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

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

by Kate Harrison

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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


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

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

Product Details

Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.00(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.70(d)

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.

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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