A Sustainable Affair
By: Stephanie Benney
As some of you may know, I was married this past April 28th. I was finally lucky enough to find “the one”. Since it is also the beginning of wedding season, 2012, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to share some of the sustainable aspects of my wedding and hopefully offer some tips for turning your big day into a sustainable one.
Having a green or sustainable wedding doesn’t have to mean hosting a hippie, tree-hugger event. The first thing you need to decide is what kind of bride you are. What styles, themes, colors, etc do you gravitate towards? I am a “tradition with a twist” kind of bride. So, I knew I wanted my wedding to boast a classic, simple elegance.
Once you have decided what style you want to go with for your wedding, make a list of everything you would like to include in your big day, then start skimming. With reality television shows revolving around bridezillas, dresses that cost as much as one year’s college tuition and multi-million dollar weddings of arrogant, big-bootied socialites, who marry large athletes, it’s difficult to come down from the clouds and back into your own budget.
You do not have to spend a ton of money to have the wedding of your dreams. Many of the things we see in bridal magazines, such as monogramed cocktail napkins and ice sculptures are unnecessary. Skip all of them and you will cut costs for the items that really do matter. Figure out what is the most important aspect to you, such as flowers, and build from there.
I wanted my wedding to support nothing but my local community. So, I started out by having my hair organically colored by Whitehouse Salon, Shadyside. Not only do they use ammonia-free organic hair color, their business operations are also green ( I will get into this more in a later post); it was the first time I had ever had my hair dyed and wasn’t breathing in harmful chemicals. My wedding gown came from the one and only Carlisle’s of Pittsburgh (the oldest bridal salon in the country) and was on sale, my florist was Allison McGeary of Lawrenceville (I only used flowers that were in season), my cake was from Jean Marc Chantellier of Millvale, wedding photography was done by my aunt and my ceremony and reception were both held at the Renaissance Hotel. All of these venues are within a 5 mile radius of my house and small neighborhood businesses (Renaissance Hotel excluded) and hosting both ceremony and reception at the same venue saves your guests mileage and gas, plus eliminates air pollution.
Frank’s family and friends were coming in from New York, so I wanted the guest leave-behind to represent Pittsburgh without being tacky and cliche. Since one of my passions is chocolate, we ordered beautifully gold foil wrapped milk chocolate bars from none other than Pittsburgh based and operated Betsy Ann Chocolates.
There are so many levels of sustainability when it comes to planning an event. This makes it nice, since you can pick and choose where you can be sustainable and where you cannot. Taking a minor step in action in supporting your local community and helping the environment is better than taking no step at all.
Stephanie Benney is a “Sustainable Visionary” and also the new Pittsburgh Representative for Fuzed Marketing, where she helps companies increase their brand presence. firstname.lastname@example.org