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Gail Simmons on Eco-Friendly Weddings

Last week when I spoke with Gail Simmons about weddings, I was blown away by her inspirational ideas. Although she may not come across as a green goddess when she's judging Top Chef, she's actually very eco-conscious. Having an environmentally friendly wedding was very important to her and her now-husband, Jeremy. To find out her suggestions for throwing an eco-chic event,

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  • Send a save the date email. Instead of sending formal save the date cards, Gail chose to save paper. She let her loved ones know when and where her wedding would take place through a short, but sweet email.
  • Cut back on the invite. Gail examined every aspect of the invite and asked herself where she could use less paper. "I've never understood why wedding invites come with two envelopes. What is that second envelope for? Why is it necessary?" She ditched the extra envelope and sent information on hotels and lodging to only out-of-town guests.
  • Use recycled paper. This is a no-brainer! Gail printed all of her wedding stationary on regular sized, 100-percent recycled paper.
  • Don't waste the flowers. "Flowers are such a big thing, but they are wasteful. They cost so much money, are on a table for a couple of hours, and then what?" Gail came up with a clever way to lengthen the life of her wedding flowers. While she and her guests were dancing the night away, her wedding planner gathered the vases and wrapped each bouquet in craft paper. When her friends and family left the wedding, they were given a bouquet of fresh flowers to take home!
  • Give an eco favor. Gail's wedding favor was a reusable farmers market tote bag. "My friends still use them to this day."

Did you go green at your wedding? Share your stylish eco-tips with us below!

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cally8980 cally8980 7 years
A paper I found in a peer-reviewed journal titled Waste Management stated the following: The results presented in this review illustrate that the large majority of analysed LCA scenarios conclude that paper recycling is a better option than either landfilling or incineration, in most included environmental impact categories The paper is titled "Paper waste – Recycling, incineration or landfilling? A review of existing life cycle assessments" by Villanueva and Wenzel
ladybirda ladybirda 7 years
So far: got my dress at a charity used dress shop so no new resources or energy was used to make it, getting married in a botanical garden so no waste of flowers, sapphire engagement ring and we'll probably look into recycled gold for the wedding bands, and having a local wedding instead of bride's hometown so fewer people have to travel. You can be chic and eco-friendly, dootsie!
cally8980 cally8980 7 years
wunami, have you completed a life cycle inventory that proves recycling paper to be more energy intensive? I would be interested to hear your numbers and what assumptions were made. Also, although some areas undoubtedly have limitless area for landfill space, there are many cities that have to truck their trash to other states (which uses quite a bit of energy.) Also, there is a tendency for many citizens to think with a "not in my backyard" attitude, making it much more difficult to find new areas for landfills.
nancita nancita 7 years
Great tips. I totally agree about ditching save the dates and all that paper in the invites. Why do we still do that?
wunami wunami 7 years
Recycled paper is not as eco-friendly as it sounds and is very much not a no-brainer. It takes more energy to recycle paper than it does to make new paper. And since all trees used for paper products in this country are grown specifically for paper products, you are not really saving any trees by using recycled paper. We are not even close to running out of landfill space to contain paper trash. Using less paper is good. But the only major benefit to using recycled paper is to make yourself feel good by thinking you are doing good. @dootsie: wouldn't planting trees in the daylight be even more earth-friendly? Or do parties have to be at night?
dootsie dootsie 7 years
Can we ban the phrase "eco-chic"? Anyway, throwing a party is almost never earth-friendly. (Unless you're getting together to plant trees by candlelight, of course.) Travel, having items shipped, the average diamond, food production and waste, cleanup... all have negative environmental impact. Use compostable plates and forks and make a compost pile out of your reception. Ask guests to offset their carbon emissions. Register and shop only with local vendors. Nix the diamond. Have it outdoors with minimal decorations. Skip flowers, or opt for potted plants. Have a potluck. Wear a locally-produced, handmade gown that uses as little fabric as possible. Feeling chic now?
mamasitamalita mamasitamalita 7 years
there is so much waste at a wedding as is..... I've worked in the wedding industry for awhile and I know someday when I plan mine I'll have thought out ways to cut waste and costs by a TON
sunshyne sunshyne 7 years
love her for this
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