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15
Apr
by Corina

This was asked by a reporter recently, and I thought I’d publish my full remarks…

We live in a time where people have a growing concern for our environment– loss of biodiversity, pollution, social injustices, and fossil fuel dependency. This concern has driven millions of people to choose a more balanced and healthy lifestyle. These consumers are known at the LOHAS (Lifestyle of the Healthy and Sustainable) market, and are about 50 million people in the US today. This market represents individuals who are willing to pay more to have an organic, healthy lifestyle that supports sustainable systems.

Vibrant Events was started because I feel that the wedding industry has missed the opportunity to support the sustainable economy. It sells over-consumption and unsustainable products, trying to get brides and grooms to buy more, more, more. Until [2007], it was extraordinarily difficult for couples to fully integrate their sustainable lifestyles into their wedding. It took 1) a lot of research and work to find the right products and services, and 2) it was hard to find sources that lived up to a certain refined style aesthetic people wanted for their wedding. But now with the onset of companies like Organic Bouquet, Brilliant Earth, and the HauteGreen movement happening in NYC, there are plenty of high quality, and high style sustainable alternatives to meet every couples needs.

Within the green wedding market there has been a wonderful trend in wedding gowns. The fashion industry has been slow to green itself, for a number of reasons, so I can’t be more happy to see today the amazing trend among gown designers to think eco-friendly. I’m certain this will continue and grow as more designers think outside of the box, and create stylish and sustainable alternatives for the green-minded bride!

But of course, my favorite trend within green weddings, is the ability for couples to offset the carbon emissions from the event through several organizations like CarbonFund.org. Though still controversial, I’m a big believer in using innovative solutions to combat the challenges we face environmentally and socially, and to me, carbon offsetting is a solution we can engage in now. I like that kind of immediate gratification, and I think most brides and grooms do too!

19
Mar
by Corina

Not just a trend anymore, the recent Forbes.com article on green weddings proves eco-nuptuals are here to stay. And, it’s not just couples that are making the shift to green weddings, the article points to a change in the midset of caterers as well as the onset of the ever popular eco-bridal registry.

“[Another trend is]… caterers’ use of local produce and a decrease in portion sizes–both in response to seeing so much food waste.”

Congratulations to green wedding planner Sarah Shewey ,of Pink Cloud Evens in LA, for a great interview. Green weddings are not just about the wedding, and Shewey knows how great it feels when lifestyles are changed as well.

“There’s an education process that affects the bride’s lifestyle after the wedding, which we get really excited about,” she says. “The wedding is a small reflection and projection of what our lifestyle is going to be, so being able to incorporate things like fashion and makeup and hair, something all of us girls do every day, is cool.”

It’s amazing to think that green weddings can have, and do have, a lasting effect on couples. One couple interviewed said “Before this, we didn’t do anything…it didn’t even cross our mind.” Now they are more concious and aware of their daily impacts. What a great feeling!!

“Yay” for fabulous green wedding planners, couples, and all the eco-vendors that help make this life ritual/passage possible AND responsible! Thanks to all!!

18
Mar
by Corina

I understand that corporate events are often challenging when it comes to “ooo’ing” and “ahhh’ing” the guests (partly because they are used to attending events), but when I read the recent online newsletter for Special Events Magazine, I couldn’t resist posting my response to showcase why green events matter.

The highlighted event, the BASF Pack.it meeting, featured a building that was literally wrapped entirly in plastic wrap! The idea was to use “packaging” as a theme and to artistically express that throughout the event because the client, BASF, produces plastic for packaging. It’s a fun idea to want to wrap a building in plastic for sure…they even went as far as wrapping the surrounding trees as well (symbolism anyone?)…but I can’t help ask isn’t it a bit of a waste? — did anyone think about the wasted resources (plastic is made from precious, non-renewable oil) and where it would all go after the event?

Not only did they wrap 13,000 square feet of the building and the trees to showcase the “power of packaging,” but they also served a 10-course meal in individual wrapped dishes with their own “distinctive packaging.” (A green event no no!) Impressive as it must have been to be surrounded in packaging, I can’t stop myself from having a reaction here. WOW! It seems like the underlying message was “produce lots of plastic packaging.” Is that really what consumers want?

Packaging is a major player in the dilemma’s we’re now facing in keeping a sustainable planet, one that works with nature, not against it. Think about it…how often are you confident that your plastic packaging is getting recycled, or how often do you even know what plastic packaging is recyclable? I know I’m confused a lot, and I live in Ecotopia (Northern California).

Wal-Mart is even behind an initiative to reduce packaing. They are forcing all their suppliers to follow a Packaging Scorecard so as to reduce the amount of weight in trucking and emissions in the air. In fact, in 1991 Germany instituted the Green Dot System, specifically targeting reducing packaging waste by making it all recyclable, well designed packages got a green dot. (It’s funny then that this event took place in Ludwigshafen, Germany, where BASF is headquartered.)

Though the article didn’t say explicitly what happened to all this packaging after the event, I’m left concerned. Special events are meant to be impressive and inspiring, but without conscious thought to the end-of-life of a lot of the products used in producing large scale special events, they can be extremely wasteful. This is why I’m dedicated to inspiring a sustainable transformation within this industry, and why I believe green events need to happen!

 

27
Mar
by Corina

I don’t know if you saw what I did, but Valentine’s week brought a slew of green wedding articles, tips, blogs and magazine coverage. Most notably was the NY Times report on How Green Was My Wedding? which seems to have stirred the pot, making the conversation of green weddings HOT, HOT, HOT!

Until recently the concept of green weddings has been covered by the organic and more sustainable media circles but has not been a conversation inside the bridal magazines and other mainstream media. I’ve been following this now for about six years and my favorite coverage until now was the Organic Style magazine March 2005 issue that covered Alicia Silverstone’s green wedding for its vegetarian menu, recycled wine barrel and bamboo bar, and the stunning location in Lake Tahoe California.

So why now, all of a sudden? I keep asking myself. My assessment is that along with this new green wave hitting society ie: the success of movies like An Inconvenient Truth, celebrities like Leonardo DiCaprio bringing attention to going green, and even the Economist is reporting of The Greening of America etc.– society seems to be embracing environmentally and socially responsible activities everywhere…including now the most memorable event of our lifetimes, the wedding! There are the cynics out there that think greening an event like a wedding isn’t going to do much for saving the planet, especially because weddings are often about grotesque abundance and carry that “more is better attitude. But I disagree obviously, being a green wedding planner myself, I would!

We may just think of a wedding event as something that happens quickly, and doesn’t really add up to much, but it actually is much, much more than we realize. Weddings are a huge industry, generating $139 billon a year spent on rings, venues, engagement parties, the ceremony and reception, gowns, rentals, the honeymoon, etc. If we trace the lifecycle of the most popular products and services that go into an event of this magnitude, we will see some of the worst environmental degradation caused: the earth scares left from mining for the gold that goes into the wedding ring; the damage caused by over 200 pesticides and fungicides sprayed on the roses that go into the bouquets (which 40% of those are typically banned in the US); and the horrific social injustices experienced by diamond miners and flower growers in Africa and South America. This is why choosing recycled gold rings, local and organic flowers, and conflict-free diamonds is better for the planet and for future generations to come.

These are just a few of the products I’m using as an example of how deep you can take the greening of your event, it can of course go much farther. There are many shades of green and it is up to the couple to choose how deep they want to go– organic cake, organic, flowers, recycled rings, and much much more! I thought the NY Times article was a truly great overview of how couples are making choices that integrate their environmental and social values into this landmark event and doing it in simple, meaningful ways that don’t break the budget. Examples included were of brides handcrafting ceramic gifts for guests, purchasing carbon offsets by donating to tree planting operations, and having their event at a local farm to support local, organic agriculture. These are wonderful, values driven gestures that all couples can integrate here and there into their event, bringing added value and spirit, and making it a memorable experience for all. I hope you’ll help promote a pretty and purposeful wedding the next time you are involved in a wedding yourself!

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