Discovery Health Channel‘s resident natural living specialist Sara Snow is known for sharing tips on how to live a more wholesome and organic lifestyle.
This month, Snow takes her crusade for all things natural to one of the biggest events in the life of any couple — the wedding. In an hourlong green wedding special of Get Fresh With Sara Snow, airing July 25, she reveals just how perfect — and how perfectly green — a wedding day can be.
For the bride, a vegan, a green wedding was a natural idea. For the groom, an Italian who knows nothing about green or natural living, it was more of a stretch. Here are Snow’s comments on the wedding.
What inspired the special?
Sara Snow: Weddings have become such a big deal! They’ve always been a big deal to the bride and groom and their select group of friends and family members, but now they’re a big deal to zillions of vendors. Caterers, florists, dressmakers, tux rentals, venue managers, bands, DJs, and all the people who make favors, invitations, candles, disposable cameras, etc., etc., etc. It’s big business and what that means to me is that it’s a big opportunity to infuse green elements into the “big day.” For a bride and groom, each of those decisions can be about saving the world as well as creating the perfect party palate. It’s fun and exciting and it’s a message I wanted to share with people.
How is a green wedding different from a “regular” wedding?
In a lot of ways. The flowers are organic, the food is local and seasonal, the candles are beeswax, the invitations are on recycled paper, the wine and vodka are organic, the beer is locally brewed, the band cuts back on their energy consumption, the bride’s gown is made from recycled elements and eco-fibers like hemp and silk, the engagement ring is conflict free, candles and sunlight provide the light until a few lights must be turned on, the couple registers for eco-friendly, natural and fair trade gift items (like recycled glass vases, organic cotton sheets and towels, and hemp luggage sets), the guests get carbon-offsets for their travel as a party favor, and the whole thing ends with the couple heading off on their eco honeymoon to a natural environment like Costa Rica where they’ll stay in an eco resort that recycles and composts and inspires the couple to appreciate nature.
But the hope in our case was that guests would walk in and not be able to tell any difference. The food tastes terrific. The bride is a vision in white. The groom is glowing with happiness. The band rocks it out, everyone has a great time, then later they learn that it was all green and they say, “Wow, I had no idea green living could be such beautiful, delicious fun!”
What were the biggest changes?
I initially had a hard time convincing the groom that organic food tastes great and not like cardboard until I took him to meet the caterer and taste her food. The beef he tried was grass-fed. He sucked down organic veggies and munched on whole grain breads. He even gave some organic tofu a try. And, he loved it all! That was a big change, when John, our groom, went from “Organic, yuck!” to “Organic, I had no idea … yum!”
In terms of planning, flowers were a big change. A typical wedding employs a lot of flowers. These flowers, typically, are grown with the aid of a lot of chemicals. These chemicals pollute our soil, water and air. They are harmful to the growers as well as to the florists who spend their days working with these chemical-coated stems, leaves and petals. Thankfully today couples can choose from organically grown flowers as well as local and indigenous blooms, fruits and flowering branches.
We chose a venue that had once been a dilapidated building that someone chose to breathe new life into. The sun poured in through windows so that we hardly had to use any electricity at all to light the place. This was important to me when I got married, too. I chose to have our reception outside under a tent so that electricity and even floral decorations were at a bare minimum. I allowed the natural setting, that I love more than any building on this Earth, shine through. This old 1800s synagogue played a similar role.
Do you think this trend is going to catch on with tradition-bound brides?
It’s important to note that you don’t have to sacrifice family traditions in order to be more eco. You can still have a roast beef carving station; just use grass-fed beef. And select organic micro greens for the salad. You can still have the big flowy fairy-tale wedding dress; just choose a recycled gown or have one made from eco-friendly fibers. … I’m not expecting all brides to throw green weddings, but I do think we’ll start to see many of these elements being infused into traditional weddings. Maybe a traditional wedding with local food and organic flowers. People are always looking for ways to make their special occasions different, and this is a way. Be green!
One really easy way brides can “go green” is just by cutting back. Cut back on the amount of food, flowers, disposables, lights — even travel. Conserving is sometimes the best thing we can do to protect this Earth.
What’s really fun is there are so many opportunities to infuse green elements into any kind of party — it doesn’t have to be a wedding. Party throwers can use compostable disposables, organic brews and organic cotton tablecloths. It’s good to be green. And, as we’re now seeing, it’s beautiful, delicious and fun!
For a complete look at the big day, tune in to Get Fresh With Sara Snow: Green Wedding, July 25 on Discovery Health Channel.