Monthly Archives: May 2010

Eco-Chic Wedding

From the wedding dress to the menu to the favors and transportation, what to know to start reducing, reusing and recycling for your eco-chic affair.

Nature’s way

Research locations where the proceeds support eco-friendly causes. State parks and nature preserves are a great place to start.

Daytime I dos

Celebrate during daylight—and if possible, outdoors—to cut down on electricity. If you’re set on an evening celebration, consider candlelight—soy candles burn cleaner and longer than traditional wax candles—to help illuminate the venue, and create a romantic ambiance.

Minimize paper waste

Find a printing company that uses 100 percent recycled paper that has been processed without chlorine—or one that prints on paper embedded with wildflower seeds that can later be planted. Then, choose a simple design and use a postcard as a reply card. To announce your big-day details, use’s My Wedding Web Site. Only print out information cards for guests who don’t have internet access.

Dress the part

Recycle a dress—whether it’s your mother’s gown or a gorgeous find from a vintage shop. If going retro isn’t your style, look for a dress in a natural fiber, like hemp-satin (visit Conscious Clothing, or find a simple white dress that you can alter, accessorize and wear again. Jewelry also makes a great “something borrowed.” What better excuse to raid Mom’s or Grandma’s jewelry box!

Start a green home

Look for eco-friendly home and garden stores that have registry options, like Branch Home,, or Design Public,

With this ring…

Pledge your commitment to the earth and each other by choosing a ring made with environmentally-conscious precious metals—such as Leber Jeweler’s Earthwise Jewelryline,, made with recycled gold and platinum. Or, opt for eco-friendly, handcrafted wooden rings from Chicago Joinery,, or Touch Wood Rings,

Flower power

Before choosing your bouquet, look for a florist that supports organic flower farms and uses local and seasonal wildflowers so you cut the emissions that would be generated by shipping flowers from far away. For centerpieces, use oxygen-producing potted plants, which guests can take home, and incorporate organic fruits, vegetables and berries.

Put your best face forward

Even if you’re a natural beauty who doesn’t wear much make-up, consider enhancing your look for your wedding photos. Choose a brand of cosmetics that uses natural and organic ingredients—and of course, that avoids animal testing.

Eat green

Talk with caterers about using local, organic fare and make sure they offer enough options for vegetarian guests.

Toast the earth

Support winemakers who are as passionate about nature as they are about their vineyard by serving biodynamic or organic wines at your reception. Start your search at the online shop for Appellation Wine & Spirits, a New York City wine shop that specializes in organically- and biodynamically-made wines

Plan a biodegradable picnic

If you’re planning a simple and outdoorsy rehearsal dinner, think twice about purchasing throw-away plates. Consider renting dishes, silverware and cloth napkins, or use biodegradable dishes and flatware made from cornstarch, potatoes, sugar cane or tropical leaves.

Do the environment a favor

When it comes to wedding favors, give a piece of fruit from a local orchard, or share a living gift—like a tree sapling or a small potted plant—with each guest. For those traveling via airplane, distribute packets of seeds. Soy candles or soap also make great green favors. Or, if you have a favorite pro-environment organization, let your guests know in the wedding program that in lieu of favors you’re making a donation in their honor.

Skip the rice

Throwing rice after a wedding ceremony can be dangerous for birds, and throwing birdseed that contains non-native or invasive plants can cause problems if you’re saying your vows in a nature preserve or state park. Instead, look into tossing native wildflower seeds or flower petals, or have your guests blow bubbles.

Enjoy an all-natural honeymoon

Plan a honeymoon where you can commune with nature—say, at an eco-resort that protects and preserves the environment.

Consider eco-travel

Your honeymoon flight, along with the flights of all the guests who travel to your wedding from afar, will produce large amounts of CO2 emissions. Think about investing in renewable energy credits (or green tags) to help offset your global warming impact.

Getting around

Think about having your ceremony and reception at the same location—or offer transportation between the two sites—to avoid excess car emissions.


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Bridesmaids: 9 Tips for Who to Pick

Having trouble deciding who will stand up for you on the big day? Follow our how-to-choose guide

Stressing over which friends and/or relatives will be bridesmaids? Choosing the bridal party is no laughing matter. Scan these deciding factors, and the selection process will be a breeze.

How Many Maids?

One of the first things to consider when selecting your bridal party is how many guests you’re planning to invite. While bridal parties can range anywhere from a single maid/matron of honor to more than a dozen attendants, most wedding experts agree that a good rule of thumb is to have one groomsman and one corresponding bridesmaid for every 50 guests. (This doesn’t mean, though, that you have to go ask a stranger to be in your wedding just because your fiance has one more attendant than you do. Life will go on if you have uneven numbers of groomsmen and bridesmaids.) Also, a large wedding party traditionally signifies a formal wedding. So if you’re planning a small, intimate gathering, ten bridesmaids might be a bit too much.

A good guideline is to have one groomsman and one bridesmaid for every 50 guests.

More isn’t Merrier

Speaking of size, remember that the more bridesmaids you have, the greater the potential for complications. In other words, you’ll need to get more people to agree on a dress or decide on a bridal shower date. And if you’re on a limited budget, think about who has to pay for all those bridesmaids bouquets. That’s right — you.

Blood is Thicker Than Water

If you’re close to your sister or future sister-in-law, the thought of not including them in your wedding party probably never even occurred to you. But if you suffer from a serious Jan Brady complex, the thought of asking your sister (or sister-in-law) to be a bridesmaid probably ranks right up there with getting a football in the nose. Still, it’s usually worth including family members just to avoid unnecessary conflict. Think of it as having more bargaining power when you’re battling with your mom over the guest list.

No Backsies

You don’t need to ask someone to be in your wedding just because she asked you to be in her wedding. Don’t ask the college roommate you haven’t spoken to in five years just to return the favor. Weddings are no time for quid pro quo. Period.

Location, Location

What do you expect from your bridesmaids? Will simple moral support suffice, or do you expect them to be your personal Pollyannas, addressing wedding invitations and tying tiny ribbons around your wedding favors? If it’s the latter, think twice about asking friends who live far away or who have extremely hectic schedules. You don’t want to find yourself getting frustrated with a friend you knew wouldn’t be able to give you all the help you wanted.

Don’t Assume

Try not to make hasty assumptions. Don’t write off some friends simply because you think they don’t have enough money to afford that Vera Wang bridesmaid dress you have your eye on. If you want to ask a friend whom you know is having financial difficulties, you can always say something like, “I’d love for you to be a bridesmaid, but I understand the tough time you’re going through now. If you can’t do it, I’d love to find something else for you to do in the wedding.” (Or, you can offer to pay her way if you can’t stand the idea of her not being in the wedding.)

Guys Count

A bridesmaid doesn’t have to be a woman. Despite the prevalence of feminine pronouns in this guide, if your best friend is a guy, there’s no reason why he can’t be in your wedding. Today, many brides (and grooms) are including members of the opposite sex as attendants. In these cases, a man on the bride’s side is simply called an attendant or bridesman, while a woman on the groom’s side can be called an attendant or a groomswoman.

Other Honors

Still stuck? Keep in mind that there are plenty of other roles good friends can play in your wedding if they don’t make the cut — do a reading, hand out programs, or perform a song.

Spread the News

Once you make up your mind about your bridesmaids, you’ll want to get the word out. The only thing worse than a coworker who thinks she’s invited to your wedding is a friend who assumes she’s going to be a bridesmaid. If you’re afraid of hurting someone’s feelings, remember that, as cliched as it sounds, any true friend will understand whatever decision you ultimately make. And finally, the sooner you make your decision, the sooner you get to check off one more box on your endless wedding checklist.

— Emily Ehrenstein, The

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