Earth-conscious couples can invite Mother Nature to join their wedding party

June 21, 1993|By Sue Ellyn Scaletta | Sue Ellyn Scaletta,Knight-Ridder News Service

It's the time of year that abounds with white lace and promises -- and often, these days, a tinge of green -- "from this day forward."

Well, it makes good sense for a couple to embark on a new union acknowledging that their future is linked to that of the planet. Since I've already received two invitations to summer nuptial events printed on recycled paper, I decided to do a little homework on Earth-conscious weddings.

Of course, all the things apply to a wedding that we're learning to use in other events. Minimize disposables. Recycle. Recycle. Conserve.

Here are some other ways I found that brides, grooms and guests can carry a green theme through the festivities and gifts:

* Paper: Use recycled paper for invitations, place cards, thank-you notes, napkins; they're all available through most printers these days.

* Candles: Use beeswax candles instead of petroleum-based ones; available in many beautiful designs in stores or from catalogs such as Seventh Generation (800) 456-1177).

* Food and decorations: How about rain forest nuts and fruits instead of mint cups? An edible centerpiece of nuts and berries in a melon-half bowl? Baskets of blooming house plants to be carried by bridesmaids -- then planted as mementos? Dried flower arrangements that can be kept and reused instead of discarded?

* Serving: Serve food in reusable dishes. Buy food and drink in recyclable containers -- or ask your caterer to do so -- and recycle them. Donate any unused food to a homeless shelter or other organization for the needy.

* Going away: Shower the bride and groom with birdseed instead of rice. Birds often swallow the rice, which can expand in their stomachs, sometimes killing them.

* Honeymoon: Consider an eco-tour, explore a wilderness area or wildlife preserve. In any case, travel green.

Gift possibilities for the planet-conscious bride and groom are endless. You can give an acre of rain forest, plant trees in their name or make some other donation to an earthwise cause.

For a complete listing of possibilities, which range from the esoteric to ordinary household items, see "Gifts that Make a Difference" by Ellen Berry.

But even the most traditional wedding gift also can be green. Here are some ideas for items you can find in stores or order easily from catalogs such as Seventh Generation or Real Goods ((800) 762-7325):

* Linens: "Organic cotton" sheets, comforters, blankets, towels and other items made from unbleached, undyed cotton grown without chemicals; natural fiber tablecloths, blankets and other linens.

* Tableware: Handblown glassware from recycled glass; stoneware dishes instead of bone china from crushed animal bones; hand-painted native pottery; lead-free china.

* Arts and crafts: Carvings and sculptures that help sustain rain forests; natural jute rugs (jute is a natural pesticide so items woven from it contain no toxics; rugs offered in Real Goods use only non-toxic dyes).

* Other household items: Shelves and furniture made from sustainable rain forest woods; solar-powered battery devices; kitchen items such as hand-operated ice-cream cranks, food dehydrators and juicers.

* Wrapping: Use recycled paper. Or wrap one gift in another, such as a green cotton pillow case or tablecloth. Or slip inside a natural-fiber reusable bag.

It doesn't really take much effort to keep Mother Nature in the wedding party.

Think of it as an unspoken part of the vows: To love, honor -- and cherish the Earth.

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