Easy Tips to Plan a Green, Earth-friendly Wedding: To Love, Honor and Cherish the Earth

A couple celebrates their union in keeping with their values.

| May/June 2007

  • The bridesmaids, comfortable and elegant in their hemp gowns and artisan-crafted Thai shawls, relax in the vineyard after the ceremony.
    Rick Hornick
  • Flag Hill Winery, the site of the wedding reception, is permanently protected from development by a conservation easement held by the Rockingham Land Trust and boasts New Hampshire’s first micro-distillery. It produces vodka from apples through a specially designed heating and cooling system (installed by Dawn Solar Systems) that harnesses the waste heat and reuses the water generated by the distilling process for use in other areas of the winery’s business.
    Rick Hornick
  • Fall flowers, freshly picked from an area farm, and nontoxic beeswax candles provide a festive setting for dining on local foods and relaxed conversation.
    Rick Hornick
  • Amy and David arranged for charter bus transportation for their guests taking the 10-mile trip from the hotel to the winery to reduce pollution and climate-change impacts from burning fossil fuels by more than 100 automobiles.
    Rick Hornick
  • All the beverages served during the reception came from local sources, including soda from Connor Bottling Works in Newfields, New Hampshire. Connor Bottling, the last family-owned independent soda bottler in the state, has been making Squamscot Old Fashioned Beverages since 1863.
    Rick Hornick
  • The bridal party is dwarfed by an immense tree at the vineyard, a subtle reminder that nature is the true center of attention at this event.
    Rick Hornick
  • Amy and David decided to make their biggest financial expenditures—such as where to have the wedding—responsibly, because they would have the biggest impact. They chose to have the wedding at Flag Hill Winery in Lee, New Hampshire, a small winery and distillery that had recently put its land into a conservation easement in partnership with a local land trust, permanently protecting 106 acres of working farmland, scenic views and river frontage.
    Jessica Richardson
  • The bride and groom escape from all the fuss for a quiet moment among the grapevines. Amy says the best part of her wedding wasn't in the details, but when she walked down the aisle and saw the loving, proud smiles of her friends and family.
    Jessica Richardson
  • Amy says local farmer's markets are a great resource for food and flowers.
    Jessica Richardson
  • To make up for the fact that Amy's Zum Zum wedding dress wasn't the most green option, Amy donated her dress to the Making Memories Foundation, which uses proceeds from the sales of secondhand dresses to help people with terminal cancer.
    Rick Hornick
  • Rawganique offers a variety of eco-friendly, hemp formal wear and wedding gowns. Visit them at www.Rawganique.com.
    Courtesy Rawganique
  • Rawganique offers a variety of eco-friendly, hemp formal wear and wedding gowns. Visit them at www.Rawganique.com.
    Courtesy Rawganique
  • Rawganique offers a variety of eco-friendly, hemp formal wear and wedding gowns. Visit them at www.Rawganique.com.
    Courtesy Rawganique
  • Rawganique offers a variety of eco-friendly, hemp formal wear and wedding gowns. Visit them at www.Rawganique.com.
    Courtesy Rawganique

I remember details from my wedding with photographic clarity: a sea of white tables, adorned with brilliant orange and red flowers from the farmer’s market, all set against a clear blue sky. A spectacular field of grapevines stretching toward the September sun. The sound of a busload of guests arriving—the signal that our ceremony was about to begin.

When I consult with others on how to make their buildings, businesses and events more environmentally friendly, I always consider the economics—but usually the funding isn’t coming from my bank account.

Our money—a lot of our money—was at stake in planning our wedding.

Fortunately, my husband, David, and I found that many of our green choices cost less than the alternatives. The average cost for a wedding of 175 guests is $22,000, according to Consumer Reports. We celebrated with 170 friends and family members, and the cost came to $15,000, including the band, our attire and all the extras.

We did a lot of the work ourselves, and our natural wedding was not without compromise. But then, what’s a marriage without compromise?



The big decision

Because the largest environmental impacts often go hand in hand with the largest expenditures, David and I vowed that our biggest financial decision—where we would hold the wedding and reception—would be made responsibly. We chose Flag Hill Winery in Lee, New Hampshire, a small winery and distillery that had recently put its land into a conservation easement in partnership with a local land trust, permanently protecting 106 acres of working farmland, scenic views and river frontage.






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