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by Corina

Starbucks cup without a straw

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Starbucks is well known around the world for their delightful drinks, and whatever they do, they are sure to capture public attention. Once again, the company shocked the world when they announced their plans to entirely get rid of plastic straws by the year 2020 to help limit their environmental impact. With this announcement and move to strawless lids, the coffee franchise has succeeded in bringing public attention back towards issues of environmentalism.

Following in their footsteps, many other industries and individuals are making their own “No More Staws” resolutions or take other actions (such as moving to eco-friendly packaging) to raise awareness about issues of environmentalism and limit their own impact. In fact, choosing to shop or receive services from these types eco-friendly organizations is another way you can go green! Here is why you too should take up the gauntlet and challenge yourself to get rid of plastic straws in your life.

What’s All the Fuss About?

Each year, the plastic industry continues to grow at an alarming rate, much faster than it is able to be recycled and broken down. According to a report published in Science Advances, around 80% of plastic waste ends up in landfills, 12% is burned, and only 9% is actually recycled. This means that there is a high percentage of waste that is continuously building up within our landfills. In addition, the chemicals that are added to plastics means these items cannot entirely be recycled.

The Gateway to Plastic Elimination

Eliminating plastic straws may seem futile in the face of all the tons of plastic accumulating each year, but many believe that because straws are something consumers experience daily around the globe, they can be used as a conversation starter about our current global plastic problem. Straws, like many other plastic products, are designed for one-time-use before being discarded. And it has become too easy to get into the habit of using these without thinking about their impact to our environment. So, for the sake of creating a healthier habit of eliminating waste, sometimes it is necessary to start small–maybe even with something as simple as a straw.

How to Start


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1) “No Straw Please”: Be sure to let your bartender or server know you don’t need a straw. Eliminating from the source- you- is the best place to start.
2) Consider alternatives: There are many different companies offering alternatives to straws that can help to eliminate the plastic waste. For example, using metal straws that can be reused, or adorable paper straws that are biodegradable in municipal or home compost.
3) Pasta to the rescue: A new company that’s become part of the solution, has created pasta straws to replace plastic. Genius! Additionally, linguine pasta is a great replacement for plastic coffee stirs. Two more reason to love Pasta!

We love this new #plasticsucks movement, because it’s bringing to life that giving back to OUR environment doesn’t have to be limited to sorting your garbage at home. If you are thinking about the ways that you can alter your own daily habits at Starbucks, your local bar, or away on vacation, to become more environmentally conscious then you are on your way to making lasting change. Just don’t forget to tell your friends to join you in this movement. We will have a greater impact #together!

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Author Bio: Katie McDaniel is a writer and editor with a passion for conservation and environmentalism. She covers everything from the latest developments in HR to business communication, and enjoys writing about traveling and events.

by Corina

The recent New York drama around some wedding photographer’s gone bankrupt, leaving many couples left in the dark with their wedding photo’s and albums, is so concerning.

I’m happy to see that the Attorney General of NYC is following up on the case, and has issued the following great advice for couples about hiring a wedding photographer.

1. Insist the company identify the photographer who will be at your wedding, and make sure they are listed on the contract you sign

2. Check at least 3 references for weddings that took place within the last 3 months

3. Never pre-pay in full

4. Discuss and decide on due dates for each task and make sure the contract contains that information (ie, proofs are ready for you to view by a certain date)

5. Check to see if the vendor belongs to a wedding photographer’s association

by Corina

I love to follow trends.. what woman doesn’t?! But more than that I love to follow eco-fabulous fashion and wedding trends. Of course, no eco-wedding trend should have a shelf life, expiring at the end of the year…after all they are all great, green practices for any green event!

photo by Catie Ronquillo

The Recycled Bride, which also has a fabulous real weddings section of their blog, publishes their take each year on the years great eco-wedding trends.

This year’s report says that the eco-savvy brides and grooms are…

1. still into chalkboards, be it for menu’s, seating charts, or programs they cut down on unnecessary paper waste, and just plane look cool

2. staying away from diamonds by either opting for colored gems or (my favorite) buying man-made stones, which are naturally conflict free

3. staying home for their honeymoons, seeking out romantic hometown adventures (hmmmm? if you lived in San Francisco maybe…)

4. sourcing local food, inspired by Chelsea Clinton’s wedding (of course)

5. opting for a smaller guest list, making for more intimate weddings (and more affordable)

6. recycling, by reusing gowns, party decor, and wedding accessories (though technically, this is called “reuse”)

7. shortening wedding dresses, so they can wear them again (very practical!)

8. registering green to support the sustainable economy (yayyy!)

9. love vintage bird cage veils, opting out of long veiled accessories

10. And last… featuring a more vegetable based dinner, reducing the meat at each plate! (victory for the vegetarians)

The trends are posted at Project Wedding now.. and the photo’s are just adorable, courtesy of Catie Ronquillo (I love the photo shoot!).

by Corina

The EPA lists reuse as the top strategy for reducing waste in landfills. Quilters have know the fabulousness of scrap material reuse for centuries, and create masterpieces of art and meaning with them. So I wondered what was possible with the reuse of scrap material for a green wedding or special event. Here are some fun, whimsical, and playful opportunities to integrate reuse of linens!

Feel free to send more ideas my way. This was a lot of fun to research.

1.  Escort Cards: Perfect for the DIY bride who may have integrated customized vintage table runners into her tablescapes. From Martha Stewart .com here is a very cute way to guide your guests to their tables. Find DIY directions online here.

2. Flower Vessels: Are you like me and can’t bare to throw out (or recycle) beautiful glass milk containers, ceramic yogurt jars, and other sweet food vessels? Then reusing them with vintage scrap fabric can create a gorgeous alternative to your usual flower vases, and could be a very unique approach to your special event centerpieces. 100 Layer Cake shows you how to re-create these vessel alternatives here.

 3. Bunting Banner: Festive for yourbackyard or any special event, bunting banners easily utilize scrap material, old curtains, or plastic shower curtail you can’t bare to chuck away. Decide on a color palate or range of colors, find some fun scrap materials, grab your pinking sheers, make a cardboard triangle template, and start cutting! Crafting a Green has directions for you online here.

4. Napkins & more: Check out this article from Apartment Therapy which has multiple uses for your home, but might be translated to an event. Like  lavender sachet’s as favors for your guests, or re-creating fabric scraps as napkins!

by Corina

green valentine'sIt’s time again…another holiday full of thoughtful cards, expensive flowers, and calorie-laden chocolates. Valentine’s Day alone, according to the U.S. Greeting Card Association, generates over one billion Valentine’s cards each year, while fifty-five million roses are traded globally. This is big business! So, as you prepare to acknowledge your sweetheart this February 14th, spoil yourselves, not the planet, with these environmentally-aware alternatives.

Heart Shaped Plantable Valentine’s Day Card @ Botanical Paperworks
Always fun, these hearts are made from 100% post consumer waste stock with emended wildflower seeds. Plant them and they will grow!

Silver Heart Pendant with Conflict Free Diamond @ Brilliant Earth
A true gift from the heart, this delicate recycled sterling silver pendant sparkles with a conflict free diamond. By the fine jewelers of Brilliant Earth, are committed to pure and socially responsible sourcing, and harvesting.

Organic, Vegan, Aphrodisiac Dinner @ Millennium Restaurant

This gourmet dining experience in San Francisco is prepared with vegetarian, healthy, and environmentally friendly foods. Enjoy a five course prix fixe menu laced with aphrodisiacs to ignite your evening of love.

Sustainable Sex @ Good Clean Love
Making love sustainable, Good Clean Love sells all natural and organic green products for your health and sexual enhancement. Try their love set– a collection of the best selling products, destined to make l make your Valentine’s night a celebration that will last throughout the year.

Eco-Elegant Valentine Flowers & Chocolates @ Organic Bouquet

Send your love to that special someone with sustainable flowers, wreaths and chocolates. Organic Bouquet, the original online organic flower store, offers products with the highest social and environmental standards and practices.

by Corina

You’ve done a great job including eco-friendly options into most all aspects of your wedding, from the location to the flowers, from the gown to the gift registry. But now you’re left wondering “How do I green my wedding cake?”

Never fear, many options abound for a sustainable, organic, locally sourced (and not to mention healthy) wedding cake. Seek out a baker in your area that is used to working with natural ingredients like unbleached flour and unrefined sugar. Also ask where they source their products from, as most European bakers import their materials from Europe adding to the carbon footprint of your wedding. Finally, be sure the chocolate and vanilla are not just added flavorings, but sourced naturally from Fair Trade organizations.

Choosing the right cake for your wedding can be a fun experience, so take your time, go to the cake tastings (YUM), and get to know your options so you can make the right choice that meets your style expectations as well as your personal values. Everyone has their own motivations as to why a processed, refined cake just doesn’t cut it for their green wedding!

You have food allergies. Whether you’re gluten intolerant, diabetic, or just plain health-conscious, no need to worry. Bewitching Elegance in Burlingame, CA offers diabetic friendly cakes made with agave nectar. Short Street Cakes in Asheville, NC has delectable treats and wedding cakes in gluten-free and sugar-free options. Many bakeries these days can cater to special dietary needs, so just ask!

You’re vegan. Many bakers now have redesigned their recipes to replace anything animal-derived, and there’s no sacrificing on flavor! Sticky Fingers in Washington, DC promises to have even the pickiest guest’s mouth watering over their vegan creations. Dulce Vegan in Atlanta, GA also offers 100% vegan, organic, and unprocessed sweets. On the West Coast, try Sugar Beat Sweets in San Francisco, or Black Sheep Bakery in Portland, OR – both are uncompromising in their values and committed to providing 100% vegan confections.

You want it to be organic. With the growing awareness of pesticides and contaminants in our food, of course that extends to our special-occasion baked delectables as well! Tree House Pastry Shop in New Mexico specializes in all-organic creations, while Stephanies in San Diego focuses on nutritious, wholesome ingredients. Lotus Cake Studio in Philadelphia makes all organic couture cakes and “artful edibles.”

Sustainable environmental and Fair Trade practices are important to you. Consider the lifecycles of each ingredient in your cake – was that decadent chocolate produced by workers subjected to slave labor? Was that sugar harvested in a plantation that destroyed the local habitat? Though easy to overlook, these are serious issues as well. Sweet and Organic in Oak Park, CA creates wedding cakes using kosher, organic ingredients, and supports sustainable business practices. Hippie Chick Bakery in New Hampshire sources their ingredients locally and utilizes green practices themselves – they even use eggs from their own flock of free-range rescued shelter chickens!

You’re a raw foodist. Although most bakers do not have a “raw option,” you know as well as I do that a raw cake can be done – just as rich and heavenly as a baked one. Karyn’s, which blesses Chicago with a raw food cafe, conscious foods restaurant, and a day spa, offers gourmet raw wedding cakes upon request. Also try Mary’s Secret Garden in Los Angeles to special order a raw vegan wedding cake that truly nurtures mind, body, and spirit or Veggie Munn in Miami for raw, vegan, wheat-free, sugar-free, organic delights. Tried and true Cafe Gratitude provides scrumptious raw wedding cakes for the San Francisco Bay Area.

by Corina

If you’re planning on making your wedding green, you’re probably already thinking about using eco-friendly invitations. But you may not be aware of all the latest and greatest green invite options that have popped up latley!

Traditionally, wedding invitations include an outer envelope, inner envelope, the invitation itself, a reply card, and directions to the venue – that’s a lot of paper! Paper manufacturing is extremely resource intensive, requiring huge amounts of water and fossil fuels. In fact, The Federal Network on Sustainability states that the pulp and paper industry is the second largest consumer of energy! Then there’s the printing industry, which uses millions of tons of ink, toner, solvents, coatings, and adhesives derived from non-renewable petroleum. Waste products from these processes cause great harm to surrounding ecosystems. Consider this – according to Green Print, production of 1 ton of copy paper produces 2,278 lb of solid waste!

There are many ways to incorporate all of the usual functions of a wedding invite, and still tread lightly on the planet in the process. Here are some of our favorites!

Earthly Affair Invitations

Looking for a well designed invitation with classy appeal? Earthly Affair— who’s latest designs are featured above– offers gorgeous, eco-friendly invitations in two paper options – 100% Post Consumer Waste (considered the most environmentally efficient option, using no new trees) and cotton, which is FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified for responsible forest management and consists of partially recycled content. Earthly Affair is committed to recycling, reusing, or composting everything in the studio. They even keep track of their shipment to you and will offset the co2 emissions through the nonprofit CarbonFund! Stay tuned for the option to custom design your invites in the next few months. Vibrant loves: the modern, yet earthy “Daffodil” collection.

For a more DIY approach, InviteSite offers a huge variety of luxurious tree-free and 100% postconsumer recycled invites. You can print them yourself, or have them do it w/ their own vegetable based inks. InviteSite is dedicated to promoting alternative fiber papers such as mulberry, latka, and milkweed. Vibrant loves: the 100% eco “Lily.”

Want to go paperless? You know about Evite– but maybe you haven’t thought about using it for your wedding because they are usually lacking in elegance. That’s where Pingg comes in! Stylish, sophisticated, and deeply customizable – these invites have it all. Advanced, yet easy RSVP management, gift registry integration, and even the option of printing and mailing – because some people just want an old-fashioned invitation. And unlike Evite, guests can conveniently RSVP without going to the website. We think Pingg is a great option for your green wedding invites – without sacrificing in the style department!

Still need some help? Vibrant Event is a full service green wedding planning company. Give us a call now to find out how we can support you with customized eco-invitations that don’t skimp on style! There are many local and green options available, if you know where to look. We’ll help you find the best in your area.

by Corina


The Green Guide is covering green weddings in its May/June issue. The Three R’s of Wedding Bliss has tons of great resources for the DIY green bride, and the few nice suggestions from me here and there, make for a really nice piece! I love that Maureen Ryan, the author, included candles in the conversation. Not a lot of the recent articles I’ve read have had those resources or mention the importance of non-petroleum based candles at your special event.

If you are just getting started with your green wedding resources, this article will get you going in all the right directions. But if you have been researching for a while now, you’ve probably seen these before…or not!

by Corina

This month TIME Magazine features 51 Things We Can Do in response to global warming. Along with switching to energy-efficient light bulbs, turning fuel into food, and capturing CO2 with clean coal plant solutions, I was surprised to see that the greening of weddings made the list!

#28. Have a green wedding
By Catherine Sharick

You won’t be able to stop global warming on your wedding day, but your choices can lessen the carbon footprint of your event. For example, if your guests are traveling long distances, offset the carbon emissions from their trips with a donation to renewable—energy projects. The sustainable— wedding website, in partnership with NativeEnergy, a renewable energy company, offers a wedding carbon calculator where couples can enter the number of guests and approximate miles traveled, to calculate the carbon impact of their wedding—related travel.

Wherever you celebrate, you can reduce your CO2 impact and often save money by giving your wedding a local touch. Buy wine from a nearby vineyard or beer from a neighborhood brewery. Get your wedding cake from a local bakery, and use seasonal flowers, not imports. “Why eat food or drink wine or beer that has traveled thousands of miles when you can choose local options that are just as good?” says Meghan Meyers, CEO of

The wedding industry is a $139 billion a year in the US, spent on rings, venues, engagement parties, the ceremony and reception, gowns, rentals, the honeymoon, etc. These events, though seemingly short in time, are full of environmental impact. Using local and organic caterers, sourcing organic wine, and offsetting your carbon emissions from nonprofit organizations like DriveNeutral can make your event a responsible celebration which supports our environment for generations to come.

Consider “going green” your wedding gift to the planet!

by Corina

What are some of the easiest/simplest ways to green a wedding or event if you have very little time or resources to devote to it?

If you don’t have a lot of money or a lot of time, here are five quick and easy steps you can take to green your special event. Personally I always start with the 3R’s:

1. Reduce the amount of “stuff” you purchase. Remember the golden rule of design: less is more. Don’t over purchase food or supplies for the party. This just adds to the waste—of natural resources and hard earned cash.

2. Reuse, or borrow where you can. I’ve planned a lot of weddings that incorporated antique tea cup collections, platters and plates, or a variety of flower vases and candlesticks all borrowed from family members happy to help. This not only adds a lovely chic look, but it also brings a warm and touching representation of family into the occasion.

3. Recycle whatever you can. In some cities recycling everything may be difficult, so just do your best. Set out separate containers to capture glass bottles, plastic, aluminum cans and after the event be sure to recycle the aluminum containers your caterer may have brought the food in—this is often overlooked, and an important part of having a zero waste event! Remember, it takes 90% less energy to recycle an aluminum can than to make a new one.

4. Donate leftovers. This includes food, unopened drinks, decorations like live plants or flowers. These items will be happily accepted by nursing homes or shelters for the homeless. Check your local listings for organizations to support.

5. Consider offsetting the emissions of your event by having guests pay a suggested amount. At one event I produced, the hosts had a small, very attractive sign at the sign-in table which explained carbon offsets and their desire to make the event carbon neutral. They suggested a dollar amount each guest leave inside a designated box. For some this may seem too forward, but in this case it was successful because of the nature of the event and the creative way it was presented. I think you might be surprised to find that guests are thrilled to participate in such a unique suggestion that helps a great cause—stopping global warming.

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