Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Eco-friendly weddings are becoming the norm

Since this seems to be the season of weddings and engagements – it’s all over my social networks – I’ve decided to post another useful blog, for those who are currently racking their brains for wedding ideas! After all, the royal wedding may have been about the fairy tale, but modern couples are ready for a reality check.
Many couples aren't walking down the aisle at all - they are saying, "I do" after wading through the buffalo grass. And on their walls are artistic portraits of the bridal party against an unfinished brick wall.

Weddings have evolved into the 21st century, and many couples are taking cues from the environment and their urban lifestyles.

At their upcoming nuptials this weekend, Tulsan Scott Vrooman and his business partner and fiancee, Mary Kreider, will be married on the 3,700-square-foot roof of their business, TriArch Architecture, 618 E. Third St. They designed the building with an eco-friendly roof complete with a large patch of buffalo grass. So before about 70 guests this weekend, they'll be married in the open air with downtown Tulsa as a backdrop. "As architects, we try to teach people about being green, and we wanted to put our money where our mouth is," Vrooman said.

Wedding couples have become more environmentally conscious over the past few years, said Meghan Hurley, owner of Concepts PR in Tulsa. She said her clients are aware of the amount of resources they use for their weddings. "Couples are more concerned with giving back," Hurley said. "They are more aware of how much is consumed and thrown away for a wedding on one day."

Using green materials, and even the color green, are trends that began on the East and West coasts but are emerging in Tulsa, she said. "They're using items that are more recyclable. Invitations are what really started the trend. They're using recycled paper made from different fibers. And they've been using bamboo fibers in linens and napkins," she said. "Some are using living centerpieces that guests can take home, like a tree or, again, bamboo."

And couples are certainly conscious of their wedding's setting - not only its location but also what it says about them as a couple. "We would spend so much time up there (on the roof) that we thought it would be great to share that with people," Vrooman said.

"On the roof itself, we'll probably not even decorate a lot," said Kreider, who is an interior designer. "We think it'll be simple and elegant." Hurley said couples are choosing downtown as their wedding backdrop - and even for wedding portraits - because they appreciate its history and architecture.

"The traditional, fuzzy-edged photo is not what people want anymore," she said. "They want to show what is realistic. Yes, it's a fairy-tale day, but again, it's one day. They'll have a whole marriage to spend together. "They like the photojournalism look any more, capturing real moments," Hurley said.
After the ceremony, Vrooman and Kreider will host their reception downstairs in the main offices, which they also use for parties. The LEED-certified building was built in 1919 and was once a distribution center for a bread company.

If they choose to, Scott and Mary can tiptoe through the grass - on their roof.

Ways to have a 'green' wedding

Use invitations made from recycled paper. Or, if it's a casual affair, some couples are choosing to go paperless - by using an e-vite. Yes, etiquette experts might be offended, so make sure to explain your goal: to consume less.

Use living centerpieces. Small trees, herbs, shrubs or annuals make beautiful summer centerpieces. Encourage your guests to take them home and plant them to enjoy long after the wedding is over.

Give eco-friendly wedding favors. Seed packets are all the rage at green weddings. Some companies will print your names and the date of the wedding on them so guests will remember your special day. For more, visit
Make it vintage. Update your mother's or grandmother's wedding gown, or even exchange family or heirloom rings. It will reduce consumption, and it's in style. "Vintage and rustic are very much in," said Meghan Hurley, owner of Concepts PR in Tulsa. "But it's a rustic-chic, or a country-chic." So using the old and the new is still important.

Sustainable bites. Choose organic or local produce and meats for your menu. Many local caterers are only too happy to use fresh vegetables from the farmers markets. And summer is the prime time to choose fresh products from the area.

Just keep in mind that at the end of the day, your wedding day and all the preparations leading to it are meant to be reminders of a love that you continue to share and grow into, so whatever path you choose to take, take time to appreciate the process and enjoy the ride!

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