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Green Eco-Friendly Weddings

You can have a "Green" Wedding

So you want to have a “Green Wedding.”  Fantastic!   Human beings have been waging war on the environment forever.  Obviously you are a caring person and you want your wedding to reflect that!  We commend you.   We will be doing a series on “Green” Weddings in Central Illinois.  Keep up with our blog for the rest of June and July and you can find all the tips on “How to Have a Green Wedding in Central Illinois.”

We are doing our first “Green” Wedding this summer and I will say it has not been easy finding resources to help us.  I know I have spent days that have accumulated into weeks making phone calls and literally begging for help.  I found a fantastic resource The Ecology Action Group in Normal.  You can visit their website  .  I cannot tell you how helpful they were.  We have an outdoor wedding that will be using #1 plastic which is recyclable.  They are using the plastic because the venue does not allow glass for large weddings due to breakage.  I completely understand why they have this policy as glass has a way of revisiting later when someone decides to walk barefoot!  So the problem was trying to find someone who would take the used plastic cups.  The Ecology Action Center helped us find a drop off center where we can put the used cups.  You will want to check on locations to make sure of current schedule.    They also helped us find Midwest fiber .   They are providing composting bins to scrape food from plates so there will be as little as possible added to the landfill from our wedding.   They will drop off the bins and pick them up.  Check with them for current pricing.  It is very reasonable!

So, what is a “Green Wedding?”  Environmentally friendly also known as eco-friendly, nature friendly, and green. What does that all mean?  These are terms that are used to refer to goods and services that claim to inflict minimal or no harm on the environment.  Many use these terms to promote goods and services by making environmental marketing claims and with eco-labels.   Because there is no accepted definition or international standard for this concept how does one not get sucked into the “Green” wave?  This is why environmental marketing claims require caution. Ambiguous titles such as environmentally friendly can be confusing without a specific definition.  In fact the Environmental Protection Agency has deemed this language useless in determining whether a product is truly “green.”

Can you truly have a “Green” Wedding?  Yes, you can.  You will have to be balanced and realize that if you plan to work with a specific venue or vendor you will have to accept what they can or cannot do.

Let’s start with the venue.  This will most likely be your first major decision and also the decision that takes up most of your budget.  Your reception venue will set the stage for your day.  Hotel ballrooms and  resorts are not be as environmentally friendly as we would like.  They use tons of electricity, water and other  not-so-earth-friendly products.  Let’s face it they are in the business of making money and being “Green” is not always the easiest to do economically!  Unfortunately is the bottom dollar that causes many places to be less “Green. ”  Do you want to have an outdoor wedding?  There are many places here in Central Illinois  that offer modern conveniences, like sinks and toilets, so you don’t have to sacrifice these comforts. You will have to consider what can be recycled and what cannot.  One way to cut down on your carbon footprint is to hold your ceremony and reception in one place this will help cut fuel exhaust.  You can also choose a venue that gets plenty of sunlight and host a daytime wedding so you can leave the lights off.   If you have an outdoor wedding do it early enough to take advantage of the natural sunlight and avoid having to use lights, thereby saving on electricity.  You can also look for hotels that recycle and use energy-efficient appliances and biodegradable products. Not sure where to start? Check out for suggestions.  When talking with a venue realize that they can are there to help you.  They can only offer so much.  Remember try to be reasonable!

Here are some questions you can ask a reception venue.  You can also print off a PDF by using this link

Does your property regularly purchase reusable and durable products?

Does your property regularly purchase products that can be recycled?

Does your property regularly purchase recycled products?

Does your property have an in-house recycling program? If yes, what materials are collected for recycling?

Does your property have a recycling program which allows guests to participate? If yes, what materials are included?

Does your property recycle any other materials (linens, phone books, oil, pallets, batteries, etc.)?

Will your property provide recycling bins for our meeting? Circle which materials we will have recycling bins for: aluminum, glass, newspaper, white paper, plastic, steel cans

Will your property commit to seeing that the above items collected from our meeting are actually recycled?

Does your property have a contract with recycling hauler/s or business/es?

Does your property donate, sell, or recycle old “durables” (i.e., furnishings, etc.)?

Will your food and beverage services use reusable items such as cloth, glass, ceramic, etc. rather than disposable items such as styrofoam or plastic for our meeting?

Will your property serve food buffet-style? One large plate? Without garnishes?

Will your property use cream pitchers, sugar pourers and washable spoons rather than individual creamer and sugar packets, etc. for our meeting? Jelly servers rather than individual packets? Other?

Will your kitchen purchase fresh rather than packaged produce?

Are vegetarian or vegan menus available?

Does your property purchase and serve beverages from a dispenser or in returnable refillable containers?

Who pays for bottle deposits–the client or the property?

Does your property donate leftover food to a local non-profit organization?

Will you provide cloth rather than disposable table drapes for display tables?

Will you provide meeting tables WITHOUT tablecloths?

Does your property have props, decorations, foliage or centerpieces that we can use?

Will your property use chips or coins rather than disposable paper tickets for coat checking and auto parking?

Does your property have guestroom dispensers for soap and shampoo?

Is your property willing to remove all small plastic amenity bottles from the guestrooms which our participants will occupy?

Does your property give guests a choice on having bath linens exchanged?

Does your property offer guests a choice on having bedsheets changed?

Do guestrooms have low-flow showerheads? Low-flow sink aerators?

Will pitchers of water be placed on the tables rather than prepouring glasses of water?

Will you use insulated water containers to keep the water cold longer?

Will you use water from a cooler rather than using ice?

Will you use leftover water and ice to water plants and replenish fountains?

What other water conservation measures have been taken?

What are you doing to reduce dry cleaning and laundry paraphernalia?

Does your property offer double-sided copying at a reduced rate?

Do doors to your meeting rooms open and close silently, without any sound?

At the close of our meeting, is your property willing to distribute meeting materials and sample products left behind to a local charity that can put them to good use?

What percentage of your property’s lighting is fluorescent?

Do meeting rooms have dimmers on lights?

Do meeting rooms have windows for natural lighting?

What other energy conservation measures have been taken?

What other conservation measures have you incorporated?

Is your property a member of “Green” Hotels Association®?

Has your property contacted “Green” Hotels Association® (713/789-8889, for information regarding being “green”?

Is there anything further in regard to being “green” that your property will offer us?

We hope this series of Blogs will help in reducing wastes and adding to landfills.  We can all try a little harder.   Here is to a better world!

Would you like to use or share this Blog please do by including the source Margaret Moore Senior Planner of Simple Elegance Events and Wedding Designs

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