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by Corina

What gift registries do you recommend for helping charities?

Recently I’ve been looking into alternative gift registries and came across an organization and website called UniversalGiving. It is a social entrepreneurship non-profit whose mission is to make giving and volunteering a natural part of our everyday lives. Their web service connects donors and volunteers with worthwhile organizations all over the world working to protect the environment, children, animals, and much more.

If you’re like me, you may have an aversion to giving over the internet because you’re just not sure where that money is going. What I like about this service is their obvious transparency and wide variety of projects to pick from. Through UniversalGiving you can help reduce trash in Africa for $25, help send one million books to Sierra Leone’s children for $75, or contribute to the building of a rural school in India

As a green wedding consultant I help my clients look at alternative gift registries, which I’m happy to see UniversalGiving has! They offer gift registries and gift packages starting at $30, and the ability to send gift packages in someone’s name. You can adopt an orphaned chimpanzee in Cameroon, West Africa in the name of your best friend for just $15 a month. They would receive an 8×10 photograph of their chimpanzee, a full biography, periodic updates and a certificate of guardianship, and of course the satisfaction of making a real difference!

I think they do a really nice job making the cause projects transparent, easy to access, and the website simple to understand. It is tangible and realistic– making the whole giving experience feel great for you and your fiends. So when you’re planning your next birthday party, wedding, bar mitzvah, or anniversary please consider making a difference by registering through UniversalGiving. Have your family and friends get involved in helping to make our planet a safer, cleaner, and more compassionate place for our future.

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.


by Corina

Everyone wants to know just what is a “green” event when I tell them about Vibrant Events. So here’s the basics.

As curbside recycling, organic produce, and Earth Day go mainstream, many people are looking for new opportunities to help the environment and stop the effects of global warming. What better place to celebrate a greener lifestyle than with the hundreds of special events we host, attend or help plan each year in our homes, churches, local parks, or reception halls. Events offer us a great place to practice making those better choices that directly impact natural resources and promote a healthier lifestyle for ourselves and our families.

But what exactly is a green event? A green event considers the environmental and human health effects of the products and services that go into creating it. It means making choices that are “environmentally friendly – using products that are reusable, recyclable, non-toxic, energy efficient, and made from natural or recycled materials. Three years ago this was a lot harder than it is today. Eco-innovative solutions to party planning have finally hit the shelves, and all it takes is a little thinking ahead to make your event planet friendly. My favorite party products on the market today can be found at Green, and shipped to you within ten days. The biodegradable cutlery is a must have!

As a green event planner, my goal is to make each event as Zero Waste as possible. I put out recycling bins and place signs that are easily understood and seen by guests, and when I can, I’m thrilled to include composting food waste from the event. To cut down on energy and water use I recommend placing pretty signs in the bathroom to remind guests to conserve those resources by keeping their hand washing to a minimum.

Green party planners can also offset the carbon emissions from the energy used at the party or from the guests traveling to the event. DriveNeutral offers a wonderful event calculator that allows you to buy offset credits right from your desktop! I was surprised at how reasonable the prices were when a client recently offset his wedding emissions as a gift to all the guests—a well received, unique gift, which was equally thoughtful!

Treat your guests to a green event next time, and show them that your attention to their comfort and the health of the planet are important to you!

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