Marshall
Alli Marshall is the arts section editor at Mountain Xpress. She's lived in Asheville for more than 20 years and loves live music, visual art, fiction and friendly dogs. Alli is the winner of the 2016 Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize and the author of the novel "How to Talk to Rockstars," published by Logosophia Books. Follow me @alli_marshall

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