Green Bride Guide: How to Create an Earth-Friendly Wedding on Any Budget


Your Wedding: Beautiful and Sustainable. Just Like Your Marriage

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The Green Bride Guide: How to Create an Earth-Friendly Wedding on Any Budget

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Your Wedding: Beautiful and Sustainable. Just Like Your Marriage

The Green Bride Guide has everything eco-conscious couples need to make their event more sustainable. Green wedding veteran and environmentalist Kate L. Harrison offers hundreds of eco-friendly choices in one handy reference.

Emphasizing elegance and individual taste, The Green Bride Guide covers all aspects of the big day and beyond.

  • Engagement
  • Location
  • Invitations
  • Bridal party attire
  • Flowers
  • The ceremony
  • The reception
  • Gifts
  • The honeymoon

Whether you want to include just a few green elements in your decor or have a carbon-neutral wedding with local organic food and a peace silk dress, you'll fi nd the resources you need to pull it off with panache. And you can plan a gorgeous green event on any budget - Kate offers options in every price category.

Paired with a website and complete with vendor worksheets, The Green Bride Guide is an invaluable reference for anyone interested in planning an elegant, exciting, eco-friendly wedding.

Say "I Do" and Save The Planet

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The Green Bride Guide: How to Create an Earth-Friendly Wedding on Any Budget is nothing short of a goldmine of information for any couple. Kate did a fantastic job writing it and deserves mammoth amounts of attention and thanks.
" - Victoria Everman blog

"If you're in the early stages of planning your green wedding, grab this book and read it from cover to cover - you'll be buzzing with eco-inspiration!

If you've got just a few months (or weeks, or days!) to go, get a copy anyway and you can dip in and out of the clearly labelled chapters to find the tips you need.
" - Ethical Weddings Blog

"In this book you'll find out how YOU can plan our 'special day' without sacrificing style or the environment!" - Made by Girl

"If you're a green person through and through and in the process of planning a wedding, I'd definitely recommend this book. But, I'd also say it's a helpful resource for the "green" environmentally friendly couple, new to the idea of leading a green lifestyle together or planning an eco-chic wedding. You can't go wrong with showing a little love for the earth!
" -

"Kate does a great job of explaining both the why and the how of green wedding planning, and she covers everything from the engagement and bridal shower to the wedding location, transportation, ceremony, reception, food, flowers, and even the honeymoon! I really can't think of a single thing she's missed here.
" -

"Well organized and easy to read, The Green Bride Guide is full of suggestions for every wedding budget. Even though I'm radpidly heading toward my five year wedding anniversary, I still enjoyed reading this book and marveled at how creative Kate is. " - Allie's Answers

"Her book is an excellent resource for any couple who wants to plan their special day with fabulous style and without harming the environment.
" - Sweet Greens

"When it comes to creating a green event, it doesn't have to be all or nothing: trying your best is what counts, says Harrison. And The Green Bride Guide will help you do just that." - Intimate Weddings

"makes it clear that going green

does not have to mean going broke makes it easy to know at a glance what will or will not be realistic.

Budget need never be sacrificed to inject a lot or a little green, nor

does style, creativity, comfort or fun.
simplify the interview process " - BookPage

Library Journal

Being environmentally responsible has become so mainstream today that many wedding books acknowledge it, but The Green Bride Guide covers the topic thoroughly. Going well beyond standard tips (like using recycled paper for invitations), Harrison's book even explores options for slow-food receptions, touts buying locally, and encourages fair trade as Emily Elizabeth Anderson did in her shorter work, Eco-Chic Weddings. Like Anderson, Harrison is never didactic, even when broaching human rights issues related to diamond rings and pesticide-laden flowers. An environmental lawyer who recently married an environmental historian, the author enthusiastically shares sound ideas and current resources to help couples find a balance between the wedding industry's hype and their own personal values. Recommended.

Actor Bridger's irreverent book highlights the well-established trend of grooms taking an active role in wedding planning. As an unknown writer, he related his own transformation into groomzilla in the 2006 New York Times article "Men Don't Care About Weddings? Groomzilla Is Hurt" and subsequently got a book deal. However, Bridger admits in his introduction that this book is "all fake advice and silly pictures." Unfortunately, he seems to have lost sight of his intended audience: heterosexual women, not pubescent males. Unlike the author, most brides probably do not think of the Internet as the place to "find free videos of naughty Dutch girls who need spanking." Libraries wanting to update wedding humor might consider something funnier, more tasteful, and with wider appeal, like Claire Lewis's Exposed: Confessions of a Wedding Photographer. Surviving isnot recommended.
—Bonnie Poquette

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781402213458
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks
  • Publication date: 12/1/2008
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Kate L. Harrison (Connecticut) graduated from Vassar College with a major in Environmental Conservation and Sustainable Development. After school, she moved to Berkeley, CA, where she worked in environmental education and outreach. She holds a J.D. from Pace Law School and is currently finishing her master's degree in Environmental Policy, Law, and Economics from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. She wrote The Green Bride Guide after she and her husband Barry planned their own green wedding in 2007.

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Read an Excerpt

In the fall of 2006, when my husband, Barry, and I began thinking about and planning our own green wedding, we were surprised by how little information was available to assist us. I read every book and article I could find on the topic and spent hundreds of hours surfing online for green ideas, supplies, and vendors. It was an extremely frustrating and laborious process - but we were delighted with the results! To save others from having to go through the trouble, I decided to compile my efforts into this comprehensive resource - The Green Bride Guide.

Throughout this book I have tried to include some of the answers to the why of different choices - why local, why organic, why fair trade, etc. - but first, the biggest why of all:

Why a Green Wedding?
I should mention off the bat that my husband, Barry, and I are both environmentalists - he's an environmental historian, and I work in environmental law and policy. However, when we announced our plan to have a green wedding, my father's first response was still, "Why would you want a green wedding - aren't weddings supposed to be white?" Although the confusion about green the color vs. green the concept was cleared up quickly, my father's skepticism remained. This is the first hurdle. Although green weddings are becoming more popular, it is inevitable that some of your friends and family members will not understand what a green wedding is or why you would want to have one. So let's begin with a few reasons why one might choose to have a sustainable event.

Sidestepping the Wedding Industry.
Put the emphasis on industry because that is what it is - a $70-billion-a-year industry. Many writers have discussed the phenomenon of being thrust onto the "wedding conveyor belt," and even well-intentioned, thoughtful couples can find themselves getting sucked in. Weddings are complicated beasts, fraught with emotions, expectations, social conventions, and etiquette, and it is all very powerful stuff. Brides feel a lot of pressure to make everyone happy and are willing to spend whatever it takes - about $30,000 these days - to make their wedding "perfect." Many couples go into debt (on average about $25,000 worth!) to pay for their weddings, so it is not surprising that reported that 80 percent of couples cite money as the leading source of wedding stress. With a financial burden added to an emotionally demanding situation, it's no wonder the mythical "Bridezilla" lives on.

Part of having a green wedding is conserving resources - including money. This is not to say that a green wedding has to cost less than a comparable wedding - some cost more, and some cost less - but part of having a green wedding is thinking about who you are, what your values are, and what kind of wedding you would want if the industry were not constantly telling you what you should want. When planning a green wedding, you have to be prepared to take a step back and make choices based on a different set of values.

Supporting Green Business.
The wedding industry has spent a lot of time and money selling a certain "look" so that you will buy its products. These products include expensive single-use bleached white dresses, disposable aisle runners, chemically treated imported flowers, toxic makeup and skin-care products, mined gembased jewelry, individual packets of rice, little plastic picture frames with your names and the date engraved on them, and all manner of disposable flourishes and trinkets. With almost 2.5 million weddings a year in this country alone, the impact on the environment from our weddings is substantial.

Weddings offer an amazing opportunity to make a difference. In addition to saving energy, conserving resources, and decreasing pollution, imagine what a boost $70 billion a year could give to sustainable businesses. If we are going to combat the environmental problems of this century, we need to change the way businesses operate. We need to create demand. Other than a house, a wedding is generally the most expensive thing a young couple will ever "buy." By spending your wedding dollars on green goods and services, you send a signal to companies that it is time to change their ways. By simply bringing your awareness of environmental and social issues to the negotiating table with you, you can affect the impact of every purchasing decision you make and have each dollar you spend work to support your beliefs and values.

Educating Others.
One of the amazing things about a wedding is that it is the only time in your life when pretty much everyone you love is in the same place at the same time. The effect of this confluence can be rather surreal, and you may spend a lot of your wedding marveling at the bizarre combinations of people mingling around the room. They come from near and far, from childhood and adulthood, from school and work, and they have all gathered to celebrate you - both the person you are and the union you and your fiance are creating. In other words, you have a captive audience and a chance to let your eco-conscious values shine.

This does not mean you need to be preachy - you don't have to take the mic and start ranting about how we are destroying the earth when you are supposed to be saying "I do." It just means that in the same way that a wedding is an opportunity for you and your fiance to showcase your tastes, it is also a unique chance for you to showcase your values. Throughout this book I offer tips on how to let your guests know about the green choices you have made and how to create a ceremony and reception that will demonstrate that you do not have to sacrifice style, comfort, or tradition to be green. By infusing your wedding with a sense of respect for the environment, you will inspire your guests and transform your wedding into an event that they will remember forever.

How to Use This Book
To make this book as accessible as possible, each section is subdivided by topic (e.g., invitations) and type (e.g., paper invitations, electronic invitations, etc.). If you already know what you want to do, this structure should help you quickly and easily navigate to the sections that interest you most. Whenever possible, I have further subdivided by price, with three categories: $, $$, and $$$. These are only rough guidelines and do not signify actual values, because a $$$ dress can be thousands of dollars, where a $$$ website might only cost a few hundred. However, as almost every wedding has budget constrictions, this can help you prioritize and come up with creative ideas to meet your needs.

Be aware that pinning down the "best" green choice is often tricky or impossible. For example, a honeymoon at home is green, because you do not have to drive or fly (which contributes to global warming by adding CO2 and greenhouses gases to the air). However, many wildlife preserves and indigenous cultures rely on tourist revenue to survive - so if everyone stopped traveling, it would actually frustrate conservation efforts in many parts of the world. A similar dilemma arises when you are faced with the choice of buying something manufactured in the United States or buying something produced under "fair trade" conditions abroad. Or when you are faced with the choice between locally grown food produced with pesticides or organically grown food shipped in from out of state. There are no right answers to these dilemmas. The important thing is that you remain a conscious consumer. Which choice is right for you depends on what you value most. I have done my best to lay out the issues and hope the information I provide helps you come to the best answer for you.

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Table of Contents

Why a Green Wedding?
How to Use This Book

Chapter 1
Rules of Engagements
Planning Timeline
Hiring a Planner

Chapter 2
Location, Location, Location
Creating a Sustainable Vision
Weddings in the United States
Destination Weddings

Chapter 3
Here Comes the Eco-chic Bride
Hair and Makeup

Chapter 4
Greening the Groom and Bridal Party
Men's Haberdashery
Bridesmaid Dresses
Unifying Elements

Chapter 5
Say It Green with Save-the-Dates, Invitations,
and Wedding Websites
The Basics
Virtual Correspondence
Tangible Correspondence
Paper Correspondence

Chapter 6
Gathering the Green Flowers
The Dirt on Flowers
Ceremony Flowers
Non-flower Alternatives
Reception Flowers

Chapter 7
Going Green - Transportation and Guest Comfort
Guest Comfort
Welcome Baskets
Making Kids Happy

Chapter 8
A Ceremony on Earth
Ceremony Decor
Ritual Objects

Chapter 9
The Green Reception
Setting the Stage
Organizational Elements
Table Decorations

Chapter 10
Gastronomically Green - Food and Drink
Cake and Dessert

Chapter 11
Green Music and Memories
Photography and Videography

Chapter 12
Giving and Receiving Green
Thank-You Gifts for the Wedding Party

Chapter 13
Planning an Eco-fabulous Honeymoon
General Planning Tips
Minimal-Impact Travel
Honeymoon Abroad
Honeymoon in the United States
Carbon Offsetting Air Travel

Chapter 14

Sustainability Worksheets
Recommended Reading
Key Resources
About the Author

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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 26, 2010

    the ONLY guidebook ANY bride will need!

    As any current, former, or future bride might know, when planning a wedding it is helpful to have some sort of "guidebook" to reference. There are many out there to consult- but this one is very unique, helpful, and GREEN.

    This book boasts the ability to help you "create an earth-friendly wedding on any budget" - and it delivers! I think a lot of people tend to consider green options expensive. The suggestions this book offers cover the gamut of price ranges. There really is something for everyone in here.

    The major pluses of this book are its organization, its resource list, its worksheets, and the comprehensive coverage of topics. The information you need is easy to find and references for more information are well cited. The book covers everything you can think of - jewelry, dresses, transportation, wedding registries, invitations, flowers, honeymoon travel, decor, make-up, catering.etc. It's a grand accumulation of all things wedding and how to make them more "green". This was a phenomenal discovery for me because when initially browsing for "green wedding tips" I was disappointed to find most resources focused their attention on the invitation aspect and recycled paper products- along with other cliche ideas. Not that recycled paper invites aren't a good idea- it's just a little obvious and over publicized. Not to mention, that's only ONE aspect of the whole wedding process!

    The Green Bride Guide starts off by discussing general topics like supporting local businesses, watching out for "greenwashing", and communicating your "green" vision to vendors. As specific topics are covered in well-organized chapters specific suggestions are given a rating of $, $$, or $$$ based on price. For example, in the location section, a rating of $ is given to "Natural Surroundings" (among others), whereas a rating of $$$ is given to "Green Resorts" (among others).

    To give you a taste of what you can find in this book, here are some of the topics I've found most helpful and/or informative.

    * Section about the risks associated with bottled water and the importance of offering guests water from glass pitchers rather than plastic bottles.
    * The registry section with suggestions of how/where to register for more eco-conscious mainstream items (appliances etc) as well as unique green lifestyle items.
    * Clean-up and Waste information. Helpful reminders on using decoration that is reusable or creates little/no waste. Including an excellent idea for a Co-Op of commonly used wedding event items.

    In addition to itself providing excellent factual information, tips, and unique ideas, the book provides an abundance of external resources to consider - both within the text and as a handy list in the back (sorted of course by topic). Invaluable.

    This book does NOT contain glossy pages full of photographed weddings. For that you must seek Martha Stewart et al. This book - true to its mission- is printed on recycled paper and doesn't waste space with photos. However, if it's photographs you desire, visit the Green Bride Guide website as a colorful supplement to the book!

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  • Posted August 22, 2010

    For All Shades of Green

    The Green Bride Guide has ideas that even the most eco-conscious might not think of, as well as very doable ideas for the couple who is just dipping their toe into going green. Written by an environmentalist who planned her own green wedding, the Guide goes surprisingly easy on those who are not prepared to go all the way with it but who would like to incorporate a few green elements.

    If the reader has not heretofore been fully eco-conscious, she will learn a great deal about protecting the earth as well as about planning a wedding. And yet the author is not heavy-handed about it. You'll not find any guilt-inducing harangues, just solid advice to help you have a wedding that reflects your personal values as well as your personal taste.

    With clear-cut advice, not vague generalities, the author demonstrates that you don't have to sacrifice style to have a wedding that spares the earth. You will learn how to determine whether a prospective vendor is truly earth-friendly or merely "greenwashed." All couples planning a wedding within a budget must prioritize in order to ensure that they have the things that are most important. The Guide helps couples prioritize their green concerns, recognizing that few of us can have a 100 percent green wedding.

    There are ideas, for the do-it-yourself bride and for the bride who is using a wedding consultant, for every step from the engagement to the honeymoon. There are "sustainability worksheets" for everything from the jeweler to the travel company to help you choose vendors who are in line with your values. No longer than it needs to be, the Guide doesn't miss a thing!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 9, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Good Book

    The book has a lot of useful info, but it can be found in many general "green" style/living books. it mostly contains ideas and product info with web sites. I would recomend it if you never read a "green" book before, if you have i would try to focus on the actual events and planning. the book i recomended is more into the planning and details of each part

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 1, 2009

    A must have for anyone planning a wedding with eco-elements!

    This comprehensive book is written in a pleasant first-person narrative style. The author communicates clearly and concisely everything you need to know to make your wedding a thing of beauty, practicality and eco-sensitivity. The book's organization is extremely helpful and different than the other green wedding books on the market. Heartily recommended. You can't go wrong with this excellent, useful guide.

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    Posted July 20, 2011

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    Posted December 11, 2008

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